The Importance of an Aligned Skeleton For Improved Muscle Power and Reduction In Pain

Have you ever had a tight hamstring, or one calf muscle tighter than the other? Why am I sore always in my shoulders if I do a certain exercise? This generally is not to do with overworking in the gym one particular muscle but the alignment of the bones that the muscle attaches to. Think of your muscles as a system of pulleys and cables. Imagine the Leaning Tower of Pisa with those cables holding it up and the different tensile strengths the individual cables hold. They are of course loading differently from each other. This too happens in a human skeleton.

One of the many postural problems in the community is forward head carriage. Unfortunately, loading the spine for long periods of time will progress to spinal degeneration. This includes other postural distortions not just the forward head position. It can be a slightly tilted pelvis, a flat foot, an old knee injury, a slight tilt sideways of the head on the neck, or shoulders too rounded.

Forward head posture leads to long term muscle strain, disc herniations, arthritis and pinched nerves. –Mayo Clinic, November 3, 2000

Loss of the cervical curve (i.e. loss of normal spinal posture), stretches the spinal cord 5-7 centimeters, and causes disease.–Dr. A. Breig, Neuro-surgeon, winner of the Nobel Prize


For every 2.5 cm of forward head posture, it can increase the weight of the head on the spine by an additional 4.5 kg

17.5 cm of forward head carriage = an extra 18 kilograms that your neck and shoulder muscles carry.

We have often seen forward positioning up to 25cm. That is an extra 45 kg that your body has to carry.

We have used the neck as an example as it is easy to understand, however, this can occur throughout your body structure as previously mentioned. If you have knee pain and have never had a direct trauma to your knee, the problem can actually come from pelvic alignment. Pelvic alignment issues can easily arise from a bad work station or even sitting for long periods. The knee is the middle joint so anything out of alignment above will load the knee more than it should aggravating the bony structures and nerves supplying it.

Interestingly, postural changes or altered movement patterns affects the neurology of muscle function. Any loading change can effectively “switch off” the muscle, making it far more susceptible to injury.

Chiropractors operate like fine tuning a wheel alignment in a car. Obviously it is a lot more complicated than this as we are essentially neurology based, however, it does make a good analogy. With incorrect foot, pelvic,or neck movement for example due to an imbalance, the body will load too much causing over or under active muscle function, leading to injury and eventually wear and tear. Pain unfortunately follows.