In early August, I had one of our trainers here at Fitness Collective perform a postural assessment on me. A postural assessment entails a comprehensive full-body visual and manual test for imbalances in body alignment and in-muscle tension, and strength. Though all practitioners have a slightly different "checklist" of what they look for and the method to perform them, here's a helpful article and video to give some context to the scope of a postural assessment. Mine took an hour. During that time, the trainer discovered many imbalances. She then proceeded to offer solutions to help improve them. What I gained from this experience was invaluable.
Early in the year 2020, I experienced a severe back injury. Though it took a full year for the pain to subside, my injury still affects my body. Since recovering from the chronic pain, but my body has still not regained the strength I once had before the injury. From my experience as a trainer, I knew the cause of this must stem from some sort of muscular strength or tension imbalance. I postulated that if I could discover and improve my imbalances, my body would be "primed" to push load again and make further progress toward recovering my lost strength. At this realization, I scheduled the postural assessment.
Here is what my trainer discovered about my body through her exam:
- My left hip was higher than my right hip.
- When standing "straight," my hips rotate toward the right.
- My quadriceps muscles (on the front of the thigh) were much too tight compared to the hamstrings and glutes (muscles on the back of the body and thighs).
- My left knee rotates slightly inward.
- I have a slight forward head posture (my head comes forward).
- The curvature of my spine is good but could be better.
There were even a few more discoveries she made, but these are the high points. For each of these "imbalances," she prescribed stretches or exercises to improve and correct them. They were all simple and quick things I could work into routine workouts or do at home.
Since following the plan and prescription she gave me, I have already seen marked improvements in my strength. Previously, if I were to push my load during specific exercises, I would experience pain. This is happening less and less and at higher and higher loads. I plan to continue to work on these exercises/stretches and follow up with another assessment in one to two months to re-check and ensure I am still on the right path.
I would highly recommend a postural assessment for anyone who:
- Has a current nagging injury or pain
- Has had chronic pain
- Has never had a postural assessment before
- Is concerned about injury prevention
If this piqued your interest, here is a video (and transcript) that expresses more reasons why this type of body assessment is beneficial. If you live near a Fitness Collective gym community, you can schedule your postural assessment for the same treatment. Click the Contact Us button to inquire about availability and pricing!
Happy Fall, everyone! I will "see" you again next month for another Rachael Recommends!