A couple of weeks ago, I had an ophthalmology appointment. I brought a friend, who was my chaperone. (Note: Feel free to bring a friend/chaperone along with you for your appointments with me.) My friend took the picture below.

Notice anything?

That’s right. My left shoulder is significantly lower than the right. That’s because I used to play the violin.

It’s easy as a health professional to recognize postural imbalances in a patient. It’s one of the first things we learn in chiropractic school. It’s harder to recognize them in yourself. Self-awareness of posture is so rare, in fact, that my professors were surprised when I could articulate which of my shoulders were lower. However, despite knowing this, I’ve not been able to correct this because my left shoulder simply does not feel lower than the right. This is the aspect of self-awareness that is missing for many, the fact that we don’t feel lopsided at all! Many patients have reported that when they try to correct their posture, they feel lopsided when in fact their shoulders and hips are level. How can we remedy this conundrum and build awareness?

Progression muscle relaxation may offer assistance. This technique is designed to help build awareness of what activated versus relaxed muscles feel like. After you’re familiar with progressive muscle relaxation, try it while standing in front of a mirror and watch how dynamic posture really is. (Of course, because you’ll be standing, the muscles in the legs will not completely relax in this variation.) Let me know how it goes in the comments below, or at your next appointment.

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