I think it’s the perfect time, in this political climate to ask: Where do you stand?
Try this. Stand with your heels three to four inches from a wall. Press your thigh bones toward the wall, letting your tailbone relax. Next, bring your shoulders, arms, and back of the head against the wall. You should have a small space underneath your waist where your low back naturally curves in, but your middle back (the ribs/bra strap/heart rate monitor area) should also be touching the wall.
If your middle back is not touching the wall, drop your ribs (allow your head and shoulders to move forward if you need to) until your mid-back touches. If your head has to come off the wall in order to get your ribs back, this is how much excessive curve you have in your thoracic spine (called kyphosis.) Many people “hide” their kyphosis by thrusting their ribs forward, but it is better to keep your ribs down and work on stretching these tight muscles (instead of manipulating the skeleton to hide them!)
If your waist is entirely on the wall, you are a tucker and are overly tucking your pelvis under, pulling the lumbar spine and the pelvic floor out of alignment. Adjust this by tilting your tailbone out toward the wall until the space reappears, and follow the above directions to notice the curvature in your upper spine.
I’d like to point of that a very large amount of people are told in physical therapy, the orthopaedist’s office, and by their chiropractor that they are “sway backed” (see picture on the left) and to fix it by tucking the pelvis forward, i.e. bring it forward to match the ribs. Using the wall as an alignment marker it becomes clear (hopefully) that what most people are doing is THRUSTING the ribs, not overly sticking out their bottom. While the curvature of the spine looks excessive (cuz it is!) and the pressure on the low back feels painful (because it is!) this is an UPPER BODY ISSUE. Tucking your pelvis under to decrease the pressure is a short-term solution that will give some relief but end up creating foot, knee, hip, and pelvic floor issues. Mother Tucker!
To decrease lumbar disk degeneration, keep your perfect pelvis neutral (not tucked) and using an objective alignment marker (like a wall) introduce yourself to the real alignment instigator, your shoulder girdle. And then do this: