Postural Deviations – 3 Types

The Three Most Common Postural Deviations

 Postural deviations commonly begin in childhood but can also be brought on by an imbalance in the strength of opposing muscle groups. If they are left undetected, they will generally lead to bigger problems. Head tilt, shoulder tilt, hip tilt and forward head are common signals of postural deviation in adults. These can lead to shoulder humps and a hunched-over posture in older adults. The underlying concern of posture can be a lad of balance, muscle pain and skeletal stress.

Some studies have shown that over 97% of adults have some type of postural deviation that should be corrected.

Postural deviations, including forward head, forward shoulders (scapular protraction), humeral internal rotation, and increased thoracic kyphosis, have been implicated in the development of shoulder pain.

There is a relationship between postural deviations and many shoulder, neck and back pain syndromes. This is due to the theory that prolonged postural changes will cause the adaptation of soft tissues. This means that muscle tissue will lengthen or shorten inappropriately and can lead to pain.

The three most common types of postural deviations are “Forward Head,” “Protracted Shoulder Girdle,” and “Anterior Pelvic Tilt.”

Forward Head Posture

Forward head posture (FHP) is shown by a curve in the neck which causes the head to thrust forward to the shoulder, rather than the vertical ideal. The ideal posture is known as the “plumb line posture” where the head is more in line with the shoulder. The forward head posture can be in a slight, moderate or marked degree. Some studies debate as to whether this is a pathological condition or simply a variation found in the normal population. However, through supervised stretching and strengthening exercises, it can be corrected. One should exercise great causing though, as the neck can be very delicate and prone to injury and muscle spasm.

Protracted Shoulder Girdle

In time, this condition causes inflammation, nerve compression, lack of nutrient delivery, and if left untreated can even cause severe problems. An extreme example is nerve and vessel compression in the shoulder joint, which has been known to cause Brachial Amyotrophic Diplegia. This can eventually result in respiratory failure. Though uncommon, it is an example of how a simple posture problem can spread to other systems of your body. An internally rotated humerus can lead to inflammation and even node compression and immune dysfunction.

Anterior Pelvic Tilt

This is commonly indicated when the butt is arched high, causing a misalignment at the pelvis. Your chest position effects your pelvic position. The Thoracic Cage is roughly the area from your shoulders to the bottom of your ribs, and movement here causes a muscular chain reaction all the way down to your pelvis. The stability of this area is governed by many muscles, including the internal/external obliques, the lats, the transversus abdominus, and the deep muscles on the spine.

A pelvic tilt will cause the muscles of the lower limb to compensate and the knee starts to turn inward during standing, walking and squatting.

Excessive anterior pelvic tilt can be caused by seated jobs, faulty abdominal training or poor muscle balance. It can cause dysfunction in the lower extremities, lower back pain, incontinence, and abdominal distention.It is caused by weak glutes, hamstrings and abs along with tight hip flexors and quads.

All of the postural deviations can be alleviated through stretching and targeted muscle strength training.  A qualified pilates instructor can help correct, strengthen and balance these postural deviations utilizing pilates exercises similar to physical therapy to address the postural deviations in all ages.

September 23, 2014 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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NEW Balanced Body Reformers with Inifinity Footbars

Offering unsurpassed adjustability, the Balanced Body Reformer® combines the most innovative Footbar and Springbar systems available. The revolutionary Infinity Footbar® and Revo Springbar systems give you more than 160 adjustable, locking positions. This allows you to accommodate people of virtually any height and level of ability, including children. Used by clinicians in private practice, rehabilitation facilities and hospitals worldwide, this Reformer® provides superior performance under the rigors of daily rehabilitation use.

September 23, 2014 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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Reflecting on my own teaching as a Pilates practitioner

Reflecting on my own teaching. Why have I become a movement teacher? Do I take the time to really teach each individual in front of me? How can I tell if my students are learning from me? What progress do I see?

I love the opportunity to help my clients solve their own challenges like “the mat work always hurts my neck” and “why does my hip pop?”. And as a teacher I love it when my students say, “wow, that was easier” or “that makes so much sense.” Why is it that some teachers get amazing results and some don’t?

The way that I think about and relate to movement can affect how I  and my clients progress. Everyone see the world through our own experiences. If you come from a movement background such as classical ballet or pre/professional sports, you might make different demands on your students about ‘perfection’ and ‘working hard’ than someone from a recreational dance or sports background. If you had a teacher or coach who used your performance to measure their effectiveness as a teacher (and they weren’t very good teachers), you might have been yelled at for not doing ‘it’ right without any real instruction. And, it’s just natural that unless we were taught to teach differently, most of us have gone on teach the way we were taught.

I was lucky to have teachers who cared more about me than themselves – they cared that I learned something rather than how people would see them if I didn’t. I’ve adopted that attitude in my own teaching. If one of my students isn’t able to do something to the best of their ability, I look to myself, not them. I take pride in teaching my students the components that are going to make not only their movement, but their understanding of the movement, better than it was when they started. This quality is what makes me, an educator instead of  a robot.

I challenge new instructor to reflect on his/her skills as a teacher. Is he/she educating himself/herself so that he/she can work more effectively or with a different population of students or does he/she just do the minimum to get by? Is he/she repeating the same year over and over or is he/she growing in his/her personal practice and teaching skills? Is he/she making things easy for his/her students to do and to understand so that they flourish?

In the words of Joseph Pilates, “Both [the mind and the body] must be coordinated, in order not only to accomplish the maximum results with the minimum expenditure of mental and physical energy, but also to live as long as possible in normal health and enjoy the benefits of a useful and happy life.” Your Health, p41


May 22, 2014 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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Pilates Method NEW Home

Pilates Method moved into its new home at 6031 South 58th Street, Suite B, Lincoln, Nebraska as of Monday, January 31, 2011.  The interior of the Studio is so spacious and cheerful.  I am so grateful for the work of my husband, Alan and help from son, Connor.  The support of my clients were tremendous.  This move could not have happened without everyone’s support.  Please enjoy the pictures taken by Jordan Nun. 


February 5, 2011 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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A New Home for Pilates Method

Alan and I have recently purchased a new home for Pilates Method.  It is located in the Trade Center at 6031 South 58th Street, Suite B. The Studio is in the process of being remodeled.  The new space will give the Studio quite a bit of extra space.  We are vigorously working at getting the Studio ready for a February 1, 2011 move-in date.  The colors are chartreuse, parakeet and copper.  These colors have been described as giving a space an airy, yet grounded quality.  I am very excited to share this new space with my loyal and long time clients.                                                         –Monica Dawson

December 27, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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Testimonial from Judy Greenwald

I’ve been working with Monica at Pilates Method for 6 years now.  I went to her originally because I’d read of the benefit Pilates has for people with scoliosis and although I’ve been practicing yoga and running for many years, I thought strengthening my core muscles and working with resistance would be a good next step.  I believe I was right!  Pilates had improved my balance, my body awareness, and overall strength.  Monica has been diligent in both monitoring and adapting her lessons to accommodate my back and I especially appreciate the way her lessons build on previous work.  She is masterful in creating the regimen.. with warm-ups, gradual increases in complexity and transitioning students from one “exercise” to the next.  I always look forward to my weekly sessions with Monica, appreciating the effort we all give to the lesson, the encouragement and sense of accomplishment

September 29, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
Posted in: core strength, Injury Prevention, Pilates Method Studio

Thoracic Mobility from Dr. Brent Anderson/Polestar Education

Mobility of the Thoracic Spine
Brent Anderson PhD, DPT, OCS

We often talk about finding the mechanism of the pathology in our patients and clients.  When it comes to such pathologies as cervical and lumbar spine and shoulder, the thoracic spine is often ignored.  Sometimes very simple assessment of the mobility of the thoracic spine and related rib movements can significantly reduce symptoms of common pathologies of the cervical spine, lumbar spine and/or shoulder complex. 

If a client presents with impaired mobility and coordination of the thoracic spine and rib cage; it can manifest in limitations of scapular mobility leading to impingement injuries like rotator cuff tendinitis and even tears.  Therefore, when we restore the mobility and teach our clients to integrate scapular rhythms, the stress to the rotator cuff and other shoulder structures decreases dramatically.  A lack of thoracic mobility can also lead to instability in the shoulder complex, secondary to excessive movement and forces having to pass through the glenohumeral joint instead of being distributed into the thorax through the scapula and clavicle. 

Thoracic hypomobility can also be the cause of (or lead to) excessive movement of the lumbar and/or cervical segments often resulting in disk disease, degenerative diseases and even surgery.  Simply changing the strategy to move from a few more spinal segments can reduce the irritating force that perpetuates the injury.

The take home message is that “Distribution of Movement Equals Distribution of Force”.  This reminds us of Polestar’s Principles of Movement where we want to establish axial elongation and spine articulation to improve the arthrokinematics of the joints and decrease harmful forces that limit our performance.

Wishing you improvement through movement!

Dr. Brent

September 21, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
Posted in: Injury Prevention

Testimonial from Becky Breed

For over ten years, I have been a student of Monica Dawson’s pilates studio, Pilates Method.   My initial concern when I came to her was to strengthen my back and my core.  On both counts, Monica’s precision and masterful teaching has helped me become stronger, more flexible – and much more. During a workout, I feel more in my body and experience an increased sense of confidence, encouraging me to attempt exercises that I thought were initially unattainable. 

The sessions are both serious and fun and while Monica has an eye for what my specific body needs, she also incorporates a welcoming, playful attitude towards the issue of personal fitness.  She knows very well what each of us needs to go to the next level, and she appropriately challenges us to keep trying.  Monica executes customized plans for every client with the skill of a master teacher, analyzing the scope and sequence of the Pilates exercises and breaking down the movements when necessary.  She easily customizes the instruction to fit our particular needs and levels of motivation, and within a group session, can successfully instruct 2 – 4 individuals who have varying concerns and levels of ability.

I have personally witnessed Monica assisting clients who come in with injuries.  Whether individuals have knee, hip or back injuries, Monica has made a positive difference in the quality of their lives.  She zeroes in on the particular complaints and assists clients in helping them learn how to strengthen or adapt to their unique situations.  Monica works hard to meet each person’s individual needs and will come back week after week equipped with revised or new exercises to try to change their physical conditions.

More than anything, Monica believes that Pilates not only changes the physical dimensions of people’s lives, but also enhances our emotional and mental attitudes by building on success.  Each session is planned to enable clients to be successful, to feel good about our bodies, and the improved strength, agility and posture that follow.  Whether we make small or big changes, Monica is there – rooting us on, supporting us in every way possible.  She is our eternal cheerleader and supporter of our personal fitness and well being, believing in us even though we still at times carry our small seeds of doubt.

                                                                                    – Becky Breed

August 25, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
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Testimonial from A. Korpas

I  have been doing pilates with Monica for about eight months.  I have
always been an active person, but I have noticed three things from
pilates that I haven’t achieved from any other exercise.  The first is
the amount of tone and muscle definition I’ve gained from pilates.  The
second is the *dramatic* improvement to my posture.  As I’ve aged, and
perhaps with being a mom, my posture has degenerated.  Pilates has
strengthened my core, allowing my posture to improve, but it has also
made me much more aware of my posture, enabling me to address the
problem.  It is still something I need to work on daily, but I’m getting
better, thanks to pilates.  And third, I know that Monica works a lot of
different muscles, including ones I’ve never even thought about before,
because I have never been as sore from any exercise as I have from

As a mother of a young child, I have limited time to spend exercising,
and pilates is a great investment of time.  I am thankful for Monica’s
encouragement and patience.  The sessions are always fun and it’s good
to see Monica, Cary and Ellen each week.

July 11, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
Posted in: Pilates Method Studio

Testimonial from Amy Prenda

Before starting Pilates with Monica a little over a year ago, I contemplated
doing Pilates for over 7 years and was hesitant to start for fear that I
would look silly or would be unable to actually do Pilates.  Now I am unable
to imagine not doing Pilates.  The top 10 reasons I do Pilates are:

  1.. Pilates has increased my muscle tone.
  2.. Pilates has made me more flexible.
  3.. Pilates has improved my posture.
  4.. Pilates has improved my balance.
  5.. Pilates has pretty much eliminated the pain that I often suffered in
my lower back.
  6.. Pilates has increased my body awareness.
  7.. Pilates has helped my concentration because I have to focus on how I
am moving during each exercise.
  8.. Pilates is energizing and has boosted my self-esteem, because I am
always amazed at the end of a workout what exercises my body was actually
able to perform.
  9.. Pilates has helped to strengthen my core definitely making my stomach
leaner and more defined.
  10.. Pilates is fun—the equipment is like a playground for grown-ups!

July 4, 2010 · Connor dawson · Comments Closed
Posted in: Pilates Method Studio