A gravity balanced body is a patient game changer that is also a ‘frame changer’
To be or not to be gravity balanced — that is the question. Sharing this perspective with patients helps redirect focus away from just their symptoms and pain relief to their personal posture and a future prevention mindset. As chiropractors, we are essentially gravity counselors — helping others improve their relationship with gravity to become a gravity balanced body.
We know that alignment, stability and balanced posture directly affect our physical function. When we function better, we heal better and feel better. We also have a great potential to get and stay stronger for longer with a flexible posture core ready for an active lifestyle.
Modern-day preventative care
In 1902, Thomas Edison shared some of his predictions for the future of health care: “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.”
Chiropractors are the modern-day specialists in the care of the human frame and wellness. It’s our job to educate patients about the cumulative harmful effects of gravity stress loads on our spine, discs, muscles and joints. One joint that is unstable or misaligned will affect others, causing a biomechanical domino effect.
This starts with our standing and walking upright posture. Chiropractors need to test and check gravity posture with every new and existing patient.
The role of a balanced foundation
A thorough postural exam can include visual observation and measurement, erect digital X-ray analysis, and a gravity posture foot scan which detects arch pronation and instability. Often bilateral pronation is present which can be a causative factor in foot, ankle and knee dysfunctions as well as pelvic unleveling, postural shifting, sacroiliac and piriformis issues, facet joint misalignment and scoliosis.
Custom corrective orthotics are a key component, providing a balanced foundation for optimal whole-body posture and function. I tell my patients that custom orthotics are a game changer, because they are a “frame changer.” They change your frame every day to be more gravity-balanced, helping maintain the benefits of spinal adjustments and nervous system health with regular chiropractic care.
Everything functions better above when it’s balanced below. I often share the analogy of an unlevel washing machine. During the spin cycle it can knock around violently because an imbalanced foundation creates functional stress. Similar effects on our human frame can seem to be more subtle because our bodies are so adaptive and resilient, but the consequence is no less impactful over time.
The goal of modern building construction is to level the foundation of a house within 1-2 mm. This is important to prevent future structural damage from a shifting or uneven foundation. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous out-of-balance building in the world. It leans because of the poor clay foundation that was in place when the first three floors were built in 1173.
After 100 years, an engineer started adding more floors. He tried to counterweight the higher side to level it out, but the increased weight made it worse because the foundation hadn’t changed. The theory of gravity wasn’t understood at the time — it was later discovered in 1687 by Sir Isaac Newton. The lesson here is that a gravity balanced body comes from the bottom up, not from the top down. That is why the foundation below determines function above.
Foot pronation can contribute to a leg-length inequality revealed with a standing lumbopelvic X-ray. Custom orthotics combined with a prescriptive heel lift can provide an optimal gravity posture foundation that is balanced, leveled and corrected. They can be worn for all daily activities while supporting the three arches of the foot, helping to keep the body stronger overall.
Postural distortion’s effect on the body
Postural distortion can cause muscular imbalance. I tell patients that muscles are great storytellers about their past. The “Lopsided Gym” metaphor seems to connect well. Muscles are only as strong as they need to be in an adaptive way. If a lopsided trainer instructed us to do 2-3 times more reps on the right than the left, over time muscles on the right would become more developed. We find this quite often during a physical exam. The reason is usually because the body is not a gravity balanced body. That’s when it’s time to cancel your past membership to the Lopsided Gym!
Gravity stress load factors affect our body from the ground up. Walking generates about 2.5 times and running 3.5 times our body weight in pound forces, adding extra physical stress throughout our kinetic chain. Personalized orthotic therapy can reduce heel strike shock forces while providing a consistent symmetrical foundation of support.
Optimal foot stabilization for sports and physical activities also help enhance safe performance and decrease injury risk. It can also be an important factor in fall prevention with older patients. Many have compromised balance and coordination with a fear of falling when standing or walking. Custom orthotics can be life-changing by giving geriatric patients a new confidence to be more stable and active.
As patients respond favorably in the early stages of clinical care with pain relief and improved movement, we can build a bridge that leads to wellness and prevention. As I often share with my patients, “Let’s keep a good thing going!”
Postural alignment and proactive wellness
Life, posture, work, stress and gravity will keep coming at us from all directions daily. That’s why patients need a “Posture Prevention Plan” with wellness chiropractic care and custom orthotics. It is an intentional health focus that is proactive rather than reactive with an emphasis on prevention rather than waiting for intervention.
Everyone can benefit from this approach in all ages and stages of life. Encourage patients to ask themselves, “What will be the Back of My Future?” Just like in the classic movie with a similar title, what if Doc Brown came back with the warning, “Marty, you need to adopt a Posture Prevention Plan to avoid a path of future degeneration and disability — you have the power to change your space-spine continuum!”
When it comes to pain, we can ignore it, cover it up or pause to find the cause. Just as it’s not wise to put masking tape over a car’s check engine light, covering up or ignoring pain can lead to more problems. Chiropractic has grown to become the world’s largest drug-free healing profession. Prevention has always been at the heart of natural chiropractic care along with targeting the physical cause of conditions, enhancing true healing.
Patients: treat your body as well as your ‘stuff’
Many people take better preventive care of their stuff in life: cars, homes, lawns and digital devices than they do their own body and health. Patients usually want better posture, so it can be an effective connection to help them experience the value of health prevention. You can help empower them with the realization that wellness pays in healthy ways.
It’s always easier and smarter to stay well than to get well. To be or not to be a gravity balanced body is no longer just a question — it is actually a vital key to living a functionally active, healthy life.
DAN DAVIDSON, DC, is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic in Davenport, Iowa. He has been in practice for over 35 years and is the owner of The Back Resort & Rejuvenation Health Center in Salem, Va. Dr. Davidson also hosts the GravityPosture.com Podcast, where he shares tips on health, exercise, nutrition and posture. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.