Posture Principles – Compensation

Compensation – The Body Learns to Move in the Patterns Your Teach it. – The 4th Posture Principle

…and Pain Teaches You to Move Differently.

(4th of 5 Posture Principles by Dr. Steven Weiniger)

When you compensate, you move asymmetrically. In the race of life, the person running with one shoe off and one shoe on is a lot less likely to win…

The body moves in Patterns of Motion which adapt to each individual’s BodyType, history of injuries & daily habits. If it hurts to move, the body will adapt and move in a way to avoid pain.


* LIGAMENTS & FASCIA stretch in the direction they are stretched and shrink if they aren’t stretched.

MUSCLES that are used get stronger in the way they are used. Unused muscles get weaker.

* NERVES develop muscle memory, reinforcing a pattern of motion. Posture and body motion depend on an interdependent chain of muscles, bones and joints.

how does the body move

In this chain, body motion follows the path of least resistance. The most flexible (or least restricted) joint moves first. The least flexible (or tightest) joint moves last. Because the tightest link in a chain is the last to move, it limits motion the most. The muscles, bones, and ligaments integrate to control body motion.

The body’s motion patterns are like a folded piece of paper that continues to fold at a crease because the fibers have been bent in a pattern. Similarly, the muscles, ligaments and nerves change as they adapt to moving the body in a pattern of motion. Strong muscles lift more. Weak ligaments stretch more. The body posture adapts, creating a postural change, or distortion. Distortions are seen when looking at:

* Posture: How people stand poor posture

* Gait: How people walk Over time, adaptive patterns of body motion cause increased body stress and breakdown.


When injuries occur, pain and discomfort often will follow. The body adapts as an individual adjusts how they move so as not to irritate the pain. We then compensate for weak muscles by learning to substitute new motion patterns. Unfortunately, this increases joint stress and strain. Thus begins the Pain Cycle.

“It hurts when I move like that, but I feel okay if I move like this.” The pain goes away, but the changed pattern of motion doesn’t.


Our habits are what we do. Practice makes permanent. Muscles strengthen with use (and weaken when
neglected), the body changes with what we habitually do.

. . . If you sleep on your stomach with your head turned to the right, when standing you will find you head does not turn as easily to the left.

. . . When you prop a phone under your neck while talking on the phone, your neck twists to that side.

. . . When driving or sitting in front of a computer, day after day, the body folds forward in a slump.

posture ball exerciseOur good and bad habits shape our bodies, our posture,and our patterns of motion. We adapt to doing whatever we do repeatedly.

Read the 5th of 5 Posture Principles