Strong muscles keep your body upright and allow you to move. Good muscle strength and balance are critical to maintain proper posture and minimize muscle tension. If the muscles on all sides of your spine are balanced and strong, your body will stand up straight and strong. Unfortunately, most people don’t have balanced and strong muscles due, once again, to lack of exercise and to misalignments of the spine.
Muscles are very efficient at getting stronger or weaker in response to the demands placed on them. Since most of us sit at a desk, drive a car, and sit on the sofa at home, many of our muscles are not challenged. Consequently, they become weak. At the same time, the muscles that are constantly used throughout the day become strong. This imbalance of muscle strength contributes to poor posture and chronic muscle tension. Left unchecked, muscle imbalances tend to get worse, not better, because of a phenomenon called “reciprocal inhibition.”
Reciprocal inhibition literally means “shutting down the opposite.” For all of the muscles that move your body in one direction, there are opposing muscles that move the body in the opposite direction. In order to keep these muscles from working against each other, when the body contracts one muscle group, it forces the opposing group to relax — it shuts down the opposite muscles. When consistently only one set of muscles is used, the opposing group, from being continuously shut-down, is liable to atrophy