Ok, so I’ve written a few articles in my life but I hardly ever focused entirely on the “VI aspect”. So I thought I’d do one today. This may apply to some people, or may apply to no-one. But here we go all the same!
An unexpected element I’ve found due to my Visual Impairment is how it has affected the rest of my body. Woah now! Before you wonder where I’m going with this. I mean posture and body alignment.
So here are 2 specific examples that I’ve found for myself. First off, it is important to note that I am not medically qualified etc. so do not take these as “these happen to all VI people”. These only apply to myself, but they may be things you might want to keep an eye out for.
[Please note: I have included a couple of visual diagrams, these are just for a guide for those who have some useful vision. For those who don’t, they are just a visual representation of what is said in the written information]
As you can probably imagine, when you’re VI you tend to lean your neck more forward than you should. This is because constantly we’re trying to get closer to the source we’re trying to see, such as a computer screen, a phone screen, an object in the distance or even just trying to get close to something to read it. Instead of being leant forward, your neck should be in what’s called the neutral position, which means that your neck should be held straight upwards with your chin aimed straight forward, this should mean that your neck is in a straight upwards alignment with the rest of your body. If you’re like me and the alignment is not correct, then you may be suffering from some neck or shoulder issues. This could, or at least in my case, can cause more frequent or more painful headaches, tight neck muscles and can encourage a bad posture which in turn can affect and worsen your back.
Your neck can also be affected if you’re like me and you wear a baseball cap to help control the amount of light entering your eyes. Because my eyes try to avoid the brightness, I automatically ensure that the peak of the hat blocks as much light as possible, therefore my neck is normally pointed at a downwards angle. This was picked up by a physiotherapist who informed me that, again, I need to keep in mind my necks neutral position. With it leant at a downwards angle this was throwing off my necks alignment and posture.
Have you ever taken note of the positioning of your feet? A bit of a strange question I know! But, the position of your feet can make a surprising difference to the way you stand and your posture. Due to going to the gym, while doing one exercise my trainer had a proper look at the placement of my feet and we found that one foot was further forward than the other. When I lined them up together, to me, it felt fine, but my trainer said if he was to “get a piece of string and put it from one foot to the other, there would be a visible difference”. I’ve never noticed this before (as I can’t see my feet due to the distance), but this small thing can actually affect the way in which you stand. This can, in turn, affect your posture, your balance, the way you walk and the pressure you place on your pelvis when balancing your weight when standing. See – small thing, big consequences.
When you’re exercising, weightlifting, walking down the high street or even just standing there twiddling your thumbs – try your best to ensure that both feet are in direct alignment with each other. If you don’t know then ask a friend, a family member or maybe even someone at a gym if you attend one. It may sound a bit random, but It’s a simple short question that might well really benefit you physically.
Obviously, these types of afflictions can happen to anyone, no matter if you have a disability or not. Especially in our slouch days. But I’ve found these two are directly linked with not being able to see myself and the way I stand so I thought it worth pointing out! Keep in mind, correcting these types of issues will not only help you physically but will, in turn, help you to present yourself in a better way.
If you have any concerns please do speak to a GP or if you’re having major problems then get a self-referral for physiotherapy.
By Megan Price