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Posture & Alignment by Katelyn Procyshyn
May 1, 2017

A vast majority of the injuries, aches, and pains seen in a physiotherapy clinic are a result of less than optimal posture!

POSTURE is the arrangement of the parts of the body, and the muscular and skeletal balance that protects against injury or deformity.

ALIGNMENT refers to the position of those body segments relative to the vertical force of gravity and relative to one another.

In order to achieve an “ideal” postural alignment we must consider:

  • Joint range of motion
  • Soft tissue length
  • Muscle strength, power, endurance
  • Neuromuscular control of movement
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Appropriate sensory input

The “Plumb Line” is a reference line passing through specific landmarks on the body, that would ideally line up body segments with the force of gravity--- this could be considered IDEAL POSTURE!

Kendell, McCreary & Provence. Muscle Testing and Function With Posture and Pain. Fifth Edition. 2005

WHY DO WE DEVIATE FROM IDEAL?

  • Age: children do not have adult posture, as we age there is an increase in thoracic kyphosis
  • Body weight and distribution (ie pregnancy)
  • Emotion (stress, fear, anger, confidence)
  • Musculoskeletal (ROM, muscle length, muscle performance, pain)
  • Central Nervous System pathology / injury / changes
  • Environment – Culture, temperature (attain different posture through the day)
  • Task - demands, multitasking, sport
  • Muscle imbalances
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Previous injury

TYPICAL DEVIATIONS OF POSTURAL ALIGNMENT

  • Sway back
  • Flat back
  • Kyphotic- Lordotic
  • Military
  • Forward Head

Check out the pictures below to see the effects these postures have on the body and what populations may develop them.






Military Posture:

Chest is pushed forward and an increased lumbar curve Results in:

  • short, tight hip flexors and lower back muscles
  • weak, lengthened hamstrings and abdominal muscles

Forward Head Posture- FUN FACT!

Kapandji AI. The Physiology of the Joints, Volume 3: The Spinal Column, Pelvic Girdle and Head, 2008

Major features include: Neck flexors are long and weak, extensors are short and tight, thoracic extensors are long and weak, and pectorals are tight] [mage result for Forward Head Flexion

If you fit a posture that is anything but ideal, talk to your physiotherapist about what you can do to make a change—it is never too late!

 

References:

Kendell, McCreary & Provence. Muscle Testing and Function With Posture and Pain, Fifth Edition, 2005
https://embodypilates.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/what-posture-type-are-you/
Brody and Hall. Therapeutic Exercise: Moving Toward Function, Third Edition, 2011
Kapandji AI. The Physiology of the Joints, Volume 3: The Spinal Column, Pelvic Girdle and Head, 2008

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