What is Posture?

Posture is the form of your body, which is made up with proper positioning of bone, joints, muscles and nerves. Posture gives you a proper shape and defines your personality as a whole. However, if there are certain defects in the posture, it can affect your health in many ways.

The link between the different parts of your body is what defines posture. It connects your nerves to the musculoskeletal system, keeping your body in proper shape. An individual develops posture even before birth. The posture takes shape when a fetus is in the uterus, placing it in a position of flexion. The fetus lies dependent on an amniotic fluid, which has a similar gravity as that of the fetus.

After birth, the development of posture is highly dependent upon forces of gravity. The child gains the support of his head and begins to sit up. The weight of the head assisted by the persistent flexion attitude of the hips and the pelvis, the spine forms a long convex curve of the entire spine. Gradual walking helps in developing the spine, shoulders and neck of the child. A normal posture aligns the ears, head, neck, shoulder, hip and knees to the ball sockets of the feet.

A short imbalance in the correct posture leads to posture deformities, which also account for a sign of low self-esteem among various people. It brings them in an awkward position, ruining their posture. Poor posture comes as a result of placing your spine in a weird or unnatural position, exposing it to the same for long hours. Such stressful positions can lead to excessive pain in the joints. Joint wear and modification can occur due to stress on the joints and can also lead to a change or damage in tissues.

Types of Posture Deformities

General pain in the lower back or knees is a common symptom of an irregular posture. But over time, stress can cause various unnerving symptoms that lead to long-term deformities. It is important to know the different types of posture deformities.

There are three basic types of posture deformities which include kyphosis, lordosis and scoliosis.

Kyphosis

This is the commonest type of posture deformities and is mainly caused by excess strain on the shoulders. It can be detected by an exaggerated curve of the thoracic region, which makes the shoulders appear rounded. The neck becomes short or almost invisible, forcing you to lift your chin up front. Your upper back muscles also become weakened and your pectoral muscles become tighter by the day.

Lordosis

This is another commonly noted type of posture deformity and is the result of a curve formed in the lumbar region. It makes your pelvis tilt forward. It weakens your abdominal region.

Scoliosis

Scoliosis can be detected when your spine has a lateral curvature, making your muscles on the outside weak and the muscles on the inside, tighter.

These types of postural deformities can make you look awkward, making your body tilt or bent in an undesired fashion. Apart from these, the spinal curvature is also seen as a type where the spine bends due to excess strain on it. The spine is forced to bend forward, backward or sideways and can cause great pain in the muscles. It is an unwanted condition which calls for measures to avoid these conditions or eradicate them as a whole.

Causes of Posture Deformities

The main causes of posture deformities can be structural or positional factors.

Structural Causes of Posture Deformities

Structural causes are anatomical deformities that rather stay permanent and cannot be corrected or eradicated by general treatment. They stay with you throughout life. But, some foot corrections or inequality in the length of legs can still be taken care of.

Positional Causes of Posture Deformities

Positional causes are basically due to the wrong posture maintained by a person. Improper ways of sitting, standing, lifting weights, and positioning while at work or play are the main causes of posture deformities. Hence, it is very important for you to focus on your posture throughout the day.

Other Causes:

The other common causes of posture deformities could be developmental and degenerative processes. Muscle imbalance, spasms, contracture, joint hypermobility or hypomobility, respiratory issues or failures, weight gain or general weakness - all play a major contribution to deformities of the posture. Improper seating arrangements, uncomfortable chairs or other equipment use can also act as important acquired causes of posture deformities.

Treatment of Posture Deformities

There are several exercises or therapies that can be used as a treatment of posture deformities. Most of these include heat, stretching, massaging, strengthening and supportive measures. Stretching the short agonist muscles help in increasing the muscle strength. Manipulation can also be used as a method to cure joint fixations and to relieve tight muscles.

Other methods used as treatment of posture deformities include custom foot orthotics, to correct postural faults related to the lower back area of your body. They help in correcting issues like over pronation and over supination and can also serve as a treatment for heel lifts to correct leg length inequalities. For chronic abnormalities, or restoring balance after a trauma or developmental faults and symptoms, orthotic applies can be worn to restrict or assist motion or lighten the load by transferring it from one portion of the body to another. This is an effective way of treatment of posture deformities.

For children with these deformities, force should be applied to the affected area in order to correct their postures. Since their bodies are still developing, it would be easier to correct it by force provided by a Milwaukee brace. Their development carries on till their late adolescence, giving them many years to correct their unnatural or awkward postures if need be. Milwaukee braces provide stabilizing effects while being worn preventing the curve from increasing beyond its original contour.

Another important treatment of posture deformities include biofeedback mechanism, using electronic or electromechanical instruments to accurately measure, process, and feedback to patients information, with reinforcing properties, about their normal and abnormal neuromuscular and anatomic activity. It enables users to take voluntary control over their physiological processes by making them aware of the same and their surroundings, to cope with it accordingly and carry on with day-to-day life.

Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis, torticollis, and rounding of the back or slouching (functional thoracic kyphosis) due to poor posture, can be treated successfully with the help of biofeedback methods. The functionality of the devices used for biofeedback would differ according to the placement of the device on the body, or the exact need to use the therapy, if at all. Dry needling, electrotherapy, yoga and pilates are some of the other modes of treatment of posture deformities to make your life comfortable and confident.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: February 23, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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