Standing Posture Abnormalities
Today we are going to look at some of the common types of standing posture abnormalities, their characteristics and the muscle imbalances that are associated with such posture abnormalities.
Kyphosis is the curvature of the upper thoracic region. True kyphosis consists of structural wedging of the vertebral bodies that creates a hump in the upper back and drives the head more anterior/forward. This abnormality is common in the elderly women with low body mass index and is known to be correlated with osteoporosis.
The chart below illustrates the common characteristics but more importantly the muscle imbalances that are associated with the posture abnormalities. Our goal is to strengthening the weak muscles and stretch the short muscles.
The second common postural abnormality is the sway back. Sway back occurs when we have an extra amount of curvature in the lumbar spine or low back region. This is usually associated with individuals with decrease core strength. Below is a chart of normal characteristics of individuals with a swat back.
The last postural abnormality we will discuss today is the flat back. This occurs when the spine remains in a flexed position and loses its natural “hollow” that occurs in the low back region, We can see some of the common characteristics of a flat back in the chart below.
What is the take away from this read. No matter how long poor postural habits have been practices, by strengthening weak muscles and stretching tight muscles, mild to moderate improvements can be made that should alter how posture affects your pain. Although many abnormalities may not be able to be changed by working on the muscle imbalance pain can be managed but also progression of poor habits can be minimized.
Source for muscle charts:
Muscle Energy Techniques
A Practical guide for physical therapists