Posture is a good indicator of health and correct physical development, as proper posture provides the right conditions for optimal functioning of all the organs and the internal systems of the human body.
Severe postural disorders at any age will significantly reduce the person’s fitness level and vitality.
Posture not only depends on the condition of the spinal column, but also on the musculature surrounding the spine which helps maintain proper posture. A necessary condition for proper posture is not the total strength of the muscles, but their balanced development and optimal muscle tone.
Oftentimes, very strong individuals who perform intense regular activity, or people who do incorrect strength training, can exhibit severe curvatures and spinal deformities. This happens because of the imbalance that occurs when some muscles are being overloaded and worked out harder than others. This results in the back shifting towards the stronger muscles.
But poor posture usually occurs in people who live sedentary lifestyles with almost no physical activity or exercise. This lack in physical activity makes it difficult for the less developed muscles to support the spine.
A sedentary lifestyle and prolonged sitting often cause a bent back or a curved spine, known as, scoliosis.
The Natural Curvature of the Spine
Before we begin to discuss postural disorders, let us first define what a correct posture is and how it should be in its optimal state.
As we know, our spine is arranged vertically, with a series of vertebrae stacked on one another forming our backbone. If we look at the back of a healthy individual who has developed correctly, we could see that his spine is straight.
However, if you look at any person over the age of 12 from the side, you will see that the spine is naturally curved, forming the shape of the letter “S”. The spine is curved inward in the cervical and lumbar region (Lordosis), and in the mid-back, or thoracic spine, the spine is curved outward (Kyphosis).
There is coccygeal kyphosis which is formed by the sacrum and the coccyx. In other words, the presence of the two inward curves in human beings is balanced by thoracic kyphosis and coccygeal kyphosis.
Researchers have found that the S-shaped spine is the optimal structure from a biomechanical standpoint. It allows for shock absorption of the ” axial ” spine in a perfect way when walking, running, jumping and carrying heavy loads. If the natural curves did not exist, the spine would endure a “shock load” when all these movements are performed and that would quickly lead to the destruction of the spine.
Scientists can tell us more about what the exact angle of each curve should optimally be, but we must understand that we all have personal characteristics with some curves being more prominent than others. The main thing is to prevent these personal features from becoming pathological postural disorders. We will now turn our attention to some of the most common postural disorders.
But first, let us take a quick test to check our posture.