It has often been stated, “Posture is a Window to the Spine.” For the doctor that utilizes posture analysis, this is a true statement because an accurate posture analysis will comparably match an X-ray analysis. True, an X-ray will reveal far more detail, but a posture analysis can provide a valuable tool for assessing the spine and body as a whole unit. Ideally, a thorough spinal examination would include both an X-ray examination and a posture analysis exam. An advantage of posture analysis is the low cost and no irradiation exposure (to the patient), which makes posture analysis ideal for monitoring patient progress.
Utilizing posture analysis (to monitor patient progress) towards the goal of ideal posture and spinal health must begin with an understanding of static body mechanics. Much research has been done on static posture analysis, which gives great insight into the interpretation of posture and how to correct it. Did you know that the overwhelming conclusion of postural research shows that between 70%-80% of all individuals has an anatomical short leg. For example, Friberg1 examined 798 patients with chronic low back and/or unilateral hip symptoms and 359 symptom free subjects. ASL of 5mm or more was found in 75.4% of the symptomatic patients and 43.5% of the asymptomatic controls.
Quantitative documentation using proven methods is a must when posture correction is your goal. A photo analysis of the individual patient is very personal (to them). When millimeters of distortion can create soft tissue havoc, then correcting that distortion will often provide much relief. Documentation of positive change will tell you that your treatment is on the right track. It is imperative that you show that change to your patients, as it will further engage them toward the goal of correction.
Was your mother right when she told you to stand or sit up straight? Can you simply correct posture by thinking about it, by standing or sitting straight? Although your mother’s intent was genuine, you cannot simply correct posture with a conscious effort! Breathing is an unconscious act and so is posture. Postural distortions are a result of structural misalignment, anatomical anomalies, muscle weakness/imbalance and soft tissue weaknesses. To correct posture and restore spinal health these issues must be addressed.
Kevin Schreiner, D.C. graduated from Logan College of Chiropractic in 1983 and was in private practice until 1999. He has been working with the Spinal Analysis Machine Company (S.A.M.) since 2001 and is a part owner. You may email him with questions and comments at [email protected]. You may learn more at www.morenewpatients.com.
1. Friberg O: Clinical symptoms and biomechanics of lumbar spine and hip joint in leg length inequality. Spine, 1983, 6 (6):643-650.