Posture

Posture is a measure of balance and body alignment and is the maintenance of strength and tone of the body's muscles against gravity. Good posture is said to be when the maximum efficiency of the body is maintained with the minimum effort. When evaluating posture, an imaginary line is drawn vertically through the body. This is called the centre of gravity line. From the front or back this line should divide the body into two symmetrical halves. Good posture is as follows:

• with feet together the ankles and knees should touch

• hips should be the same height

• shoulders should be level

Through ear-Through shoulder -

Through hip

Plumb line

Through ankle-

Fig 3.17 Good posture

Scoliosis

Fig 3.18 Postural defects

Kyphosis

Kyphosis

Scoliosis

Fig 3.18 Postural defects

KEY FACT

Poor posture or misalignment of the body is frequently found to be the cause of continued or chronic pain as the body makes compensatory changes which are habit forming.

• sternum and vertebral column should run down the centre of the body in line with the centre of gravity line

• head should be erect and not tilted to one side.

Posture varies considerably in individuals and is influenced by factors such as body frame size, heredity, occupation, habits and personality. Additional factors which may also affect posture include clothing, shoes and furniture.

Good posture is important as it:

• allows a full range of movement

• improves physical appearance

• keeps muscle action to a minimum, thereby conserving energy and reducing fatigue

• reduces the susceptibility of injuries

• aids the body's systems to function efficiently.

Poor posture may have the following effects on the body:

• produce alterations in body function and movement

• increase fatigue

• increase the risk of backache and headaches

• impair breathing

• increase the risk of muscular, ligament or joint injury

• affect circulation

• affect digestion

• give a poor physical appearance.

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