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June 18, 2013

Tips for preventing poor posture

Do you remember being told to stand up straight when you were younger? Well, more people should heed this advice in order to prevent bad posture. 

In this article, we will talk about three types of postural issues: kyphosis, upper crossed syndrome and lower crossed syndrome.

KYPHOSIS

Kyphosis is an over-curvature of the thoracic spine. This is also known as roundback or “hunchback.” Age-related postural hyperkyphosis is an exaggerated anterior curvature of the thoracic spine, sometimes referred to as dowager’s hump or gibbous deformity. This condition is associated with low bone mass, vertebral compression fractures, muscle imbalances and degenerative disc disease. 

It causes difficulty performing everyday life activities. Functional limitations include significantly poorer balance and slower gait velocity, wider base of support with stance and gait, and decreased stair-climbing speed. Also, there is an increased risk of falling.

Certain treatment interventions are available. Some may work on strengthening spinal extensors, which tend to be weak in kyphotic cases. The muscles include the gluteus and lower back. 

Stretching is another form of treatment. You can increase your flexibility in problem areas by lengthening pectoralis muscles and hip flexors or by doing rib-cage expansion exercises. 

Postural-alignment techniques are also important to combating kyphosis. One such technique involves retracting your shoulder blades while lifting your chest bone to encourage upright posture.

UPPER CROSSED SYNDROME

Upper crossed syndrome is caused by muscular imbalances that can result in C-posture. C-posture is seen when an individual’s back forms a concave curvature that looks like a “C.” This syndrome is actually one cause of kyphosis.

Muscle imbalances occur when certain muscle groups are overactive, while others are underactive. If a line was drawn between overactive and underactive muscles, a cross would be formed. In simple terms, muscle groups are too strong on one side of the body, while they are weaker on the other side. Thus, posture is pulled into a “C” position. 

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