Why is Posture so Important?
It is estimated that every inch the head moves forward from neutral requires the exertion of 15-30 pounds of extra muscle tension. This extra muscle tension is transmitted down the spine, increasing chronic loading on the vertebrae and the intervertebral discs.
What is Postural Analysis?
Postural analysis or posture assessment is performed to determine proper anatomical alignment or posture to identify any abnormalities. A proper, or normal, posture ensures an even balance of the body and prevents a specific set of core muscles from getting overworked.
A postural analysis is done mainly in two ways, front and back (anterior-posterior) and from the side. When analyzing a healthy person, assessing a posture in standing position generally is enough. However, posture in a sitting or lying position may also need to be assessed depending on the patient and their daily lifestyle.
The Line of Gravity:
The line of gravity (also known as Plum line) passes through the center of our body. This line explains many things about our positioning and dispositioning. In ideal cases, this line passes through the middle of the earlobe, mastoid process, shoulder joint (acromion process), hip (greater trochanter), knee and anterior to the ankle joint. For postural analysis, this is tested best in a side view.
Anterior to Posterior View:
For this view, a practitioner usually looks for positioning and compares one side to the other for symmetry, checking the positions of both eyes, both earlobes and both shoulders. They should be at the same height and in symmetry. Symmetry of both the knees and ankles should also be evaluated. For lower body position, the following may be assessed: ASIS (anterior superior iliac spine) and PSIS (posterior superior iliac spine), iliac crest, the high point of the patella, knee joint, ankle joint, medial and lateral malleolus.
Posterior to Anterior View:
Check for spinal curvature, the symmetry of ears, shoulder, scapula, hip joints, gluteal fold, popliteal fossa, and ankle joints. This is a good position to check for bony landmarks like C7, T3, T12, and S2.
With this view it is important to check spinal curvature. The view defines normal or exaggerated kyphosis (hunch back) or lordosis (sway back). From the side view you can also check hip angles.
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