Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bad Posture – The 4 Most Common Bad Habits

The reason to look at Bad Postures is because unfortunately most of us fall into one of these 4 categories. It is important to identify which of these 4 bad habits we are most like so that we can determine which posture exercises are the most appropriate for us.

The 4 types of Bad Postures are Kyphotic, Lordotic, Flat Back, and Sway Back. Today we will focus on Kyphotic Posture.

Kyphotic Posture
Kyphotic is the medical term for an increased curve of the upper back. It is very common, but not limited to elderly ladies.

From Muscles: Testing and Function with Posture and Pain.  Kendall, McCreary, Provance, Rodgers, Romani

Head – the head is usually forward of the shoulders
Neck – the neck is hyperextended
Shoulder Blades – the shoulder blades are pulled around the upper back towards the arms giving a rounded shoulder appearance
Upper Back – the upper back has an increased convex backwards curve
Lower Back – the lower back has an increased convex forward curve
Pelvis – top of pelvis is titled forward
Hip Joints – the hip joints are slightly bent
Knee Joints – the knees are slightly hyperextended
Ankle Joints – the angle of the ankle joint (between the leg and the sole of foot) is greater than 90 degrees

Weak & Over Stretched Muscles

Notice in the pictures that the head is protruded forward. This puts the Front Neck muscles in a longer position than desired. This sustained lengthened position effects the contractile capability of the muscle, which in turn causes the muscle to lose strength.

The increased curve of the Upper Back puts the Upper Back muscles in a lengthened position and therefore causes weakness in these muscles. In this position these weakened muscles can not adequately support the upper back.

The External Oblique muscles (one of the two side abdominal muscles) are also over stretched and therefore weak caused by the forward tilt of the pelvis.

The tilt of the pelvis can also lengthen and weaken the Hamstrings.

If the External Oblique and Hamstrings were working properly they would maintain the pelvis in a neutral position.

Tight & Overly Strong Muscles

The Hip Flexors (muscles at the front of the hip) may be tight or too strong pulling the top of pelvis forward.

The Back of Neck muscles are tight tilting the back of the head backwards, causing the head to protrude forward.

Posture Exercises
Exercises that Strengthen the Front Neck muscles, the Upper Back muscles, External Obliques and Hamstrings; while stretching the Hip Flexors and Back of Neck muscles are appropriate for someone with this type of posture.

See Posture Exercises to learn how these exercises are performed.


Anonymous said...

hello doc i think im have type 4 bad posture ... r medical straps r useful for me??? r they just passive ?? i mean when i take them off.. i ll return to my normal unpleasnt posture??

Anonymous said...

Hi, you say that "exercises that Strengthen the Front Neck muscles, the Upper Back muscles, External Obliques and Hamstrings" will help for Kyphotic posture, but while there is a video showing how to stretch the hamstrings, there is nothing showing how to strengthen them. Can you recommend anything?

Massage Therapist in Need of Suggestions