Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bad Posture – Number 4 of 4 – Sway Back Posture

Sway Back posture can often be one of the more tricky postures to recognize. It looks similar to Lordotic posture except the pelvis is in a neutral position. The correct Posture Exercises can be of great benefit for someone with this type of alignment.

This type of posture is characterized by a forward displacement of the hips. If you were to draw a vertical line upwards from the front of the ankle bones, the hips will be in front of this line. The Upper Back is displaced backwards to counter balance the forward position of the hips. Commonly someone with this type of posture will have poorly defined gluteal (backside) muscles. This type of posture is common in both men and women.

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

Head – the head is forward of the shoulders
Neck – the neck is slightly extended
Upper Back – the Upper Back has an increased curve, convex backwards. The upper back is displaced backwards in regards to the lower back
Lower Back – the Lower back has a decreased (flatten) curve
Pelvis –the top of pelvis is titled backwards
Hip Joints – both hips are generally hyperextended with hips forward of ankles and knees
Knee Joints – both knees are hyperextended
Ankle Joints – the ankles are in a neutral position, i.e. the leg is at right angles to the sole of the foot

Weak & Over Stretched Muscles
The forward displacement of the hips causes the Hip Flexors & External Obliques (side abdominal muscles) to be in a lengthened position. These muscles should be preventing the pelvis from tilting backwards. Due to the increased curve of the Upper Back, the Upper Back muscles are over stretched and weak. The head forward position causes the Front Neck muscles to be over stretched and weak.

Tight & Overly Strong Muscles
The backwards tilt of the pelvis causes the Hamstrings & Internal Obliques (another side abdominal muscle) to be tight and overly strong.

Overly Strong Muscles but not Tight
The Lower Back muscles are overly strong but generally not tight due to the neutral position of the pelvis.

Posture Exercises
Exercises that strengthen the Hip Flexors, External Obliques, Upper Back muscles and Front Neck muscles; while stretching the Hamstrings & Internal Obliques would be of benefit.

Strengthening the Gluteal Muscles will also help balance the overly strong Lower Back Muscles.

Please visit the Posture Exercises section for more information.


nadine.w said...

I think this is my problem. Thanks for writing about the different posture problems. They have helped me a lot!

Noni said...

What a great website. I think this is my problem and will do the strength and stretch exercises that you suggest.

Thanks for creating such a good resource and I have already shared the website with others who have back problems.