Posture Assessment 101: A Comprehensive Overview
What things come to mind when we talk of posture? Is it your stance?
Or how you carry yourself around? Perhaps it’s the physical demeanor with which you perform daily activities.
Well, all of that is true. But good posture goes way beyond looking good or standing straight.
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If you want to learn more about posture assessment, check the table of content below.
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Benefits of Good Posture
- It affects the prospects of your long-term health and wellbeing.
- It can help prevent injuries, pain issues, and other physical problems.
- It determines your non-verbal communication skills.
- It affects the overall flexibility and agility of your body.
So, when we look at posture, there are two ways of understanding it.
Static posture is the way your body carries itself when you’re still (not moving). It includes common postures like standing, sitting, lying down, etc.
The primary angles of study are the Anterior (front-view), Posterior (Back), and Lateral (sides) views. Your body segments stay in fixed positions in this posture.
Dynamic posture is the way your body carries itself when you’re in motion. So, it includes actions or positions you assume when walking, running, bending over, etc.
This assessment may require you to perform movements like rain=sing your hands, sitting down on a chair and getting back up, etc.
In both cases, there are many groups of muscles coordinating and interacting behind the scenes. So, it may seem like you don’t even have control over it because it’s almost involuntary.
But that’s where the assessment comes in.
So, we've established how good posture is essential. And we know how it can vary depending on your stillness or motion.
But how do we find out what’s the best posture for us? We would first have to know what’s wrong with our posture.
Then, we’ll have to find out how to rectify any issues that are present. It takes considerable expertise and experience to uncover all these elements properly.
It can uncover and fix these issues with science, therapy, and appropriate corrections.
What is Posture Assessment?
It's a method of using manual or digital tests (or both) to check how well your muscles and joints interact. The intention is to detect and correct any imbalances due to lifestyle, disease, injury, etc.
Posture analysis will help you find the right alignment for your muscles. The main benefit here is that your spine, joints, and muscles will work together for even weight distribution.
If there are any compensations or abnormalities, it will identify them and suggest the appropriate treatments. So, your movement will be more effortless and energy-efficient too.
Who needs Assessment?
When used and understood in the right context, a postural assessment is beneficial for everyone. Furthermore, it can detect potential problems that may appear later in life.
So, it's also a viable solution for anyone looking to minimize joint and muscle problems later in life.
So, it goes beyond mere physiology. Anyone in marketing, public speaking, customer relations, etc., stands to gain a lot.
Who performs it?
It's a comprehensive approach. It considers your whole physical bearing. So, there's no single practice that performs it exclusively.
You can undergo assessment with a range of trained practitioners. They include Physiotherapists, Chiropractors, Osteopathic physicians, and even massage therapists. Also, with the wide variety of methods available, the practitioner's profession can depend on the client's requirement.
So, a dancer may go to a fitness professional for an assessment. On the other hand, a scoliosis patient may need an Orthopedic surgeon.
However, you must choose your physician/practitioner wisely. Make sure he/she has the right certifications, qualifications, and experience.
Types of Assessment
Practitioners may use a variety of methods to study your posture. These include both conventional/manual methods as well as modern digital techniques.
The most accurate results usually come from a combination of both traditional and computerized tools.
Of course, you need an experienced physician to operate those tools. Let's take an insightful look at the most widely-used approaches.
Visual observation is the easiest method because it doesn’t use expensive equipment. So, it‘s simple and accessible. Convenience aside, it can fall short in detecting tiny changes in posture.
Also, it can generate different results that affect accuracy. Lastly, you cannot gather quantitative data just by visual examination.
This method is another manual and conventional approach. The physician uses a plumbline (a string with a small weight attached to one end) as a reference scale. He/she will use this reference to find the optimum balance of weight for your body.
It's another cheap and efficient way of assessing posture. However, the Plumbline is also weak in gathering quantifiable data.
Digital methods are becoming more popular thanks to their accuracy and non-invasive nature.
Software Assessment Tools
Software assessments for postures are not stand-alone tools. They usually work in tandem with both manual and digital assessments. 3D Ultrasound can use open-source software like OpenSim for biomechanical analysis.
The PAS/SAPO is a reliable software in calculating corporal angles and distances. Posture Ray is an EMR tool that can enhance existing Chiropractic techniques for posture. Biotonix, an imaging software, is another useful solution for differentiating postural deviations.
When it comes to assessment methods, no single technique works for everyone on every occasion.
The best results come with a combination of manual and digital methods, aided by the right software. For instance, radiography continues to be a comprehensive tool for posture.
It usually follows a visual observation and precedes a software analysis of the data. Also, apprehensions regarding its safety are usually misplaced and dismissible.
There's no doubt that fixing a sloppy posture is one of the most significant aspect of healthcare and wellbeing.
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