Posture – the physical, biological, and bio-mechanical feature of human physique
The objective of language is to enable people to communicate useful information, and as such the skill of use involves the ability to present ideas with precision. Unfortunately the English language has evolved from many, and includes double meanings which can confuse discussions.
Nevertheless the most widely accepted, and general use of the word Posture refers to the shape of a persons spine when they sit or stand.
The most common use is in the term “poor posture” because it is obvious to others, even if not to the individual, and it refers to an abnormal forward curve in the upper spine where the head is in a forward position when they sit or stand. The second most common is “Good posture” which refers to the upright posture where the spine has the normal slight curves in the lower back and neck, and the head is in a balanced position directly above the spine.
Another meaning, which is completely different, and misleading, and very rarely used in normal conversation, but which is sometimes used in written text, refers to a persons “attitude”, or “position” in relation to their opinion about a topic.
It is essentially irrelevant to a proper discussion about the physical shape of a persons spine.
The Major Causes of changes in a persons posture
The major causes of poor posture and sideways curvature of the spine are poor nutrition or illnesses in childhood, and the long term affects of sitting or standing in positions which are different to the natural shape of the spine.
For example, children with poor eyesight who lean too far toward the desk to read, and those who carry heavy school books for long distances to schools each day, while their bones are young and pliable, are likely to develop changes in the shape of their spine by the time the bones harden in adulthood.
There are people who shed doubt on these ideas because their is no proof of them, so I will make two comments about that.
1. Intelligent people don’t have to prove the obvious, such as the sky is blue, and those who ask for it are not useful in understanding problems. Similarly it is not necessary to prove the effects of poor nutrition or long term mechanical influences on the spine because the knowledge gained from experience makes it clear.
2. Until such time as technology is available where an x-ray machine can be carried on a persons back all day every day from the age of 7 to 17, the scientific proof will not be available. In the meantime it is foolish to say it isn’t so, and it results in the failure to understand and prevent the problem.
The bio-mechanical factor
Long term mechanical strain can gradually alter the shape of the spine, as is evident from other factors such as the wearing of “Training Corsets” from childhood to adulthood to permanently ather the shape of the body, not just to make the waist appear narrower, but also to alter the shape of the spine. Furthermore, in some cases of pregnancy the long term affect of a large womb which protrudes forwards, is to produce a temporary, and sometimes permanent increase in the curvature of the womans spine which persists after the woman has given birth.
The changes in the shape of the spine caused by long term mechanical factors, and or tight corsets, and pregnancy, can also compress the chest and abdomen, and in turn, affect the shape and position of the internal anatomy, to produce the same range of symptoms and illnesses which are common to those factors, and any other bio-mechanical influence of a similar nature.
The most common and obvious situations when poor posture occurs is when a person is perfectly contented, happy, relaxed, and slouched in a lounge in front of a television set while watching their favourite show.
However there are some people who overlook the obvious and who argue that psychological factors, such as anxiety, stress, and depression are responsible for slouching etc. but that is a very minor influence, if any, because of the larger number, and vastly more dynamic physical factors which are involved.
The method of treating postural problems is to educate the person to learn how to identify their own posture by, for example, looking in a mirror sideways where the stoop becomes evident, and to become aware of their own posture, and know the variety of factors which influence it, so that they can, in the early stages prevent, or reverse the problem, and otherwise, adopt methods of correcting the problem.
My YouTube videos about posture and health
I have produced several YouTube videos on posture and health, including one about The Posture Theory, and another about scoliosis (sideways curvature of the spine). They are supported by demonstrations and diagrams.
The third one is only 34 seconds long, and gives a diagrammatic and animated demonstration of how leaning forward and back with poor posture every day for many years can eventually cause neckaches, back pains, chest pains, and stomach pains etc., and is aimed at showing the importance of good posture, which would prevent those problems.