What is a Posture Analysis?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Posture analysis is an assessment of someone's posture to look for signs of injuries, as well as poor postural habits that could lead to injury in the future. In a clinical setting, such patient evaluations can be valuable for determining the origins of postural strain and developing an appropriate treatment program. This technique can also be used for things like helping a person develop a more ergonomic workspace, fitting athletic shoes, and so forth.

Typing with a twisted body posture can cause spinal deformities.
Typing with a twisted body posture can cause spinal deformities.

Extensive study has been performed on human posture to learn more about how posture impacts health. Neutral posture puts the least strain on the joints, while postures like slouching, canting joints out of alignment, or being too stiff can cause injuries over time. In a posture analysis, someone is asked to sit and stand naturally and may be taken through a series of simple movements. The patient may be photographed and is also watched to look for postural issues like slumping in a chair or holding the legs stiffly while standing.

Trying to "cheat" a posture analysis is generally not advised.
Trying to "cheat" a posture analysis is generally not advised.

Using posture analysis, people can look for the origins of injuries to the joints and they can spot problematic posture that may eventually lead to physical strain. Patients are provided with information on correct posture and may be given exercises to do with the goal of improving posture. This can include physical therapy, as well as exercises at home, with periodic visits to see if the patient's posture is stronger and safer.

Chiropractors often offer this service as part of their work, providing chiropractic adjustments and working with patients to limit future joint problems. Physical therapists can also conduct posture analysis, often when they first start working with a patient, to identify problem areas they need to address over the course of therapy. People like ergonomics consultants can consider postural issues while working with clients, to make their spaces are arranged in a way designed to limit posture problems, such as adjusting chairs to limit slouching and moving objects so people don't strain and stress their bodies.

When a posture analysis is performed, it is important to assume positions as naturally as possible, rather than trying to straighten or adjust the posture to look better. The person conducting the analysis needs to see how the patient behaves normally, rather than how the patient wishes to behave. Taking on natural positions will allow the analyst to identify bad habits that may be contributing to the risk of injury or exacerbating bone, joint, and muscle problems.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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