Nowadays, posture violation are actual for almost all children, especially for schoolchildren. To prevent this problem, My Canadian Pharmacy team would like to draw parents’ attention to the most important moments of posture formation. They hope that the proposed material will help to consult a doctor in time.
What is the spine?
Parents often do not pay attention to the child’s posture – because the kid does not complain about anything. To be exact, he can complain about anything: headaches, fatigue, bad memory. But very few people know that all these disorders are caused by the poor condition of the spine.
The spine is a complex structure. Vertebrae form its basis; intervertebral cartilages, joints of vertebral appendages and ligamentous apparatus hold the vertebrae together, muscles provide stability and mobility of the spine.
The spine is:
- A rigid shaft that supports the trunk, head and waist of the upper limbs;
- A reliable support of all levers from the bones and muscles that provide any movement of the trunk and extremities;
- A strong “protective case” of the spinal cord.
At the same time, the spine is:
- A flexible chain that allows the body to bend and turn;
- The elastic spring, which extinguishes blows and shocks and keeps the balance of the body.
All these functions are interrelated: the spine should be mobile, as far as possible, stable, and strong enough to withstand static and dynamic loads. The spine is constantly subjected to stresses, because it participates literally in every movement: when walking and with any movement of the head or limbs, dynamic loads act on the central axis of the body. In addition, the spine experiences almost constant static loads. To maintain a certain position of the body, we have not only standing, but also sitting or working in the slope.
Both flexibility and stiffness of the spine are provided by its joints and ligamentous apparatus. The anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments, ligaments of the intervertebral joints and articular bags should be flexible enough to provide the necessary volume of spinal motion, and strong enough to prevent damage during movements with large amplitude. Even minor damage to the ligaments leads to a limited mobility of the spine.
The spine also works as a system of shock absorbers, which extinguish vertical loads. Blows directed along the vertical axis of the body occur at each step or jump. Without reliable springs, the entire body, including the brain, would receive constant tremors. The spring function is carried out due to elastic intervertebral cartilages and physiological (natural) bends of the spine – lordosis and kyphosis. Lordosis is the bending of the spine, and the kyphosis – the bulge back. The wavy form of the spine helps to bear the vertical loads.
The muscles surrounding the spine provide two opposite functions – mobility and stability. The mobility in each intervertebral joint is not large, but the spine as a whole is a fairly flexible system. Coordination of the muscles ensures harmonious movements of the spine.
The main role in maintaining the vertical posture is played by the back muscles, straightening the spine, and ilio-lumbar muscles. The stability of the spine greatly depends on hydraulic supports – pressure in the thoracic and abdominal cavities. The muscles of the abdominal press are equally important for maintaining the posture and protecting the vertebrae from dislocations and injuries. Muscular traction forms the bends of the spine, stimulates its normal development. A proper muscular corset can protect the spine from traumatic stresses.
Violations of muscle tone occur with any malfunction in the spine. The weakness of the muscular corset, uneven muscle tone is inevitably associated with the strengthening or flattening of the physiological curves of the spine or its lateral curvature. All this increases the load on intervertebral discs.
There is no clear boundary between minor violations of posture and diseases of the spine. A typical example of such a transitional state is the spine instability. Weak muscles and ligaments are unable to hold the vertebrae in motion, a flaccid posture increases pressure on the intervertebral discs and develops children’s osteochondrosis that differs from the “usual disease” only by the age of the patients.
* According to My Canadian Pharmacy statistics, 40 – 80% of all the inhabitants of the globe suffer from osteochondrosis. Approximately every third person over the age of 30 complains of back pain or headache associated with osteochondrosis.
Thus, the two most common injuries associated with the spine – posture disorders and osteochondrosis – are links of one chain. And since there is no such disease of the spine that does not affect all other organs and systems of the body, we can say that the vertebral column is really a “pillar of health”.
What is a posture, and how a good posture differs from a bad one?
It is difficult to give a short definition of a posture. The most common and simple definition is: “The habitual posture of a standing person without unnecessary muscle tension.” In a broader sense, a posture is the position of the body in various static positions, and the features of the muscles when walking and performing various movements. But it’s too difficult to evaluate a person’s posture during dance, work or just walking, so experts use the characteristics of standing poses when assessing posture and diagnosing its disorders. Posture depends primarily on the shape of the spine.
Disorders of posture are not a disease, but they create conditions for the disease not only of the spine, but also of the internal organs. Poor posture is either an extension of the disease, or a condition of a pre-illness. The main danger of posture violations is that it does not hurt anything until degenerative changes in the intervertebral discs begin (osteochondrosis).
Even such a serious illness as scoliosis develops without pain.
Why a poor posture is dangerous?
- Poor posture reduces the body’s strength;
- the heart beats in a tight chest;
- the hollow chest and forwarded shoulders do not allow to straighten up easily;
- the protruded abdomen disrupts the normal position of the abdominal organs.
Reduction of physiological curves of the spine (flat-back), especially in combination with flat-feet, leads to permanent microtrauma of the brain and increased fatigue, headaches, memory and attention disorders.
Most often, a poor posture is combined with poor muscle development and decreased tone of the body, with impaired blood flow to the brain, poor vision due to improper head position. It is difficult to divide the reasons and consequences. Myopia can develop from the habit of stooping – and vice versa, poor eyesight often causes a poor posture. The habit of hunching can provoke scoliosis or juvenile kyphosis, especially in the presence of metabolic disorders in connective tissue, or metabolic disorders can initially cause degeneration of the intervertebral discs and vertebral bodies, and a bad posture can easily become irreversible.
Typically, children’s diseases of the spine – juvenile kyphosis and scoliosis – are considered systemic (i.e., common) diseases, which are often accompanied by metabolic disorders. This is true, but often these diseases can be prevented.
The proportions of the body change with age: the relative size of the head decreases, the limbs grow, etc. Therefore, the stable vertical position of the body in different age is achieved due to the different interposition of parts of the body and various efforts of muscles supporting the trunk. According to My Canadian Pharmacy specialists, the good posture of the preschoolers, schoolchildren, as well as the young man and the woman during puberty differs.
Normal posture of preschoolers
- The thorax is symmetrical;
- the shoulders do not protrude anteriorly;
- the shoulder blades protrude slightly back;
- the abdomen is protruded forward;
- the legs are straightened;
- a lumbar lordosis is indicated;
- the spinous processes of the vertebrae are located along the middle line of the back.
Normal posture of schoolchildren
- The shoulders are arranged horizontally,
- the shoulder blades are pressed to the back (do not protrude);
- physiological curves of the spine are moderately expressed;
- the protrusion of the abdomen is reduced;
- the anterior surface of the abdominal wall is located anterior to the thorax;
- the right and left halves of the trunk are symmetrical when viewed from the front and back.
Normal posture of young men and women during puberty
- The spinous processes are located along the middle line;
- the legs are straightened;
- the forelegs are lowered and are on the same level;
- the blades are pressed to the back;
- the thorax is symmetrical;
- the mammary glands in girls and the nipples in young men are symmetrical and are on the same level;
- triangles of the waist (lumens between the arms and body) are well marked and symmetrical;
- the abdomen is flat;
- physiological curves of the spine are well expressed;
- the lumbar lordosis is emphasized in young women, and the thoracic kyphosis – in young men.
Everyone has a slight asymmetry of the body, but if the posture disorders are markedly expressed, and even more so, if they progress, it’s time to visit a doctor. And the best variant is not to correct the posture, but to make efforts for its correct formation.