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Postural Disorders

The most important way to prevent lumbar, cervical, and back pains is to avoid postural disorders. Inherent and acquired structural deformities, habits, accidents, falls are the main causes of postural disorders.

What is the correct posture?
The proper posture is the most important factor for the avoidance of the spine pains. For a proper posture, head, body, arms, and legs should be balanced and aligned during standing, sitting, and walking.


The spine is not straight from the side and has s-shaped curvature. The spine has a mild inward curve at the level of neck and waist (lordosis) and an outward curve at the level of the thorax (kyphosis). These are physiological curvatures and are normal to a certain extent. Any deviation from these physiological curvatures is called postural fault.

The most common postural disorders are hump (kyphosis), loss of the cervical curve, scoliosis, loss or increase of the lumbar curve and leg length discrepancy.



Kyphosis is an abnormally excessive convex curvature of the spine. The limits of the physiological kyphosis change between 20 and 55 degrees. Degrees greater than 55 is considered as kyphosis.


What is the postural kyphosis?

Positional hump or postural kyphosis is a prominent convex curvature of the spine related to the postural faults and muscular weakness. The most common type of the hump in the population is the postural kyphosis, in which the spine is not completely affected. The kyphosis depends on the postural fault. These type of the humps can be corrected with exercise and physiotherapy.


What is structural kyphosis?

The structural kyphosis means that the angle of the hump is greater than 55 degrees and depends usually to a congenital anomaly of the spine. In such cases, corset and surgical intervention may be necessary along with the exercise programs.


Loss of the Cervical Curve

The physiological cervical curve is flattened and even protrude to the front. It may cause muscle spasms and pain spreading from the neck to the back and shoulders.


What are the causes?

The most common cause is the bending the head during standing or sitting. It is encountered particularly in persons working at a desk with computers. Nowadays its rate is increasing due to the increased use of mobile phones and laptop computers.


What are the symptoms of the loss of the cervical curve?

Pain spreading to the scapulae, back pain, pain, paresis, and weakness in the hands, headache, and dizziness, ringing in the ears are the common symptoms accompanying the loss of the cervical curve.


Loss of the Lumbar Curve

The normal degree of the lumbar curve is diminished. Improper posture during standing, sitting and load lifting, traumas, unsuitable exercise and sports, rheumatic diseases like ankylosing spondylitis may cause the loss of the lumbar curve and consequently pain may emerge.



The Treatment of the Postural Disorders


After the physiatrist has evaluated the postural fault, he/she may recommend treatment methods like posture training, corsets, tailor-made exercise programs, physiotherapy modalities, and manual therapy. In order to treat postural disorders, the wrong standing and sitting habits should be corrected. Sitting in the same position for a long time may cause spine deformities. Therefore, patients should often change the body position and stand up at least once every hour. Tailor-made physiotherapy and exercise programs can help to correct most of the postural disorders.