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The medical definition of Postural is pertaining to the posture or position of the body, the attitude or carriage of the body, or the position of the limbs such as the arms and legs. Postural hypotension is a lowering in blood pressure (hypotension) due to a change in body position or body posture. 

What causes Postural conditions? 

Postural conditions can be present in even the fittest dancer or gymnast. Aging is also a contributing factor to postural conditions and should not be excluded. Obesity or being extremely overweight can also have postural problems of its own.

There are mainly 3 types of postural conditions namely:

  • Kyphosis
  • Lordosis
  • Scoliosis

The spine has three types of curves – lordotic, kyphotic (the outward curve of the thoracic spine at rib-level), and scoliotic (sideways curving).

What is Kyphosis and how will it be diagnosed? 

  • Kyphosisoccurs when the vertebrae in the upper back become more wedge shaped. Abnormal vertebrae can be caused by fractures, broken or crushed vertebrae better known as compression fractures, can result in curvature of the spine. Other causes of Kyphosis such as aging (especially if you have poor posture), muscle weakness in the upper back, Scheuermann’s disease (which occurs in children and has no known cause), arthritis or other bone degeneration diseases such as osteoporosis or injury to the spine, are all contributing factors to postural conditions.

If left untreated, kyphosis can cause severe damage to the spine and other areas of the body. To diagnose kyphosis, a doctor will do a physical exam to look at the spine and may order X-rays to measure the curve of the spine. The natural curve of the spine is between 20 and 45 degrees. Kyphosis is diagnosed when the spine’s curve goes beyond 50 degrees. 

What is Lordosis and how will it be diagnosed? 

Lordosis is an increased inward curving of the lumbar spine just above the buttocks. Lordosis is often due to an imbalance between the muscles surrounding the pelvic bones. Weak muscles used to lift the leg forward combined with tight muscles used to arch the back, can cause an increased pelvic tilt, limiting movement of the lower back. Lordosis isn’t life-threatening by any means, but it can have a profoundly negative impact on your overall quality of life. If this condition is left untreated, you will become accustomed to poor posture. This often leads to other chronic spinal conditions and pain in other parts of the body.

To diagnose lordosis, a doctor may take the patient’s medical history and perform a physical examination. The medical history will cover such issues as when the excessive curve became noticeable, if it is getting worse and whether the amount of the curve seems to change. The doctor may order a neurological assessment if the person is having pain, tingling, numbness, muscle spasms or weakness, sensations in the arms or legs or changes in bowel or bladder control. Other tests may be ordered, including X-rays. 

What is scoliosis and how will it be diagnosed?

Scoliosis is a disorder that causes an abnormal curve of the spine, or backbone. There is a normal spinal curve when looking from the side, but the spine should appear straight when looking from the front. 

Plain X-rays can confirm the diagnosis of scoliosis and reveal the severity of the spinal curvature. If a doctor suspects that an underlying condition such as a tumour is causing the scoliosis, he or she may recommend additional imaging tests, such as an MRI.

Are postural conditions treatable by a Chiropractor?

Chiropractors may use chiropractic adjustments to reduce pain and help restore optimal mobility Chiropractic adjustments and therapies help to improve form (therefore, improving function), and induce mobility into the joints. Chiropractic care focuses on treating these conditions to improve stability, strengthen muscles, and restore correct posture, without the invasiveness. Some common treatments include:

  • Spinal adjustments to correct misalignments in the spine;
  • Positional traction to stretch and readjust the vertebrae;
  • Orthotics, support pillows, and ergonomic changes to support posture changes;
  • Trigger point therapy;
  • Therapeutic exercises to strengthen key muscle groups and improve flexibility. 

Don’t delay, make your appointment with your nearest Chiropractor today.

Dr. Jacques Bezuidenhout has been in practice since 2010. He is an Internationally Certified Chiropractic Sports Practitioner (ICCSP), which fits with his love of sport and treating sportspeople. He also has completed many postgraduate courses, including international paediatric courses. Our focus is to treat the whole person and most importantly keeping you functioning at your full potential.