Is poor posture a significant concern?
Many different medical specialties have attempted to control or reverse what is considered to be poor posture in humans. Medical doctors have long recognized the importance of posture, and have used braces, splints, and even surgery, in an attempt to reduce symptoms they believe are caused by poor posture. Osteopathic philosophy is based in the concepts of body positioning and posture. These physicians employ the use of braces and physical techniques in an effort to control or restructure human posture.
Chiropractic physicians understand the importance of good posture as it relates to human health and disease. Adjustment techniques, aimed at reducing malposition of human structure, are the mainstay of chiropractic care. Physical therapists and massage therapists both utilize myo-facial techniques that stretch tight ligaments and tendons in an effort to restructure the functional positioning of joints and change human posture.
A review of the patent literature documents would turn up hundreds of in-shoe devices, described by researches from many other specialties that are all said to reverse the effects of poor posture. Most all researchers suggest that poor posture is affected by the force gravity applies to human structure.
Can any treatment really change human posture?
Although many of the techniques employed by the physicians and therapists referred to above do have positive effects on the symptoms believed to be associated with postural pathology, no treatment has been able to reverse or control the postural restructuring that takes place as we age. Human posture subjected to our gravitational environment results in a gradual breakdown as we age, regardless of any effort to stop this process. Over time, our legs and hips internally rotate, generating an anterior pelvic tilt. The resulting tilt of the pelvis creates hyper curvatures of the spine, with a internal rotation of the shoulders and arms. It is believed by many that these postural changes alter the function of the internal organs and create pathology in all of the body’s systems. The postural changes observed as we age are clearly associated with both health and longevity. No form of medical treatment or physical exercise has yet to arrest poor posture as we age.
What kind of force could offset the effect gravity has on human posture?
F=MA, or the forces acting on human posture that cause breakdown as we age equal the weight of the individual times gravity. This explains, in part, why posture could actually improve when we are very young and small then break down as we age and increase in body mass.
The force of gravity and body mass on our skeleton during weight bearing creates an inward rotation of the lower extremities, ending in pronation of the foot. When a force is applied that supinates the foot, it externally rotates our lower extremities. Pronation of the foot during weight-bearing internally rotates the ankle, knee, and hip. This tilts the pelvis forward and increases spinal curvatures. Supination of the foot during weight-bearing activities externally rotates the ankle, knee, and hip, resulting in a more horizontal pelvis with decrease spinal curvatures and better posture.
Orthotic devices all attempt to supinate the human foot as we walk and stand. Hundreds of U.S. patents describe the postural changes, including external rotation of the lower extremities and decreased spinal curvatures observed with long-term use of their foot control devices. In spite of the fact that every patent researcher described postural effects with the use of their device, very few clinicians use orthotics for their postural benefits. Doctor Scholes arch supports, understands these concepts and markets them heavily. Unfortunately, their devices produces very little postural change, not easily documentable, definitely not enough to stop the poor posture we all have just before we die.
Forces that supinate the foot during weight bearing, will improve posture.
A measurement that defines an angle present in any and all arch supports/orthotics is defined by three points in the frontal plane. When measured correctly, this angle relates directly to the amount of supination created by any foot control device. When orthotics are used long-term with angles well above that used by other researchers, the postural benefits can be observed and documented empirically. When the change in angulation of an orthotic device is significant, supination of the foot with external rotation of the lower extremities — including a decrease in spinal curvatures — can be documented over time.
Can “normal” poor posture observed as we age, be reversed?
A reversal or restructuring of human posture from the photos above is possible and has been documented when orthotics with angles that fully restore human biomechanical alignment are used long term. These biomechanical concepts related to human postural restructuring and control, have been documented in over 14 thousand patients over a 30 year period.