What is Postural Analysis?
Postural Analysis, also known as a Postural Assessment is an observational assessment that is often carried out as the first step of a full physical assessment.
Postural Analysis examinations are the part of physical therapy which are used to analyse a person’s static posture and their bodily alignment. The purpose of this is to observe a person’s posture and then interpret the implications of what is seen. In the simplest terms, this means looking for any abnormalities and imbalances and then assessing how they are affecting the way that a person’s body moves and functions.
What can be observed by carrying out a Posture Analysis?
Carrying out a Postural Analysis can determine whether a person has any postural deviations, imbalances, muscle weaknesses or any other faults in their movement patterns which could be causing pain or discomfort.
By carrying out a Postural Analysis assessment, our therapists at A+ Sports Therapy will be able to identify which muscles are overactive (or ‘short & tight’) compared to those that are underactive (or ‘long & weak’).
Through a Postural Analysis observation, our therapists could if necessary also test the range of movement of certain joints, so that any areas of weakness or stiffness can also be identified.
If any abnormalities or muscle imbalances are highlighted, carrying out postural analysis helps to identify any underlying causes of a patient’s complaints regarding pain or discomfort, so that they can then be dealt with.
Any abnormalities and imbalances that aren’t dealt with could cause pain, hold the patient back from reaching their peak performance or potentially lead to an injury further down the line.
Postural Analysis: Normal VS Abnormal Posture
It’s all very well for us to say that a posture analysis looks for postural abnormalities and imbalances, but what exactly are they?
When somebody has a normal or ‘ideal’ posture, the muscles on either side of the body are balanced, the pelvis is neutral and the spine has a natural curvature.
With good posture, there is an imaginary line that goes straight from the earlobe to the top of the shoulder, through the centre of the body and then just behind the knee joint, ending in the middle of the ankle joint.
Abnormal postures can occur when a person’s centre of gravity and therefore their bodyweight, is shifted away from the centre of their body, this means that the muscles on one side of the body have to work harder to compensate and keep the person’s posture stable.
Postural deviations can be caused by a range of different factors, including anatomical, occupational, social, cultural and even recreational factors.
For example, anatomical factors include conditions such as Lordosis, Kyphosis or Scoliosis. Whereas occupational factors cover any postural differences that result as an effect of work, such as working in an office and spending a lot of time leaning over a desk or overuse of the muscles from undertaking the same physical task continually throughout the working day.
Postural Analysis: The Process
Outside of ‘What should I wear?’, the most common question patients have is about how long their Posture Analysis will take. Fortunately, it only takes 30 minutes to carry out a complete assessment.
The whole process is really easy for the patient as all they need to do is stand upright in their natural posture, position their feet roughly a shoulder width apart and hold their arms by their sides and our therapists will do the rest.
Postural Analysis assessments undertaken by the therapists of A+ Sports Therapy at our Manchester Clinic costs just £20.00 for a full assessment.