Posture corresponds to the static and dynamic balance of a given body architecture. In more simple terms, it can be viewed as the result of a pile of bones and joints that are maintained and controlled by a muscular system as it fights against the effects of gravity. However, in reality, it involves a highly complex orchestration of the different ways in which the sensory and motor systems work together.
The muscular system is not the only system that plays a role in an individual’s balance. In fact, all of the body’s tissues—fascias, ligaments, skin, meninges, internal organs and their covering membranes—contribute to posture by acting as generators of passive forces within the organism.
The ideal posture is not the same for everyone, given that each person’s constitution is unique. However, it is true to say that the best posture is the one that requires the least amount of muscular effort while protecting and supporting the body’s structures against injury and progressive deformations. Posture should therefore be considered based on functional criteria that are unique to each individual rather than on generalized aesthetic standards.
Consequences of postural distortion
Postural imbalance occurs in different ways based on daily lifestyle habits, physical activity, an individual’s morphology, previous surgeries or physical trauma, etc. An imbalance causes the body to compensate, which sooner or later results in various musculoskeletal disorders—increased pressure on the spinal column, nerves and organs, muscle tension, pain, joint degeneration over the long term (osteoarthritis), etc. Changes in bodily functions, such as breathing and hormone production, may also occur.
Osteopathy and posture
Osteopathy is particularly effective in harmonizing these postural imbalances. A dysfunctional posture is typically accompanied by stiffness in the body that are apparent to an osteopath. Through precise manipulations, the osteopath helps the body’s tissues regain the mobility and fluid motion that they need to function optimally.