Postural deviations are overdeveloped thoracic, lumbar curves or a lateral curve, possibly with a twist. In younger people it can be a muscular imbalance whilst in older people it could also be complication of osteoporosis. Things such as work, lifestyle, activity levels and genetics can all contribute to postural deviations, and a lot of people will go years without even realising they have any deviations.
There are 3 main types of postural deviations:
Hyperkyphosis– This is an increased posterior thoracic curve with associated round shoulders, depressed chest, and forward head position. (‘Hunchback’). This is the most common, especially for those with sedentary jobs; sitting at a desk all day can cause Hyperkyphosis.
How to help this? – Strengthen the rhomboids and trapezius and the spine. Stretch the chest muscles regularly.
Lordosis– An increased anterior lumbar curve with an associated tilting of the pelvis. (An arched back). This typically leads to tension on the spine, which could result in low-back pain.
How to help this? – Focus on strengthening abdominal and hamstrings. Also stretch the hip flexors and the spine.
Scoliosis– An excessive lateral spinal curvature often accompanied by vertebral rotation. (causes and ‘S’ shape of the spine). While scoliosis is a congenital or non-correctable condition, exercises can be implemented to help manage the deviation.
How to help this? – Implement exercises aimed at improving strength and range of motion of the muscles on both sides of the vertebral column. Perform side stretches regularly.
If you think you may have a postural deviation and it is causing you problems, see a specialist such as an osteopath, chiropractor, physio therapist, GP. They can advise you on the recommended treatment and the above exercises and stretches will help ease pain and strengthen the appropriate muscles.