Drivers Beware:
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7 Inhibitors to an Elongated Standing Posture

by Dennis Zacharkow, PT
© 2014

  1. A Slumped Sitting Posture. (See Dennis Zacharkow's article "Slumped Sitting Posture #1 Cause of Poor Standing Posture.")

  2. Anchoring the Rib Cage by Contracting the Upper Rectus Abdominis Muscle. Wiles (1987) felt that the action of the rectus abdominis was misunderstood in standing posture. Since in upright standing the thorax is the least fixed point compared to the pelvis, the major effect of contracting the upper rectus muscle will be to pull the chest down from above, approximating the thorax to the pelvis (Bancroft, 1913; Phelps and Kiphuth, 1932; Wiles, 1937). The end result will be an increase in the thoracic kyphosis.

    Anderson (1951) referred to the approximation of the thorax to the pelvis as a "postural depression." He considered a tight upper rectus muscle as a major cause of a postural depression (See Dennis Zacharkow's article "The Fallacy of Anchoring the Rib Cage.)

  3. A Sway Back Standing Posture. With the hips thrust forward in full extension and the upper trunk leaning backward, the elongation reflex of the body will be inhibited. The antigravity postural musculature expends a minimum of energy, with the strain falling largely on the ligaments (Kelly, 1949). (See Dennis Zacharkow's article "A Holistic Approach to Correcting a Sway Back Standing Posture.")

  4. An Asymmetrical Standing Posture. Smith (1953) observed asymmetrical standing postures to occur four times as often as symmetrical standing postures.

    In the commonly observed asymmetrical standing posture, the body weight is carried on one leg, with the other leg placed slightly forward and out to the side, acting as a prop and bearing very little weight. Stabilization in extension at the hip and knee of the weight bearing leg will result from tension in the iliofemoral ligament and iliotibial tract (Phelps and Kiphuth, 1932). By increasing the distance between the feet, additional stability is achieved as the size of the standing base is increased and the center of gravity is lowered (Glassow , 1932).

    Mosher (1913) described the asymmetrical skeletal alignment when standing on the right leg, with the left leg placed forward and out to the side. With this posture, the pelvis tilts down to the left, the spine assumes a long C-curve convexity to the left, the right shoulder is lowered, and the head tilts to the right.

    With the asymmetrical standing posture, McKenzie (1915) considered the strain to be borne by the ligaments of the hip and spine for prolonged periods.

    According to Phelps and Kiphuth (1932), in the asymmetrical standing posture, "there is less muscular effort necessary to maintain stability than in any other standing position."

  5. Wearing High Heels. (See Dennis Zacharkow's article "Why High Heels Inhibit an Elongated Standing Posture.")

  6. Pulling the Shoulders Back When Standing. This will result in a rigid posture with excessive contraction of the scapular retractors. The result will often be a hyperlordotic posture with forward hips and backward shoulders (Checkley, 1890; Taylor, 1901; King, 1932).

    Instead of the scapulae (shoulder blades) being pulled closer together, with proper positioning of the scapulae they should lie "flat and widened across the back of the properly expanded chest" (Barlow, 1980).

  7. A Standing Arm Posture With the Palms Facing Forward or the Palms Facing the Sides of the Body. (See Dennis Zacharkow's article "What Is the Proper Positioning of the Hands and Arms in Optimal Standing Posture?")

References

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