Postural damage that has occurred is usually irreversible. Various measures can often help to prevent postural damage.
What are postural defects?
Postural defects are bony changes in the human body that can develop from long-term incorrect posture. The spine is particularly often affected by postural damage. This damage to the spine is often accompanied by back pain. Corresponding postural damage can manifest itself in the form of a hollow back, scoliosis or a hunchback:
With a hollow back, the spine shows an increased inward curvature at the lower back. In medicine, scoliosis is when the spine shows a lateral curvature. A scoliosis can be recognized, for example, by a laterally displaced course of the vertebrae.
If a hunchback is present as a form of postural damage, the affected person will have a severe curvature of the spine in the chest area. Such a rounded back leads to a forward tilt of the shoulders and head. If a hollow back and a hunchback occur together, this is also referred to as a hollow hunchback.
Poor posture can be caused by a variety of factors. The most common causes of postural damage include long-term poor posture, which can be caused, for example, by frequent and incorrect sitting or by heavy physical work.
Frequent carrying of bags/backpacks that are too heavy, being overweight and unsuitable shoes or mattresses can also cause postural damage in the long term. Poor posture is also favored by a lack of physical exercise and weak back and abdominal muscles; as a result, the muscles cannot adequately support the spine.
Various diseases, injuries or congenital bone malformations can also lead to poor posture – a pelvic tilt due to different leg lengths, for example, causes the spine to curve to compensate. Last but not least, long-term emotional stress can also be expressed in poor posture and resulting postural damage.
Symptoms, Ailments & Signs
The symptoms of postural damage usually only appear when they have led to noticeable discomfort. These include back pain, knee pain and muscle tension. But there is also pain in other places, such as the shoulders or hips. This is mostly due to a long-standing bad attitude.
Postural defects usually develop without symptoms at the beginning and only manifest themselves after years with them. Those affected often do not even notice that they are putting an unfavorable strain on their bodies for a long time. If the spine is loaded incorrectly over a longer period of time, a diagnosable spinal curvature occurs.
If it bends on one side, it is called scoliosis. This can also be congenital and lead to the symptoms mentioned. In old age, scoliosis can also affect the lungs and heart because the curvature also affects the chest. The signs of wear and tear on the spine, which occur as a result of one-sided stress, also lead to chronic muscle tension and the associated pain.
Signs that can sometimes be identified in childhood and adolescence include abnormal rotation of the hip bones and a C-shape of the spine in a side-lying position. Here, too, it is true that the signs are more likely to be recognized during medical check-ups than by those affected themselves.
Diagnosis & History
Poor posture is often only diagnosed when the first pain occurs. Dull or aching back pain, for example, which occasionally radiates into the legs, can indicate postural damage to the spine.
Various postural defects can be diagnosed by the orthopedist during an initial physical examination; For this purpose, a doctor examines and/or touches the affected area of the body. If postural defects are difficult to recognize externally or if they have to be examined in detail, X-rays, for example, can contribute to a diagnosis; here bony structures are visualized.
Postural damage is usually irreversible; once they have occurred, they do not regress and cannot be remedied by medical measures. However, symptoms and further progression of postural damage can be therapeutically influenced positively.
In most cases, postural damage cannot be treated or removed. They are irreversible and the person affected has to live with this damage throughout their lives. In most cases, however, the damage can be alleviated with the help of therapies. Postural damage continues to cause pain. These occur primarily on the back and neck of the patient.
It is not uncommon for the pain to spread to other regions of the body. If the pain occurs in the form of rest pain, it can also lead to discomfort at night and thus to sleep problems. Due to postural damage, many patients also suffer from depression and reduced resilience. It is not uncommon for a gentle posture to be adopted, which, however, also has a negative effect on the patient’s health.
The quality of life decreases significantly as a result of this damage. There is no causal treatment of postural damage possible. However, the affected person must ensure a healthy posture and usually take part in various therapies. This can relieve pain and restricted mobility. Surgical interventions are usually not required. The postural damage itself does not lead to a reduced life expectancy.
When should you go to the doctor?
Poor posture should always be checked out by a doctor. Early diagnosis and treatment can prevent or completely reduce further complications and symptoms in adulthood. The earlier the postural damage is discovered, the higher the probability of a positive course of the disease.
As a rule, a doctor should be consulted if the person concerned or outsiders notice an unusual posture or if pain occurs. The affected person assumes a relieving posture or incorrect posture that prevails over a longer period of time. An unusual shape of the spine can also indicate postural damage and should also be examined.
In many cases, postural damage is accompanied by severe pain. The diagnosis of this disease can be made by an orthopedist, a general practitioner or a pediatrician. In the further treatment, however, the patients are dependent on various exercises or therapies. Surgical interventions may also be necessary. Since postural damage can also lead to psychological problems in some cases, a psychologist should be consulted. Often, most postural defects can be treated well and reduced.
Treatment & Therapy
Treatment of postural defects depends, among other things, on the existing causes and is individually tailored to the patient. For example, if postural damage is caused by a disease, treating the underlying disease is one of the most important steps in therapy.
The diseases that can cause postural damage include growth disorders such as the so-called Scheuermann disease or autoimmune diseases such as Bechterew’s disease (here the spine can become increasingly ossified over the course of the disease). Early and consistent treatment of the underlying diseases can help to alleviate the course of postural damage.
Depending on the cause of postural damage, general medical measures include physiotherapy and muscle training. Stretching exercises can help loosen up tight areas of the body that contribute to bad posture. Those affected are also usually advised to avoid any previous bad posture in everyday life as far as possible (whether by sitting or carrying it correctly and/or by buying suitable furniture). Pain- relieving medication is sometimes prescribed for severe pain associated with poor posture.
Comparatively rarely, serious postural problems can be counteracted by measures such as supporting corsets. In some cases, surgical interventions can also be medically necessary/useful.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of postural defects is unfavorable. Postural defects that have already developed as a result of poor posture are considered irreversible. The same applies to people who, due to a genetic disposition, have acquired postural defects during the growth process. A regression of the changes in the skeletal system through training or other therapies is not to be expected.
The damages are permanent and remain until the end of life. In some cases, the patient may undergo surgery. This is intended to improve the current situation and alleviate the symptoms. However, despite all efforts, complete freedom from symptoms can only rarely be expected, if at all.
Treatment is about minimizing the existing symptoms and preventing the development of further symptoms. In the case of postural damage, the patient can usually only improve his health to a small extent by using alternative healing methods or naturopathic treatments. With the techniques of naturopathy, priority is also given to alleviating the existing symptoms.
Without seeking treatment, muscle discomfort, discomfort and pain will continue to increase throughout life. Therefore, medical treatment with a comprehensive training and care plan is important despite the poor healing prospects for postural damage.
Postural damage can be prevented above all by avoiding incorrect posture at an early stage; if you sit frequently, for example, a regular change of position is recommended. Factors such as lifting heavy loads with your legs (not your back), regular exercise, strengthening your muscles, and avoiding/controlling obesity also help prevent postural disorders.
It cannot generally be predicted whether aftercare measures will be taken in the event of postural damage. The further measures depend very much on the exact type and extent of this damage, so that no general prediction can be made about these possibilities. First and foremost, however, the postural damage must be treated correctly by a doctor so that there are no further complications and no further worsening of the symptoms.
The earlier this damage is detected, the better the further course. However, since not all postural damage can be treated, the affected person does not always have follow-up care available. First and foremost, the behavior that led to this damage must be corrected. Certain postures of the body must not be taken over again in order to alleviate the symptoms.
Furthermore, physiotherapy or physical therapy measures are often necessary to alleviate these symptoms. Many of the exercises from such therapy can also be carried out at home, which can accelerate healing. Pain is usually relieved with the help of painkillers. It should be noted that painkillers should not be taken over a longer period of time.
You can do that yourself
Affected people can do a lot in everyday life to relieve discomfort from postural damage independently and with little effort. This requires good self-reflection and attention to one’s own posture.
As soon as the upper body bends sharply when sitting, an upright sitting position can be assumed. The shoulders should be straight and the head held in a vertical position. It is helpful to consciously change and vary your posture at regular intervals. The distances between the table and the seat can also be adjusted according to optimal needs.
Regular muscle training is also helpful to stabilize and adequately support the skeletal system. With a balanced movement of all body parts and joints, postural defects can be avoided or corrected. Wearing healthy footwear and avoiding the use of high-heeled shoes also prevents damage.
Targeted training sessions help to relieve muscle tension and reduce postural damage. Regular exercise that engages all muscles equally is highly recommended. This includes swimming in particular.
When moving, make sure that the body is kept straight and upright if possible. Bends or one-sided physical strain should be avoided. Avoiding being overweight or obese is also helpful.
Physiotherapy and physiotherapy can help to improve chronic symptoms .