We all know that improper posture, both standing and seated, is bad for the joints and especially bad for the back, but could it be worse for scoliosis patients? Research suggests that poor posture can exacerbate scoliosis. Specifically, increased time spent in a seated position–an incorrect seated position–can lead to asymmetry of the spine and scoliosis. A study published in 2014 examined the effects of seated position on children age 11 to 13. Researchers found that sitting caused “decreased angle of inclination of the thoracolumbar spine, reduced depths of thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis, and pelvic asymmetry”.
This may not come as such as shock, given the amount of time children (and adults!) spend sitting at work, at school, in front of the computer, and playing video games. As technological advances increase the ease with which we do things, so does our ability to remain seated.
But is sitting the only issue?
Ergonomics / Activities of Daily Living
Ergonomics is the scientific study that helps design things so people can use them easily. It aims to reduce stress and eliminate injuries or disorders that can develop from overuse of muscles, bad posture and repetitive activities. As ergonomics have become more and more mainstream, we commonly see items being labeled as “ergonomic” that either tout ease of use or injury prevention. However, you can make great improvements to your health and posture without spending any money.
This is where Activities of Daily Living come into play. Activities of daily living or ADLs are just daily activities that you would normally perform at home, work and school. A few simple modifications to ones ADLs can have a great impact on their posture. Source
For example: Have you ever noticed that you only carry your purse or bag on one side? Why is that and what kind of damage could it be causing?
The image to the right depicts the effect of carrying a bag on one shoulder. Notice how the body naturally leans in the opposite direction to compensate for the added weight. Now imagine that this person already has a spinal curvature toward the right. Here’s a challenge! Try carrying your bag/purse on the opposite shoulder. Not easy is it? Why is that?
In another study, Malaysian researchers found that a single-session, ergonomic intervention showed significant improvements in the seated-posture of children as well as a reduction of schoolbag weight. They even recommend an early-intervention ergonomics education program for children 8-11 to reduce musculoskeletal pain.
Patients are always asking what they can do outside of their scoliosis treatment program to help with pain or encourage their curve reduction. That is why our office has developed a program to assess what patients’ daily activities consist of and what simply modifications can be made to benefit their spinal curvatures.
For example: Do you know what is wrong with the image below?
For more information on Ergonomics, Activities of Daily Living or to have your ADL assessment, contact our office.