What is Posture?
Posture is defined as the position of the body or the position of several parts of the body with respect to each other for a particular purpose. Posture is not, regardless of what we have been led to believe, simply a matter of sitting or standing up straight. Instead, it is the actual and proper alignment of the parts of the body in relation to the spine, and the proper use of the body at all times.
Posture and the Young Child
As soon as a child begins to stand upright, you can begin to look for signs of improper posture. Signs of head, shoulder or hip tilt can be seen as soon as a child is weight bearing.
Although this may seem early for a child to have misalignments to their spine, birth injuries and falls taken when learning to walk can already begin to affect their posture.
Posture and the Pre-Adolescent
With a child that is between the ages of seven and ten, misalignments to the spine are more than likely due to minor falls and injuries associated with certain activities. These typically include soccer or other sports, as well as injuries sustained on playground equipment or trampolines.
It is also with this age group that we begin to see a lot of time spent watching TV, and in many instances, the child will be lying on their stomach; another habit that can cause postural issues. Children in this age group are frequently seen playing video games and, with both handheld games and console games with a controller, the child will be sitting in a head down position or with their shoulders hunched which is equally troublesome to a developing spine.
In response to these causalities, the body will typically begin to adapt to the improper alignment and cause postural deviations that you can see. These can include a tilting of the head which may reflect a misalignment in the neck. A shoulder tilt might indicate a mid-back issue, and a tilted hip can mean a misalignment of the hip, sacrum or lower back. If a child’s foot is turned out or in, this can indicate a problem in the pelvic area.
These different deviations are “signals” of an underlying problem but generally there won’t be symptoms such as pain or discomfort related to these issues.