Postural System and Ergonomics

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Louise Hay

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What does posture mean?

Il postural system it is a very complex whole, which involves structures of the central and peripheral nervous system, especially the eye, the foot, the skin system, the muscles, the joints but also the stomatognathic system (occlusal system and tongue) and the ear indoor.

The central nervous system uses the information received from the eye, soles of the feet and skin in the first place, in order to be aware of the position of the body and to be able to correctly set what is desired towards the outside world and oneself.

"... posture is the expression of an inherited experience, of a personal experience, of cultural formation and deformation, of memories of one's physical and emotional traumas, of the type of life and stress we lead, of the type of work and sport to which we have subjected ourselves over time; posture is the way we breathe, the world in which we stand, pose and relate to ourselves and others. Our posture is an expression of our history ". (D. Raggi, 1998)

Postural alteration

It is common that the postural system, directly linked (as per definition) to the single and individual history of each of us, with the passage of time undergoes modifications and problems.


Postural compensation

At first, the "system" will try to compensate in some way (higher shoulder, pelvic rotations, scoliotic attitudes, plantar support defects, tilted head, etc.) for as long as it has the possibility.

Long-term complications

In a second moment, however, when the compensatory capacities of the organism stop, the first pathological signs will appear.

This system, bothered by the various compensations, will see all the most common problems arise (headaches, neck pain, neuralgia, chewing defects and dental occlusion, back pain, lumbago, lumbosciatica, pain in the shoulders, arms, hips, knees, ankles) but also less known disorders (difficulty driving at night or concentration in reading, clumsiness, jaw clicks, etc.).

These are various pathologies and / or uncomfortable conditions that greatly complicate and condition daily life and, consequently, our psyche.

How to intervene

At this point, even with all the easily imaginable difficulties, it is essential to act at various levels and in an adequate time, through a coordinated collaboration with other professionals, to correct and attempt a reprogramming of the "system".

Posturology is not a separate discipline, it tackles the problem at the origin and tries to give answers to the effects and, therefore, to the symptoms.


What is ergonomics and what is it for

To prevent the onset of pathological problems related to compensatory attitudes it is important to acquire the right information about the way in which each of us should stand or move during daily activities, that is, regarding the correct, static and dynamic posture.

This is ergonomics (from the Greek érgon, which means work, and némein, which means to administer, govern), the set, that is, of the best techniques to perform daily activities with less energy expenditure and with an optimal distribution of the workload.

Now let's see what factors can be influenced by ergonomics and how it can affect the quality of life.

How to sleep better

A good sleep contributes significantly to the maintenance of health, psycho-physical balance, tissue rejuvenation and longevity.

For sleep to be truly restorative of body and mind, it is important that it is deep, peaceful, possibly uninterrupted and that all muscles are relaxed.

Sleeping too long, contrary to popular misconception, is as harmful as sleeping too little. On average, it takes 7 to 9 hours of sleep to wake up refreshed and ready for daily activities.

To get a deep and restorative sleep we point out some tips:

  • Mattress must be neither too soft nor too rigid;
For further information: Mattress and back pain
  • Avoid blankets that are too heavy and excessively synthetic materials;
  • Pillow must be suitable, in order to maintain correct cervical lordosis;
  • Avoid going to bed immediately after main meals (with reference, of course, to lunch and dinner); laborious digestion often compromises good sleep.
For further information: How to Sleep Well

How to stand up

A person's standing is the result of a structural balance of the skeleton, his mental attitude and the type of activity he carries out.

The key to good posture is to have the bone structures aligned correctly.

For everyone, even for those who are affected by severe alterations, there is an ideal bearing and the possibility of improving what is usually taken.

A good posture begins with the feet, which must be relaxed and firmly resting on the floor, equally.

Secondly come the legs, which are normally the same length. In the presence of a real or apparent shortening of a limb, the pelvis is tilted to the same side and so does the lumbar spine, but with an opposite deviation of the upper sections of the spine.

For further information: Lower limb dysymmetry

Above the legs is the pelvis which supports the entire spine. This is the area that causes most of the gait problems.

The balance of the spinal column depends on the alignment of the various curves with respect to the imaginary plumb line that passes through the center of gravity: the increase or decrease of one of the curves is compensated by the variation of the other two.

The ideal position of the vertebral column, imagining the person seen in profile, should be verified by means of a plumb line which, starting from the ear, passes through the shoulder, the elbow, through the base of the sacrum in a slightly rearward plane. relative to the hip joint, then descends through the knee and anteriorly to the malleolus.

To simplify, we can say that none of the natural curves of the spine must be accentuated or reduced; the ears, shoulders and pelvis must be held one above the other, on an axis perpendicular to that of the feet. All the weight of the body must be balanced in the center, exactly between the two feet.

How to walk

Each of us, for various reasons, walks in his own particular way, most of the time not mechanically correct; there are those who walk with "flat" feet, those who lean more on their toes, some more on their heels.

The correct way of walking implies that the foot performs a rolling movement on the ground starting from the heel along the entire sole of the foot, up to the toes, in particular the big toe which is the last to come off the ground.

The walking person should be upright, but not rigid, with the center of gravity falling between the two feet. Having a rocking gait, due to continuously moving the axis of the body first on one leg and then on the other, unbalances the normal synergistic and antagonistic action of the muscles that support the spine.

Finally, it is very important to remember that the arms must perform a rhythmic and coordinated movement with the step: the right arm is brought forward when taking the step with the left foot and vice versa.

How to move heavy objects

The neck and shoulders are often the site of muscle pain and tension.

These pains arise during the day if we do not relax sufficiently and then worsen with repetitive activities always performed on the same side.

The habit of always carrying bags or heavy objects on the same shoulder is inevitably accompanied by an inclination on the opposite side of the head (for compensation), with a consequent scoliotic attitude. We therefore advise you to carry the bag now on one shoulder, now on the other, and to relax the muscles of the neck and shoulders.

Similarly, carrying a heavy backpack always on the same side can be harmful to the spine, which is in full development during school age.

You must avoid lifting heavy objects with brusque movements with the trunk flexed. Therefore, remember to always bend your knees while keeping your torso erect and contracting your abdominals when lifting the weight. This simple trick allows you to reduce the pressure on the lumbar spine.

How to sit

The chair should be of sufficient height to give comfortable support to the buttocks and thighs, allowing the feet to rest comfortably on the ground. Therefore, when we are sitting the thighs must be in a horizontal position.

At the same time, the spine must be supported by the back of the chair without the position taken accentuating or reducing its natural curvatures.

An adequate desk, a correct chair and a good posture can eliminate most of the painful ailments due to long hours spent studying.

A lectern placed at eye level can help us keep the torso erect and eliminate tension in the cervical spine.

The height of the desk and chair respectively must ensure that the forearms and thighs work on a horizontal plane.


The body has a control thermostat for its own temperature.

When it is too hot, sweating occurs with consequent cooling of the body through the evaporation of the aqueous portion.

When it gets too cold, the body creates heat with rapid and repetitive contractions of the muscles (chills and chattering of the teeth). The body controls itself: remember that covering too much causes the same damage as covering too little.


  • AAVV, 2000, Human Anatomy and Histology, Minerva Medica Editions;
  • Greissing H. Zillo A., 1985, ZilgreiI the method to immediately eliminate pain, Arnaldo Mondatori Editore;
  • Martini F., 1994, Fundamentals of anatomy and physiology, EdiSES;
  • Pirola V., 1999, Kinesiology, Edi Ermes;
  • Raggi D., Course material Pancafit Ray Method;
  • Toso B., 2003, Back School Neck School Bone School Planning Organization Conducting Verification, Edi Ermes;
  • Toso B., 2003, Back School Neck School Bone School Specific work programs for spinal pathologies, Edi Ermes.
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