My brother was born with congenital scoliosis and was introduced to a chiropractor at an early age. The chiropractor taught my parents how to continue his spinal rehab in between the chiropractic treatments. It was a long and uncomfortable process for a baby. If he did not get rehabilitation at such an early age, his spine would have caused more than just visual anomalies.
I am a chiropractor today because of my brother. Even though I do not have scoliosis, I wish I had my spine checked at an early age too to help develop my spine with the postural stability and muscular balance.
In my teenage years, I developed rolled shoulders and a flat upper back (thoracic), like most adolescents with no pain and discomfort. During my spinal development, my postural deformity was silent. It was not until the later stages of my life when my skeletal structure matured (stop growing) that I noticed that my physical structure influence my exercise performance.
Posturogenesis is defined as the process of postural development from the moment at birth right through till death. This spinal development is a fluid and intensive process, especially during the stage of childhood.1
What is the first critical period of posturogenesis?
During the period of seven to eight years of age, the body is developing the crucial balanced spinal curves.2
However, children are predisposed to a range of postural developmental hurdles such as prolonged hours sitting at school and carrying heavy backpacks3, which can influence abnormal posture.
Evidently, from the back view, the spine joins the head to the hips in a straight fashion and any deviation to the side is a postural disorder, called scoliosis.
Now, when you view the spine from the side view the spine forms curves like a ‘spring’ to aid with shock absorbance. Flattened or excessive spinal curvatures from the side view reflect another type of postural disorders which may affect health and physical fitness.4
The spine is the last region of the skeleton to cease growth. The end of puberty marks the transition of bone growth to the mature fusion of bone endplates (epiphyseal). School children normally do not notice back pain. Careful monitoring of postural changes at an early age period (7-8 years old) is important in monitoring posture before the skeletal system matures and to mitigate unfavourable effects of postural distortions (e.g. scoliosis) once the bone growth stops.
1.Angelakopoulos, T. Georgios, Savelsbergh, Geert, J. P., Bennett, Simon, J., Davids, Keith, W., Haralambos, Tsorbatzoudis, & George, Grouios (2008). Systematic review regarding posture development from infancy to adulthood. Hellenic Journal of Physical Education and Sport Sciences (68), pp. 35-43.
2.Barczyk, K., Skolimowsk.i, T., Anwajler, J. and Chamera-Bilińska, D. (2005). Somatic features and parameters of anterior-posterior spinal curvature in 7-year-olds with particular posture types. Ortopedia, Traumatologia, Rehabilitacja, (7), no. 5, pp. 555–562.
3.Walicka-Cupryś, K., Skalska-Izdebska, R., Rachwał, M. and Truszczyńska, A. (2015). Influence of the Weight of a School Backpack on Spinal Curvature in the Sagittal Plane of Seven-Year-Old Children. BioMed Research International, (2015).
4.Lostein J.E. (1998) Why school screening for scoliosis should be continued. Spine 13:1198-1200.