wrong posture

By posture we mean the position of the body in space, the purpose of which is to maintain balance (anti-gravity function), both in static and dynamic conditions; it is determined by neurophysiological, biomechanical, psycho-emotional and relational factors, also linked to the evolution of the species.

The postural control is regulated by a complex mechanism, the Tonic Postural System (TPS): its functioning is given by the relationship between the sensory afferents coming from the various body receptors and the efferences that the Central Nervous System produces for the maintenance of the erect anti-gravity posture, in the most stable way possible.

A non-physiological spatial orientation of the body leads to a readjustment of the sensory organs: a postural alteration therefore causes a new motor control strategy, which can also greatly influence the re-processing of somatosensory data in the brain.

The Tonic Postural System is comparable to a “black box”, as the input and output functions are known, but it is not possible to precisely know the processes and neuroanatomical structures that determine the input-output relationship.

In fact, its interactions are not connected through linear relationships, since the psycho-emotional factor is the common denominator that conditions the entire system: posture, in its neurophysiological essence, is nothing more than a modulation of muscle tone, which corresponds to a modification of the biomechanical balances, but we must not forget that it is also the most authentic expression of the emotional life of man towards the outside world.

The main receptors that supply the information necessary to the Central Nervous System to establish the position of the body in space are the visual, vestibular, breech, musculoskeletal, cutaneous and stomatognathic ones.

The Tonic Postural System adjusts itself and devises compensations to carry out its primary function, that is to preserve the balance, economy and comfort of the body: the final value of a dynamic apparatus is different and higher than the sum of its basic components; therefore, any variation of one of the parts of the system implies a modification of the others and a readjustment of the organism as a whole, according to the rule of totality.

In this mechanism based on the aforementioned interactions, there is a sensitive dependence on the initial conditions, therefore small differences in input can quickly cause very large differences in output: an incorrect coordination of eye movements, a minimum occlusal pre-contact, a small joint dysfunction can considerably modify the postural balance.


Summing up…

The Tonic Postural System aims to maintain body balance through minimum energy expenditure and maximum comfort: it uses information from the sensory receptors to process the position of the body in space. If the inputs coming from even just one sense organ are altered, the whole posture is affected, and the Central Nervous System re-elaborates a new motor control strategy.


A body system that bears too many compensations, resulting in too many non-physiological postural conditions, compared to its capabilities, generates symptoms to “warn” that it is no longer able to find new strategies to maintain balance, economy and comfort. When this limit is reached, pains of various kinds may arise, for example somatic or visceral, at any body level.


The Posturologist and the Osteopath are the most suitable figures for understanding what is the primary cause of the symptom felt. Often these pains do not have a well-identified origin unlike, for example, those caused by direct trauma on the affected area: this is because they are the apex of a more complex dysfunction, like the tip of the iceberg.

It is therefore important to trace the aetiology of pain by means of an extensive anamnesis, careful observation and targeted postural tests; it is therefore necessary, through a holistic view, to analyse the body as a single unit, whose overall functioning is given by the integration of the individual parts.

Having found which postural receptor provides non-physiological inputs, it is important to intervene first on it, but always in association with the rebalancing of all the other ones in order to reset the entire Tonic Postural System and thus eliminate the symptom felt.

It is for this reason that collaboration between the various specialized professionals is essential. Below are some examples of which professionals can analyse and treat the various body receptors:

• Visual receptor> Optician-Optometrist – Exteroceptive function (how and how much I see) – Proprioceptive function (how I move and how much the eyes can collaborate)

• Vestibular receptor> Otolaryngologist

• Stomatognathic> Dentist and Gnathologist

• Podalic> Podiatrist

• Musculoskeletal> Osteopath, Physiotherapist, Doctor of Motor Sciences, Physiotherapist

• Cutaneous> Osteopath