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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Changes in the body posture of women occurring with age

Justyna Drzał-Grabiec1*, Sławomir Snela12, Justyna Rykała1, Justyna Podgórska1 and Agnieszka Banaś3

Author Affiliations

1 Institute of Physiotherapy, University of Rzeszów, Rzeszów, Poland

2 Department of Paediatric Orthopaedics and Traumatology, Regional Hospital No 2, Rzeszow, Poland

3 Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Institute of Obstetrics and Medical Rescue, University of Rzeszow, Rzeszow, Poland

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BMC Geriatrics 2013, 13:108  doi:10.1186/1471-2318-13-108

Published: 12 October 2013

Abstract

Background

A current topic in the field of geriatrics still needing a great deal of study is the changes in body posture occurring with age. Symptoms of these changes can be observed starting between the ages of 40–50 years with a slow progression that increases after 60 years of age. The aims of this study were to evaluate parameters characterizing the posture of women over the age of 60 years compared with a control group and to determine the dynamics of body posture changes in the following decades.

Methods

The study included 260 randomly selected women. The study group consisted of 130 women between the ages of 60–90 years (Older Women). The control group (Younger Women) consisted of 130 women between the ages of 20–25 years (posture stabilization period). The photogrammetric method was used to evaluate body posture using the phenomenon of the projection chamber. The study was conducted according to generally accepted principles.

Results

In the analysis of parameters characterizing individual slope curves, results were varied among different age groups. The lumbar spine slope did not show significant differences between different age groups (p = 0.6952), while statistically significant differences (p = 0.0000) were found in the thoracic-lumbar spine slope (p = 0.0033) and upper thoracic spine slope. Body angle was shown to increase with age (p = 0.0000). Thoracic kyphosis depth significantly deepened with age (p = 0.0002), however, the thoracic kyphosis angle decreased with age (p = 0.0000). An increase in asymmetries was noticed, provided by a significantly higher angle of the shoulder line (p = 0.0199) and the difference in height of the lower shoulder blade angle (p = 0.0007) measurements in the group of older women.

Conclusions

Changes in the parameters describing body posture throughout consecutive decades were observed. Therapy for women over the age of 60 years should involve strengthening of the erector spinae muscles and controlling body posture with the aim of reducing trunk inclination and deepening of thoracic kyphosis. Moreover, exercises shaping lumbar lordosis should be performed to prevent its flattening.

Keywords:
Spine; Photogrammetric method; Women