Active self-correction of back posture in children instructed with ‘straighten your back’ command

The ability to adopt the appropriately corrected body posture is one of the factors that determines the effectiveness of therapeutic programmes. This study determined the active self-correction expressed by the change of sagittal spinal curvatures (in standing and sitting positions) in 249 children (136 females, 113 males, aged 10-14 years) instructed with ‘straighten your back’ command (SYB). Spinal curvatures (sacral slope-SS, lumbar lordosis-LL, global, lower and upper thoracic kyphosis-TK, LK, UK, respectively) were assessed using Saunders inclinometer. The assessment was done in spontaneous standing and sitting positions and in the positions adopted following the SYB. In a standing position SYB led to the significant (P<0.001) increase in SS, and the significant (P<0.01) reduction in LL, TK, LK, UK. In a sitting position SYB resulted in significant changes (P<0.001) from kyphotic to lordotic position of SS and LL and to the significant (P<0.001) reduction of TK (36.5°±10.8 vs. 23.5°±11) and the flattening of LK (15.2°±8.7 vs. 1.0°±8.4). There were gender-based discrepancy with regards to active self-correction only for LL in a standing and UK in a sitting position. Females exhibited a significant reduction in LL (P<0.001). UK significantly increased only in males (P<0.001).

The 'straighten your back' command leads to moving the spine away from mid-range towards end range of motion. Therefore, the command should not be used to elicit the most optimal back posture. Additional studies are necessary to determine if the active self-correction is different in females and males.