The Domino Affect of Bad Posture

Vladimir Janda's Theory

Professor Vladimir Janda is one of the biggest contributors to our understanding of nervous systems influence over muscle control. Through his observations he provided original theories that scientists, via improved experimental methods are now able to confirm.


His interest in physical rehabilitation developed after contracting polio at 15 years old, which left him wheelchair bound for 2 years, but through rehabilitation he regained the ability to walk.


One prominent area of his studies was the development of three stereotypical patterns associated with distinct chronic pain syndromes;

  •         upper-crossed syndrome(UCS)
  •         lower-crossed syndrome (LCS)
  •         layered syndrome (a combination of UCS and LCS)

These syndromes are characterized by specific patterns of muscle weakness (inhibited) and tightness (facilitated) that cross the body (as shown in the diagram above).


Specific postural changes seen in UCS, include forward head posture, increased cervical lordosis and thoracic kyphosis, elevated and protracted shoulders, and winging of the scapulae. Specific postural changes are also seen in LCS including anterior pelvic tilt, increased lumbar lordosis, lateral lumbar shift, lateral leg rotation, and knee hyperextension.


We know that when our centre of gravity changes the rest of our body shifts its balance to compensate, below demonstrates how UCS can lead to Layered Syndrome.

So how does posture affect my spine?

Janda found that the UCS pattern of imbalance caused spinal joint dysfunction, particularly at the atlanto-occipital joints, C4-C5 segment, cervicothoracic joint, glenohumeral joint, and T4-T5 segment.


He also found that LCS created joint dysfunction, particularly at the L4-L5 and L5-S1 segments, SI joints, and hip joints.


Correcting these muscle imbalances through stretching and strengthening can help reduce stress on your joints and muscles and in turn reduce pain.


For further details of Janda’s life and contributions, read the paper by Morris and colleagues, Vladimir Janda, MD, DSc: tribute to a master of rehabilitation. (Spine. 2006 Apr 20;31(9):1060-4.)


Text adapted, and image taken from cited 11/2/2013


How can chiropractic help?

First of all through observation, palpation and muscle testing we can determine whether or not you fit this pattern of presentation. Some patients have different patterns, but that is what we are trained to recognise.


Through soft tissue and joint manipulation we are able to help correct muscle and joint dysfunction, but in the end YOU are responsible for your posture and daily habits outside of the clinic. As part of your treatment you will be given home exercises and self help advice to compliment the treatment and help avoid aggravating factors.


At The Whitchurch Clinic, as many other chiropractic clinics do, we have an onsite rehabilitation room where we can assist with exercise and posture training appropriate to your specific problems.