Posturology belongs to the field of neuroscience.

It studies the functional troubles of the posture, focusing on the structural distortions of the locomotive system and its painful expressions.

This approach enables to treat efficiently and in the long term many pains from postural origin, especially of the spinal axis, which represent the majority of chronic and recurrent pains syndromes, including various symptoms such as eye fatigue, instability, migraines, tinnitus, and so forth...

 

Consensual definition:

   Posture (which should not be mixed up with position) is the development and active control of the different body segments configuration in the space, it expresses the way used by the organism to react to  stimulation from the external world.

 

History:

   That discipline developed in France after the research of the neurophysiologist Jean-Bernard Baron, in the 1960's. He created the International Society for Postural and Gait Research (ISPGR), which organizes world congresses about fundamental aspects of posturology.

   In the 1970's Dr. Pierre-Marie Gagey from Paris became the main player of that discipline, he developed a scientific and medical approach of the postural control, including vision, inner ear and foot sensitivity. Dr. Gagey applied his technique to the medical practice.

   One of his students, Dr. Michel Marignan, studied the disturbing impact of the dental apparatus in the postural control, and added auriculotherapy to the postural treatment, which since then gained an outstanding efficiency.

   On his side, another neurophysiologist from Paris, Dr. Rene Bourdiol demonstrated the therapeutic action of proprioceptive insoles on the posture.

   In the field of manual therapy, the French physical therapist Jean-Luc Saffin developed orthopraxy (first known as Moneyron technique), that consists in manual stimulation techniques applied on the standing subject.

   Concerning inner ear and dizziness troubles, another French physical therapist, Alain Semont, developed a remarkable method of vestibular rehabilitation. 

   We must also mention, at that time, some pioneers in Portugal (Enrique Da Cunha) and in Japan (Tadashi Fukuda)

   Posturology is then gaining international recognition from the 1990's.

 

How does it work?

   The posture is the result of a complex neuromuscular activity, allowing the segments stabilization, more specifically during the standing position, or sometimes sitting, at the lowest energy cost.

   That activity is under the control of the postural system, itself consisting of subsystems:

  • The central nervous system
  • The postural muscles
  • The various postural receptors: eye, feet, inner ear, muscles and tendons receptor

   The whole set of information coming from those receptors is processed in real time by the central nervous system to adjust the posture.

 

   The postural syndromes are the result of a wrong fusion of these information.

They produce 3 groups of symptoms:

  • Pains and/or distortions (95%)
  • Instability (15%)
  • Fatigue, depression, cognitive troubles (40%)

   These symptoms may be isolated or combined.

 

Treatment of postural syndromes:

   Due to the postural system complexity, the specialized practitioner must have an overall knowledge of the systems involved in the postural control. Strictly speaking, it does not exist such a profession of posturologist but rather medical professionals specialized in posturology, such as medicine doctors, physical therapists, dentists, ophtalmologists, feet therapists, otolaryngologists, optometrists... 

   In addition to routine examinations such as radiography, MRI and the like, a fine examination of the postural system is necessary, and sometimes a specific assessment of a given sensory system or implicated organ: eye, inner ear, teeth and so on.

   The treatments are adapted depending on the cases, and performed by experts in various therapies such as:

  • Manual adjustments (orthopraxy)
  • Auriculotherapy (see the page dedicated about it)
  • Proprioceptive insoles
  • Teeth treatment
  • Inner ear, eyes, tongue, or breathing rehabilitation

   This list is not exhaustive.

 

 Which are the indications?

   1) In case of chronic, recurrent musculoskeletal pains, resisting to any treatment.

   2) When suffering of a set of symptoms such as: migraine, instability, fatigue, and regular medical examination does not indicate any abnormality (e.g whiplash)

   3) Structural distortions (scoliosis, cyphosis ...)

   4) Some cases of dyslexia

 

Detailed history of posturology (by Dr Pierre-Marie Gagey)