Magnitude of physiological curvatures of the spine and the incidence of contractures of selected muscle groups in students

Elżbieta Olszewska 1 , Piotr Tabor 2 , and Renata Czarniecka 2
  • 1 Faculty of Physical Education, Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, Marymoncka St. 34, 00-968 , Warsaw, Poland
  • 2 Faculty of Physical Education, Józef Pilsudski University of Physical Education, , Warsaw, Poland


Study aim: The aim of this study was to evaluate the incidence of contractures of selected muscle groups with respect to the magnitude of the physiological curvatures of the spine in young men with above-average levels of physical activity.

Material and methods: The study included 96 students at the University of Physical Education in Warsaw aged between 20 and 22 years (21.2 ± 1.05). Ninety-five percent of the students participated in sports training activities. The study was conducted between January and February 2016. The selected traits of the body posture were evaluated with an inclinometer, which was used to measure the inclination angles of sections of the spine relative to the vertical. The ranges of motion in the shoulder complex and the pelvic complex were measured with a goniometer. Values of 175º (for the shoulder complex) and 174° (for the hip joint) were assumed to indicate a decreased range of motion.

Results: The analysis of the individual results concerning mobility disorders in the shoulder complex and the pelvic complex revealed significant abnormalities in the researched group of students. About 90% of the study participants showed contrac­tures of selected muscle groups within the shoulder girdle, primarily in the right upper limb. Similar results were obtained for the incidence of contractures in the flexors of the hip joint. Flexion contractures in the hip joint were observed in around 84% of the participants, primarily in the left lower limb. The correlations between the inclination angles of the sections of the spine relative to the vertical and the ranges of motion in the shoulder complex and the pelvic complex, established using Pearson correlation coefficients, were ambiguous. The angles γ, β1 and α were inversely proportional to the range of raising motions of the upper limbs through flexion, where the correlation coefficients of all angles were statistically significant. Similar tendencies were observed for the correlations between the angles β2, β1 and α and the range of the extension movements at the hip joint, although the correlation coefficients were statistically significant only in the case of the angle β1.

Conclusions: Ranges of movement in the shoulder complex and pelvic complex have an influence on magnitude of physiologi­cal curvatures of the spine and the functioning of body posture.

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