3. Deformity Is Widespread
There is widespread deformity among the populace today, some of it absolutely appalling. Just a few days ago we saw a striking example of inexcusable deformity in a fully-grown adult woman, in her middle years. She was exquisitely dressed, her coiffure had been arranged with great skill, cosmetics had been artistically applied, but the overall impression created by this woman was grotesque to an experienced eye. Her entire torso was out of alignment, a fact made very evident to us as she teetered by on her four-inch heels.
This woman’s entire chest cavity represented no more than one fourth of her total body height, so small in size it was. She gave the appearance of two different women trying to exist in a single body! With such impaired respiratory capacity, her days of living will be severely curtailed. We doubt if very much could be done to correct this woman’s structural defects at her stage in life. The older a person is, the more difficult it is to make changes and the longer it will take, all other things being precisely equal.
Another example cited by Dr. Shelton and one we can observe all too frequently in both children and adults is the size of the chest at full inspiration; that is, with deep breath. Only then is it extended somewhat close to the size it should be when fully empty! As many as 85 percent of the children sitting in the secondary school classrooms today have severely-limited chest capacity.
3.1 What Causes Deformities?
Deformity has its roots in many errors. Obviously, most of the damage is done by the mating of two physically-deficient parents who either cared not or had little or no knowledge of the possible consequences, long-term and/or short, of their sexual union; by the poor prenatal care and feeding of mothers; by the lack of exercises during pregnancy, during infancy and throughout childhood and by the physical restraints placed on children today who are foolishly kept indoors in classrooms for long hours sitting in unnatural positions at imperfectly-constructed desks and who receive limited and often inappropriate exercise.
Hygienists and physical therapists generally agree that most deformities are caused by one or more of the following:
- Poor choice of ancestral heritage.
- Poor health of parents.
- Faulty nutrition before and after birth.
- Continuing and long-lasting systemic fatigue due to many possible assaults, mental and physical.
- General systemic weakness resulting from a plethora of physiological assaults of one kind or another, especially poor food choices.
- Astigmatism that gives one an incorrect assessment of surroundings, both immediate and distant.
- Impaired hearing, especially if in only one ear, a condition which may cause a person to turn his head to the source of sound in an effort to add visual response to the auricular.
- Poor lighting that causes one to pull his torso away from a more normal stance and toward the source of light, often an occupational hazard.
- Type of occupation as, for example, the hod-carrier whose one shoulder becomes wider and longer than the other and the bones which form it become thicker and more dense; or an interest or hobby as with the violinist who, after years of daily practice often extended for hours at a time, finds his left shoulder lower than the right shoulder and that the general alignment of the head, neck, shoulders and arms is faulty.
Most deformities can and should be prevented through improved lifestyle. Where they exist, many, indeed most, can be corrected, especially when corrective measures are instigated at an early age, the earlier the better.
3.2 The Most Common Deformities
The most common deformities observed are:
- Rounded shoulders.
- Various forms of spinal curvatures including:
- Wry neck or torticollis in which the head is drawn to one side and usually rotated to some degree so that the chin points to the other side.
- Kyphosis, a term used to indicate an accentuation of the backward curve of the thoracic spine. Kyphosis is a condition which imparts a rounded or hunched appearance since the convexity of the curve is outwards. The degree of curvature, of course, will vary from individual to individual, with some being acute, others less so.
- Lordosis, or the opposite thrust of the spine with an exaggeration of the forward curve of the spine causing the condition familiarly known as “sway back,” or hollow back. Lordosis is usually accompanied by awkward movement of the buttocks in walking since the deformity often extends to the pelvic area.
- Scoliosis, a term used to indicate the side-to-side curve of the spinal column with curvature either to the left or right to form either a C curve or to both the left and the right to form an S curve. The affected person tends to “list” to one side.
Any or all of the above deformities can be multiple in kind as, for example, a combination of both kyphosis and lordosis; or one or more can be combined with individual vertebral malformations and/or rotations of one or more of the vertebrae of the spine.
Spinal abnormalities sometimes appear at birth, perhaps during the growing years, but they usually just creep up on a person as he slowly deteriorates biologically over the years. Generally speaking, the above deformities will usually be the kind that will come to the attention of the Hygienists after they have been well developed.
Spinal abnormalities, which are far and away the most common, and regardless of how classified, generally develop silently and stealthily, without pain. It is interesting to note that perhaps as much as 30 percent of the bone structure can deteriorate before such deterioration can be detected by X rays.
According to the Scoliosis Research Society of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, about 10 percent of the adolescent population have some degree of scoliosis. Parenthetically, scoliosis should not be confused with poor posture.
The Scoliosis Foundation states that “there are currently no medications to treat scoliosis, nor can its onset be prevented.” Hygienists would agree that the condition cannot be “treated” with drugs but do not agree that such a deformity cannot be “prevented.” The human body, like all living things, always tends to grow toward perfection when given the proper tools. We agree with the Foundation in saying that the treatment is mechanical, but we go further in that in any program designed to correct any deformity, it is necessary to employ all the known requisites of organic existence as and when required and as present capacity indicates, these used in conjunction with certain exercises specifically designed to correct the existing defect.
- 1. Introduction
- 2. What Is A Corrective Exercise?
- 3. Deformity Is Widespread
- 4. The Spine
- 5. Correct Postural Maintenance Vital To Wellness
- 6. Exercise—General
- 7. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: Excerpt from Funk and Wagnalls New Encyclopedia
- Article #2: Exercise
- Article #3: Good Posture By Dr. Herbert M. Shelton
- Article #4: Correcting Sensitivity to Light By Edwin Flatto, N.D., D.O.
- Article #5: Words Of Wisdom By Silvester Graham