Postural Muscles

Last Updated: July 15, 2018

Definition - What does Postural Muscles mean?

The postural muscles are the muscles of the body that support the skeleton and maintain balance. The body's deep abdominal muscles that work to balance the spine and connect the upper and lower body are important postural muscles. These muscles are at particular risk for injury if good ergonomic design is not applied to worksites. Both workers who move a lot and those who must hold static positions for long times are vulnerable to injuries of the postural muscles. These muscles are also referred to as antigravity muscles.

WorkplaceTesting explains Postural Muscles

The postural muscles support the spine and maintain its alignment. These muscles act against the force of gravity to allow the human body to maintain its upright position. The postural muscles include the core muscles of the body's trunk.

The four main abdominal muscles that comprise these postural muscles are the transversus abdominis, the pelvic floor, the diaphragm, and the multifidus. The transversus abdominis wraps around the organs of the abdomen and attaches the ribs and hips, creating a cylindrical support system for the spine. The pelvic floor is located in the in the pelvic region and provides stability to the hips as well as supporting the abdominal organs. At the top of the abdominal cavity is the diaphragm. This muscle is responsible for the expansion and contraction of the ribcage to facilitate breathing. The multifidus is the muscle that runs along the length of the spine providing support for the vertebral column. The multifidus muscle is unique in its ability to become stronger when stretched.

Other postural muscles include the supportive muscles of the shoulders, arms, and hand; and the hips, legs, and foot. Postural muscles can withstand sustained exertion. Upon overwork or strain, these muscles tend to tighten or contract. Exercises that strengthen postural muscles will help prevent repetitive stress injuries and increase both stability and balance.

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