Biomechanical assessment of human posture: a literature review

J Bodyw Mov Ther. 2014 Jul;18(3):368-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jbmt.2013.11.018. Epub 2013 Nov 27.


Introduction: Postural deviations have been linked to a series of different kinds of pain and dysfunction. However, posture is not an easy subject to study, mainly because postural assessments are still scientifically inaccurate, such as photography, or expensive, such as MRI, whereas others, such as X-ray, involve radiation problems. The aim of this literature review was to search for new scientific methods for assessing posture and to discuss which among both new and old methods are best for scientific and clinical objectives.

Materials and methods: The Medline and Lilacs databases were searched for the period 2003 to 2013 with the use of the following keywords: "posture" and "postural."

Results: A total of 452 articles that assessed posture in some way were found. Twenty-two articles were selected, and 11 relevant types of technologies were described.

Discussion: The relevant technologies discussed were force plate; pictures; goniometers, inclinometers, tape, and other devices; 3D analysis; 3D X-ray; sensors; electromyography; Kinect; magnetic resonance imaging; 4D computed tomography; and infrared.

Conclusion: There is enough technology to make a very good quantitative evaluation possible. For example, the 3D MRI or the 4D CT can register static and dynamic posture. Other cheaper solutions may use combined and synchronized equipments. However, these synchronizations still require validation.

Keywords: Accelerometer; Assessment; EMG; MRI; Posture.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthrometry, Articular
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Diagnostic Imaging / methods*
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Photography / methods*
  • Posture*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed