The importance of extrinsic and intrinsic compensatory mechanisms to body posture of competitive athletes a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sci Rep. 2022 May 25;12(1):8808. doi: 10.1038/s41598-022-12979-8.


The aim of this systematic review (qualitative analysis) was to identify the variables of changes induced by extrinsic (sport specific training) and intrinsic (individual anatomical predispositions) compensatory mechanisms that impact on the physiological magnitude of spinal curvatures in the sagittal plane and their deviations in the frontal plane. Furthermore, the aim of the quantitative analysis was to verify and objectivize the impact of these variables on athlete's body posture. A search of electronic database (PubMed, EBSCO, MEDLINE) was conducted to identify all studies on sports training and athlete's spine and body posture from 2011 to 2021. In the sagittal plane, the pooled proportion accounted for 44.97% (95% CI 31.22-58.72%) for thoracic hyperkyphosis (TH), 4.98% (95% CI 1.60-8.36%) for lumbar hyperlordosis (hyperLL), and 12.35% (95% CI 1.60-8.36%) for lumbar hypolordosis (hypoLL). Furthermore, in the sagittal plane, the pooled mean of thoracic kyphosis angle was 37.59° (95% CI 34.45-40.73%), whereas lumbar lordosis angle was 29.79° (95% CI 26.46-33.12%). Professional athletes tend to have postural disturbances and/or spinal curvature disorders in the sagittal and frontal planes. The meta-analysis indicated which intrinsic and extrinsic components might induce spinal abnormalities.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Athletes
  • Humans
  • Kyphosis*
  • Lordosis*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Posture / physiology
  • Spine