The human body is designed symmetrically with muscles in one area of the body balancing the muscles in another. The body performs best when that symmetry is maintained, but the wear and tear of daily life changes the balance, and we begin to complain of sore backs and aching joints. A postural analysis grid chart is a tool for locating problem areas in the body and provides a visual aid for patient education. Treatment progress can be tracked by periodically repeating the analysis.
Hang the plumb line from the ceiling according to the manufacturer's directions. Suspend it three feet away from the grid chart, lined up with the vertical centre of the chart. The bob should clear the floor by about 1/4 inch. Skip this step if the mounted postural analysis grid chart has a plumb line and bob already attached.
Ask the patient to wear clothing that reveals body contours, such as exercise wear, and to remove shoes and socks. Instruct the patient to stand between the plumb line and the chart without touching either one.
Position the patient facing away from the chart for the anterior (front) analysis. The inside (medial aspect) of her heels should be shoulder-width apart and an equal distance on either side of the plumb line. Mark her foot position with coloured tape. She must stand in the same place for each picture.
Instruct the patient to stand normally. Chiropractic physician Dr. Erin Ducat stresses, "It's important to make sure that the patient is standing as normally as possible without artificially trying to stand up straight or assume a 'good position.' A good way of helping them relax is having them take a few steps in place or taking a deep breath before you take the picture." Take a picture of the patient and determine if the patient leans to the right or left by referencing the plumb line to represent a vertical line down the centre of the body (midsaggittal plane).
Turn the patient to face the chart for the posterior (back) analysis. Ask him to put the backs of his heels (posterior aspect) an equal distance from the chart. Take a picture, and use the plumb line to determine if the patient rotates his extremities or exhibits other postural abnormalities.
Ask the patient to push her hair behind her ears and turn one side toward the chart for the lateral (side) analysis. The exterior bump on her ankle (lateral malleolus) should line up with the plumb line. Take a picture and determine if the ear canal (auditory meatus) lines up with the plumb line.
Download the pictures to a computer from a digital camera and insert them in the patient's records. Print copies, if desired, to give to the patient. Show the patient the photos, if an instant camera was used, and file them in the patient's records. Discuss the findings with the patient. Both methods will provide a visual record, so the patient can see his progress as he works through the treatment program.