Comparison of methods for assessing body posture


There is a consensus among health professionals about the importance of evaluating postural imbalances in your physical evaluation routines (Fedorak et al., 2003).

The traditional postural assessment learned during undergraduate especially applied by physiotherapists, but also by other health professionals, highlighting the professional of Physical Education, is made visually, where the evaluator identifies curvature changes in the spine and asymmetries in the plan sagittal and frontal (anterior and posterior) qualitatively (CARADONNA and ALVES, 1997; BRICOT, 2001).

Recently several professionals have used the photographic image method in their assessments to document postural deviations (NORMAND et al., 2002). Its use is by some professionals, in a qualitative way, ie only used to identify the postural change, without identifying exactly how existing values is this deviation (PENHA et al., 2005). However, the advance of technology comes the possibility of using analog or digital photographs to a quantitative postural assessment by the method called photogrammetry or bioestriometria (Tommaselli et al., 1999), to identify the exact degree of deviation.

Whereas the qualitative assessment does not identify with precision the evolution of assessed and may have results changes by different evaluators (Fedorak et al., 2003), the photographic method came up with an interesting alternative to minimize these factors, however, method needs further validation.

Several authors, concerned about the reliability of the method, provided studies evaluating different body segments and obtained interesting results, with minimal variations in the method, considering it reliable (SATO et al. 2003; IUNES et al., 2005; Ribeiro et al. , 2006).

But which of the methods will be more interesting? Visual or Photo?

Iunes et al. (2009) conducted a study which was aimed at comparing the two methods. The authors used 21 volunteers and three evaluators in order to analyze the similarity between them and whether there is difference in results between evaluators.

Regarding the visual postural assessment, when it comes to assessing agreement between evaluators in postural markers of the face, anterior and posterior region. The results show that there was no agreement on some variables, the most marked differences when the face of the evaluations were analyzed.

However, when data related to postural evaluation by photogrammetry were analyzed, it was found agreement on all variables, including those in the visual assessment of results obtained no agreement.

When the researchers sought to compare the two methods to analyze the correlation between them, a high disagreement where the body 8 points compared was noted, only three achieved agreement among the surveyed methods.

The data Iunes et al. (2009) suggest that the photographic method is more reliable and detailed compared to the visual method. There are few studies that test the fidelity of the photographic method of data but the findings follow the same results found by Farkas and Bryson (1980) and Sato et al. (2003).


With the data in the literature, we can indicate that the photographic method proves safe and constant even being run by different evaluators. The achievement does not occur with the visual method, where there is a lot of interpretive influence of the evaluator.