Postural alignment of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

Abstract Introduction: In chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), airflow resistance impairs respiratory mechanics that may compromise postural alignment. There is a lack of studies that have investigated compromised postures and their possible associations with pulmonary function. Objectives: To compare the postural alignment of COPD patients with apparently healthy individuals; To correlate pulmonary function with postural alignment in the COPD group. Methods: 20 COPD patients and 20 apparently healthy individuals performed: anthropometry, spirometry and postural evaluation. The following postural changes were assessed: lateral head tilt (LHT), shoulder asymmetry (SA1), anterior pelvic asymmetry (APA), lateral trunk tilt (LTT), scapular asymmetry (SA2), posterior pelvic asymmetry (PPA), head protrusion (HP), shoulder protrusion (SP), anterior pelvic tilt (APT) and thoracic kyphosis (TK). Results: There was a statistically significant difference between COPD patients and apparently healthy individuals in the following variables: PPT (p= 0.021), APT (p=0.014) and TK (p=0.011). There was a correlation between pulmonary variables and postural alignment in the COPD group: Forced Volume in one second (FEV1% pred) and HP (°) (r=0.488, p=0.029), FEV1 (% pred) and APT (°) (r= -0.472, p= 0.036); Forced Vital Capacity (FVC % pred) and HP (°) (r=0.568, p=0.009); FVC (% pred) and APT (°) (r=-0.461, p=0.041). Conclusion: Postural alignment of the anterior tilt of the right and left pelvis and thoracic kyphosis is different when compared with COPD patients and healthy individuals. There is a relationship between pulmonary function and postural alignment in COPD patients.