By Ebele Orakpo
Dr. Daniel Odebiyi is a senior lecturer in the Department of Physiotherapy, College of Medicine, University of Lagos. In this chat with Vanguard Learning during the university’s Golden Jubilee Research Fair, Odebiyi spoke on his work on affiliation between hand dominance and standing posture and explained that bad postures could lead to certain ailments later in life. Excerpts:
“Presently, I am working on the affiliation between hand dominance and standing posture which include anterior and posterior pelvic tilt. We also have the shoulder (acromion and the scapula). We came about this study because of our experience in the clinic.
In the clinic, when we treat a patient with back pain, we discover that after sometime, a few of them do come back saying that the pain relapsed so we tried to look into what might be responsible and in some of them, we measured their limb length and we discovered that one limb appeared to be shorter than the other so we prescribed insole and discovered that the pain subsided.
We went on to look at the disparity between where right-handed people are tilted to and where left-handed people are tilted to and whether hand dominance will have effect or will actually determine where an individual is tilted to, so that is why we went into the study.
We got a grid and 34 participants to stand in front and behind the grid and we took still photographs in standing posture. Then the photographs were taken to a digitalizer where the coordinates were taken. The result showed that only eight per cent of the population studied actually had symmetry; they were not tilted either to the left or to the right.
Majority of the people were tilted to either the right or the left and when the data were pulled together, that is both left hand-dominance and right hand-dominance, we discovered that majority of the individuals were tilted to the left so when we analysed the data separately, both the right-handed dominance and left-handed dominance, we discovered that individuals with right hand-dominance were tilted majorly to the left, and also individuals with left hand-dominance were tilted majorly to left.
We also tried to find out if there is an association between postural tilt and handedness, and we found out that there is no association between the two. This further supports the finding that hand dominance does not have effect on where most people are tilted.
We also tried to look at the association between gender and postural tilt and we discovered that there is no association except in anterior pelvic tilt which showed that females are more tilted than the males and that can be understandable because of the differences in composition of both the male and the female.
So generally, the study showed that most individuals are tilted to the left and that there is no association between hand dominance and postural tilt. Also there is no association between gender and postural tilt except for anterior pelvic tilt. We then concluded that most people are generally tilted to the left and that there is no association between handedness and postural tilt which suggests that handedness does not affect where an individual is tilted to when they are in standing posture.
“Our recommendation is that generally, postural corrections should be encouraged right from the primary school to the secondary school and even to the tertiary institution. Most especially when patients are being treated for back pain, the limb length should be measured for disparity and once there is any disparity, it should be taken care of or the person can be given an in-sole to compensate for that disparity so that the patient does not come back later in life complaining of a relapse or re-occurrence of the back pain.
Tiltedness is not inborn, it is habitual. Like I said, we can start postural corrections from our primary schools, we inculcate it in ourselves. Even what is going on now amongst our youths, the way they walk, trying to impress some people, if that is done over a period of time, it becomes a habit that may be difficult to erase and at the end of the day, the person may come down with postural problems.”