Supine Position

Supine Position Definition

In anatomy and medicine, the supine position refers to an organism lying on its back. Any organism with clearly defined ventral and dorsal sides can be described in this way. Supine means lying on one’s back with the dorsal side towards the ground.

Supine Position Explained

Due to the dorsal side pointing downward, the ventral side points upward. Supine refers to lying flat on one’s back, as opposed to prone, which involves lying on one’s stomach. As shown in the image below, this is the case.

The supine position is rarely seen in animals other than humans. In general, vertebrates prefer the prone position since it makes getting up easier. Turtles in the supine position, for example, would have difficulty flipping over. A supine position is only seen in sick or dead animals.

Uses of Supine Position

In a variety of fields, the supine position is used to orient specimens, subjects, or individuals. In many surgeries, the majority of the internal organs can be accessed in the supine position. To access the dorsal side of the spine, certain back surgeries require the patient to be in the prone position. 

Similarly, other doctors may note that the supine position raises blood pressure when a patient sleeps in that position. During a polysomnography, a sleeping person is moved into various sleeping positions, including supine. 

As well as in human medicine, veterinary medicine uses the supine position to position animals on their backs for a variety of procedures.

The position is also used by non-medical professionals. Scientists may compare ventral anatomical features of two specimens while lying supine in comparative anatomy. A supine position is an important starting position for rehabilitation, sports training, weight-lifting, and yoga. 

From this position, you can perform a variety of exercises and stretches. Even though the supine position generally refers to any position in which the subject is lying on its back, some professions and fields may have specific adjustments or nuances.

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