Postural Education and Balance Training
Posture Education and Balance Training
Posture is an important factor to consider in treating pain as well as for successful rehabilitation. It encompasses the positions we hold our bodies in throughout the day. Contrary to popular belief, posture is dynamic, not static or unchanging. In the United States, most of us have sedentary jobs where we sit for long periods of time behind a desk and computer, in meetings, or driving and traveling, so it is imperative to move and change positions during the day. Doing so keeps our muscles and tissues limber and promotes blood flow, bringing much needed nutrients to the tissues. Because of how posture can affect us throughout the day, it is important for posture evaluation and education to be an essential part of all physical therapy treatments.
Posture education includes an assessment of posture in the sitting and standing positions. This assists in creating a treatment plan that is unique to each individual patient and their needs. For instance, if a patient’s sitting posture reveals stiffness in the thoracic spine or mid back with a forward head, their physical therapist will recommend stretches of the chest region, training of the anterior neck muscles and self-mobilization of the thoracic spine for position correction as well as teaching the patient to continue these exercises independently after completing physical therapy.
An ergonomic evaluation may also be indicated with posture education, including desk height, keyboard type and position, chair type and adjustments. This will help the patient successfully manage and be aware of his/her posture during the work day, and any activity which requires sitting.
These same principles are applied to standing posture if a patient is required to stand for long periods of time either for work or leisure. If possible, we recommend alternating positions, which is often made easier with an ergonomic standing desk.
At Denver Back Pain Specialists we treat the whole person. While the tailored home exercise program and specialized manual therapy that we provide is important, incorporating proper posture techniques into daily life is key to preventing the recurrence of pain.
Balance is another important factor your physical therapist may assess and recommend training for, based on his/her evaluation during a session. How we balance is complex and includes feedback from many systems throughout our bodies.
During a balance-targeted physical therapy evaluation, a licensed physical therapist will use a variety of techniques to evaluate these systems, including the condition of a patient’s neurological system and any orthopedic restrictions that might contribute. The physical therapist will then formulate a unique program, incorporating tools, exercises and stretches to retrain a patient’s brain, muscles and joints to increase confidence and improve balance throughout daily activities.