Postural Education & Balance Training
Posture is how we hold our bodies habitually during static positions when we are not moving and during movement. Posture is dynamic as opposed to static or unchanging as most people believe. It is healthy and good thing to move during the day and change our position. It keeps our tissues stretched and nourished with blood supply. 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 that posture evaluation and education be an essential part of all physical therapy.
Posture education will include an evaluation of sitting and standing posture. This will assist in the determining what types of treatment intervention and education is appropriate. For instance, if a patient’s sitting posture reveals stiffness in the thoracic spine or mid back with a forward head. The physical therapist will plan to give the patient stretches of the chest region, training of the anterior neck muscles and self-mobilization of the thoracic spine to help correct the position as well as teaching the patient to continue these exercises independently after completing physical therapy.
Posture education may also include ergonomic advice concerning desk height, keyboard type and position, and chair type and adjustments. This will help set the patient up for the most efficient use of their bodies during activities at work and any activity requiring 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. We do recommend alternating positions if a patient is able. And with today’s standing desks this is possible!
At we Catalyst Physical Therapy treat the whole person. While the tailored home exercise program and specialized manual therapy that we provide is important, incorporating posture and positioning into daily life is key to prevent recurrence of pain.
Balance training is something that is instituted if necessary after a physical therapy evaluation including balance assessment is performed. How we balance is complex and includes the feedback of many systems in our bodies.
Balance includes feedback from our eyes and what we see, our ears and what we hear, our head position, the condition of our neurological system as well as orthopedic restrictions or deficits including lack of range of motion or strength in our joints. The evaluation findings help guide the balance retraining that is recommended.
Typically in physical therapy, we place the patient in the positions or activities that they have deficits in and work on repeated experiences in these positions or activities which helps to retrain our brains, muscles and joints to become more efficient at maintaining balance over time.
These becomes the home exercise program for the patient. At Catalyst Physical Therapy we use a variety of different tools and exercise equipment to further challenge your balance to increase your confidence with daily activities, but balance training does not always stop there. Pending your goals, balance training can also incorporate the proprioceptive retraining needed to return to sport.