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Physiotherapy, Physical Therapy and Your Posture

Physical Therapy as a means of improving posture

Physical Therapy / Physiotherapy covers a broad range of treatment options within physical care and rehabilitation. It is found both in primary health care facilities such as hospitals, as well as private practice settings.

A main goal of Physical Therapy / Physiotherapy is to maintain and restore movement and functional ability. Physical Therapists / Physiotherapists incorporate a broad range of techniques such as ultrasound, exercise prescription, manual and manipulative therapy.

Services provided vary between countries, depending on local legislation and training offered. In some countries, physical therapy is a regulated profession. People who practice physical therapy are called physical therapists or physiotherapists.

There are many methods of physical therapy and these include but not limited to:

  • Ultrasound,
  • Electrical stimulation ,
  • Massage,
  • Strength training/resistance training,
  • Exercise therapy,
  • Balance training, and
  • Gait training.

Physical therapists often work as part of a multi-disciplinary health care team.

Posture can be defined as the physical orientation of a person or animal during or in between movement . Sitting, standing and lying down are all examples of postural positions. Posture is influenced by muscles , bones, nerves and joints. The main job for a physical therapist is to diagnose and treat physical impairment, loss of physical function or pain caused by physical injury or disease. A physical therapist can identify problems with posture when it is causing discomfort or impacting your ability to perform daily activities.

A physical therapist will begin with an evaluation which includes taking a thorough case history , observing movement patterns, testing muscle strength and balance abilities, and assessing range of motion. It is important to inform physical therapists about other physical conditions, injuries or surgeries that could be relevant to the patient’s care.

Physiotherapy can use exercise to improve your postureAfter physical therapists have completed their initial evaluation, they will design a plan for your physical therapy treatment program. This might include specific exercises , strengthening activities, education on how to prevent physical injury , and use of physical aids. Their physical therapy treatment programs may be very active or passive, depending on your physical therapist’s expertise .

“Physiotherapy advocates postural awareness and re-education, and for a modern lifestyle where there is a tendency towards flexed postures, the ability to reposition after a period of time in flexion is important for prevention of low back pain and injury”. Furthermore…“within physiotherapy practice, the ability to reposition to an upright posture is considered important for postural education” (Donal & Green, 2006, p. 203).

Donal, K.J., Green, A. Lumbar spine reposition sense: The effect of a ‘slouched’ posture. Manual Therapy 11 (2006) 202-207.

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