PHYSIOTHERAPIST PERCEPTIONS OF OPTIMAL SITTING AND STANDING POSTURE

Review written by Dr Jarod Hall info

BACKGROUND & OBJECTIVE

The concepts of “postural health” and “optimal posture” have been discussed in the healthcare community for decades. Over time there have been broadly accepted beliefs developed regarding the existence of both “good” and “bad” postures. In 1947, the Posture Committee of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons defined healthy posture as “the state of muscular and skeletal balance which protects the supporting structures of the body against injury or progressive deformity”, and poor posture as “a faulty relationship of the various parts of the body which produces increased strain on the supporting structure”. Clinically, “corrective” postural interventions and advice are commonly used by physiotherapists in managing spinal pain based on the presumption that postural variations from the ideal posture are causative of a wide variety of different painful conditions.

This review drew on a cohort of physiotherapists based in Greece, and aimed to investigate the perceptions and beliefs of physiotherapists on the optimal standing and sitting posture, as well as how these physiotherapists describe and quantify the characteristics they associate with optimal postures.

METHODS

A cross-sectional design was used via an online survey to explore the perceptions of physiotherapists on the optimal standing and sitting posture that they would use for postural education within their own practice. An original web-based survey was designed as there is no existing reliable and valid tool assessing this construct. The survey used consisted of three sections:

  A. a closed question regarding the perceived importance of postural education in clinical practice (4-point Likert scale; 1=not important at all; 4=very important)
  B. a choice between seven sitting and five standing postures from photographs to select one of each as “optimal” for postural education; with free text boxes for choice justification
  C. demographic information including sex, age, level of educational qualifications, years of experience, clinical area of expertise, postgraduate diplomas and certifications, work location, and employment status

RESULTS

544 physiotherapists participated in the survey, representing an approximate response rate of 7% of the countrywide registered practitioners. All areas of Greece were represented within the data. 93.9% of physiotherapists rated the education of optimal standing and sitting posture as

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