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Physiotherapist perceptions of optimal sitting and standing posture

PainSci » bibliography » Korakakis et al 2019

Two articles on PainSci cite Korakakis 2019: 1. Does Posture Matter?2. Pseudo-Quackery in the Treatment of Pain

original abstract Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND: Assessment of, and advice about, spinal posture is common when people with spinal pain present to physiotherapists. Most descriptions regarding optimal spinal posture have been qualitative in nature.

OBJECTIVES: To determine the beliefs of physiotherapists regarding optimal sitting and standing posture.

DESIGN: Online survey.

METHOD: 544 Greek physiotherapists selected an optimal sitting (choice of seven) and standing (choice of five) posture, while providing justification for their choice.

RESULTS: Education regarding optimal sitting and standing posture was considered "considerably" or "very" important by 93.9% of participants. Three different sitting postures, and two different standing postures, were selected as the optimal posture by 97.5% and 98.2% of physiotherapists respectively. While this reflects a lack of complete consensus on optimal posture, the most commonly selected postures were all some variation of upright lordotic sitting, in contrast slouched spinal curves (sitting) or forward head posture (sitting and standing) almost never being selected as optimal. Interestingly, participants used similar arguments (e.g. natural curves, muscle activation) to justify their selection regardless of the spinal configuration of each selected posture.

CONCLUSIONS: These results reinforce previous data suggesting that upright lordotic sitting postures are considered optimal, despite a lack of strong evidence that any specific posture is linked to better health outcomes. While postural re-education may play a role in the management of spinal pain for some patients, awareness of such widespread and stereotypical beliefs regarding optimal posture may be useful in clinical assessment and management.

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