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GeneralHow Postural Training Devices Can Benefit Medical Care

Postural training devices are designed to help correct and improve your posture. These devices typically work by providing instant feedback, which reminds you to maintain proper form and keep your spine aligned.  Postural training devices are often seen as a way to improve posture and prevent slouching, but they can also be integrated into clinical settings to improve patient outcomes.

Pain Management

In nonpharmacological (non-drug) pain management, postural training devices can be classified as a type of postural aid. By providing real-time feedback, postural training tech can be a huge component of increasing postural awareness. While it can be difficult for patients to consciously monitor posture 24/7, postural training devices can do this for them.  In one study involving over 500 chronic pain patients, results found that improvements in postural awareness were associated with decreased pain in patients with spinal or shoulder pain1. Although the cause and nature of pain are complex and multifaceted, poor posture is frequently a component of chronic pain. In a clinical setting, postural training devices may be used as part of a pain management plan for patients suffering from conditions like chronic low back pain, neck pain, degenerative disc disease, and herniated disk. Just as poor posture can become a habit, using good posture can train the proprioceptive sense to readjust to better alignment- thus aiding in long-term posture improvement and pain management.

Monitoring of Chronic Conditions

Postural training devices are a useful tool for health care professionals to monitor and manage patients with chronic conditions. These devices typically come with smartphone apps that track postural data.  As such, postural training devices allow medical professionals to identify any deviations from proper positioning and take action accordingly, thereby helping to ensure that their patients get the care they need. The greatest benefit of this approach is that it would collect data from the patient’s normal activities rather than the restricted measures taken in a rehabilitation center. The data from the postural trainer can be utilized in conjunction with a specific treatment program to identify whether or not the therapy plan is effective. This monitoring can particularly benefit patients with spinal conditions (such as cervical spondylosis or facet joint syndrome) and musculoskeletal disorders2,3. In short, postural training devices are an essential tool for professionals working with chronic care patients, helping to greater outcomes and enhance quality of life.

Revolutionize Fall Risk Assessment

Postural training devices can be an effective tool for fall risk assessment. While fall risk assessment involves a subjective patient questionnaire and balance tests, postural training devices can provide additional comprehensive and objective data. By tracking postural sway during static and dynamic tasks, postural training devices can help healthcare professionals get a sense of an individual’s risk of falling. This information is crucial in developing interventions and customized exercise plans to target weaknesses and imbalances. In addition, the training devices may be useful as fall detection systems, especially among the elderly3.

Improvements in Balance

Balance training devices, such as balance boards and BOSU balls, are often used by physical therapists to improve balance in their patients. In addition, postural training devices are valuable tools as they provide audio biofeedback, which can help patients with balance disorders. Specifically, patients can improve their proprioception, or ability to sense the position of their body in space. Over time, this leads to muscular memory as users make modifications to change their posture and execute proper body movements. In essence, this can lead to better balance and a decreased risk of falls. In a clinical setting, these devices can be used to monitor and improve balance in elderly patients or those with neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

Considerations

While postural training devices can be a great aid for improving the efficacy of medical care, it is important to advise patients to follow through with their regular treatment sessions. For instance, postural training devices allow them to correct their alignment but they still have to take action to fix the muscular imbalances that lead to those postural deviations in the first place.

Takeaway

Postural training devices are a useful aid to improve posture and prevent pain, but they can also be used in a clinical setting to great effect.

References

Cramer, H., Mehling, W. E., Saha, F. J., Dobos, G., & Lauche, R. (2018). Postural awareness and its relation to pain: validation of an innovative instrument measuring awareness of body posture in patients with chronic pain. BMC musculoskeletal disorders, 19(1), 109. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-018-2031-9

Simpson, L., Maharaj, M.M. & Mobbs, R.J. The role of wearables in spinal posture analysis: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 20, 55 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/s12891-019-2430-6

Yoong, N., Perring, J., & Mobbs, R. J. (2019). Commercial Postural Devices: A Review. Sensors (Basel, Switzerland), 19(23), 5128. https://doi.org/10.3390/s19235128

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