TYPICAL TREATMENT PROGRESSION — THE POSTURAL SYNDROME

The days referred to in the treatment progression are related to treatment sessions which do not necessarily take place on consecutive days. This also applies for the treatment progressions of the dysfunction and derangement syndromes.

Day one

  • Assessment and conclusion/diagnosis.
  • Postural discussion ensuring adequate explanation of the nature of the problem. The patient must understand the cause of pain. I usually give the simple example of pain arising from the passively bent forefinger.
  • We must satisfy ourselves and the patient that the pain can be induced and abolished by positioning. If it is not possible to induce pain during the first treatment session, the patient must be instructed mow to abolish pain by postural correction when next it appears.
  • Commence with postural correction exercises and give postural advice; do not try to teach too much the first visit.
  • Discuss the importance of maintenance of the lordosis while sitting prolonged, and demonstrate the use of lumbar supports in sitting and lying.
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Day two

  • Confirm diagnosis.
  • Check results. If the patient was unsuccessful in controlling the postural pain on his own, it is possible that we have not taught correction well enough. It also may be that the patient has not corrected his posture adequately or maintained the corrected posture long enough. When confronted with such a suggestion in an accusing manner, patients often feel offended and deny having slouched. We must be tactful when discussing these points.
  • If possible have the patient produce and abolish the pain; otherwise enquire as to his ability to abolish the pain during the preceeding twenty-four hours by correcting the posture whenever pain appeared.
  • Check the exercises. It is surprising how often patients alter the exercises without realising it.
  • Repeat the postural advice in full.
  • Inform the patient that ‘new pains’ are to be expected as a result of adjustment to different postural habits.
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Day three

  • Treatment as for day two.
  • Once the patient is adequately controlling his postural stresses, treatment may be altered from a daily basis to every second or third day.
  • Once the pain occurs only occasionally and can be well controlled, the patient may stop the ‘slouch-overcorrect’ exercise.
  • Reassure regarding the onset of ‘new’ postural pains.

Day four and five

  • Check exercises and progress.
  • Deal with any other postural pain that may have become apparent.
  • Deal with other situations which may have previously been overlooked.

Further treatments

  • A few check-ups at greater intervals may be necessary to ensure the patient has full control of his postural pain.
  • We must ensure that the patient has adequately stressed the joints and is engaged in all normal activities.
  • Discuss the consequences of postural neglect.
  • Before discharge prophylaxis must be discussed in detail.
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Spine Health. PROCEDURE 14 — FLEXION IN STANDING The simple toe touching exercise in standing does not need much elaboration. The patient, standing with the feet about thirty centimeters apart, bends forward sliding the hands down the front of the legs in order to have some support and to measure the degree of flexion achieved. On reaching the maximum flexion allowed by pain or range, the patient returns to the upright position. The sequence is repeated about ten times, should be performed rhythmically, and initially with caution and without vigour. It is important to ensure that in between each movement the patient returns to neutral standing. Fig. Flexion in standing. Effects: Flexion in standing differs from flexion in lying in various ways. Naturally, the gravitational and compressive forces act differently in both situations. In flexion in standing the movement takes place from above downwards, and the lower lumbar and lumbo-sacral joints are placed on full stretch only at the end of the movement. In addition, the lumbo...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 13 — FLEXION IN LYING The patient lies supine with the knees and hips flexed to about forty-five degrees and the feet flat on the couch. He bends the knees up towards the chest, firmly clasps the hands about them and applies overpressure to achieve maximum stress. The knees are then released and the feet placed back on the couch. The sequence is repeated about ten times. The first two or three flexion stresses are applied cautiously, but when the procedure is found to be safe the remaining pressures may become successively stronger, the last two or three being applied to the maximum possible. Fig. Flexion in lying. Effects: Flexion in lying causes a stretching of the posterior wall of the annulus, the posterior longitudinal ligament, the capsules of the facet joints, and other soft tissues. As the movement takes place from below upwards the lower lumbar and lumbo-sacral joints are placed on full stretch at the beginning of the exercise as soon as movement is initiated. Thus, the procedure is very i...
Examination of Back Pain Having digested the information supplied by the referring doctor, extracted as much relevant information as possible from the patient, and checked the radiologist’s report, we may proceed to the examination proper. If the patient is able to do so, we should make him sit on a straight backed chair while taking his history. During this lime he will reveal the true nature of his sitting posture. When the patient rises to undress after the interrogation we should observe the way he rises from sitting, his gait, the way he moves, and any deformity that may be obvious. We will record the following: I. POSTURE SITTING If the patient has been sitting during history taking, we already have a good impression of his posture. We now ask him to sit on the edge of the examination table with his back unsupported. In the majority of cases the patient will sit slouched with a flexed lumbar spine. Some patients are more aware of the relationship between their posture and pain. They have discover...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 3 — EXTENSION IN LYING The patient, already lying prone, places the hands (palms down) near the shoulders as for the traditional press-up exercise. He now presses the top half of his body up by straightening the arms, while the bottom half, from the pelvis down is allowed to sag with gravity. The top half of the body is then lowered and the exercise is repeated about ten times. The first two or three movements should be carried out with some caution, but once these are found to be safe the remaining extension stresses may become successively stronger until the last movement is made to the maximum possible extension range. If the first series of exercises appears beneficial, then a second series may be indicated. More vigour can be applied and a better effect will be obtained if the last two or three extension stresses are sustained for a few seconds. It is essential to obtain the maximum elevation by the tenth excursion and once obtained the lumbar spine should be permitted to relax into the most extreme ...
Spine Health. PROCEDURE 15 — FLEXION IN STEP STANDING In this procedure the patient stands on one leg while the other leg rests with the foot on a stool so that hip and knee are about ninety degrees flexed. Keeping the weight bearing leg straight the patient draws himself into a flexed position, firmly approximating the shoulder and the already raised knee (both being on the same side). If possible the shoulder should be moved even lower than the knee. The patient may apply further pressure by pulling on the ankle of the raised foot. The pressure is then released and the patient returns to the upright position. The sequence is repeated about six to ten times. It is important that the patient returns to neutral standing and restores the lordosis in between each movement. Fig. Flexion in step standing. Effects: This procedure causes an asymmetrical flexion stress on the affected segments. It is applied when there is a deviation in flexion, which may occur in dysfunction as well as derangement. Both in dysfunction and derangement th...