Despite the fact that we learn from childhood that “good” posture is essential, few patients understand what having good posture means. As a result, DCs find themselves educating, demonstrating, and teaching patients exercises to strengthen weak muscles and how to correct poor posture. Using instruments both to perform adjustments and to take measurements can be a useful method of helping patients improve their posture.
Using computer-assisted instruments allows DCs to take very precise measurements, which can provide a baseline to show patients’ progress over time. Taking measurements before performing adjustments will provide useful information for both the patient and the DC.
After measurements have been recorded, the DC may determine that an adjustment is necessary. Instrument adjusting is often a gentler, more precise method of delivering adjustments to patients who may well be experiencing pain.
Besides performing adjustments, DCs often assign patients with poor posture “homework” in the form of stretches, strengthening exercises, and practicing better posture. It may take some time for the patient’s muscles to become strong enough and the habits ingrained enough that good posture becomes normal.
The exercises and stretches will, of course, be determined by the patients’ current posture habits. For example, a person who keeps their head turned down (as if they were texting or looking at a phone) will need to make different changes than a person who stands with the pelvis tilted forward.
Patients may also have the belief that good posture involves being able to balance a book on the head while walking or some other outdated myth. They may not realize that good (or bad) posture happens while sitting, standing, and walking. In today’s connected world, patients who have excellent standing posture may sit at a desk with hunched shoulders and out-thrust chin all day.
Having the precise measurements that computer-assisted instruments provide can help the DC know exactly which stretches and exercises will be most beneficial to the individual patient. Additionally, DCs will be able to clearly see how those exercises and stretches are changing the soft tissue and positions of the joints involved as patients work to correct bad habits.
Over the course of time poor posture can cause a host of problems that will take effort to correct. Adjustments may help in the short term, but for lasting results patients, must do the work required to develop new habits. When the DC can show the patient measurements that demonstrate progress, it can provide motivation that may otherwise be lacking. Correcting poor posture, and thereby relieving the pain that it can cause, may require the knowledge of the DC, the use of instruments, and certainly the cooperation of the patient.