Achieving Freedom Through Movement
PhysioPartners 2869 N. Lincoln Avenue Chicago, IL 60657
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Postural Retraining

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Postural Retraining

Common Symptoms or Diagnoses:  

  • Poor sleep
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Snoring
  • Sleep apnea
  • TMD
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor circulation
  • GERD / Reflux
  • Mouth breathing
  • Chest breathing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breath holding
  • Allergies
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Deviated septum
  • Digestive problems / IBS

Available Treatments:

Posture Retraining

How Do Our Physical Therapists Screen for Postural problems?

The physical therapists at PhysioPartners recognize that the structures of the human body are functionally connected and take a whole body approach to assessing posture.  The therapists look at the position of the pelvis, which can also involve looking at the feet, knees, pelvic bones and spine.  They also work their way up to the shoulders, neck and head making sure that all of the joints are in good alignment to help with optimal positioning for attenuating forces and distributing weight.  People who have to sit at the computer for most of the day frequently present with their head sitting farther forward from their body than it should be, causing a loss of the cervical lordosis, or curve of the neck, shoulders turned in and an increased thoracic kyphosis (hunching over position which can create a dowager’s hump.  Over time, poor posture can promote a myriad of problems so it is vital to identify postural deficits and address them.

What Should I Expect During My Evaluation?

  • During the evaluation, your physical therapist will take a detailed history and ask about causes of pain or any injuries affecting posture. We may also ask about history of dental work.
  • Spinal alignment, starting from your pelvis to your cranium. Posture is evaluated from head to toe and muscle tension in the surrounding areas assessed.
  • We assess your gait or walking pattern to determine if the ankles, knees and/or hips are influencing your posture.
  • Your physical therapist will assess breathing mechanics to identify mouth, chest and over-breathing patterns and may use a capnometer to measure CO2 levels and breath rate.
  • We may evaluate your atlas (1st vertebra C1) and its influence on the jaw bone, as well as the position of your head on your body.
  • We will evaluate your joint mechanics of your spine, neck and functioning of the TMJ.  Joint mobility testing and mechanics of the neck, upper back and TMJ are performed to identify any abnormalities or limitations.
  • We will review our findings in a comprehensive assessment, our plan to improve your posture, and develop a home exercise program to address posture and any associated symptoms.

What Should I Expect During Treatment to Improve My Posture?

  • Manual Therapy: To restore full range of motion, proper joint mechanics and decrease pain.  
  • Soft Tissue Mobilization: We will perform and teach you these techniques so that you can decrease tension and pain.
  • Dry Needling may be performed to eliminate active trigger points.
  • Education and personalized recommendations: Strategies to help reduce tension due to poor posture through exercises and postural corrections.  Many of us do not realize that our daily habits are actually hurting us and keeping us in a state of over-loading our joints and soft tissues.
  • Postural Re-education: We help you identify and maintain optimal posture to help you experience less tension.  We will also help strengthen supporting muscles to help you maintain this position during your daily activities.
  • Breathing Exercises: To restore nasal diaphragmatic breathing patterns to reduce neck tension and added stress to the body from chest or mouth breathing.
  • Gait Training:  To improve and optimize our alignment during gait to reduce tension.
  • Myofunctional Therapy:  Many patients will receive tongue training to learn to rest the tongue up gently on the palate, strengthen the tongue when it is weak, and position it for optimal swallowing function.  Tongue position promotes proper support to our throat airway which contributes to postural stability and decreases postural stress to the head and neck.

Should Children Be Screened for Postural Problems?

Absolutely!  Children with poor posture are on their way to becoming adults with poor posture and experiencing an array of alignment issues causing chronic tension and pain in the body.  Children are under-treated and should be evaluated.  The specialized physical therapists at PhysioPartners Renaissance CranioFacial Group can help identify the source of the problem and guide your child to improving head and neck posture, breathing mechanics and mouth and tongue posture.  Dr. Hobson and her team are reviewers of the GOPex program, which allows you to work with her through an app on your phone and from the convenience of your own home.  

What is Postural Restoration?

Some of specialized physical therapists at PhysioPartners have also completed training with the Postural Restoration Institute, which combines evaluation and treatment of posture with breathing mechanics in mind.

Postural Restoration® (often referred to as PRI) treatment is an integrative and holistic approach.  Besides utilizing very specific exercises, manual techniques, and postural recommendations for our patients, we may refer to our colleagues if we identify that you would benefit from additional interventions, including podiatrists, dentists, and even optometrists in some cases.  Our physical therapists may incorporate PRI exercises and concepts as part of postural re-education.

Our Patients Say it Best: 

"Their hands-on manual skills really helped change the upper back rounded position that I was developing “dowager’s hump” and now I am straighter than ever!  I feel less tension and more mobile in my neck and shoulders and spine." -Susan C.

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