What is a movement/postural dysfunction?
by Allyson Sturrock, Vital Core Physiotherapist
Each individual has a characteristic movement pattern and posture – you may sometimes find that you recognise someone by the way they walk or the way they stand. Sometimes these variations can become exaggerated and may cause pain. This is called a movement or postural dysfunction – when the movement or posture is no longer within ideal limits. That is, it causes undue stress on various structures. When movements are faulty, or strength and flexibility are compromised, negative changes can occur in soft tissues and in bony structures. This can cause cumulative microtrauma and eventually macrotrauma and pain. This is often why a fairly insignificant movement or incident can result in significant pain.
Precise and balanced movement is important for the health of our body and its components. In mechanical systems, the longevity of the components and the efficiency of performance require the maintenance of precise movements of moving segments. In contrast to machinery, stress/load on the components of our bodies is necessary for the optimal health. However, the loss of precise movement can begin a cycle of events that induces negative changes within the tissues. Maintaining or restoring precise movement of specific segments is the key to preventing or correcting musculoskeletal pain. Similarly with posture, alignment is important in any mechanical system. The more ideal the alignment of the functioning parts, the more optimal the performance of the system. Additionally, ideal alignment facilitates optimal movement.
The good news….
As Physiotherapists we are experts in movement and posture. We are able to assess your body through movement tests to identify areas that could be improved. This usually involves a thorough assessment and a progressive home exercise program. Often this retraining process can be complimented by some manual therapy with your Physiotherapist.
Treatment is focused on correcting/improving the undesirable movement or posture and is based on exercises and postures designed to affect tissues positively by changing flexibility, strength and movement patterns – making the movement and posture more ideal.
The great news is that by assessing and treating in this way we are finding and addressing the cause of the problem, not just the symptoms, and so providing a more complete and lasting result. As the cause of the problem is addressed the symptoms also improve.
Managing pain in this way is very empowering for the patient as the patient gains an understanding of how to control the factors producing the symptoms and can be an active part of treatment and prevention.