Postural Physical Therapy

  1. My family has had our share of injuries requiring PT, and I've always had the greatest respect for physical therapists in terms of their knowledge, skill and ability to produce positive results. We live in an area that is home to a couple of physical therapy education programs, and lately, there seems to be a trend toward a method known as Postural PT.

    The theory seems to be that in order to optimize function and enhance overall health, the therapist evaluates many aspects of the individual's posture, gait, breathing, vision, hearing, every day activities etc. in order to make recommendations and plan exercises for the "whole being" and not necessarily the injured part.

    I understand and appreciate the theory behind a wholistic approach, but have had problems with extensive courses of therapy that never seem to gain focus on the specific problem area. For example, when my daughter dislocated her knee, I finally gave up after about 2 months of relaxation, massage, standing, sitting and upper body work that NEVER addressed strengthening her quads, stabilizing her patella or improving her balance.

    Now she has significant low back pain that is being attributed (by a different therapist) to her eyesight (corrected to 20/20 with glasses) and the "mis-matched bite" of her molars (3 years of orthodontia.) He has given her breathing exercises and relaxation techniques which have done nothing to improve her pain or mobility.

    I'm not looking for medical advice. I fully intend to speak with this therapist and let him know that he can get down to business, return us to the doctor, or refer us elsewhere. But I'm curious...Is this trend just in our local area, possibly due to a nut-job professor, or is this nation-wide. And how does one find a good, old fashioned work and sweat physical therapist without having to endure this waste of time and expense?
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    Joined: Oct '01; Posts: 9,619; Likes: 14,058


  3. by   nrsang97
    That has noting to do with her injury. OK if he taught her back strengthening exercises that would be one thing. What does back pain have to do with teeth misalignment anyway (i could see headaches, but really low back pain?).

    I had a PT who never listened to me when I told her that the exercises made my shoulder hurt more. I stopped and started again with a different therapist and the same problem. I have refused further therapy for my shoulder as none has helped.

    I think I would ask for a referral to a different therapist.
  4. by   roser13
    Unfortunately, I've had 2 orthopedic surgeries in the last year, both of which required extensive PT. I'm happy to say that that the "holistic" approach that you describe was never brought up. All of my therapy was targeted directly to the surgery.

    I've never heard of the type of therapy that you describe. Hopefully, it's a fad that won't take hold
  5. by   nurseprnRN
    Sounds like everybody went to the same workshop and got entranced...but I predict that as they see their patients not meet goals and stop getting paid by insurance, they'll go back to their old ways of treating the actual injury.
  6. by   Jolie
    Sigh...went back to the doctor and basically got a scolding for not being open-minded and appreciating a whole-body approach.

    May now be time to find a new PCP as well
  7. by   nrsang97
    I will be having shoulder surgery sometime next year, and I hope this time in my recovery I get a therapist who listens to me.

    Your daughter is being done a disservice by not having a PT who will strengthen the muscles in her back and abs to help with the back pain.
  8. by   Jolie
    Visit to the spinal specialist this week. 3 protruding discs on MRI, one of which is pressing on a nerve root, causing leg and foot pain.

    She had an injection of steriods, which we hope will help over time to reduce discomfort. If not significantly improved by the 3 month mark, which is rapidly approaching, we will consider a disc-ectomy.

    So much for eyeglass prescriptions, dental alignment and breathing exercises.