The Importance of Postural Management at Home
Postural management – what is it, why is it important and why is it important to continue at home? By Richard Harvey, National Clinical Training Manager.
What is Postural management?
If you are currently using our equipment then you probably have a good idea of what the term postural management means. Here at Jiraffe we not only provide specialist equipment, but we look to enhance knowledge and understanding of why there is a need for our equipment. Postural Management is the holistic approach to managing the posture, movement and function of those who cannot do this by themselves, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Why is it important?
The biggest factor that impacts our posture throughout the day is gravity. Posture is the attitude and configuration of the body against the constant struggle from the force of gravity. This is why it is crucial to manage someone’s posture over a 24 hour period as we are under the force of gravity continually.
There are so many benefits to good postural management in terms of health and mental wellbeing, but all of those benefits can be categorised into 3 main aims;
Function: Allowing a child to be as independent as possible, whilst allowing them to develop and enhance their motor skills.
Minimise Damage: Without a robust postural management plan there are risks that the human body can deteriorate. The constant weight of gravity can deform the skeleton and impact on the elasticity of muscles.
Reduce Energy Expenditure: If a child is using a great deal of energy just to hold their sitting balance this can cause tiredness. Fatigue can dramatically disturb their ability to play, engage with education and work on their therapy goals. This is a balance between allowing a child to work and develop their muscles, but being supportive enough to allow this development.
Why is it important to continue this at home?
With the current situation it has completely disrupted everyone’s normal routine. We are all having to adapt our way of life and be creative in problem solving. I am sure that it is taking everyone some time to settle and work their daily tasks into a new schedule. In this uncertain period it is important for the children using postural management equipment to continue to do so. Not only are these pieces of equipment in place to support your child’s postural needs, but to assist in their development.
As we know that gravity is the main force to impact our posture, unfortunately we cannot escape it. That is why a 24 hour approach to postural management is so important.
There are so many health benefits which include…
Respiration/Digestion/Circulation: Internal organs function much better if they are not compressed through poor posture
Bowel and Bladder function: Constipation and discomfort has such an impact on our health and general mood. Adopting multiple positions throughout the day enables gravity to work in our favour, allowing postural drainage.
Bone strength: More weight baring postures have been proven to increase bone mineral density in developing children.
Mental health: A lot of children that are none verbal rely upon eye contact to communicate. If a child is in a poor posture and their gaze is directed at the floor, it can completely cut them off from the rest of the world. Being able to engage and interact with peers and siblings is more stimulating and will aid in social development.
Following the postural management plan set out by your therapy team in conjunction with the right piece of equipment can really have a positive effect on your child’s happiness and comfort levels. Continuing these programs at home rather than school can be challenging and if there is any advice or help we can offer please don’t hesitate to contact us.
If you have any further questions about your Jiraffe equipment our dedicated team of Product Advisors would be happy to help. Click here to find your local Product Advisor.