The Role of Body Posture Devices In Musculoskeletal Pain Syndromes

Better pain relief may be achieved if patients do exercises and use devices that elongate the spine and promote normal posture. New postural devices can be found for the neck, spine, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. The authors of this paper are particularly enthused about devices that stretch or elongate the spine, since many if not most painful spine conditions result from, or are aggravated by, contraction or shrinkage of the spine components. This compression puts pressure or nerves, discs, or other anatomic structures. Attempts to have pain patients practice normal posture is therapeutic and will reduce pain. Recognition that proper posture may give pain relief has brought forth a plethora of commercial products designed to correct posture at an anatomical section of the body such as lumbar spine, pelvis, knees, shoulders, neck, and feet. Neck and upper spine disease are well known clinical problems characterized by severe pain and poor posture.

Clinical observations led the authors to believe that a high percentage of pain patients have poor posture. For example, patients in pain don’t stand up straight when they walk, and they slouch when they sit. The realization that correct posture is critical for pain management has brought forth a plethora of new devices to help correct and maintain proper posture. It is important to note that the term “posture” is basically replacing the terms “brace” and “splint,” since most posture devices not only perform a brace or splint-like function, they also strive to align a body component to its natural, postural state.

Our clinical experience with some of the new postural devices has compelled us to highly support postural devices that lower the shoulders and elongate or stretch the upper spine. Just as with hospital-bed traction, these VUSDs take pressure off compressed nerves and degenerated discs while the patient is ambulatory. We conclude that pain practitioners should seek out and experiment with new devices that elongate the spine while the patient is ambulatory.

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