Pondering Postural Control

Happy New Year everyone! Sorry for the long silence – turns out getting the new HeartSpace clinic up and running smoothly took longer than I thought. Recently I have had time to return to pondering different facets of postural control, one of my favourite pursuits. I still consider Motor Control. Translating Research Into Clinical Research 
 a foundational text. Shumway-Cook and Woollacott were some of the first to discuss dynamic systems as a model for postural control and this has driven my thinking, my clinical reasoning and my practice for over 25 years. I think this model has a lot to offer therapists in understanding the factors that influence postural control and how this contributes to challenges with functional motor skills. And even as I look at the model below, I can see that it doesn’t address some issues that I now consider important. But more on that later.

Here’s what I’m thinking: there are 7 separate components in this model and 2 more that I would include. Over the next year, I’m going to discuss each component in a blog, including my thoughts, clinical experiences and some research on the topic. My hope is to give you an overview of each component, help you to look at some different issues and of course, highlight connections between the systems, all as we discuss postural control in clients with sensory and motor challenges.

Let’s begin with Shumway-Cook and Woollacott’s definition of postural control:

Using this definition, postural control involves not only stability but also orientation to the task. Oftentimes as a therapist I have over-focused on stability and under-focused on orientation. How do you look at stability and orientation during a functional movement task? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section.

The next post: Musculoskeletal (MS) components. Talk to you soon!


6 thoughts on “Pondering Postural Control

  1. Hi Shelley,
    I’m very happy that you’re back to blog. I was eagerly waiting. I find all your articles full of information and with total clinical relevance. Curious to read further on your view of various aspects of postural control…. Thanks a lot.

  2. I am thrilled that you are back in your blog. As a PT with nearly 50 years in pediatrics, your insight and sharing keeps me wanting to learn more! Thanks!

  3. Do you have any good resources/research articles that you could send my way that investigates sitting posture on self-regulation? I’ve taken both your DC4K course 1 and Bundle B. I love your work!