We all need to look after our posture. For some of us it's as simple as sitting up correctly at our computer. But for those of us who struggle to move our own bodies, for example if we have a complex disability, looking after our posture is even more important. If we don’t look after our posture, this can lead to debilitating health complications.

Some disabled people with complex physical disabilities need good postural care support, otherwise over time their bodies become so twisted, internal organs can become displaced and the person experiences pain most days of their lives.

Debbie, a young woman with learning disabilities and physical disabilities struggled for years to be comfortable in her wheelchair. She did not have support to hold her head up and her body had become twisted leading to painful health complications. With good postural care over time, she now sits up straight in her wheelchair. Last year for the first time, she was comfortable enough to open her Christmas presents. This has brought great joy to both the young woman and her family as it’s the first time she was ever able to do this.

Making people aware of good postural care improves quality of life and can, in some extreme circumstances, be lifesaving. Postural care support can include a wheelchair designed for the person’s needs, individually designed seating, a standing frame, night-time supports such as special cushions to help them sleep straight, regular exercise or active therapy programmes devised by physiotherapists or occupational therapists.

Read the Postural Care Leaflet

Got My Back campaign

In 2017, the Big Lottery funded Changing Our Lives to raise awareness of postural care through the Got My Back Campaign. We used some of this funding to work with disabled people to produce these short films:

General Postural Care Information

What is postural care?  Why should you look after your posture and how should you do it?

A poem by Charlie and Kara

Two young people with cerebral palsy wrote a poem about how they look after their body shape and stay active in their everyday lives.

A lack of postural care after a stroke

Harry is an older gentleman who had a stroke. Whilst he received very kind care, his posture was not correctly supported. Sitting in bed for a year caused his body shape to change and crushed his internal organs, which made him more susceptible to infections, and less able to fight them off.

A vlog about sports

Postural care doesn't have to be boring! Looking after your posture means changing position, doing sports and having fun. Here Katy, who has quadriplegic cerebral palsy, tries sit skiing at her local snowdome.

Research

As very few people know about how good postural care can improve quality of life, and as there has been barely any research undertaken on this area, we have started to research the impact of postural care on people’s lives. This work started with a small piece of face to face research led by one of our team with experience of research, Dr. Rosalind Frampton, and a disabled team member, Lesley Acford, who was trained in interview methods. We started with 4 interviews and this developed into a questionnaire and we now have over 100 questionnaires back. If you or someone you know experiences postural care difficulties, you can find a link to the questionnaire below:

We’d like you to fill out our questionnaire using this link:  https://surveyplanet.com/59280a112237ce4c3134bff5

National working group on postural care

Changing Our Lives is facilitating a national working group on postural care. This group is writing a national strategy for postural care, which will highlight best practice examples, and make recommendations for the future such as an agreed set of body measurements so people’s body shape can be accurately monitored. This group is made up of family members, universities, professionals such as occupational therapists and physiotherapists, colleges, residential care providers and equipment manufacturers.

If you would like to find out more about this work, ask for Jayne Leeson on 0300 302 0770 or email Jayne at [email protected]