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When beginning a career in the sports massage world, it is essential to understand that massage is merely a part of it. The key to becoming a successful sports therapist is knowing postural Assessment! Postural Assessment is a virtual component in any sports massage treatment. The Assessment will enable you to identify and confirm any postural issues. It is essential to identify these issues as it helps sportspeople prevent ongoing juries (source). There are various approaches to obverse postural matters, some conventional, such as visual observation, and some newer methods, such as the Radiographic method, known as the ‘gold standard’ for identifying postural issues.

What is A Postural Assessment?

Postural Assessment, or Postural Analysis, is part of sports massage or physiotherapy and is the first step when providing a physical assessment. Understanding how the human body moves is vital when becoming knowledgeable in Postural Assessment. You are assessing the entirety of someone’s structure and body moving and how their muscles and joints work together. Considering how our client sits, stands, walks, or even gets up from a chair can indicate why there could be discomfort for our client or why they have a returning jury. Of course, this is muscular, and we should note that the issue should be referred to if it is structural. 

Now a postural analysis isn’t going give you nor your client all the answers, as you have to understand that some of your clients are born with slight skeletal differences that they have learnt to cope with and compensate for, not causing any issues and complaints. That is why questioning is vital to identifying specifics for any successful analysis, open and closed types.

Areas you must consider when doing a Postural Assessment:

  • Level and Height of the scapula, look at the lower angel (inferior) and top part. 
  • The crease in your glutes (bum) is the height of both left and right.
  •  Look at the size of the knees, and use the creases to see if they are level (if not, indicate an elevated hip or one leg longer than the longer).
  • How are the feet positioned, inward or outward? 
  • Level of the shoulders (are they even?) 
  • Hands, are they slightly rotated?
  • Height of Posterior and spine
  • The level of the ear lopes could indicate height tilt. 
  • Ear lope, shoulder, middle of knee and ankle are all in line from the side view. 

Tools to help:

A selection of tools to help your clients and their Postural Assessment:

  1. Plumb line. A simple form could be a piece of rope/string with a weight attached to it., hung from the ceiling. Get your client to stand in the middle of it.
  2. Wall and gridded paper. Stand the client against the wall with gridded paper behind them, then outline their body; this will show any differences. 
  3. Questions. Ask your clients a few simple questions and ask them to walk on the spot, then ask them to relax. By not telling them you have started the Assessment, they will present more relaxed and not give a false presentation. 
  4. Bare feet. Ask your clients to remove their shoes while having a postural assessment; different shoes/trainers can alter the client’s proper stance and give false information. 

A postural analysis is something you can offer during an initial consultation. It will aid your understanding of your client more, give you areas to develop and work on and provide the client with more confidence in your abilities. Postural Assessment can be repeated every six weeks, and then you can create an effective treatment plan for your client.

All the skills and knowledge we discussed are fundamental to the Level 3 Sports Massage course at Body Aid. If you are interested in becoming a sports massage therapist, why not take advantage of in the courses we offer at Body Aid! Browse our selection of sports massage courses!

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