Michelle L. Lange, OTR/L, ABDA, ATP/SMS
Research has demonstrated that Dynamic Seating has many clinical benefits, including:
- Diffusing force and reducing overall extension (Blog 1)
- Preventing equipment breakage (Blog 1, Blog 2)
- Preventing client injury (Blog 1, Blog 2, Blog 3)
- Providing movement for vestibular input (Blog 1, Blog 2)
Did you know that research has also demonstrated that Dynamic Seating can improve postural control and function? In this blog, we will explore improving postural control through Dynamic Seating. Keep an eye out for a future blog on improvement in function.
Dynamic seating provides resistance to movement initiated by the wheelchair user, usually through spring or elastomer type mechanisms or other resistive, but mobile components. Movement against resistance has been demonstrated to increase strength in people with increased muscle tone (McBurney, et al., 2003) without an increase in spasticity (Fowler, et al., 2001). Increased muscle strength can, in turn, improve both postural control and functioning.
Numerous studies have demonstrated improved postural control and stability as a result of dynamic seating intervention (Adlam, et al., 2014; Dalton, 2014; Cimolin, et al., 2009; Incoronato, 2007; Crane, et al., 2007; Ferrari, 2003; Watson et al., 1998). Specifically, many studies found an improvement in trunk and head control. McNamara & Casey (2007) found improved overall positioning, including reduced sacral sitting. Brown, et al. (2018) found an increase in head control after use of a specific dynamic seating component, the Head Pod.
So, what’s the bottom line? Dynamic Seating can lead to improvements in postural control, particularly trunk and head control. While the main purpose of Dynamic Seating is not therapeutic, one of the advantages of this technology is that it can improve postural control.