I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

I'm not just a PT, I'm also a parent!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Benefits of Standing

When a person experiences an accident, a prolonged illness, or a chronic medical condition, they often spend a much of their time in bed or sitting in a chair.  My previous post regarding the Hazards of Inactivity addresses the risks involved with prolonged immobility and now I'd like to discuss the benefits of standing.

Benefits of Standing:
  • Increased bone density: A guided standing program maximizes weight bearing through the long bones and assists in skeletal development, which may prevent or stabilize osteoporosis.  
  • Improved cardiovascular functioning:   People who stand can build cardiovascular endurance and reduce swelling and pooling of blood in the lower extremities. Ongoing standing has also been shown to increase circulation and reduce orthostatic hypotension.
  • Improved digestion and bowel function
  • Increased integrity of the hip joint
  • Prevention of contractures: A guided standing program helps to prevent contractures of the lower extremity.
  • Increased strength
  • Improved respiratory function: A guided standing program may help increase oxygen intake by allowing lungs to completely expand, which in turn can reduce the incidence of upper respiratory infections such as pneumonia.
  • Preventing skin breakdown: Frequent positional changes, including standing, can reduce the risk of pressure sores and other forms of skin breakdown.  
  • Reducing spasticity
  • Benefits people with diagnoses of Multiple Sclerosis, stroke, traumatic brain injury, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, etc.
What does a standing program entail?
A guided standing program is tailored to each individual.  Usually, a person's rehab and medical team will collaborate to develop the most appropriate standing program which includes the type of stander, the ideal positioning to accommodate the patient's unique needs, the amount of time spent in the stander, and where this program will take place (home, school, PT clinic, etc.).

What is a standing frame?
A standing frame is a piece of medical equipment that allows those with physical limitations to stand with support, while ensuring proper alignment and positioning.  There are several types of standers such as prone standers, sit-to-stand standers, and mobile standers.

Prone Stander (image from www.theradapt.com)
Sit-to-Stand Stander (image from www.easystand.com)
MobileStander (image from www.rifton.com)

People should consult a physician before initiating a standing program if they have the following medical conditions, because prolonged standing may have an adverse effect:
  • orthostatic intolerance
  • severe contractures
  • weakened skeletal structure such as Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or severe Osteoporosis
  • hip subluxation

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