Physical Therapy for The Mind

Can posture reveal depression?

Do you exhibit neck, shoulder, arm, and/or lower back pain? Perhaps drooping shoulders, or a slouched posture? As an unconscious expression of ourselves, posture may be a physical representation of your mental health.

Physical Therapy for the Mind began when Kathi Fairbend realized the limitations of the Physical Therapy profession to expand with the changes/advancements in medicine. Society demands appropriate care for mental health, but so many suffering with depression only receive one kind of treatment. Mental health is a multi-faceted problem, and should be approached as such.

Utilization of physical therapy has increased for the orthopedic, cardiac, thoracic and cancer patient populations. The powerful potential of physical therapy needs of patients with depression have not been adequately recognized.

Throughout her career, Kathi has been concerned that physical therapy is misused, underused and not prescribed correctly. Even physicians in specialties that utilize physical therapy remain uneducated about the scope of physical therapy available to benefit their patients.

Psychiatry is one medical specialty that does not effectively utilize physical therapy. “With many years of private practice, I have treated and do treat many patients with depression. Yet, I have never had a patient specifically referred to physical therapy specifically for the treatment of depression.” Most people with depression describe physical symptoms that accompany their depression as the reason to initiate physical therapy.

Posture is the basis of all movement. It is possible to make changes in posture, and by doing so – improve mood, and in turn, mood improves posture. With her passion and experience for prevention of injuries, Kathi feels it’s important to treat a depressed patient with poor posture before that posture creates physical pain, forming a secondary diagnosis.

“I hope Physical Therapy for The Mind will encourage patients, physical therapists and psychiatrists to advise patients with depression to seek physical therapy. Through individual physical therapy, patients can improve posture to help prevent injury, increase energy, improve self esteem, improve self-confidence, and achieve greater productivity. Although the posture of depression is not adequately addressed by physical intervention, the relationship between posture, mood, and emotion is well recognized by health professionals .” –Kathi Fairbend, M.S. RPT