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State Spinal Cord Injury Service

Spinal Seating Modules

Interpreting the MAT

1. Summarise the findings you record at each phase of the MAT.

2. Compare these MAT findings with the medical history taken in the initial interview and recording in the client profile form (Module 2):

In the case study example above, client had reported that his incomplete T4 injury meant that he had some muscular activity on his left side (in his trunk and lower limb) but is not functional enough for standing transfer.

This information tells us that:

  • The muscle atrophy on his right buttock would lower the right IT when sitting
  • With the pelvis lower on the right, the lower spine will correspondingly be tilted to the right,
  • To gain horizontal gaze, the client attempts to level their shoulders
  • The combination of these preceding factors led to a scoliosis, convex to the right
  • In this case this also led to the pelvis migrating to the left, further exaggerating the postural asymmetry.

3. Compare the findings in supine and sitting assessments to establish a desired posture through the simulation task, starting from the pelvis.

In the case study example, the simulation task demonstrated that:

  • A gentle build up supporting the right buttock has compensated the lack of muscular bulk and reduced his pelvic obliquity and thoracic scoliosis
  • Lumbar support further eliminated his posterior tilt and erected his trunk symmetrically
  • Seating goals were discussed with the client and the following seating plan was agreed:
    • Assess cushions with capacity to accommodate asymmetrical shape and provide adequate pressure care
    • Trial tension adjustable backrest upholstery and a rigid backrest to support his upright posture without compromising balance and function
    • The client would look for his lost rigid side guard to centre his pelvis

Handy Tip:

  • Altering the body’s position to achieve better posture may initially result in client feeling uncomfortable, off-balance or ‘crooked’ until the body adjusts to the new position. This will typically resolve over the course of a week. Client understanding and acceptance should be sought before proceeding.