As post rehab courses and guidelines proliferate, knowing when to appropriately use corrective exercise techniques and post rehab training programs seems to get lost in the discussion. Simply the presentation of a client with a postural fault, muscular imbalance or pain is sometimes not enough of a reason to begin corrective exercise. A thorough medical history and assessment on the client must be completed first. Also, discussion with the client’s physician or physical therapist is required to ensure you have the full picture before proceeding with exercise. Its interesting that few corrective exercise or post rehab courses really focus on the pathology and assessment of these postural faults, pain and/or imbalances but they do readily encourage exercise. Remember, posture and pain may be the result of a long-term condition or fault and what we see is not what is really going on with the client. The introduction of corrective exercise can exacerbate a dormant condition. Sometimes pulling the string of a postural fault may cause the breakdown of other faults and result in the client having more pain. Now it is important to get to the underlying problem but if you can’t anticipate the possible complications, then you shouldn’t begin corrective exercise without a thorough history, assessment and discussion with the client’s physician. Remember, what is you see is not what you get in posture or with pain. Though a thorough assessment, medical history, x-rays, CAT Scans and MRI’s are not 100% accurate, these allow us to eliminate possible conditions. Then we can start to correct faults with a better understanding of possible causes. I am not saying corrective exercise is not great for clear cut postural faults which are easily corrected. But in the back of your mind you should always think, what other complications might be causing the pain or fault and have I given enough consideration to these complications. What you see with human posture and pain is seldom what you get. If you see red flags, talk to the client’s physician or therapist. We will discuss the post rehab red flags in our next blog post.