What do we mean by “postural restoration”?
By posture we mean the position of the human body and it’s location in space around us.
Numerous systems of the human body contribute to this posture:
Somatosensory: what we feel or sense physically through touch, temperature, joint position, muscular action, vibration, which arise through our skin, muscle, joints, and fascia. Of particular importance is how we feel and sense the ground we walk on.
Visual: how we process what we see. This is not the same as sight. Vision implies what the brain understands about what we are seeing.
Auditory: what we hear.
Vestibular: how we remain upright and balanced through coordinated muscle patterns.
Mental: our state of mind. For example, whether we are calm or anxious, can influence how we process all this sensory information.
All of this sensory “input” is then processed by our brain and produces “output”, which involves muscular action to balance and move us.
Often the sensory “input” or “processing” is impaired and thus our brain’s “output” is not optimal.
PRI strives to restore proper body position in space by harmonizing our systems, in particular through our Somatosensory system (muscles). But in reality, the human body works as a system, so working on our somatosensory system will also influence all the other systems of our body at the same time.
As a simple example, our balance can improve through traditional strength training. Muscles and joints are part of the vestibular system (used for balance). Improving muscle strength will effect joint position and function, thus this “input” will usually result in better balance “output”.
Is PRI “treatment”.
No. PRI does not treat pain. It restores your ability to move and breathe without compensation by making sure your pelvis, ribcage, and neck are positioned properly.
What are these positions we speak of so often?
PRI identifies systemic “extension” patterns, on one or both sides of the body, as the source of much musculoskeletal pain that is not associated with injury, sickness, or arthritis.
Why do extension patterns occur?
Extension is part of our natural movement pattern. It’s opposite is flexion. When we walk, one side of our body should be extension while the other side is in flexion. For instance, if our weight is on our left foot, our left side should be in flexion and the right side in extension. When our weight is on our right foot, our left side should move into extension while the right side moves into flexion. This alternating extension/flexion cycle is what SHOULD happen when we walk.
However, in the most common pattern, our left side gets stuck in extension and the right side gets stuck in flexion, regardless of what foot our weight is on. This means that our muscles are unable to move our bones through a full range of motion.
A lot of aches and pains result from being “stuck” in one position. We lose the ability to move fully in the frontal and transverse planes. Our legs don’t abduct and adduct properly, our torsos don’t rotate fully. A neck may not turn as much to the left as it does to the right. Muscles weaken or tighten. We stop moving like a human should move. These are all very observable and reversible patterns.
Restoring this natural alternating bio-mechanical rhythm, alternating the left and right side of the body between extension and flexion, is the goal of PRI.
And it is this postural “restoration” that often allows pain to go away.
Is PRI repositioning like a chiropractice adjustment?
Most people achieve pelvic, ribcage, and neck re-positioning under their own power, using their own musculature and breathing.
Having someone else move your body doesn’t teach your brain a new pattern, it just tries to get you into a position.
Repositioning sounds more extreme than it really is. The movements we are talking about are small. Visually, you’ll rarely see a huge difference, but you can sense the difference, often to a remarkable degree.
Also, small movements are often the most important movements, because it’s the small movements that make the big movements possible.
What does a PRI session consist of?
A PRI session consists of
- Testing the position of the pelvis, ribcage, and neck.
- Repositioning of those structures (if needed), and exercises to train and strengthen the new position. Most people will need repositioning of the pelvis and ribcage since our body’s inherent asymmetry leads to this position.
Not everyone has a neck pattern, however.
Who tends to have the neck pattern?
Anyone can have a neck pattern, but from experience: athletes, people who exercise a lot, people with a lot of stress and anxiety, those that are very driven to excel, people who have gone through physical or emotional trauma, have had accidents, vestibular disturbances, visual processing issues like near-sightedness and astigmatism, malocclusions (cross-bite, over-bite, under-bite, missing molars).
What is the goal of a PRI program?
Restore optimal position of your pelvis, ribcage, and neck that results in optimal uncompensated movement. If any of these structures are not positioned optimally at rest, proper movement is impossible to attain.
Why doesn’t anyone else know this stuff?
The understanding that our body is inherently asymmetrical is noted in many disciplines, so it’s not that no one else knows this, or sees these asymmetries. Hell, I saw my body’s asymmetries when I was trying to figure out why I was in so much pain.
I just didn’t understand their origin and apparently no one else did either.
But PRI offers an explanation.
The understanding how our body’s natural asymmetry can result in movement dysfunction and pain has been what the founder of PRI, Ron Hruska, has been investigating for the past 30 years.