Human bodies are not symmetrical. We know some of us have one foot larger than the other; our liver is in the right low abdomen and balanced out by our heart in the upper left chest; and the right half of our diaphragm is larger and stronger than the left side. The hemispheres of the brain, nerves, lungs, blood vessels, muscles and vision systems are not equal from side to side. Each structure is part of a system and these systems each have unique demands, distinctive functions, and are in differing positions. For example, our left brain controls the right side of the body and is the primary area for communication and speech. This causes us to use our right arm more than our left when we are talking and gesturing. That’s a dominance pattern that sometimes leads to problems in the right shoulder girdle.
The amazing design of the human body is meant to be asymmetrical—it functions best when these asymmetries are balanced during movement. For example, when we walk, our right arm swings forward to balance our left leg as it goes forward – that’s balanced reciprocal asymmetry at its best. When our systems become overused and dominated by one pattern, our bodies begin to compensate. Weakness, pain, and difficulty with movement/activity begins … and builds over time. Our bones and muscles become restricted and cannot move in their normal patterns. For example, the weaker left diaphragm usually doesn’t balance the stronger right side when breathing. Our ribcage can become twisted by the stronger pull of the right side causing twisting in your spine, difficulty breathing, or pain across the top of your shoulders. This may happen gradually over many years or could happen in just a few weeks.
Postural Restoration is a highly successful treatment approach for problems that may arise from this sort of imbalance. PRI trained therapists undergo a lot of special training to become certified as Postural Restoration Certified (PRC) specialists. They are trained to take your entire body into consideration to really determine what might be causing your problem. A PRI certified therapist figures out what type of adaptations you have made to cope with your symptoms and the asymmetrical patterns your habits have caused that are likely the underlying source of your pain, instability, weakness and dysfunction. PRI is instrumental in developing innovative treatment programs that succeed where traditional physical therapy, injections, surgery and exercise has failed.
The main focus of the treatment is in identifying and correcting typical patterns found in the human body. The balance of our muscles and joints from side to side, from front to back and from top to bottom influences the way we stand, sit, walk, breathe and even sleep. Imbalances or asymmetry in our bodies may cause us to fall into patterns that negatively impact our muscles and alignment. These changes result in abnormal wear and tear on our bodies and cause the pain that finally gets our attention. By addressing the underlying abnormal postural patterns, restoring reciprocal motion, and balancing breathing patterns, we can more effectively treat the patient. At the same time, we will strive to teach you how to prevent further injury, and how to control your pain more rapidly if you should experience a similar problem down the road.
Postural Restoration® (often referred to as PRI) treatment is an integrative and holistic approach. Besides utilizing very specific exercises, manual techniques, and postural recommendations for our patients, we often utilize other professionals to address issues outside the scope of our practice that may be limiting the success of our treatment. This is because PRI integrates the influence of muscle, skeletal alignment, breathing, arch support, dental occlusion, and vision on health and wellness. We will often work with your podiatrist, dentist, and even optometrist to be fully successful. PRI trained therapists understand the direct relationship that these different professions have on postural alignment, and how that can affect the musculoskeletal system and physical therapy outcomes.
Jodi Reerink, PT, PRC was awarded the distinction of PRC (Postural Restoration Certification) in 2010. PRC is an advanced certification verifying her extensive training, extraordinary interest and devotion to the science of postural adaptations, asymmetries, and their influence on the musculoskeletal system. As of the end of 2016, there are only 174 PRC practitioners in the world. Jodi is the only PRC credentialed female in the metropolitan Omaha region. Patients with a variety of diagnoses are being successfully treated in an effective and efficient manner using this comprehensive approach. For more information about PRI, go to: http://posturalrestoration.com/about/