The Postural Restoration approach for pain reduction and sports performance improvement.
Did you know that a limitation in your shoulder can affect your running pace?
Or that the type of shoes you wear can contribute to your neck pain?
Or that your knee pain may not be a problem with you knee?
Sometimes it’s easy to pinpoint the source of your pain/problem. You may have been involved in a car accident, had a fall or injured yourself engaging in sports or recreation activities. Unfortunately for many, they have pain for no real obvious reason. If you have ever experienced this yourself, you may have also experienced the frustration of a lack of progress or relief with traditional therapy/medicine. This is when a shift in thinking may help.
Postural Restoration (PRI) is a therapeutic approach that examines natural imbalances that occur in the human body. On the outside, we all appear “even” or symmetrical (two arms, two legs, two eyes, etc.). The inside of our body is not even. Organ size, placement and function, along with nervous system development and muscular use all contribute to dominant movement patterns (right dominance, for example). These asymmetrical movement patterns, coupled with individual habits or injury lead to stress, strain and torque on joints, tendons and muscles, and over time breakdown and pain occur.
This asymmetry is normal given how we are made. If you watch people moving around you, you will more often see people standing on their right leg when waiting in line, carrying a purse or bag over their right shoulder, reaching to open a door with the right hand, the right arm swings more than the left when walking. These are all normal occurrences and most people do these things and never experience pain.
Problems occur when this patterning becomes so dominant that your body does not understand how to perform activities in any other way. As a result, compensations develop. When mixed with time, repetitive motion or strain, pain develops.
The techniques used by the Postural Restoration Certified therapists at STEPS for Recovery help to reduce your reliance on dominant patterns of movement, restore proper joint position, and retrain muscular sequencing and coordination in three-dimensional movement patterns. This therapeutic approach has been effective in treating many issues from ACL repair to fibromyalgia, from chronic headache to heel pain, from hip impingement to chronic low-back pain. It is useful in treating acute injuries as well as issues that have lasted for many years.
We see the body as a system. Compensation or instability in one area will directly affect another. Taking the whole body into account and looking at how all the parts interact with one another results in better outcomes and more efficient movement throughout your body/system.
For those who have had a sports injury, it may be the pre-existing patterned movement that set you up for injury, and that addressing the pattern will be crucial not only for recovery from the current injury but also preventing re-injury as you return to the activity.
Sports Performance and Injury Prevention
Recently, Postural Restoration has been gaining acceptance in sport and athletics both for its performance improvement qualities as well as injury prevention aspects. By reducing asymmetry and improving coordination between the left and right sides of the body, runners can become faster, soccer players can cut better, golfers can follow through with less knee or low back compensation, throwers can reduce the risk of injury, and volleyball players can land with grace and control under pressure, all with less stress across the muscles, tendons and joints.
- Are working with PGA golfers to improve efficiency and mechanics in swing;
- Have contributed content to the 2013 Perform Better Summit in Chicago;
- Continually post articles in the Performance and Conditioning Newsletter;
- Presented at the 2013 National Strength and Conditioning Association coaching conference Nashville TN: Postural Restoration: a new tool for the coaching toolbox;
- Published peer-reviewed journal articles in Training and Conditioning and the North American Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.
Mike Arthur, the Director of Strength and Conditioning at the University of Nebraska, has integrated PRI into training and warm up programs the Nebraska women’s volleyball team, the most winning program since 2000 and one of the nation's most storied collegiate women's volleyball programs.
The Postural Restoration Institute has also developed an integrated continuing education course specifically for baseball players, in collaboration with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
This is just a short list of how the world of athletics is progressing performance off of the field.