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What Exactly is Postural Restoration?

What's it called again?

Why are we blowing up balloons?

This is so weird, but it works!

These are just a few things we hear from our clients who go through a Postural Restoration (PRI) program. But what is Postural Restoration? Well - you can read the official spiel here, but let's try and explain it a little differently...

human internal organs

You know when you exercise and you feel the need to do the same number of repetitions on each side to "balance out" your body? Well, what if we told you that you aren't balanced on the inside? What if we told you that you are actually as asymmetrical as it gets and that the right side of your body is completely different from your left? That's right. Our whole system is balanced through a laundry list of imbalanced systems. So when you are doing ten repetitions of an exercise on both sides, are you really balancing yourself? Nope, you surely are not.

If you are one of the 7+ billion people on this Earth with a liver on your right side and a heart on your left side, then this is what is going on inside you: your lower spine is oriented to the right and your center of gravity is more over your right foot. Now, obviously, when walking we want to move straight forward and not go in a circle to the right, so the rest of the body compensates so that the body appears to (and can) face forward. Some of us are better at managing this compensation (a.k.a. the "lucky ducks" who don't really have many musculoskeletal issues!), but then there are some of us...cue all of our clients that we see in our clinic...who may be struggling to manage this compensation. On top of this natural asymmetry, things like trauma, congenital issues, surgeries, etc. can absolutely make this uneven compensation more difficult.

But, do not fear! There is hope! As PRI therapists, we understand some of these imbalances and how to treat them. We look at you very differently than a traditional orthopedic-based physical therapist. We look at your neck, ribcage, and pelvis to find what compensations need to be addressed. Our treatments are also a little unconventional! Our treatments aren't exercises, as much as they are repositioning techniques that are designed to challenge your imbalances. The main muscle we use in repositioning is the muscle driving the whole system - your diaphragm. Your respiratory system is one of the strongest neurological systems you have. You have to breathe to survive. You breathe without thinking about it. Your respiratory system is both automatic and voluntary, and it is a HUGE player in unlocking your system.

So how do we do it?

Postural Restoration client blowing up a ballon

In short, we put you in weird positions (as pictured) to challenge your diaphragm and make you breathe (sometimes with a balloon!) in a corrected position. When it works, we know right away because there are range of motion tests we use to see if your mobility is better after the repositioning. Depending on where we as therapists feel your largest compensations are occurring determines where we start.

You might come in with knee pain, but your ribcage may be so stiff that your spine can't rotate correctly and you are having to torque your knee more to turn. Your hip might be aching, but if you also have jaw issues then you might be compensating in your cranium. You may have headaches, but your pelvis/hips may be locked up and not allowing your spine to rotate properly.

If you have issues going on that you feel may not have been fully addressed in prior therapies, Postural Restoration may be the science you have been missing! Book with Gina or Courtney today for an assessment!


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