Postural Restoration is based on the foundation that the human body is not symmetrical. A few instances of our body’s asymmetry include having three lobes of lunges on our right side and only two on the left and a liver on the right that balances the heart on the left. These asymmetries are important as the body works through the integration of systems to balance these asymmetries.
How do asymmetries develop?
Certified postural restoration professionals are trained to recognize these asymmetries by examining imbalances and patterns that are associated with disuse or weakness from dominate unilateral overuse. Postural restoration patterns are heavily influenced by breathing mechanics and, therefore, trained postural restoration therapists can help retrain larger over worked musculature and increase the use of smaller under-utilized respiration musculature. While most think of breathing as just the lunges, breathing mechanics are heavily influenced by mid back mobility, abdominal strength, and pelvic positioning. Ensuring these are all aligned properly and moving well are crucial in helping alleviate pain or trigger points associated with muscles that get excessively loaded/stretched.
What happens when asymmetry is not regulated?
Importantly, movements such as walking and breathing create reciprocal movement. Reciprocal movement helps maintain balance through the pelvis, thorax, and cranium. If these imbalances are not well regulated by these reciprocal movement patterns, imbalanced patterns are created. Chronic muscular imbalances create movement patterns that lead to improper mechanics, structural weaknesses, instability, and musculo-skeletal pain. Some common examples of asymmetry include, predominately standing with weight shifted over your right leg, unlevel shoulder height, extended/rib flare on the left, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, chronic migraines, SI joint dysfunction/pain, shoulder blade pain and many others.
How can postural restoration training help?
Through the recognition of asymmetries, postural restoration therapists can create a plan of care that integrates treatments revolving around improving walking mechanics, breathing mechanics, vestibular imbalances, and foot dynamics. Specific exercises will be provided that help address deficits in all these areas. Balancing muscle activity around the pelvis, sternum, and sphenoid (middle of the head) will help create optimal alignment of multiple systems needed to help you get back in action!