What is postural restoration?
Over the past 30 years, Ron Hruska and his team at the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) have been developing a systematic approach to address postural-related issues. These postural issues can cause a wide range of chronic and acute pain throughout the body like knees, lower back, neck, and even jaw pain. These irritations can occur because the human body is an integrative machine that uses multiple systems at any given time to achieve tasks and to continue living life in a healthy sustainable manner. When one part of the body isn’t performing as it should, other parts of your body begin to underperform as a result. Each part is connected to one another.
That is exactly how the Postural Restoration approach differs in changing posture and G.A.I.T. mechanics (the mechanics you use to walk) to affect change in performance. The PRI approach gets the nervous system and respiratory system involved to invoke change to your musculoskeletal system. Simply put, your asymmetric anatomy and environmental factors affect how your body functions on a daily basis. The strongest driver of bringing about lasting change is making adjustments to your respiratory breathing patterns and getting your nervous system in control by integrating Postural Restoration exercises into your daily routine. This helps your body move more efficiently without the need to consciously think about adjustments to your movement. Changing the way your body moves, meaning more efficient G.A.I.T. mechanics and diaphragmatic breathing, will dictate how your body performs on a musculoskeletal level. This contributes to eliminating issues like chronic pain and many other musculoskeletal issues.
How can PRI benefit me?
Restoring our posture can improve the way you move. Restoring proper G.A.I.T. mechanics is a launching pad for how you move while running, walking, lifting, etc. G.A.I.T. mechanics are basic fundamentals impacting how your body moves. Restoring those mechanics to a proper level improves your movement in finite motions and is instrumental in reducing pain while moving.
Restoring G.A.I.T. will help you move in a way that will lessen and/or prevent pain on a more consistent basis. A good example is if your left hamstring, the muscle on the backside of your leg, is doing its job, then your left hip will not tilt forward when you step. This keeps your lower back from hyperextending (going beyond a healthy range of motion), reducing development of chronic low back pain over time. If your hip tilts forward, your hamstring isn’t doing its job, in turn causing chronic pain in your lower back.. This is just one example; there are countless others of how your posture affects your performance or how you move. Your body is a chain of muscles and ligamentous tissue that needs to move in proper sequence and harmony to stay healthy. If a link in this chain is not working properly, you begin to compensate by relying too heavily on other muscles and push them too hard. The strain on these muscles then develops into prolonged pain while moving.
Think of Postural Restoration as a way to reset your body. This approach takes time and consistent effort for its effects to persist. Someone can do PRI for a little while and get their body into a “good place”, but eventually these issues may come back or another might present itself. Having PRI as a tool gives you a method to help you restore your body to a “neutral” state that supports proper G.A.I.T.
Not only is Postural Restoration helpful in treating chronic pain, but as mentioned earlier, this approach will help your body perform better. If you're into fitness and wanting to break through to that new personal best, PRI will help. If you are an athlete trying to improve your 40 yd dash time or increase your vertical jump, PRI will help. If you are recovering from a surgery and want to strengthen your abdominal wall or pelvic floor, PRI will help. Even if you’re experiencing lower back pain during a morning routine, PRI will help. The human body is an amazing machine and PRI is the oil helping that machine run more efficiently! Click here to try two exercises.
by Andrew Highland
Andrew is certified by the American College of Sports Medicine as a Personal Trainer, Postural Restoration Institute, and Corrective Exercise Specialist. He is the manager of Personal Training at Focused Results.