As an active individual, it’s likely that you’ve suffered from minor pains, strains, sore muscles or general body discomfort.
This winter, we sat down with Jennifer Bullock to understand more about Postural Restoration® (PR), what it’s all about, and why we should care. Bullock graduated from the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston with a degree in Physical Therapy and has been practicing PT in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area for 24 years. She is an Orthopedic Certified Specialist, is PR Certified and has seen it all, from regular sports-related injuries to life-altering situations. Bullock was introduced to PR in 1997 and became certified in 2014. She was drawn to PR because it looks at the entire body and, she said, it “just makes sense.” She noted that for every orthopedic problem there is an underlying neurological component.
What is Postural Restoration®, and why should this be on your radar? Ron Hruska is the originator of PR, which looks at polyarticular chains in the human body. These are essentially neurologically-drive changes and systems in the body. PR finds where the deficiencies are and works to solve them to help the patient become more balanced. Still confused? Here are a few examples of neurological patterns:
You may not stick your tongue out when skiing bumps (that would be dangerous!), but most likely there is something you do (maybe without even knowing it) during tricky sporting situations. Perhaps you forget to breathe when concentrating on something difficult. How do we get into these patterns? One of the big drivers is the diaphragm. Humans are asymmetrical so the left and right diaphragms aren’t always the same. This can start to affect other parts of the body and make them asymmetrical as well (uneven rib heights, curvature of the spine, flat feet/high arches, etc.). We start to get into patterns where we favor one side more and live our lives not knowing that we are being affected by anything. Even top athletes have these patterns. Some of them even use asymmetries to be as good as they are at their sport.
Then, perhaps, a traumatic event occurs. You get hurt, or you read this article and decide you want to fix the problem at hand. Enter PR. Depending on how critical the problem, treatment can yield results right away, but most people see noticeable results in one to three months. Treatments include using neuromuscular exercises to balance the body, breathing to position the diaphragm in a more advantageous state, exercises to improve overall body awareness, and more. The first big result most people notice is balance. In your chosen sport or exercise, you will start performing at a higher level (i.e. jump higher, spike harder, or climb faster) and notice a calming of your nervous system. The end goal is that you are no longer fighting your neurological chain when performing precise moves.
Past patients of PR typically give it kudos over standard physical therapy because it works to fix the body’s positioning with a clean slate. Sometimes physical therapy focuses on specific areas of the body where an injury is present, rather than on the whole body. PR undoes negative patterns, allowing the body to recover lost motion. It goes deeper than just bones and muscles, to the neuromuscular and neurological level.
Bullock has worked with professional football, rugby, and tennis players over the years. These athletes all saw great advancements in their sport post-PR. Currently, PR is being used more on athletes than on everyday physical therapy patients. But everyone can benefit.
Ready to give PR a try? Here are three exercises with instructions you can follow:
Whether you just experienced an injury, suffer from chronic pain, or just feel “off,” PR could be your great fix. To learn more about PR, check out the Postural Restoration® website here. You can search for providers using this link. Still confused? Learn more about the basic concepts of Postural Restoration® here. Here’s to feeling your best!
Jennifer Bullock currently works as a senior physical therapist at Texas Health Resources of Allen in Allen, Texas. She will be moving to Telluride, Colorado in January 2019 and plans to open her own practice once she is “settled in”. To contact Jennifer please email her at JSBtherapyconsulting@gmail.com. You can also read her full biography here.
Photos and Exercises used with permission. Copyright © Postural Restoration Institute® 2018. www.posturalrestoration.com