The human body is not symmetrical. The neurological, respiratory, circulatory, muscular and vision systems are not the same on the left side of the body as they are on the right, and vice versa. They have different responsibilities, function, position and demands on them.
Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) trained therapists recognize imbalances and typical patterns of the body associated with disuse or from overuse of a dominant side. Even a healthy human, without pain, has many differences between the left and right halves of his or her body.
Locations of the liver and heart create imbalance of the internal organs. Dominance of one side of the brain causes us to prefer the muscles of one side of our body over the other. Vision and vestibular (balance) systems often show a one-sided dominance as well.
These differences may not necessarily cause pain unless the differences are so strong that an abnormal amount of torque is created. The way we use our muscles during our daily tasks are typically causing pain. These habits or patterns of muscle activity are developed over years by the way we stand, sit, work, sleep, and even breathe. Other reasons contributing to these patterns may include recovery from trauma, surgery, or pregnancy.
PRI trained therapists distinguish when these normal imbalances are not regulated. Through reciprocal function during walking, breathing or turning, therapists see a strong pattern emerging, creating structural weaknesses, instabilities, and musculoskeletal pain syndromes.
Balancing muscle activity becomes the focus of our postural restoration treatment. Sanford Health’s PRI trained therapists incorporate reciprocal function to reduce ‘leading’ with the left pelvis and right arm. They also use respiratory function to maximize airflow in and out of the right lung.
Vision and occupational demands, in-uterine position, etc. can all influence asymmetrical tendencies and patterns. Many animals demonstrate asymmetrical behavior as well. Humans usually balance their center of gravity over their right leg for functional ease and postural security.
PRI trained therapists recognize the more common patterns of human stance, extremity use, respiratory function, vestibular imbalance, mandibular (jaw) orientation and foot dynamics; and balance these patterns, as much as possible, through specific exercise programs.