Postural Restoration (PRI) at Alpine Physical Therapy
What is PRI?
Humans Aren’t Really Symmetrical
At its core, the Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) approach to physical therapy is based on the understanding that the human body is asymmetrical. On the surface, we appear symmetrical – two eyes, two arms, two legs, etc., but in reality, it’s not how we function. Most of us are right or left handed, we often have different prescriptions for each eye, or hear better out of one ear; we carry bags on a certain shoulder, cross our legs one way over the other and all of us have organs that are unevenly distributed inside of us.
Why Asymmetry Matters
Unique asymmetries and movement patterns can impact health over time. When one or multiple systems are out of position we may lose the ability to breathe, rotate, and rest symmetrically.
When we begin to adapt to these improper positions and use accessory muscles, we place undue stress on our joints, our autonomics (heart rate, digestion, respiration) become out of balance, and we can lose functional rotation at the pelvis, trunk and neck. These patterns may even lead to visible postural changes, such as overdevelopment of certain muscles, scoliosis or curvatures in the spine, uneven rib and shoulder height, flat feet or high arches and facial asymmetries. Some of the most common symptoms of asymmetry include:
- Head and neck tension
- Shoulder knee and back pain
- TMJ/Jaw pain
- Chronic fatigue
PRI at Alpine Physical Therapy:
Through our own journeys as clinicians, we have discovered PRI to be the most effective physical therapy approach for even the most challenging cases, because it facilitates lasting results. For example, if a patient comes to us with a shoulder injury, we could just treat and heal the shoulder. But what if we left it there? We would fail to address the underlying pattern that made our patient susceptible to the injury in the first place, leaving the patient at risk for re-injury, or for new issues to emerge.
The PRI approach allows our team to focus on the underlying cause of an injury or ongoing pain. We retrain the body to function without undue strain and break the “pattern” that caused the injury in the first place, often healing patients who have had unsuccessful rehab experiences in the past.
A Multi-Disciplinary Approach
Because the PRI approach is holistic, the Alpine therapists are trained to develop multi-system treatment plans. To achieve the best possible outcomes, we often collaborate with other medical professionals, including dentists, optometrists, naturopaths, massage therapists and orthodontists. We have built a network of healthcare providers in the Seattle area and, on a case-by-case basis, we may encourage a patient to involve these other medical specialists in his or her treatment for the most successful outcome.