Why Do I Feel Unbalanced? Postural Restoration Explained

Many new clients come in shifted... their squat looks crooked... or they've got a longer stride on one side when running.

So how did they get these imbalances? Oftentimes the logical explanation is that they're simply over-exposing themselves to certain environments such as:

  • Spending too much time doing one thing
  • Sitting at a desk with the mouse in one's right hand
  • Having an untreated injury
  • Playing one-sided sports like golf, sweep rowing, archery or pitching baseballs

When activities are biased towards one side, you may be disrupting the "balanced asymmetry" of the body. Yes, that's correct — we are all naturally asymmetrical.

Postural Restoration Institute (PRI) is a clinical education program started in Lincoln, Nebraska by a physical therapist, Ron Hruska, over 30 years ago. He looked at the human body as being asymmetrical. The muscular, neurological, respiratory, circulatory, and vision systems are not the same on the left side of the body as they are on the right side. They have different responsibilities, functions, positions and demands placed on them.

System asymmetry is actually a good thing and a great design.

Balanced Asymmetric. Postural Restoration. PRI

The body is balanced through the integration of system imbalances. For instance, your torso has a liver on the right, and a heart on the left. Your diaphragm (the primary breathing muscle) is thicker and more domed shape on the right, while thinner and less domed on the left. Even though the left and right sides are different from each other, they create balance.

It is our asymmetrical anatomy that predisposes us to certain patterns of movement. If we go into an exaggerated asymmetry pattern, then movement dysfunction follows and eventually pain sets in. Some common ailments include TMJ disorders, headaches, postural abnormalities, and impaired function and performance.

PRI evaluation and treatment techniques allow us, as physical therapists, to recognize typical patterns that occur from disruption to this balanced asymmetry. My objective is to restore the natural, balanced asymmetry of the human body, termed neutrality.

In order to achieve this, we must train the right side differently than the left side. We must also practice more natural (primal) movement patterns to break free from the physical restrictions that our daily lifestyle (school, work, etc.) has put on us.

When neutrality is achieved, our bodies are able to move as intended, reciprocally from right to left, from left to right, and in and out of neutral. With balanced asymmetry we are capable of doing amazing things!

Disclaimer:  The views expressed in this article are based on the opinion of the author, unless otherwise noted, and should not be taken as personal medical advice. The information provided is intended to help readers make their own informed health and wellness decisions.

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Dr. Bryan Carestia

Physical Therapist | Doctor of Physical Therapy | Owner (Newtown)
Bryan Carestia is a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) with nearly a decade of experience in outpatient orthopedics. He works at Activcore in Newtown, PA and services Bucks County, Pennsylvania and Mercer County, New Jersey. With an extensive clinical background and education, Bryan is uniquely qualified to handle more complex pain conditions that other practitioners could not resolve.
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