Physical therapy clinics have become a medical staple in today’s modern society. It seems as though every other person we meet is currently in pain, diagnosing their pain, and/or seeking relief from pain. Injury, rehabilitation, and pain management often prove to be overwhelming, frustrating, and downright expensive experiences. So what do we do when standard treatment methods “fail” or do not offer us the long-term relief we are seeking? Is there another way…. a different way… of treating musculoskeletal pain and movement dysfunction? Perhaps the answer can be found by looking at how humans were designed to move in the first place. This is the basis of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, commonly referred to as DNS.

DNS is a protocol birthed via Dr. Pavel Kolar of the Prague School of Rehabilitation and Manual Medicine, Czech Republic. The foundation of DNS is based on the science of developmental kinesiology; that is, the way the human body matures and learns how to move in its first few years of life. These movement patterns are generally predictable and automatic — for example, ask any pediatrician when to expect your newborn to roll over for the first time and you’ll generally hear the same response (anywhere between 4-6 months). But how does a baby know when it’s ready to flip over, crawl, or walk for that matter? The answer lies within the beautiful complexity of the human central nervous system, or CNS.

Under normal conditions, our genetic code dances beautifully with our central nervous system as infants and seamlessly… unconsciously…. shows us when and how to move. It’s effortless. We don’t need to teach a baby how to hold up his or her head or a toddler how to squat with perfect form — it just happens. We generally don’t see children afraid to bend at the waist out of fear of back pain. Clearly, something becomes lost in translation once injury, sickness, or trauma manifests in the body. DNS seeks to remind us of how we were designed to move in the first place — bridging the gap between standard physical therapy and our CNS via exercises that mimic childhood developmental patterns.
So how exactly can “(re)learning to move like a baby” help with chronic low back pain, for example? The answer lies in the fundamentals of DNS itself — our breathing patterns. DNS teaches the concept of intra-abdominal pressure (or IAP) as it relates to the position of the diaphragm. This, in turn, creates a stable “brace” for our core via which all other movements are free to occur. While this may sound complicated or daunting at first, the opposite is indeed true. DNS teaches us how to move the way we are already programmed to move. It may take time and practice for new movements to “stick around” as habit (just like when learning any new exercise routine) but genetics are on our side.

Reminding ourselves of our primitive movement patterns provides a significant benefit to those of us suffering from chronic pain — because DNS-based exercises have already been ingrained in our genetic code, our central nervous system automatically deems these movements as “safe.” You can’t get any safer than exercise that even a baby can do! This goes a long way in helping patients with learned movement fears (such as bending over) overcome those fears in a safe, controlled fashion.

Regarding level of difficulty, DNS movements can always be progressed or regressed to whatever is needed at the time. Indeed, DNS exercises can be as challenging or soothing as they need to be (and are oftentimes both). These primitive, holistic movements can also be combined with other physical therapy methods and/or our daily workouts in general. We don’t need to be “injured” in order to reap the benefits of DNS!

Contact us to find out more about the DNS protocol and/or schedule an appointment today!
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