Postural Restoration: Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Ms. Thula Chelvan
Published at: 12/4/2024

Postural Restoration: Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Key Takeaways

  • Postural restoration is designed to correct musculoskeletal imbalances and enhance the overall function of the body.

  • The primary benefits are pain reduction, increased mobility, and better athletic performance.

  • There is typically an adjustment period that may include temporary muscle soreness.

  • The cost can vary based on the length of treatment and insurance coverage, but it is recommended to have professional guidance.

  • Some benefits can be felt immediately, but long-term improvements may take several weeks to months.

What Is The Purpose of Postural Restoration?

Postural restoration is a unique approach to physical therapy rooted in the science of biomechanics. This field studies how the human body moves, focusing on the intricate relationships between bones, muscles, and fascia (the connective tissue supporting your muscles). Postural restoration acknowledges that our bodies are naturally asymmetrical. While some asymmetry is normal, this approach emphasizes identifying and correcting excessive imbalances within the musculoskeletal system. These imbalances can contribute to pain and hinder overall function.

To address these imbalances, the physician will conduct a thorough movement evaluation. These tests assess your joint mobility, muscle activation patterns, and even your breathing mechanics to pinpoint any underlying issues. Based on the findings, a personalized program of PRI (Postural Respiration Integration) exercises will be prescribed. PRI exercises target specific muscles and breathing patterns to restore optimal movement and correct asymmetries. Ultimately, postural restoration aims to retrain your nervous system to activate muscles in a more balanced and coordinated way. This process, called neuromuscular re-education, helps your body maintain the improvements gained through exercise.

Addressing Imbalances

Postural Restoration Purpose, Benefits, Side Effects, Cost, Time to Work

Photo credit: Stanford Environmental Health & Safety

Enhancing Everyday Movement

Everyday movement encompasses everything we do in our day-to-day lives – from walking and bending to lifting and participating in sports. When our posture is not aligned, these movements can become less effective and more strenuous. Postural restoration improves the way we move, making it less effortless and more powerful.

Improving General Health

A balanced body can breathe more easily, digest food more efficiently, and even handle stress more effectively. It's simply about preparing our body to perform at its best.

Benefits of Postural Restoration

Lessened Pain and Discomfort

One of the first advantages people often observe is a decrease in pain. When the body is correctly aligned and moving, it puts less pressure on muscles and joints, which can substantially reduce discomfort.

Improved Movement and Flexibility

When we practice postural restoration exercises, we're essentially training our bodies to move in different ways. This can result in improved mobility and flexibility, making it easier to stretch, bend, and twist.

Better Sports Performance

Many athletes use postural restoration to get an advantage over their competition. By making the bodywork as efficiently as possible, athletes can perform better, lower their chance of getting hurt, and bounce back faster.

Improving Respiration and Blood Flow

Our ability to breathe deeply and efficiently is directly influenced by our posture. Better alignment of one's posture can provide more room for the lungs to expand, which can improve oxygen intake and blood flow.

Improving Musculoskeletal Health for the Long Run

Postural restoration is a way to set ourselves up for better musculoskeletal health in the future. It's like investing in our future selves, ensuring that we can continue to live and move with ease for many years. Think of it as preventative maintenance for your body - taking care of it now to make sure it takes care of you in the future.

Potential Side Effects of Postural Restoration

Like any other therapy, there can be side effects as your body gets used to new ways of moving. It's normal and it's a sign that your body is reacting and changing. Here's what you could expect:

Getting Used to New Postures

When you first start practicing new postures, it might feel a bit strange. Your body has been moving in the same way for a long time, so it might take some time to get used to the changes. But don't give up – the benefits are worth it.

Feeling Tired at the Beginning

When you start to train your body, you may feel more tired than you usually would. This is due to your body putting in extra effort to learn and keep up with these new patterns.

Short-Term Muscle Pain

As you begin to use muscles that have been out of balance, discomfort is a normal part of the process and should subside as your body adjusts. It's similar to the soreness you feel after a good workout – it's temporary and an indication that you're becoming stronger.

Cost of Postural Restoration

Several factors may affect the cost of your postural restoration journey:

  • Session Frequency: The total cost will be influenced by how often you need to go to sessions.

  • Treatment Duration: The length of each session and the overall treatment period can vary.

  • Experience of Therapist: More experienced therapists may charge more for their services.

  • Location: Costs can differ depending on the cost of living in your area.

Generally, each session costs anywhere from $50 to $200. Some individuals may notice improvements after only a few sessions, while others may need continuous support to keep their new posture.

Insurance and Out-of-Pocket Costs

Insurance coverage for postural restoration therapy is a mixed bag. Some insurance plans may cover it, while others may not. It's important to check with your insurance provider to understand what is covered and what you'll need to pay out-of-pocket. Don't forget to factor in your deductible and copayments when considering the overall cost.

If you don't have insurance or your insurance doesn't cover postural restoration, therapists offer payment plans or fees based on your income to make it easier to afford treatment.

How Long Does It Take for Postural Restoration to Work?

Some benefits, such as pain reduction, can be felt almost immediately, while others, such as improved posture and function, may take weeks or even months to fully appear, as long as one adheres to the process as advised by the doctor.

What Determines Your Rate of Progress

Each person is unique, and there are various factors that can affect how fast you start to see improvements:

  • Level of Imbalance: The more severe the imbalance, the longer it may take to correct.

  • Regular Practice: Consistency and sticking to your program is key.

  • General Health: Your overall health and lifestyle can affect your progress.

  • Age: Younger people may adjust to changes faster than older adults.

Setting realistic goals and celebrating small wins along the way is key. Remember, it's a marathon, not a sprint.

MSK Doctors for Your Postural Restoration Therapy

At MSK Doctors, our team comprises certified practitioners whose expertise allows us to analyze your body's unique asymmetries and create a personalized treatment plan to address them effectively. 

We go beyond addressing pain – we empower you to be an active participant in your recovery, fostering open communication and continuous support throughout your journey. Don't settle for a generic approach. Contact MSK Doctors and embark on your journey to posture restoration with us.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is Postural Restoration?

Postural restoration is a method of therapy that treats imbalances in the body's musculoskeletal system. It's rooted in the idea that our bodies are not perfectly symmetrical and that these asymmetries can cause compensations and dysfunction. Postural restoration uses a mix of exercises, hands-on techniques, and education to restore balance and proper function to the body.

Can Anyone Use Postural Restoration?

Postural restoration can help a lot of people, but it doesn't work for everyone. People with some medical conditions or people who have recently had surgery should be careful. Always talk to a healthcare professional before you start a new therapy.

Is Postural Restoration Effective for Chronic Pain Conditions?

Postural restoration is often beneficial for individuals suffering from chronic pain conditions. This method targets the underlying issues of musculoskeletal imbalances, which can alleviate the body's stress and pain. Nonetheless, it's crucial to undergo a thorough assessment to ascertain if postural restoration is the most suitable treatment for your particular condition.

What Exercises Are Included in Postural Restoration?

The exercises that are part of postural restoration are meant to help the body learn to move in a more balanced and efficient manner. They often include activities that push the body out of its normal patterns, encourage flexibility, and build strength in muscles that aren't used as often. These exercises are customized to meet the needs of each person and are typically easy to do at home.

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