The Practical MovementTM Series

The Science Behind Practical Movement

Practical Movement is all about retraining the nervous system. Simply put: It’s brainwork based on somatic movement principles.

Somatic movement retrains the nervous system through moving slowly with awareness and with purpose, allowing the body to reorganize and regain neuromuscular control and develop coordination. You can be very successful with the movements by just using them for this purpose and generally applying them.

But we add a Postural Twist by selecting movements based on postural assessment.

We’ve found that the movements are more effective when we rule in (or rule out) postural contributors to a client’s issues.

Selecting movements this way also makes our work more efficient. We’ll quickly find out whether postural imbalances are part of the issue or whether a more general approach is needed.

Posture & Pain

We don’t know if a dysfunctional posture is the result of the problem (typically to avoid pain) or if it contributes to the problem. Multiple research studies show that if there is a postural component to the pain, moving the body in a way that brings the posture closer to alignment in the various gravity planes decreases the pain.

We also don’t know what an “ideal” posture is. We do know, however, that what is “ideal” for one person isn’t for another. So we simply nudge the person closer to balance in the various gravity planes to see what happens. More often than not, this approach is very effective.

Shoulder Rotation Diagram

Use postural assessment to guide your movement choices.

Retraining the shoulder

Retrain the left shoulder

Countering the Skeptics

Many skeptics discount the role of posture because there are no studies that prove dysfunctional posture causes pain.  Of course there aren’t… because studies don’t work that way.

For example, when trying to prove that dysfunctional posture causes pain, researchers try to show that dysfunctional posture doesn’t cause pain (aka the null hypothesis). So they’ll find several examples where dysfunctional posture isn’t the culprit or will show that not everyone with dysfunctional posture has pain. Because they are looking for the cause, to them the case is solved: Posture and pain are not related. But it’s not that simple. Scientific studies do not do a good job at showing causation when there are multiple causes involved. And that’s pain. Pain is multi-factorial (with many causes). So those scientists are going to show that nope, dysfunctional posture doesn’t cause pain because there are all these different reasons why a person can have pain. But that conclusion completely ignores the fact that dysfunctional posture can be one of those many factors that contributes to pain.

So, to sum up, does dysfunctional posture cause pain? Not always, but it can be a contributor to pain. And as mentioned above, there are plenty of research studies out there that show that when dysfunctional posture is addressed, pain levels decrease. Our goal is to use postural assessment as a starting point in our exploration: We nudge the body toward balance in the gravity planes to see what happens.