Neal Hallinan, Postural Restoration Trained (PRT), CSCS, LMT in Northern New Jersey
To say that Postural Restoration Institute changed my life is an understatement.
Not only did it permit me to identify and fix the source of my back pain, but PRI completely changed the way I view the human body.
It also confirmed what I had noticed in regards to athletic training and rehab: that the traditional “stretch and strengthen” and “treating the pain” approach to pain was falling woefully short in creating any lasting success for so many people.
I always wondered why the results never seemed to last.
PRI supplied that “why”.
The pictures below tell a story.
A story of pain and the successful resolution of pain.
In the first picture my eyes and cheek/jaw/ears are level. In the 2nd picture my facial asymmetry shows up, with my left eye and left ear higher than my right. In the 3rd picture, taken last year, the asymmetry is still there.
In the 4th picture, taken in December of 2018, the asymmetry is gone.
It is not a coincidence that my body feels amazing, and the ringing in my ears has decreased considerably.
At this point in time, I know for a fact that the asymmetries that you can see in my face in the 2nd and 3rd pictures was the start of my troubles. These asymmetries, the obvious ones being my left eye and left cheek being higher than my right, also change the relationship of the bones at the base of your head.
The bones at the base of your head sit on top of the neck and if this vital joint, called the O/A joint, has altered function, which it undoubtedly will, this can affect the movement of your entire spine all the way down to your pelvis.
I don’t know what happened to cause the cranial and facial asymmetries, probably a bad fall, but amazingly I have been able to resolve them through a combination of PRI techniques and a bit of self cranial-sacral techniques.
You’ll notice in the last picture that my eyes and cheeks have evened out, just like they were when I was an infant.
It should be no surprise that I feel the best I have ever felt in my life.
Lots of Pain
For years I was bedeviled by SI joint pain. If you have never experienced it, count your lucky stars, because it is awful. SI joint pain is usually found on one side. Most people describe it as lower back or upper butt pain. You don’t know how to classify it because it seems to reside between those two areas.
The first time I experienced it was my sophomore year of college at the University of Maryland at College Park. I was playing basketball and landed awkwardly. The resultant pain in my SI joint was horrible. It stiffened immediately. All movement shut down. I could barely stand. Sitting at my desk was torture. Just getting out of bed and putting on socks and pants was a struggle. There is no way to get comfortable when you are experiencing SI joint pain.
Unfortunately for me this initial experience was just the beginning of a long physical, mental, and spiritual decline. The situation played itself out two or three times a year for 16 years. Even being a personal trainer and having access to physical therapists and chiropractors did nothing to help the situation. Nothing worked. Beyond the SI joint problems, I had plantar fasciitis in both feet for five years, and also experienced debilitating upper back and necks spasms.
Life was a struggle and I experienced quite a few bouts with depression.
Physical pain has a way of sucking the life out of you.
Then in 2013 I found the Postural Restoration Institute.
I started with PRI’s Myokinematic Restoration home study course which primarily deals with how our pelvis interacts with our legs and spine. In that course I heard something revolutionary (to me at least): humans are inherently asymmetrical and during the course of our normal lives our pelvis moves into an asymmetrical resting position, with a left side of the pelvis rotated forward compared to the right.
Due to this pattern of asymmetry, the left and right sides of our body will never move in the exact same way.
“H-o-l-y sh******t!!!!” was my thought process at that moment.
It was such a basic proposition, and the evidence for it in the scientific literature is overwhelming:
Humans are asymmetrically put together (this is widely understood) and thus move asymmetrically (not widely understood).
When our natural asymmetry gets too great, and our ability to compensate breaks down, pain will occur.
I used PRI to fix my SI joint issues the next day.
Outside of an occasional ache, I have never suffered from another bout of SI joint pain again.
PRI and Training
For many years, I read everything I could about training and nutrition. While it was all interesting, my main interest was always how exercise could help improve people’s lives through pain reduction.
I found that some people’s aches and pains were helped immensely through better training routines. Getting joints moving through a full range of motion via dynamic warmups provided good results. Focusing on compound movements. Getting stronger in general.
All these things were good, but I always felt something was missing. Some people didn’t respond at all. They could get in better shape, but they didn’t feel better. Now I know that it is likely because of what PRI teaches:
People are stuck in a neuromuscular pattern that they can’t get out of, and it’s their brain that is putting them there.
You can't stretch or strengthen your way out of a neuromuscular pattern!
Actually, doing these things can often make things worse since you are stretching structures that don’t need stretching and possibly reinforcing dysfunctional movement patterns.
Instead, you must break them out of the pattern which they are stuck in.
That’s what PRI does. It enables you to break out of a painful movement pattern in order to establish a better one.
What I realized is that while strength and mobility are great things, they have to be applied properly. You have to fully understand the situation of the person you are training. Due to neuromuscular patterns and the circumstances of the individual’s life (job, stress, surgeries, exercise history etc..), not everybody is suited for every exercise, even when they ostensibly look fine.
PRI is revolutionizing how training is being done at the highest levels.
More and more strength and conditioning professionals and rehabilitation experts are coming to understand that many of the underlying assumptions and methods previously used were based on a limited understanding of how the body is structured and functions.
PRI is helping to create a new paradigm for viewing how the human body is organized and how it functions optimally. This knowledge will enable strength and conditioning professionals to produce better results for their clients and health care practitioners produce better outcomes when it comes to musculoskeletal based pain.
For questions or comments, email me: Nealhallinan@gmail.com or
With the founder of PRI, Ron Hruska, after earning my PRT