Tom Tardif, DPT and Summit Orthopedics were great hosts for the introductory course, Postural Respiration. Minneapolis has long been a hotbed for PRI training and PRI activity and it was good to be back in the friendly confines of such good people doing what we do. There were a lot of first time attendees, which reminded me of the early years of PRI training, when so many good relationships were nurtured in this area. And a big thank you to Stephanie Kinsella, DPT, PRC for being an excellent lab assistant throughout the course.
We talked about the airflow pattern and rib cage mechanics one sees when the thorax moves into a patterned hyperinflated state of inhalation and the influence this type of extended thoracic posturing has on the pelvis, the abdominal wall and resting scapular position. The externally rotated rib posture tends to elevate the thorax and move it forward, as the front of the elevated rib cage expands upward and outward and the back of the rib cage closes down and becomes restricted. This faulty position of the anterior rib cage lengthens the abdominal wall, changes the shape of the normally domed diaphragm and moves the diaphragm forward outside the pillar of core stability. We talked about how the restoration of this rib cage and diaphragm alignment, a concept called obtaining a Zone of Apposition, is not only powerful biomechanically, but is especially powerful neurologically.
We illustrated the frontal plane and transverse plane differences of the lower trap on the right vs the lower trap on the left, as well as discussing its sagittal plane influence on the above mentioned pillar of core stability. We illustrated the sagittal, frontal and transverse plane differences of the Serratus Anterior on the right vs the Serratus Anterior on the left. We were also able to break down the many important thorax performance functions of the Serratus Anterior, like addressing compensatory neck tone on the right, the ability to translate a deflated rib cage posteriorly on the left side, the ability to translate a rib cage laterally from right to left (right Serratus Anterior), and the ability to activate the abdominal wall in the frontal and transverse planes on the left (left Serratus Anterior and left Low Trap) and in the sagittal plane on the left (left Serratus Anterior).
We had lots of “ah ha” moments during both the testing component of the hands on lab and also the treatment component, where we performed our manual rib cage restoration techniques. Stephanie Kinsella, DPT, PRC was invaluable as we worked through the details of these manual techniques. The right BC treatment guidelines sheet was our friend throughout the second day as we worked together to get our heads around what to do clinically to address these rib cage patterns. A great group with a great attitude for learning new and different things made for a great weekend indeed.