Professor Kolař built the "Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization" concept based on his clinical experience and principles from developmental kinesiology and its neurophysiological and biomechanical links. His other great influencers from the Prague School of Rehabilitation include Karel Lewit, Vaclav Vojta, and Vladimir Janda.
The DNS concept is based on the development of the nervous system in the first year of a baby’s life since this development defines posture and muscle coordination in all movement patterns in an ideal manner.
Who knew, the more we try to imitate and move like babies, the better!
A newborn does not need to be taught how to roll over, grasp, or start crawling. These movement patterns are triggered automatically in a sequential way as the central nervous system (CNS) matures. It is crucial however that these movement patterns unfold in good quality. When it does, it sets the groundwork of what the best positions for joints and muscles are, giving us an idea of what “ideal” movement should look like. This knowledge becomes a base for comparison when analyzing movement behavior in adults and children.
If however, the CNS is disrupted in some way (by a delay or injury) then it would adversely affect the development of motor patterns and subsequently the structural development of bones, muscles, tissues as well. Fortunately for us, in presence of a lesion or pathology, our body and its compensation strategies are rather predictable, and we tend to develop similar faulty movement stereotypes.
So, having the base comparison with the ‘ideal’ development in mind and knowing how faulty patterns emerge, we use the DNS model to precisely identify and target the key area of the body that needs to be improved.
What is ideal movement?
DNS emphasizes the need for every joint to be in a position where it allows the muscles attached to it to act in balance. This balanced functioning of muscles leads to better stability in the joints allowing movement to take place with the least amount of stress on the joints and increasing the quality of coordination. For this to occur, the stabilizing muscles of the core and the spine need to be working together and in good quality.
The main group of the stabilizing muscles that the DNS concept highlights includes: the short inter-segmental muscles of the spine, deep neck flexors, the diaphragm, and muscles of the abdominal wall and pelvic floor. Any problem or injury to these muscles leads to overloading of joints, muscle overuse, and an imbalance of the musculoskeletal system as a whole.
Movement is treated by movement
The diagnosis according to this concept focuses on finding the key problematic area via a range of specific movement tests. After this, a set of specific functional positions from developmental kinesiology is used to re-educate the disrupted movement stereotypes.
DNS exercises need to be tuned according to the individual’s needs and their level of fitness, so it is important to do them under the guidance of a DNS-educated therapist.
Written by Farah Droubi