Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization, or DNS as it is more often referred to, is a functional rehabilitation method/strategy that aims to activate the body’s natural stabilization system through the principles of developmental kinesiology. The purpose of this approach is to use the inherent stabilization system to reestablish the innate neuromuscular pathways that may have diminished over the years. Through the reestablishment of these pathways, the individual will regain their proper and pain-free biomechanical functions.
As explained above, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization is a strategy which encompasses principles with roots in neurophysiology, motor control, reflex locomotion, developmental kinesiology, along with many others. Although the specifics and employment of this strategy can get complicated, the basis of it can be explained in a rather straightforward way. As a babies’ central nervous system begins to mature, its posture and movement patterns do so correlatively. The correct movement patterns are innately “hard-wired” into the babies developing central nervous system, which means that healthy babies do not have to be taught how to develop in the proper fashion. For this reason, the specific movement patterns and the order that they appear in are ubiquitous among the majority of developing babies. The absence or delay of one of the aforementioned stabilization milestones can be used to diagnose non-ideal development of a baby, due to the universality of these developmental checkpoints.
The development of core/sagittal stabilization is achieved through proper diaphragm and pelvic floor function as well as intra-abdominal pressure. This occurs naturally during the development of newborns to infants and is a vital element as it leads to another milestone where the baby can begin reaching across the midline and begin the turning process. As the development proceeds, postural maturation begins to facilitate proper bone shape and joint centration. Joint centration refers to the most optimal mechanical advantage throughout movement of the joint. Before any purposeful movement, there must be an activation of certain stabilization muscles. The stabilization muscles must facilitate proper movement down the entire chain or else the purposeful movement will become compensated for by other muscles whose primary function is not stabilization. The stabilization muscles are referred to as phasic muscles because they have a propensity for resisting fatigue, whereas tonic muscles are primary movement muscles that fatigue rather quickly. The tonic muscles can become overloaded and, as a result, the movement that they generate will not be as efficient as it lacks proper balance/assistance from the weak/underdeveloped stabilizing, or phasic, muscles. This can lead to myriad of problems, but mainly spinal instability due to overloading the discs and spinal joints in conjunction with an imbalanced locomotion system. Spinal instability can manifest in many different ways and is often the origin of associated pain.
Joint centration may sound difficult to achieve if years of poor function have accumulated, but you should know that there is a large neurological portion of regaining the proper mechanical function of your joints. As stated above, these locomotion patterns of movement and stabilization are “hard-wired” into our brains. The proper movements are still there, but over the years many of us have dulled the neurological input to the phasic muscles and increased the stimulus to the tonic muscles. We may have overridden the inherent neurological pathways, but it can be reestablished through reactivation exercises in primal developmental positions. Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization takes into consideration the primary source of pain and provides the individual with a calculated approach to restoring them to their peak biomechanical function.