What is Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization?

DNS is a useful tool to overcome aches and pains that other approaches may not resolve.
Baby crawling
Dr. Alexander Elahi
March 22, 2024

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is one of the fastest growing trends in human performance and longevity. In fact, Dr. Peter Attia, host of the popular podcast called “The Drive” discussed Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization strategies on his show recently. He’s also written a book on longevity and dedicated an entire chapter to DNS to highlight its importance on long-term health and movement. 

We're focusing primarily on how incorporating Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization can be a useful tool to overcome nagging aches and pains that the traditional medical system is not sufficient at resolving. The reason for this is quite simple: DNS focuses on identifying and rectifying the ROOT PROBLEM (and not masking underlying symptoms…)

What is Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization and HOW can it help explain my pain?

Since 2017, I have been trained in Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS), with the majority of my training being facilitated by Dr. Alex Earl, one of the few Americans certified in DNS.

DNS is a groundbreaking approach to understanding and addressing musculoskeletal pain. Recently, leading health experts and influencers have brought light to this innovative approach. Dr. Peter Attia, MD, frequently discusses DNS principles on his podcast. As a trained DNS provider, I’m excited to help you explore what DNS is and how it can offer valuable insights into the origins of your pain. In this article, we’ll answer three key questions to demystify DNS and its potential to help you find relief.

What is DNS, and how does it differ from conventional approaches?

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is a revolutionary method rooted in the principles of developmental kinesiology. It delves deep into the neurological and developmental aspects of human movement and stability. In contrast to traditional approaches that often focus solely on treating symptoms, DNS seeks to address the root causes of pain and dysfunction. We’ll explore how DNS distinguishes itself from other methods and why this distinction matters for patients seeking pain relief.

While major medical establishments focus their regional exams on the painful tissue, DNS focuses on the entire movement system. Conventional approaches are neither sufficient nor necessary for the proper explanation of painful conditions.

An example of this is low back pain. Conventional approaches include rest, injections, pain pills, and surgery. DNS starts with the movement strategies that might be contributing to the painful state.

Frequently with patients, I reference how some movements could contribute to your pain state similar to pouring gasoline on a fire.

Sometimes, certain movements while patients are still in a painful state can be very therapeutic. It’s only after a thorough evaluation to identify what these movements are (or aren’t) and how to gradually progress in your desired active lifestyle.

Rest and avoidance of activities linked with your pain are antiquated suggestions. They are not problem-solving solutions like DNS produces.

How does DNS explain the connection between pain and movement patterns?

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) operates on the premise that the human body has an innate ability to move in functional and pain-free ways, as observed during early developmental stages. However, injury, trauma, or poor movement habits can disrupt these optimal patterns. By assessing movement through a DNS lens, we can identify movement patterns and their link to pain or underwhelming performance. We’ll delve into the core principles of DNS that help us understand this connection and how it guides the treatment process.

PRO TIP: Start with a DNS Evaluation to see your baseline results. The Evaluation is a thorough assessment of what your body can and cannot currently do. It is a default positive assessment, though, designed to show you what your body is capable of!

DNS principles of movement could explain one of the many reasons why you hurt. It provides a lens through which movement is evaluated, but DNS itself does not interpret the findings and the correlation of pain with any backed scientific studies.

Nearly all of the papers published to date about DNS are case reports showing positive changes in an individual's presentation. There have been no double-blind placebo control trials showing the effectiveness of DNS compared to any other treatments, including no treatment.

Simply put, DNS is a concept of movement.

It is not an interpretation of your current pain state.

What can patients expect from DNS treatment, and who can benefit?

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) treatment involves a comprehensive approach that combines assessment, manual therapy, and tailored exercises. It aims to restore optimal movement patterns and, in turn, alleviate pain and discomfort. 

But who can benefit from DNS, and what can patients expect during their journey to recovery? We’ll discuss the types of conditions and individuals that can benefit from DNS therapy, as well as the potential outcomes and long-term benefits of this approach.

DNS is a powerful tool for understanding the relationship between movement and pain. By exploring the principles and practices of DNS, patients who have listened to Dr. Peter Attia’s podcast can gain valuable insights into a holistic approach to pain management. As a trained DNS provider, I am committed to helping patients unlock their body’s innate potential for pain-free, functional movement. 

What are some of the DNS Principles?

As I mentioned earlier, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is based on several key principles of movement. These principles are rooted in developmental kinesiology and provide a foundation for understanding and improving movement patterns. After all, no one has to teach an infant how to move, they just do it. In fact, humans are one of, if not the only, species to be born without a fully intact nervous system.

Here are some examples of DNS principles of movement:

  1. Centration: Centration refers to the concept of maintaining optimal joint alignment during movement. In DNS, there is an emphasis on achieving and maintaining the central or neutral position of joints, such as the spine and hips. This helps distribute forces evenly through the joints and reduces the risk of injury or dysfunction. Contrary to popular belief, there is no standardized neutral positioning for everyone. That’s why we start every patient off with a thorough assessment: To establish their specific neutral positioning.
  1. Segmental Stabilization: DNS focuses on the activation of specific muscles to stabilize individual segments of the body. For example, the deep core muscles, such as the transverse abdominis, play a crucial role in the segmental stabilization of the lumbar spine. DNS teaches patients how to activate and coordinate these stabilizing muscles effectively.
  1. Developmental Progressions: DNS takes inspiration from the motor development milestones observed in infants. These developmental progressions involve specific movement patterns, such as rolling, crawling, and transitioning from lying to sitting and standing. DNS practitioners use these progressions to guide patients in relearning fundamental movement patterns.
  1. Intra-Abdominal Pressure (IAP): DNS emphasizes the importance of creating and controlling intra-abdominal pressure during movements. Proper IAP helps stabilize the spine and pelvis, providing a strong foundation for various activities. DNS techniques teach individuals how to regulate IAP for better support and injury prevention.
  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing: Breathing is a fundamental aspect of movement and stability. DNS promotes diaphragmatic breathing, which involves using the diaphragm for deep and efficient breaths. Proper breathing helps engage the core muscles and facilitates better postural control. Contrary to popular belief, breathing is a normal function so there is a “wrong way” to breathe (unless, of course, you’re dead, in which case, the content of this article is irrelevant to you!). DNS emphasizes that that are efficient methods of breathing and inefficient methods. Identifying if your breathing method is efficient for you is also a key component of the initial DNS assessment. 
  1. Joint Centration in Load-Bearing Positions: DNS encourages joint centration not only during rest but also during load-bearing activities like squatting and lifting. By maintaining optimal joint alignment under load, individuals can reduce the risk of injury and improve performance.
  1. Integration of Global and Local Stabilization: DNS recognizes the importance of both global and local stabilizing muscles. Global muscles like the large muscle groups of the trunk and limbs provide power and mobility, while local muscles provide fine-tuned stability. DNS aims to harmonize the activation of both types of muscles for efficient and pain-free movement.
  1. Neurodevelopmental Perspective: DNS views movement from a neurological perspective, emphasizing the role of the central nervous system in controlling and coordinating movement. Understanding how the brain influences movement patterns is a fundamental aspect of DNS assessment and treatment.

These principles collectively guide DNS practitioners in assessing and addressing dysfunctional movement patterns. By retraining the body to move in accordance with these principles, individuals can experience improved posture, reduced pain, enhanced athletic performance, and a better quality of life.

If you’re an athlete or an active individual who is also experiencing “tightness”, then don’t wait any longer. Give us a call or text us at (240) 206-0655 to book your Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization Movement Assessment today!

Do this next!

  1. Share this article with a friend or family member who has been dealing with constant back, neck, shoulder, hip, or knee pain that DNS could help!
  2. Call our office TODAY at (240) 206-0655 to book your DNS Assessment today.
  3. Keep an eye out for our next article!

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