Why Am I Rolling & Kneeling in Physical Therapy?

When going through physical therapy, you may often wonder how we decide what exercises we prescribe or how we might progress them. You may have also been to one of our clinics and wonder why you’ve maybe had to do exercises where you’re rolling, getting on your hands and knees, or maybe just breathing. One strategy we often use to develop exercise prescriptions is a neurodevelopmental approach.

My wife and I had our first child over a year ago, and I have enjoyed every minute of watching him grow and develop. It has been fun seeing him achieve new developmental and motor milestones from just being able to lift his head to eventually walking independently. In order for my son to meet new motor milestones, he has had to work hard and practice earlier tasks to achieve the strength and coordination necessary to allow him to progress to higher level tasks.  If you have developed movement dysfunctions through injury or poor movement patterns throughout your day, we may use this same approach to progress you to an optimal level of function.

Early on, infants first learn how to control their head and limbs while lying on their back or on their stomach. They soon learn how to roll and prop up on their elbows. As they begin mastering these earlier tasks they are then able to get on their hands and knees and eventually crawl. They will then begin getting in kneeling positions as they play and as they transition to being able to stand. Soon they begin standing and work towards taking those first steps with assistance and eventually independently.

We can use this same approach to assist in correcting poor movement patterns that are developed throughout our daily lives or from injury. We may have to start with rolling or maintaining appropriate stability in a kneeling position prior to beginning standing exercises to ensure mastery of earlier movement patterns and appropriate head, core, and pelvic control. Like my son, it may take a lot of practice and trial and error, but eventually you’ll be walking, squatting, and running.

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