What Do Janda and Hodges Agree is Important in Functional Control and Stability of the Spine. Part 1 of 3.

The late Professor Janda is acknowledged as the Father of Rehabilitation and Motor Control. His pioneering work showed us the importance and inherent difficulty of achieving muscle balance. His work also showed that contraction speed is more important than muscle strength, because the system needs to be fast acting in order to protect the joints. Janda deviated from the main-stream path in that he addressed tightness as the primary muscle problem rather than weakness. This was the first change that I began making with clients in the late 90’s with immediate results over strengthening approach.

Janda had incredible observational skills and was able to determine a treatment approach via observation of posture and gait. If you attended one of his workshops, he would encourage you to begin to ‘train your eyes.’ Colleagues and I from this time have worked on this capacity assiduously and have encouraged anyone in coaching or therapeutic fields to begin to be able to see ‘the whole person’ in standing and movement.

He developed SensoriMotor Training using functional tasks and balance tools in order to develop whole body neuromuscular activity. This includes;

  1. proprioceptive drive from the feet
  2. facilitation of deep neck flexors
  3. incorporation of the vestibular system (more on this in upcoming blog)
  4. activating the motor system as a whole in tasks such as falling lunges and balance sandal walking
  5. an overall improvement in posture and gait was the goal of this training

Interestingly, a number of the recommendations in Phillip Beach’s work encourage similar adaptation in terms of waking up the feet, restoring ‘biomechanical tune’ and restoring the capacity to both rest in floor postures and be able to get up and down with grace and ease.

Janda was also the first to point to our tonic and phasic system of muscles from a phylogenic and ontogenic perspective.

Professor Paul Hodges’ work aims to understand the physiology of spinal pain, to develop novel strategies for the prevention and treatment of spinal pain, and to understand the mechanisms for efficacy of interventions for spinal pain.

Paul has doctorates in both physiotherapy and neuroscience and his work blends neurophysiological and biomechanical methods to understand the control of movement and stability of the spine and how this changes when people have pain. The basis for Hodges approach is outlined below;

  1. Understand strategies used by the brain to control the spine
  2. Contribution of the deep trunk muscles in spinal stability
  3. How pain affects the way we move

In part 2 of this blog I will introduce Biomechanical Models and Neural Strategies for Spinal Control.  Although this material may be new for some readers, I encourage you to stay open.  The next wave of training will encompass these principles, and if you want to be a leader in your field, or provide great outcomes for clients, this perspective is essential.

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