DNS - The WHY behind your patient's dysfunction.

Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS) is one of the closest things to magic that we have in the treatment room.
— Brett Winchester, D.C.

What is DNS?

DNS Squat Gestalt Education

Alright friends, it’s time to talk about what DNS actually is. Especially for those of you that are students out there, you may hear people just throw the acronym out there casually and be really confused so I’m going to try and clear that up for you.

DNS is an acronym for “Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization” and it is a way of looking at the body as a whole. Let’s start from square one. If you’ve heard of Pavel Kolar (pronounced Pa-vel Ko-laj), well, he’s the guy that created what we now know as DNS. DNS is based on developmental kinesiology and “the neurophysiological aspects of [the] maturing postural-locomotor system”. This means that DNS looks at the first year of a child’s life (birth to 13 months) as the map of proper musculoskeletal development, muscle synergy, and joint centration (centration: referring to a joint that is in the optimal position with equal co-activation of the muscles surrounding it). Okay, that was a lot of words. Let’s break that down a little.  Seventy percent of children develop according to the musculoskeletal blueprint that every human is born with. That blueprint consists of milestones that have to be met in order for our bones and joints to be formed properly. That means that if we take a milestone from the blueprint of the first year of like and make an adult be in that exact position, then their joints will be in centration, the muscles will be synergistic around those joints, and proper stability will ensue. Pretty freaking cool, right? It works because you have already been there before in your first year of life and, when put into the position correctly, you have nowhere to hide! No compensations can happen when in a perfect DNS position. Again, super freaking cool.

If that doesn’t blow wind up your skirt then I don’t know what does!
— Brett Winchester, D.C.

Why is it our main operating system:

Tripod Rotation Gestalt Education

DNS is an extremely powerful tool that we use on every single patient that we encounter. It is an amazingly effective way to look at the body as a whole, functional unit. We use DNS as our main operating system because we do not use pain as our audit; we use function. Said a different way, we are more concerned with the “why” behind a lumbar disc herniation rather than simply getting the patient out of pain and moving on. I mean, western medicine is better at getting a patient out of pain anyway, all they would have to do is take a pill and be done with it. However, the function is what needs to be addressed. We want to know what posture this patient is in all day, how she breathes, what compensatory motor patterns are now ingrained, and what developmental kinesiology milestones did she miss during her first year of development. Better than that, with DNS, we know how to address all of these things. Now, that’s not to say that pain isn’t important. Pain is extremely important and it should be addressed with our patients! In fact, with every single patient that I see, I hear Dr. Mark King’s voice in my head saying, “touch them where it hurts”. We just believe that as chiropractic physicians that we can’t just stop at the pain which is why we use DNS as our auditing system and main operating system.

How we utilize it:

DNS Hanging Gestalt Education

What are chiropractors most known for? You guessed it: “cracking backs”. Sure, we adjust or manipulate our patients when they come into the office (if they have that corresponding restriction, of course) but we also utilize DNS post-manipulation to reintegrate the surrounding musculature. This goes back to the “why”. Why does that patient have that exact joint restriction; Is it because of poor breathing? — DNS. Is it poor muscle synergy around that joint? — DNS. Is it a compensatory movement pattern or a missed developmental milestone? — DNS. We believe that the reintegration of the musculature surrounding the area(s) that we just manipulated is just as important as the actual adjustment.

We hope this gives you some insight into why Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization is so important to our model and why it sits at the top of our Functional Triage. If you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter below to stay up to date with new blogs!



Lauren Jordan Gestalt Education

Dr. Lauren Jordan

Dr. Lauren Jordan is the co-founder of Gestalt Education and a Chiropractic Physician at Winchester Spine and Sport in Troy, MO. Lauren has differentiated herself by becoming an expert in the area of pediatrics, pregnancy, and postpartum chiropractic care. She is Webster Technique certified and loves working with expecting mothers. Lauren was the president of the Motion Palpation Club at Logan University. Lauren, her fiance Dean, and their dog Louie enjoy going to concerts to see their favorite bands live.