#152 – Michael Rintala, D.C.: Principles of Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization (DNS)

"If you have good programming, dosing, loading, timing, recovery, and on top of that, you have amazing body awareness and cortical function, you're going to see longevity and you're going to see nice quality of movement.” –Michael Rintala

Read Time 19 minutes

Michael Rintala is a sports medicine chiropractor and one of only 18 international instructors teaching dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) for the Prague School of Rehabilitation. This episode focuses on understanding DNS, including the foundational principles and how it relates to human motor development. Michael also shares the most common injuries and issues he sees in patients in his practice, such as postural problems and back pain, and how the movements of a DNS program are used to avoid injury, maintain longevity, and improve sports performance.

Note: In addition to the extensive show notes, for this episode Drive members also get a collection of 8 instructive exercise videos. If you’re a subscriber, you can now view these videos at the bottom of this page (make sure you are logged in). If you are not a member, you can learn more about the member benefits here.


We discuss:

  • Michael’s background in chiropractic sports medicine and rehabilitation (3:15);
  • The Prague School of Rehabilitation, and functional rehabilitation as the foundation of the dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) program (5:00);
  • Foundational principles of DNS, and the role of the diaphragm in muscular stability (19:00);
  • Types of muscle contractions (28:15);
  • Human motor development through the lens of DNS, and when issues begin to arise (32:30);
  • Common postural syndromes (50:00);
  • Increasing functional threshold to minimize time in the functional gap (56:45);
  • DNS for injuries, pain, pre-habilitation, and performance enhancement (1:03:45);
  • Etiology of back pain (1:10:00);
  • How a stress fracture in his back led Michael to the Prague School (1:16:00);
  • The Prague School curriculum: 3 tracks for certification in DNS (1:20:45); and
  • More.


Michael’s background in chiropractic sports medicine and rehabilitation [3:15]

  • Grew up in Northern CA
  • Went to UC San Diego
  • Played multiple sports but was particularly interested in tennis
    • Played lots of junior tennis tournaments
    • Also played in college
  • Today he is a chiropractor based in San Diego
    • Specializes in rehabilitation sports medicine
    • Part of sports medicine team for PGA Tour and the World Surf League Tour
    • On USA Surfing Performance Committee

The Prague School of Rehabilitation, and functional rehabilitation as the foundation of the dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) program [5:00]

  • Peter practices dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS) and works with Michael, Beth Lewis, and Michael Stromsness
  • Prague School of Rehabilitation founded in 1950s at Charles University in Prague in the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) 
  • DNS is based on functional rehabilitation
  • Pavel Kolář currently runs the rehabilitation department at Prague School
  • Behind the Iron Curtain during Cold War, doctors tended towards observation and palpation for diagnosis and treatment
  • DNS was pioneered by three Prague School neurologists, Vladimir Janda, Karel Lewit, and Václav Vojta 

Postural habituation

  • Prague’s Vladimir Janda described postural habituation, when a specific musculature tends towards tightness while other musculature tends towards weakness
  • Upper cross syndrome: neck and shoulder region

Figure 1. Upper cross syndrome. Image credit: Rise Beyond Fitness

  • When spend a lot of time sitting, the neck muscles would tend towards a tightening / over-activation / hypertonicity
  • occipital muscles, the sternocleidomastoid (also attaches to the skull and down to the sternoclavicular joint), the pectoralis, the upper trapezius

{end of show notes preview}

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Michael Rintala, D.C.

Michael Rintala is a San Diego-based chiropractor who specializes in rehabilitation and sports medicine. He is one of only 18 international instructors for the Prague School of Rehabilitation, teaching dynamic neuromuscular stabilization (DNS).  He is also a certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) and certified in full body Active Release Technique.  In addition, he serves on the PGA Tour Sports Medicine Team and the USA Surfing High Performance Committee. 

Instagram: @rintala_movementflow

Facebook: Michael Rintala DC

Youtube Channel: Michael Rintala, DC 

Websites: rintalachiro.com and rintalamovementdesigns.com

Disclaimer: This blog is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute the practice of medicine, nursing or other professional health care services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor/patient relationship is formed. The use of information on this blog or materials linked from this blog is at the user's own risk. The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users should not disregard, or delay in obtaining, medical advice for any medical condition they may have, and should seek the assistance of their health care professionals for any such conditions.
  1. I’d like a scientific discussion on balance and vestibular rehab for older adults.

  2. Thanks for the podcast, I use DNS principles regularly, though have not taken a course since I had the opportunity to hear Vladimir Janda in 1999. His presentation was informative and was part of a good foundation for my work as a PT. Things really changed for me as a PT when I started taking PRI courses. I encourage you to experience treatment from a PRI practitioner or talk with Ron Hruska, the founder. Looking at asymmetries is a game changer. PRI principles build on DNS principles and can be incorporated into care for all ages.

  3. For the exercise in video 2, what do you recommend for improving our ability to eccentrically load the abdominal wall? Video 1 helps, but when he says you should be able to do this without breathing, I find this difficult without pushing my below navel abdomen out. Thanks!

  4. This is such a fascinating episode. I’d love to hear how this method compares to the Feldenkrais method, which we’ve used with our 4.5 year old son who is borderline CP. DNS sounds very similar. Would love to hear how the two compare.

  5. Yet another amazing podcast/videos, Peter!
    Very grateful that you still continue to educate us on all aspects of life!
    These are valuable techniques! Thank you!

  6. Thank you for the sharing the videos to illustrate the principles of DNS! Unfortunately I found the discussion more difficult to follow than your other podcasts, and the videos provided some clarity. I feel the language used to explain the principles is vague, and some simple analogies to mechanical systems may help visualize the concept. I imagine creating abdominal pressure as similar to inflating the tire on a car. Pressure gives it a form and makes it act as a “rigid body” (from kinematics terminology), which distributes the load it supports throughout the tire. In contrast, a flat tire concentrates all the forces in a point load on the rim which is quickly damaged. The point of DNS seems to be creating a rigid body with core muscles and maintaining it’s form through increasingly complex motions. Hence the muscles distribute the load and protect the spine and joints from excessive wear and injury. Hopefully this is somewhat accurate and useful to others.
    More technically, I believe Michael’s “fixed point” and “stabilizing function” suggest using core muscle tension to support reaction forces created by motion. When the geometric form created by the muscles (the cylinder) is distorted, it can no longer support the load, and the “stabilization” collapses. DNS would be much clearer if it simply defined these concepts from basic physics terms.

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