Posture and breathing are important for every living person and these two topics are intertwined. The “Soda Pop Can Model” proposed by Mary Massery, is a nice way to visualize these systems. The soda can represents the trunk of a person and one that is intact with no openings or leaks is strong (cannot crush a closed soda can). However, if the can is open or the trunk has a leak, then the can loses its strength and can be easily crushed.
This is similar to how our bodies work. We need to be able to maintain pressures within our trunk to allow for balance and force production of our limbs. The three valves/muscle groups that assist with maintaining trunk pressures are: the vocal folds, diaphragm, and pelvic floor. These valves/muscle groups work together to support postural stability, breathing, limb force production, balance, and continence. After a neurological injury, a person may have issues in one or more of these areas – a physical, occupational, and/or speech therapist may be able to help!
~Sara Roach, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS