Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR)

Dr Chad Cohle, premier PA specialist in sports injury & rehab, helping you stay pain-free and at peak performance. Recover quickly & avoid future injuries..Proprioceptive Deep Tendon Reflex (P-DTR)


P-DTR is a unique nervous system therapy based upon the application of a fascinating area of science called theoretical neurology. Neurology in its simplest form can be explained as the brain’s gathering and interpretation of “data” in the environment around us using receptors and the central nervous system. The brain is responsible for interpreting this data and creates a response based upon what it needs to do in order to survive. This can include such responses as moving away from a painful stimulus, limiting movement to prevent further damage or even completely shutting down a particular area of the body to limit further damage.

What is a Receptor?

Receptors are sensory nerve endings that detect stimulation from the environment such as: hot, cold, touch, vibration, as well as noxious stimuli. Noxious stimuli can be interpreted as harmful or threatening to the brain. Through P-DTR, we can assess the receptors in a practical and scientific manner in order to optimize our patients’ neurology for the better.

How Does The Brain Work?

To understand what P-DTR is, it will be helpful to understand how the brain works. We’ll use the analogy of a computer. It has an input (keyboard), a processor (CPU) and an output (what you see on your screen). The body acts in a similar way. Most information (up to 75%) is traveling upwards to the brain. Only 25% of data is sent back out to the rest of the body. This suggests there’s a large filtering process going on every second of every day. Therefore, if the data going TO the brain is inaccurate, our perception of the environment is changed. With incorrect information being sent, we are unable to construct an accurate representation of the outside world inside the brain.

How is P-DTR Different?

Traditional therapies focus on the “output”, or the symptoms:

  • Tight muscles are stretched or massaged
  • Perceived weakness is strengthened with exercises
  • Pain is managed through topical creams or medications
  • Sometimes the suggested procedure is to get surgery

While some of these may have temporary effects, they never reset the receptors. The processing of information hasn’t been fixed and even if the original pain is gone, the brain is already working on creating compensations elsewhere!

A typical P-DTR treatment involves the use of neurological challenge (receptor stimulation, like applying heat to an area on the body to challenge heat receptors). Treatment also involves the use of muscle testing to see if stimulating the receptor created a “disruption” in the nervous system. Once the receptor dysfunctions are identified, we engage a deep tendon reflex. You most likely have had a deep tendon reflex checked during a visit with your family doctor as they use a rubber tool to tap your knee tendon and your leg will kick out. This procedure effectively resets the dysfunctional receptors and we continue sorting through the different layers of compensations.

Often times, the session will end with light soft-tissue work using Active Release Technique and utilizing certain exercises to reinforce the new movement patterns. Using this cutting edge technique, we are able to address a patient’s pain or dysfunction at the neurological level, thus reprogramming the brain and nervous system.

Will This Work For Me?

P-DTR is a technique that can be applied to everyone for just about any type of complaint. P-DTR can treat numbness, tingling, poor motor control, sciatica, headaches and migraines, shoulder pain, plantar fasciitis and many more conditions. The results are quicker and more permanent than other treatment techniques available.

Not only does P-DTR shine with more “mainstream” complaints as listed above, but it really has tremendous success with those patients who have “been everywhere, tried everything” and nothing had helped. So if you’ve got an injury or complaint that you’ve been dealing with for a while and/or you’ve tried everything else with little success, P-DTR can be the ultimate game-changer for your health!