Running & Posture
For a long time, running definitely wasn't my favorite activity. However, due to my busy schedule I need an exercise activity that doesn't require a lot of equipment and can be done anywhere anytime. I bought a nice pair of running shoes then would psych myself up to get out there and attempt to log a few miles. It wasn't until I saw photos of my dysfunctional posture that I understood why it was such a struggle and hard work just to go short distances. I connected not only my aches, pains and physical problems to my posture but realized various joints were out of position, making it very hard to run.
My ankles, feet, knees and hips/pelvis and shoulders were all out of position. None of those body parts worked the way they were designed to and therefore required an incredible amount of extra energy to overcome the inertia of moving my skeleton that was misaligned.
Look at the runner in this photo.
Does this runner appear to be in "good shape"? Look closely. Once you know what to look for, it is EASY to see why someone would not enjoy running and/or get injured. First, he has very bowed legs. His knee is turned toward the curb and does not point forward! (Do you drive down the road with your wheels pointing straight ahead or pointing at the curb??) This is called external femur (thigh bone) position. Looking closer, his right foot is about to hit the ground on the outside edge of his foot, supination. Here is what the HealthSouth doctors say about runners with pain and injuries:
"Runners with leg pain often suffer from one of three entities: anterior knee pain, shin pain, or Achilles tendon and heel pain. These can be the cumulative result of increases in midseason training that overtax young athletes.
Multiple minor injuries or repeated injuries to the same area are signs of inadequate rest and rehabilitation. The highest risk factor for subsequent injury is incomplete rehabilitation of a primary injury. Athletes with first-time injuries should therefore diligently rehabilitate before returning to play.
Special attention must be paid to a history of stress fractures anywhere in the body. In a female athlete, such a history may be the only obvious sign of the female athlete triad of osteoporosis, menstrual irregularities, and an eating disorder Although no athlete is immune from the consequences of inadequate nutrition, a young woman who participates in an endurance activity or "appearance" sport such as figure skating and gymnastics is at particular risk."
I'm going to bet that the runner in the photo will be injured in due time but not due to "overtaxing the athlete in midseason and from inadequate rest and rehab." It's his dysfunctional joint position and uneven weight bearing.
Running doesn't produce injuries.
A body with joints that are misaligned due to muscle imbalances produces injuries. A body with joints that are truly aligned do not produce injuries. Misaligned joint positions due to muscle imbalances are totally fixable. It's like saying the computer causes carpal tunnel syndrome so move the keyboard around the desk. Of course it doesn't! It is the computer operator that has rounded shoulders that have lost the position they were designed to function with, not to mention forward head position all of which produce pain and dysfunction. Joints should maintain right angles but can still function for limited periods if they aren't. There is a price to pay for joints out of position, wear and tear, inflammation, breakdown of joint capsules, bone spurs, cartilage degradation, torn ligaments, tendons, shredded menisci, etc.
The illustration of the knee on the left shows the bones sitting horizontal and at 90 degrees. The knee on the right, shows the bones are NOT horizontal but SLANTED. Overtime, this causes degradation and changes in the protective materials in the joint.
Ankle joints, knee joints, hips, pelvis, shoulder joints should operate at right angles BECAUSE that is the way the bones of these joints were designed.
Bend the frame of your car or bend the drawer glides of your kitchen drawer or prop one corner of your washing machine up on a 1 inch block.
Do those things work on a SLANT??? No those things won't work. Why? Because they are designed to operate correctly and most efficiently at right angles, squared up because that is the most stable, sturdy, efficient design. Your washing machine might work for awhile on a slant but it will buck and march around the laundry room and then in time breakdown. Your car with a bent frame WILL go down the road....for awhile.....before problems set in from wear and tear in the major joints especially the wheel/axle joints.
Does this barn look stable, functional, straight? Are there any 90 degree angles? The human body is a miraculous design, with all the engineering requirements strength, full range of motion, flexibility, stability and longevity. Change the position of the structure God gave you and in time, there will be physical problems and/or pain.
THE BODY IS NO DIFFERENT.
Look for postural dysfunctions next time you're out in your car and look at the runners on the road. Do you see any of these body parts out of FUNCTIONAL healthy posture alignment? You will. They are EVERYWHERE. And I bet you'd find some in your own reflection too.
There is a real connection between physical injuries (not just running) and misaligned posture. If your knee caps and or feet are not pointed exactly straight ahead when standing and walking and running, then you are wearing down structures like the joint capsule of the hip joints, the ankle joints and the meniscus and joint structures of the knee. This has a cascading direct effect on the spine and shoulder girdle. And the media is espousing, old age is the culprit.
Many clients who have discovered this posture alignment method based on the Egoscue Method, have lamented "WHY didn't I discover this method 10 years (or 20 years in some cases) ago!!"
Old age has nothing to do with it, except that for decades you have been walking around with joints out of the positions they originally were designed to have and maintain.
If you can't get enough plantar flexion in your ankle, then fully functional knee and hip extension - important for efficient running - won't be possible. If your hips and pelvis are not working bilaterally and one leg swings out to the side then comes around to the front, you've got the equivalent of a flat tire. If your arms don't both swing from the shoulder joint or your knuckles of your hands are facing forward, you won't be able to fully counter rotate your upper body in opposition to your lower body. If your pelvis is positioned "posteriorly," leg and hip extension won't happen and the upper body and thoracic spine and head will be positioned flexed forward versus upright. I've just named a few of the posture misalignments you might have, and there are many more posture problems not mentioned here.
IF YOUR JOINTS ARE FULLY BALANCED AND FULLY FUNCTIONAL, YOU WILL BE RUNNING EFFICIENTLY. IF YOUR POSTURE IS MISALIGNED, YOU WILL BE HAULING YOUR COMPROMISED SKELETON AND WEAK MUSCULATURE ALL OVER THE ROAD AND WASTING A LOT OF ENERGY.
Blue-Print Design or Proper Posture :
Call 772-559-1532 or come in to The Posture Clinic in Vero Beach to discuss your individual needs.
My mouth dropped open when I saw Sam's Club advertising Wolfgang Puck's Electric gadgets. Specially, Puck has an electric Wine Opener with foil cutter and an electric Salt and Pepper Mill Set.
What is SO hard about opening a wine bottle? What is SO hard about shaking salt or grinding peppercorns??
Why do we need battery operated machines to do simple tasks humans can do?
It is bad enough humans are more physically IMMOBILE than ever before but now we can save our strength when grinding pepper or dispensing salt??
If you don't use it, you loose it.
Have you every heard that expression? It couldn't be more true when that statement is applied to the human body. Loosing "it: refers to loosing full function of muscles, joints. Therefore, not using your muscles enough is the REAL CAUSE of "old age". When you stop moving there is stiffness, then pain, oftentimes followed by injury followed by more stiffness, more immobility, more pain. Other parts of your body are now assisting the problem parts...next thing you know you're compensating big time for joints and muscles that no longer can move properly, fully. Compensating muscles and joints soon become dysfunctional muscles and joints. Arthritis inflammation and joint degeneration are well underway.
Reach above your head lately?
Ask yourself if you reach up above your head and if so how often.
Do you get down on the floor and then back up? How often?
Can you bend over to get the golf ball out of the cup?
When's the last time you swept anything with a broom?
Do you scrub your shower wall?
Do you transport or carry your own groceries to your car?
How many hours of the day do you sit or stand?
How much do you move your body, your limbs?
Do you have poor balance?
Do you sit a lot, in front of the TV or at the computer or reading? If you're sedentary then most likely the muscles that are needed for balance are no longer strong enough for the job. Stimulation of key posture and gait muscles is needed in order to avoid having to cling to the wall or furniture for balance. If you spend a lot of time on the computer or reading or watching TV, chances are pretty good, you have rounded shoulders, forward head position, flattening of the lumbar curve....just to name a few musculoskeletal changes.
Musculoskeletal functions are retained only through regular use.
Pete Egoscue says: .............
"Every system of the body is energized by motion. From the instant the human fetus first kicks or shifts its position in the womb, it is moving in reaction to its environment, and it will continue to do so for the rest of its life as long as the environment provides one key ingredient - stimulus..... But today the fetus eventually emerges into a modern environment that demands of it less and less motion. This lack of stimulus is affecting all of us young and old. Today unlike our ancestors, we may choose not to move. In modern life, moving appears to be optional. Thus, what we do to work and play no longer fully engages our major musculoskeletal functions. The biomechanical paradigm is reversed: The less we move, the less we are capable of moving." Pain Free, pg 5
Severe right hip elevation and rotation. Right trunk (thoracic) offset. Right shoulder rounding and either right shoulder or thoracic rotation
Movement is a BIOLOGICAL imperative.
"Pain has one and only one function: to alert us to danger. Chronic pain is not telling us that we are frail, or that our bodies have lost the ability to cope with the physical demands of life on earth. It is warning us of danger, and the danger is acute motion starvation. No longer do we sufficiently walk, run, or otherwise react to what was once a motion-intensive environment. Our systems are in a dysfunctional state - they are not being refueled by motion. I know this because, based on my work with clients at the clinic, I know that the body is using other forms of communication besides pain to tell us that dysfunction is happening. ...We get sluggish and stiff and we start to hurt. Our knees and feet turn outward, our shoulders become rounded, or our hips become misaligned." Pete Egoscue, Pain Free, pg 6
Severe valgus (knock knee) stress. Left knee is also pointing to the left side versus pointing straight ahead. Her left leg, knee and foot are trying to deal with the unfortunate (but reversible!) angle. Her arches are flattened. Valgus knee stress often is a result of muscle imbalances in the hip joints.
The thigh bones have turned outward to the sides ("external femur rotation") ....this degenerates the knee joint!!! Thigh bones, knees and feet must point forward. The hip joint has become restricted and has locked the legs and knees in this position. Although not shown, the feet are likely everted or "ducked". Both knees are flexed but should be in an extended position.
This is an illustration of a very typical client coming to The POSTURE Clinic.
Humans are motion starved.
The body is extremely smart and efficient. It will shut down joints and muscles and functions that are not being used regularly. Those areas atrophy and loose their neurological stimulation, blood and oxygen circulation slows down, coordination, balance, movement and function suffer. I see it in The Posture Clinic every single day.
What people don't realize is, it is not just a matter of the muscles loosing their strength or coordination but once the body OR ANY PART OF IT is repositioned (any of the major joints, the pelvis, the segments of the spine), then other organ and body systems are negatively affected as well. Your POSTURE has impact on and helps modulate all body systems from breathing to hormonal production.
How do you get your body functioning and moving properly?
The body functions as an integrated unit. If you have a weak shoulder, knee, hip, back, it is not enough to go to the gym and strengthen the weak part. Other muscles ("compensating muscles") are now doing the job for the weak joint or part. Just strengthening the weak part is not enough since the compensating muscles will likely absorb the strengthening stimulus, leaving the weak part unchanged. Trying to isolate muscles or injured parts doesn't work since muscles work closely in collaboration with other muscles.
The POSTURE Clinic works to realign the entire body versus isolating therapy to one body part. (Seldom is the cause of the pain or problem the real cause.) You'll notice the drawing of the human body to the left has all load bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) vertically stacked and horizontally level. This is the blue print design everyone is born with. This is the position that must be retained or reinstituted for a fully functional musculoskeletal system and organ systems.
Therapy or any medical intervention will succeed only when treating the body as an integrated unit getting all load bearing joints moving and functioning again.
Reinstitute movement into your Life again..............
-- simply, gently, easily!!!!
The process of Posture Alignment begins with these steps:
1. Identify your unique postural imbalances.
2. Understand how function, dysfunction and compensation are tied together and how they cause pain.
3. Learn exactly what needs to change in your daily thought, habit and action for you to become pain free.
4. Have a personalized "menu" of corrective exercises created for you to decrease compensation movements and restore correct movement and joint function.
5. Learn these specific corrective exercises with your therapist and implement them on your own at home on a daily basis.
6. Follow-up appointments to evaluate progress and change stimulus, receive a new menu as your neuromuscular coordination improves and your body adapts and heals.
7. As the pain continues to diminish and go away begin to address the root dysfunction underlying your compensation movements
8. Implement full body range of motion exercises to restore full function to all your joints
9. Learn to recognize new dysfunctions and compensations when they first appear and how to intervene before pain sets in. You are now acting proactively and fully participating in preventative health care management!
You will have the additional benefit of Photo and Gait analysis for use in evaluating your progress. This gives you a visual 'marker' of how your menu of exercises is helping you change your body into an optimal and efficient postural position.
Call The POSTURE Clinic in Vero Beach to schedule your posture evaluation or to discuss your individual needs, 772-559-1532
Forward Head Position
It's an epidemic.
Forward Head Position.
See anyone like this?
These people have Forward Head Position ("FHP"). This youngster not only has FHP, but also has rounded shoulders, evidenced by the position of the hands, knuckles facing forward means the shoulder joints have rolled forward and away from their straight aligned position.
This person's head and shoulders and forward-leaning upper body have to counterbalance the weight of the backpack. The other two people shown above have rounded shoulders. In the first photo, that person also has a rounded upper back and spine. Stand up, move your head forward and try NOT to move your shoulders. It's not possible, the shoulders round forward as the head moves forward.
The significance of this is.....this person is on his way to changing the shape of his spinal curves, experiencing diminished oxygen usage and breathing capacity, TMJ problems, maybe hearing or vision problems, headaches, neck pain, pinched nerves, herniated discs, blood pressure problems to name a few.
Good Posture (or correct posture alignment) is not just about what your mother nagged about when you were young. It is not a "nice to have" skill enabling balancing books on one's head while walking. It is a biological, structural, total health imperative that can have serious health consequences over time.
"Damage from prolonged head forward position contributes to myospasm, disc herniation, osteoporosis and nerve impingement. POSTURE has impact on and helps modulate all body systems from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse, lung capacity are some of the functions most easily impacted by poor posture." MAYO Clinic Health Letter, Volume 18, #3 March 2000
All primary load bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders) are designed to be positioned vertically stacked with the front (technically the TMJoint) of the ear being centered on that same vertical stack or line. For every one inch the head is forward of the line, the head becomes heavier, 10 pounds heavier. Just look what effect that has on the shape of the spinal curves. The head is forward of the intended original blueprint design position and various muscle groups are not working extremely hard at holding the head out in space.
Until the head returns to the proper position over the spine and in alignment with the other load bearing joints, the wear and tear will continue. The body has great tolerance, it does not have INFINITE tolerance.
Go ahead, look at your body and your posture!!! It's not rocket science. Pull out those candid photos of yourself or check out your alignment in the full length mirror.
Then give us a call (772-559-1532) and we'll help guide you through the process of Posture Alignment to return your body to it's optimal position and weight bearing.
Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.