This post was written by Matt Whitehead, Director of the Egoscue Portland. Clinic and is an excerpt from a blog post from Egoscue Nashville. The client xrays were provided to Egoscue Portland by Egoscue Austin clinic.
Xrays of Degenerative Knee & Cartilage Damage - Before & After Posture Alignment using The Egoscue Method.
When people hear “bone-on-bone” (knee, hip, wrist, ankle etc.) most people (including well-meaning doctors) think “it’s too late to do anything, time for a replacement.” This line of thinking comes from the idea that our bodies are like machines. “When your cars’ brakes are worn-out you need to replace the brake pads with new ones and then your car is back to normal.” There are two problems with this line of thinking:
1. We have yet to (and probably never will) “build” a replacement part that is close to and as good as the original part (but medical science will never stop trying)
2. Machines are dead and our bodies are living – meaning we are able to rebuild our own parts at the rate of 500+ billion new cells a day!
When not replaced, the worn-out brake pad on your car will continue to wear away every day because the car does not have a means to repair/rebuild it on it’s own. But our bodies do! Our bodies are constantly repairing and rebuilding everything from our skin (we have all seen this happen after a cut or scrap) to our bones (observed in people who have healed a broken bone or raised their bone density) to muscle tissue, brain cells, nerve cells, cardic muscle, and even cartilage. The key to getting that “bone-on-bone” joint to repair itself is to make sure the reason why the joint was wearing away in the first place is corrected. That has to do with the postural position of the joint and the dysfunctional movement that has been happening. Correct that and the body will repair itself.
John Elder of Egoscue Nashville talked about Pete Egoscue and cartilage in a recent blog post:
When Pete released (his book) Pain Free back in the early 90s, he made the claim that you can regrow cartilage and took a LOT of heat for saying so. Everyone thought he was crazy and dismissed his theory. If you don’t have a copy of Pain Free, here is what he has to say on page 107:
“As for the ‘irreversible’ cartilage loss, why of all the tissue in the body would the cartilage be the only one that does not regenerate? The answer is that it does regenerate. Laboratory experiments in Sweden have shown that under the right conditions cartilage, like any tissue, can be grown. Moreover, sports medicine practitioners have long recognized that athletes increase their cartilage density and shock-absorbing capacity during proper training.”
Once again, he was crucified for this statement. In his own words from Pain Free for Women he says, “That statement drew a barrage of criticism from doctors, researchers, and physical therapists. When cartilage is gone, they scolded me, it’s gone, and nothing short of a miracle will bring it back.”
Well, if it’s a miracle they want, then it’s a miracle they’ll get. Thanks to Rick Mathes in the Austin Clinic for providing these x-rays (read his full blog post about this client HERE). A client working with one of the therapists was told he had to have his knee replaced. Take a look at the first xray picture from April, 2004 and you’ll understand why the doc suggested it.
To help explain what you’re looking at, it’s as if you are facing this client. His right knee is on your left. Notice that on the far left hand side of the image there is decreased space between the femur (upper leg bone) and the tibia (lower leg bone). Loss of cartilage, right? I agree. This guy is surely headed for a knee replacement...or is he?
Take a look at the second set of x-rays from July, 2005, just a little over a year after the first were taken. Notice the uniform spacing between the femur and tibia. It’s a miracle! The cartilage is regrown! While I agree the cartilage is regrown, I don’t believe it necessarily qualifies as miraculous. Instead, I believe the client took charge of his health and put faith in his body that it can heal itself. What a remarkable difference, and all without going under the knife. When you switch from being symptom-focused (i.e. loss of cartilage and needing a knee replacement) to being cause-focused (i.e. why did the cartilage degenerate?), a lot can happen. Change the position of the knee joint, give the cartilage room to grow, and it will.
I love that there is finally ‘proof’ that Pete was right all those years ago. The body is an engineering miracle. It’ll heal itself if you just give it an opportunity. Keep moving!
Arthritis is a popular diagnosis. Arthritis means joint inflammation. "Arth" refers to joint(s) and "itis" refers to inflammation. It simply means the joint has inflammation, in some cases infection. I'm referring only to the inflammation without infection arthritis or osteoarthritis.
Can you see why this person might have arthritis in their knee joints? Read on and we'll come back to this photo and question later.
Standard Human Equipment
Every human is born with standard equipment - an anatomical blueprint design. Each ankle, knee, hip, shoulder is positioned in a vertical stack and horizontally level with it's pair on the opposite side of the body. The primary load bearing parts/joints have a specific design and function. They operate really well for long long periods if kept in that original position. They do not operate so well if repositioned by injury and/or poor posture over time.
The body's design is similar to your car. The car as you know has four wheels and two axles. The wheels are positioned at a right angle to the axle. Hit a major pothole or get in a bad accident and your wheel may no longer be at a right angle to the axle. It has moved out of it's original optimal functional position to allow for efficient movement down the road. Your axle or wheel may be bent. What is it like driving a car that has a wheel out of alignment? Or a bent frame?
There is LOTS of FRICTION and ultimately wear and tear and possible breakdown!! Operate the vehicle for very long in that condition with those important parts out of alignment and you're going to start spending money at the Car Doctor.
Cars and Ladders
This is common sense. If you can understand how that works with your car, then you can understand the same principle when it applies to your body. There are many other examples. My brother in law is a retired fire fighter and he is very familiar with ladders. I asked him if he thought a ladder with horizontal rungs and vertical sides and right angles is a strong reliable structurally sound ladder. Of course. Then I asked, would he want to climb up a ladder that didn't have right angles, the rungs slanted, the sides bowed out or in. Of course NOT! WHY? Because it is not inherently strong to bear weight evenly and safely, it is wobbly, and structurally unsound. That's how the body design is meant to work. All the primary joints must be lined up vertically and level horizontally in order the the body to have full range of motion, shock absorption capability and be fully functional.
Back to our discussion about Arthritis. If the doctor says the pain in your shoulder or knee is caused by arthritis (not the infection kind) and you decide it's because you are "old" or arthritis runs in your family or your luck just ran out, go back to the logic of the car analogy above. Look in the mirror or call The POSTURE Clinic 772-559-1532 for a posture assessment.
Joint inflammation didn't just fly out of the sky randomly and land in some unsuspecting human's spine or shoulder or knee. It is not a DISEASE. NOR did you inherit it. And it is not caused by your age.
So you have arthritis in your right knee or perhaps your left shoulder. And you say, "oh, it's just old age, I turned 50 and it was all down hill." Think about this next question carefully: If your right knee has arthritis caused (you say) by age when you turned 50, then what's the age of your left knee that doesn't have arthritis? The "age" excuse has to be thrown out. Here's why.
Joint inflammation is there for a reason. Arthritis is a symptom, a side effect not a diagnosis. Arthritis is not the root cause of the pain so the doctor didn't find the real cause of your pain. Arthritis is a side effect or symptom of some other problem in some other part of your body but your doctor zoomed his singular focus in on your shoulder or knee or spine, only looking at the part of your body in pain.
Seldom, hardly ever, is the body part in pain the cause of the pain- unless you get hit by a truck. So, you have an inflammed joint and the cause of that inflammation is not that joint. The inflammation is a RESPONSE to the interior of the joint having uneven pressures inside that it was never designed to have. The uneven pressure wearing away cartilage is from uneven weight distribution from hips or pelvis that is elevated or rotated or tilted or knees that turn outward or inward or a high shoulder or tilting head, all creating havoc with your muscles, bones and joints.
THE BODY IS A UNIT. MISALIGNMENT CHANGES IN ONE AREA OR BODY PART WILL BE REFLECTED IN OTHER IF NOT ULTIMATELY IN ALL OTHER BODY PARTS AND JOINTS AND MUSCLES. This will shift your center of gravity and you'll be distributing your weight unevenly versus equally front to back and right to left.
Seldom is the cause of pain the part that is in pain.
The lower bones have shifted out to the sides.
You saw this image at the beginning of the article. Do you think this person has arthritis? You bet!! WHY? Can you see how the knees joints do not sit vertically on top of each other? Can you see this person has "bow" legs? If we asked if the ankles, knees and hips and shoulders were all in vertical line, the answer would be no. The knees are wider than the other load bearing joints, they are outside of the "stack." Would this person's shoes be worn down on the outer heels or inner arches? Do you think there is wear and tear due to uneven pressures in these joints? Of course, you can see the bones don't sit on top of each other. Do these legs look sturdy? What would it feel like to bend down or run with these knees?
Do you think the cause of the knee pain is from the knees? You would be wrong if you said yes. The cause of this person's pain is coming from this person's hips and pelvis which repositioned the thigh bone and knees which caused arthritic wear and tear and pain. What if this person wore knee braces or got cortizone or Visco shots in her knees, would it solve the underlying problem?? Definitely not.
Now let's think about the structural design of this door hinge. The hinge is a joint and it is designed to fit together, dovetail style to allow the door to open and close. It functions very well with the right and left sides fitting together in this position or configuration just like the joints, muscles and skeleton of the body. Imagine changing the angle or position of one side of this hinge. Actually bend or twist one side of the hinge. Does the hinge still function? It stops functioning smoothly and maybe stop all together depending on the misalignment.
The body is slightly different in that you can change the position of the joints or bones or pelvis or segments of the spine or position of the head and those parts will still function. They just won't function CORRECTLY for very long before arthritis sets in or cartilage changes or tears start to occur. Range of motion, function and other elements become compromised then seriously dysfunctional. The body will be sending messages to you in the form of pain hoping you can find the misaligned part and realign it.
What's in Your MIrror??
When you look in the mirror, you will see that some or all of the other joints are no longer in the original position they were designed to have. If you have knock knees or bow legs or you stand on one leg or wear down the inner or outer or heel portions of the soles of your shoes or one shoulder is higher or lower than the other, or your low back has an exaggerated lumbar arch or flattened lumbar curve or you've lost your butt and your pants bag in the seat......the list goes on and on.........then you have posture misalignments that are creating wear and tear and joint inflammation!! Arthritis is caused by the parts of your body that are out of position. That's all!!
The GREAT NEWS is, muscles moved bones and joints out of position over time and muscles can move bones and joints back into position with your help and the RIGHT STIMULUS.
Everyone's joints have a specific anatomical design. Everyone is bom with a skeleton shaped the same. The knees point forward, the shoulder joints are oriented to point to the side, each side of the body is identical to the other side. Ankle, knee, hip and shoulder joints are aligned vertically underneath each other and horizontally across. If you were to draw lines vertically and horizontally connecting these load bearing joints, you'd see a lot of right angles and squares.
Change that design, just a little? Areas of the body that used to be positioned in straight lines now look more like trapizoids, horizontal lines that slope and rise, knees turn in or out, hips rotate forward, shoulders round forward. The spine has to respond to these changes. Right angles and squares vanish.
Sit slumped over your computer or desk for hours a day or week on an ongoing basis. Sit in a car for extended periods. In time, and you won't even notice it because it happens so slowly, the muscles start to stay in that slumped or sitting position. (Muscles don't care if the position is right or wrong, good or bad.) Next thing, the skeleton is stuck in that posture. The weight of the body is no longer balanced between the right and left sides and the front and back of the body. Now it is falling forward and the muscles have to REALLY work triple time to deal with this challenging off balance position. Then someday you reach for the cereal box or you move the ottoman with that leg and wham, you tear a ligament or meniscus. Then you'll be told to limit your activities so you will get even more dysfunctional.
Each joint in the body has an optimal position that the bones sit in an optimal stable neutral position inside the joint which allows the joint to move most efficiently. This is called joint centration. The joint has enough room to move without putting pressure on any one side or aspect of the interior socket or surface of the joint. Change the joint's centration and expect increased wear and tear inside the joint, inflammation appears as the body's only way to try and protect the inner joint surfaces. But it's a loosing battle.
That's what causes arthritis. Joint Inflammation from misaligned posture!
So you don't have to live with poor posture or pain!! You can find the CAUSE, which is your posture misalignments! You're saved, you can heal yourself and get out pain but only if you take responsibility to do the required custom designed exercise program! If you want to live pain free, you'd better stop and do what the doctor didn't do and take a hard look at your entire body and joint positions in the mirror. 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.
is a SYMPTOM - a side effect - not a diagnosis
literally means Joint Inflammation
has an ACTUAL CAUSE which has nothing to do with age.
You have been brainwashed by the media & Western medicine’s focus on SYMPTOMS instead of finding the real CAUSE.
is caused by uneven wear & tear in any joint that became misaligned or repositioned due to injury and/or poor posture over time. The joint is now impaired, the body starts compensating, pain starts & spreads.
is not permanent’
It will go away when the CAUSE of the joint friction and wear & tear (posture misalignments) is identified and resolved.
Muscles move bones
Muscles move bones & joints out of position over time (causing arthritic inflammation). Muscles can move bones & joints back into position (eliminating arthritic inflammation)
- with the right stimulus.
Get your entire body back into its natural straight position!
Many people do.
The POSTURE Clinic 772-559-1532
Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.