A colleague of mine mentioned he recently worked with two clients, husband and wife and at some point also met their son. The three of them had the same posture disparities. All three family members had torso offsets (the upper body sits slightly off center), scapula and pelvic disparities (shoulder blades and pelvis not working properly). All three had thigh bones, knees and feet that were turned out to the sides (externally rotated). Everyone was almost identical. My colleague was curious about such a phenomenon and wondered if these posture similarities were genetic.
Assuming the husband and wife are NOT blood related, their similar posture disparities can not be genetic in nature. What about the non-adopted son’s disparities? I commonly hear clients say one of their parents or grandparents “had the exact same thing as me” or “my grandmother and my mother and I all have bunions.” There is no such thing as a bunion gene.
Have you ever been where there are a lot of people, like an airport and see a family with a strong resemblance in facial features? Each has the same nose, same chin, same forehead, cheekbones? Now that would be genetic.
I like to watch this group in motion, walking. What do you know! They are all walking the same way! A father and a younger person walking side by side and their gaits and mannerisms are identical. I wanted to model myself after my father and I looked up to him a lot and when I was young. I’d emulate him and probably unconsciously I modeled my movements and actions after his. There is nothing wrong with that unless you realize you may be modeling a posture that is dysfunctional. If you emulate a high fashion runway model and develop a walk just like that, chances are very good you'll develop sway back and dysfunctional posture too.
So if your father had knee problems due to his pelvis and hip muscles being overused, tight and immovable which in turn changes the position of the leg, knee and feet rotating them out to the side (knees were never designed to rotate like that!) then guess what! That's not genetic. That's modeling your movements and posture after someone else's. If they are in pain and have posture problems, so will you.
We can manifest what we believe or imagine, what we think about consciously or subconsciously.
Bruce Lipton, stem-cell biologist (author of bestseller The Biology of Belief) taught at Univ of WIsconsin’s School of Medicine. He is famous for his stem cell research and ground-breaking book. He was a member of the medical community and was educated and ingrained in the system of thinking he now calls the “central dogma” in that science and medicine all believe (so does the media and then the masses) our DNA controls our destiny (genetic determinism -we’re dealt our fate at birth.).
Lipton’s lab research proved this is not true. He took genetically identical stem cells and put them in separate Petri dishes then changed the environment in each dish. The cells in the bad environment dish crashed. The cells in the good supportive environment dish were healthy and thriving. He moved the sick cells out of their environment dish to the supportive environment dish and they got better and were thriving then also. Taking it a step further he proved if we believe we are a victim of our genes, then we are; if we believe we have control over of genes we do.
Bruce Lipton says, "The function of the mind is to create coherence between our beliefs and reality." If you change your beliefs you change your reality. If you are thin as a feather but you believe you are obese then obese is your reality and that is all you see yourself as. So powerful is that belief, it (anorexia) can kill.
When father mother son have the same posture deviations I tend to see it as they share the same beliefs about whether they are going to have dad’s knee meniscus problem. They walk around the same way the person they are modeling after, with their father's gait. Maybe they even favor their knee and perhaps they even expect to have what they believe is their father's and grandfather's “genetic” predisposed knee problem and guess what!!! They do!! Then because the old paradigm has not shifted yet to the new paradigm, they believe "there's nothing I can do for my knee problem - I inherited it." believing they are victims of their genes when in fact their knee problem is not caused by genes it is caused by positional changes in their bones due to muscle imbalances they created themselves.
I have seen some members of various ethnic groups who have culturally specific gaits. It’s not because they were born with a gene to swagger like that…..it’s the belief and desire to be and act and walk a certain way and that identifies them as a member of that culture or group. I believe, the family is a cultural unit too.
We can help people change their beliefs about their perceived inheritance of bunions by proving that the hips (not their grandmother’s bunion genes) are causing them to skate on the inner edges of their feet causing pressures that were never meant to be there. The only way the body can protect against the onslaught of the daily pressures on the edges of the toe and foot is to add more bone there. This creates bunions. Correct the posture and hip problem there is no longer a need for the bone padding called bunion.
Call The POSTURE Clinic today (772) 559-1532 to discuss your individual posture or pain situation and needs.
Catee Ingwersen is a Posture Alignment Specialist trained, certified by the Egoscue University in The Egoscue® Method. She empowers people every day to overcome pain and physical limitations unlike any other healing or medical intervention. Call 772-559-1532 or stop by our Clinic in Vero Beach, Florida to discuss this common sense approach and your individual needs.
"Pain is not a disease, not an injury, not even an effect of aging. Pain is a
treatable symptom." Pete Egoscue
We choose our joys and sorrows long before
we experience them. Kahlil Gibran
Your subconscious beliefs establish the limits of what you can achieve. You can rewrite the software of your subconscious mind and change your life. If you are interested in getting what you want in life versus what you don't want, perhaps consider a technique called Psych-K endorsed by Bruce Lipton and offered at The POSTURE Clinic. Call (772) 559-1532 for more information.
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!
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
This is a followup to a previous Blog post "Hip Pain Greatly Reduced" from June 2011. It's now September 2011. This client with hip and back pain returned from her orthopedic doctor. In January the doctor had scheduled her to return for xrays in August in preparation of one or two hip replacements. She attended the appointment to show him how much better she is and DECLINED the xrays. She's not getting hip replacements since the pain in her hips and back are now gone.
She learned many new things about her body including wear and tear, degradation of joints WILL occur if the body can not bear weight equally front to back and side to side --if the ankles, knees, hips, shoulders are not aligned, the pelvis and spine are out of position and loss of range of motion . She learned how to maintain her new vertical and horizontal alignment and stay out of pain.
Watch the video testimonial and hear her tell about her experience with The Posture Clinic and The Egoscue Method. /testimonials.html
There are four categories of scoliosis: Infantile, juvenile, adolescent (ages 10-18), and adult. Medical research shows different classifications: congenital, vertebral abnormality, neuromuscular and idiopathic/unknown. 80% of scoliosis cases are adolescent and idiopathic.
From the Posture Alignment point of view, idiopathic scoliosis actually has a cause. It is caused by muscle and joint imbalances and disparities in various parts of the musculoskeleton. These imbalances and disparities cause changes in the position of the primary load bearing joints (ankles, knees, hips, shoulders), pelvis and the individual boney segments of the spine. The spine is purposely "S" shaped. Change some or all of the positions of the other structures in the body and in many cases the shape of the spine will change to adapt. In terms of scoliosis, the spine adapts with rotations and abnormal flexing.
Here's what my client had to say about her scoliosis and our Posture Alignment Therapy.
Finding Posture Alignment Therapy – and Catee Ingwersen – is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. When I was 15 years old, I was told I had a curvature of the spine (scoliosis) but that it was mild and should not affect me. But when I reached my mid-50’s, I started having trouble getting into some shorts, pants and skirts, as if I’d gained 20 pounds. But I hadn’t gained any weight. Once I saw Catee, she told me it was from the scoliosis, which had twisted my spine and was forcing my stomach out. Also, my upper back had started to look deformed and ugly, which upset me very much, but I thought it was irreversible. After about a month of doing Catee’s first menu of exercises, my husband said he could see a change in my back, and I started seeing it, too. After a few more weeks, I was able to start wearing those clothes, again. I couldn’t believe the change. It was so wonderful to see my back straightening, and my friends started commenting on my good posture. Catee is the best therapist I can imagine. She’s extremely knowledgeable and shares her knowledge freely. She’s very patient and she really cares. June 2011
Muscles move bones. Muscles can and do move bones out of alignment, out of their original position. This causes cascading and progressive changes in other joints, muscle groups and bone positions in the body. Over time the whole body's weight distribution becomes lopsided. Gravity then comes down through the body unevenly. Fortunately, muscles can and will move bones back into proper alignment to their original position - with the RIGHT STIMULUS.
Modern medicine and even alternative therapies normally make the mistake of focusing treatment and attention on the area of pain or problems. Seldom is the cause of pain the actual site of pain. The Posture Alignment Method we use relies on the primary tenant that the body is a UNIT; no one body part or body system is more or less important than another part or system. I treat the whole structure, body and person. Please explore the website to understand this unique and extremely successful Posture Alignment therapy method.
Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.