Do you believe the world is flat?
It's common knowledge that the world is round. Although a long time ago, many people thought the world was flat, the sea was filled with ship devouring monsters and you should stay away from the edge and precipice. Some people started to realize in fact the world is not flat and were a minority until it was determined the world is round.
Being educated in anatomy and physiology, kinesiology and massage, interacting with the medical profession personally and professionally for many years, I realize I believed the body is a collection of distinctly separate parts, muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, bones. I was trained and licensed to see and work with the body on a horizontal table. The body is resting, not moving and I am focused on one muscle group or section of the body at a time. All the anatomy books, some very famous, show individual muscles and parts and from a point of view of stillness, not movement.
Believing that the various parts of the body are distinct and separate is synonymous, on some level, to still believing the world is flat. We know the world is round. More and more successful medical practitioners and researchers have discovered that the body is inextricably interconnected AND functions as a UNIT. See Tom Myers ground breaking work www.anatomytrains.com. But the American Health Care System (Walter Cronkite said, it is neither healthy, caring nor a system) is chugging along based on the belief system that body parts and systems are islands unto themselves and function distinctly without interaction or influence by other parts and systems.
"Modern" medicine STILL treats the body as a bunch of separate unrelated parts. If you have knee pain you go to an Orthopedist. If you have foot pain you go to a Podiatrist. If you have headaches you go to a Neurologist. If you have stomach pain you go to a Gastroenterologist. If you have a kidney problem you go to a Nephrologist. If you have ear, nose or throat problems you go to a ENT doctor. If you have a heart problem you go to a Cardiologist. If you have a hormone problem you go to an Endocrinologist. If you have a allergy you go to an Allergist. If you have a skin problem you go to a Dermatologist. On and on and on.
People are using insurance to get medical help but many times, the help doesn't resolve anything and may even mask the problem so that the problem gets bigger and the root cause is unidentified. Could it be that underlying beliefs about how the body is organized and how it functions is not up to date? Absolutely, yes.
I discovered The Egoscue Method and saw the undisputed results in many others and in my self. This is a completely different and correct way to see and understand the human body. This led to my training as a Posture Alignment Therapist. It was quite an adjustment to understand, see and work with the body in motion, clothed, and as a whole integrated interdependent system. I realized this is why the efficacy of massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, physical therapy, orthopedics and many other interventions is limited because the modality is focusing on one part of the body.
The reason the posture alignment method for helping clients get out of pain is so successful is because it is a method based on the fact that the human body is comprised of various parts but those parts ARE interconnected and they function as a whole and in concert with each other. Therefore it is foolish to assume that because there is a symptom in one area that is also where the underlying root problem is.
That is exactly why we do not run around chasing the symptom or only working with the area in pain. We know that any part of the body can become imbalanced and have a domino reactionary impact elsewhere. One joint and its corresponding surrounding musculature that doesn't work the way it is designed to work will, before long, malfunction. When that happens some other muscle or joint or part will have to assist the non-functioning one and then compensation patterns are set. Over time compensations become their own dysfunctions.
Another important fact that is greatly overlooked and people just don't know is joints have positional requirements. This means they must maintain certain positions in order to function optimally and without friction and degradation. Why would this idea be so foreign.....aren't organs positioned strategically in the body? Would it be ok to have the intestines above the stomach? The joints and bones must maintain their original positions they were designed to have for REALLY important reasons: to function fully without wear and tear.
A related and very important fact greatly overlooked is muscles have reciprocal length and tension requirements in order to keep the bones they move, in their original and optimal positions. Joints will be making funky movements they were not built to sustain over time when these length and tension requirements are modified, impaired and not corrected.
The various pairs of muscles will not have balanced tension then will become imbalanced. For example: if pectoral muscles (in the front of the shoulder) become too tight and rhomboids (in the back of the shoulder) become too weak, there is a great potential for a shoulder rotator cuff injury. If one quadratus lumborum (attaching ribs to pelvis) or latissimus dorsi (attaching pelvis to shoulder and shoulder blade) is too tight on one side of the torso the pelvis will hike up on that side and will cause the spine to tilt off center in the opposite direction. This makes vertebral discs ripe for bulges and things like scoliosis, shoulder joint, neck, jaw joint imminent. The body will pad with calcium creating a boney callus when there is friction and danger of nerves being pinched, creating stenosis, or produce any of the "itis" conditions to occur.
If there is pain and restriction in the shoulder, it is most likely the muscles of the hips and pelvis are weak and have allowed the pelvis to tuck under, flattening, turning off the butt muscles, flattening the lumbar curve/spine and forcing the shoulders to round and the head to move forward. "Modern" approaches will work for weeks, months or years focusing on the shoulder with no success chalking it up to old age or arthritis and NEVER looking below at the position of the loading bearing structures that the shoulders sit upon.
One reason why our new incoming clients have not gotten out of pain after joint replacements is because the medical community still believes the world is flat... the body is treated as if it is a pile of separate parts and those parts can remain mispositioned without any problems. In fact most people have never been told their joint or leg or pelvis or shoulder is out of position and told why that MUST be corrected. Working with one woman with severe knock knees, she said no doctor or physical therapist told her the knees were supposed to be stacked over the ankle and under the hip and not severely angled inward, glued to the other knee. Her hip muscles and upper back muscles were severely weak. She has spent enormous amounts of time and money and has had to live a very limited life.
However, many times joints are replaced but it is discovered after the surgery that that joint was not causing the pain since the pain still exists. As one of my recent clients said, "My knee still hurts even 12 months after the knee was replaced. I went for my 12 month appointment with the surgeon and told him. He said the surgery was successful but I have bursitis in that knee and he gave me bursitis exercises that did nothing."
The knee is a HINGE joint. The joints above and below it have rotational capabilities and hinge function. The joints above and below the knee (hip and ankle) can dictate the position of the knee (the knee should point straight forward like the headlights of your car). The knee is a victim or where the hip and ankle are directing it. If the hip muscles coordinating movement of the thigh bone are allowing the knee to point inward or are pulling it outward, there will be a detrimental rotation going through the knee joint. And most likely foot and ankle problems like plantar fasciitis, sprains, toe or foot pain will follow.
HEY!!! the KNEE is going to have a BIG problem with that scenario!! And this client in fact had a huge muscle imbalance in her low leg, ankle, hip and pelvic muscles which was wreaking havoc on her knee joint.
Almost every time a client got out of pain (knee, sciatic, hip, ankle, neck, shoulder, back) it's because we helped the client learn how to retrain their specific muscles to hold the proper required alignment ELSEWHERE in the body. In other words the problem was elsewhere and not in the area with pain.
THE UNDERLYING IMPORTANT CONCEPT TO REMEMBER IS THERE EXISTS AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT, AND COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO THE BODY AND TO RESOLVING PAIN AND DYSFUNCTION.
THIS APPROACH IS DIVORCED FROM OLD OUTDATED METHODOLOGY AND BELIEFS THAT THE BODY AND MUSCLES AND JOINTS ARE NOT INTERCONNECTED. (By the way lots of people are running around saying they know the body is connected. But they can't feel their body - very common- and therefore have no experience of it. Then they may be thinking the body doesn't really need that spinal disc or a nerve as their doctor has reassured them needs removal or fusion but never see the joints above and below are really out of position - a big red light that muscles are imbalanced. So they keep getting surgery for the same painful body part. And doctors keep doing the surgery. Over and over and over, surgery or shots etc.)
THE SUCCESSFUL METHOD WE USE IS BASED ON THE FACT THAT THE BODY IS INTERCONNECTED AND WE CAN SUCCESSFULLY RESOLVE PAIN AND DYSFUNCTION WHEN WE WORK FROM THIS IMPORTANT UNDERSTANDING - the body works as a UNIT.
Just do a simple experiment. Take a walk right now, just a short one. Walk anywhere, in your house or outside. Just for one or two minutes. As one foot and leg strikes the floor, what happens to your arms, or your shoulders or your head or your back. Don't those other parts move? They may move a lot or a little but they move.
IF you have had a knee replacement, walk and see if you can feel your ankle and hip and pelvis and shoulder move....at all. YES, correct. There is movement and there is potential for movement that is not optimal due to muscle imbalance, joint mis-positions and cascading affects.
The point is: as you move your lower or upper body there is movement elsewhere and hopefully everywhere. You are not a collection of unrelated, isolated parts. Move a foot and your neck or head will move. Lift an arm overhead, your pelvis and hips and legs will shift perhaps a lot or a little.
When walking, there is a small twisting movement in the center abdomen area. Your organs are getting a gentle wringing or massage! If this doesn't happen perhaps this can instigate constipation. All of your body and all organ systems are experiencing varying degrees of movement. Hunch forward for 2 or 4 or more hours regularly your muscles will remember they are supposed to position you that way and you will maintain that position. This hunched over position is compressing your internal organs.
Using common sense thinking, remembering that the world is round and the body IS totally interconnected and reliant on many other joints, muscles and systems will hopefully help guide your understanding of your body's cries for help and your decisions about what to do about your pain and dysfunction.
Call us for a consultation to discuss your individual situation. 772-559-1532
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Catee Ingwersen is an Egoscue certified Posture Alignment Specialist and Licensed Massage Therapist.