It is common for people to come to my classes or consult with me privately about a physical pain or diagnosis they may have received. Usually it is validated by X-rays, MRI’s and other compelling diagnostic evidence. In the absence of a true medical disease, I have often found over the years that these problems are often the effect of musculoskeletal imbalance and resulting postural misalignment. Posture oriented therapists such as me have a phrase for this we borrow from the therapist and author of “Pain Free”, Pete Egoscue. It insists “ It’s the position(posture) not the condition”, of our bodies that is so often at the root of this type of problem.
Bursitis, arthritis, low back pain, spinal disk or hip issues that include degenerative conditions can present themselves when the body habitually movesin ways it is n ot designed. All this can happen due to injury, lifestyle and a host of other causes.
To help with these problems the individual therapy work I do expands upon the “Pain Free” and “Functional Yoga” classes I offer. Taking hold of pain and movement issues in this focused way been a great help those who have acute and chronic pain problems or simply seek some guidance, support and structure to take hold of their own recovery and get back the life they want.
The therapy begins with a simple and specific way of looking at how things should be in the body when we are moving well and pain free. This way of seeing things is in accordance with the model of the body familiar to most movement therapy professionals.
Except in cases of birth defects or traumatic injuries, the skeleton is designed very simply. When the body is properly aligned, it is positioned like this:
The head is centered over level shoulders
The shoulders sit directly over level hips
The hips are firmly planted over symmetrical knees
The knees and ankles are aligned with feet pointed straight forward
—From: The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion (www.egsocue.com)
We call this the “90 degree rule of function”. If the weight-bearing joints deviate from a 90-degree angle, the body compensates to maintain balance to hold itself up and move. Some parts aren’t working properly(the dysfunction) and these are considered the cause of the problem. We view the symptom as the effect when other parts take over(compensate) to try to help out. Over time the inefficiency of this new pattern of posture and movement creates problems or symptoms that become chronic and can seem intractable.
Why this all happens is a question that has answers specific to each person. In a general sense injuries, emotional trauma, work and lifestyle, development and a host of other factors in our life history can contribute to both our strengths and vulnerabilities. Every day I am privileged to witness people rediscover how their posture and movement reflects their past, and how working to change it in positive ways can transform the future.
This transformation begins in therapy with a comprehensive postural analysis and additional movement testing. The client and I can determine directly how any imbalances discovered may be at the root of their problems. We try to stay away from just blaming one thing or another—the right hip is too tight, the abdominal muscles are weak, etc. Though these things may be true and likely have importance, chasing things down in the way ignores one important thing. Why? Why is that hip tight, why are the abdominals weak, etc.? To address both cause and symptom we can observe and test how all this is related to each other in the body. We can then treat the musculoskeletal cause of the problem as it shows up as imbalance in the overall posture. The “posturism” here is that we “treat the body as a unit”.
From this way of thinking corrective Yoga and functional movement exercise sequences(called “menus”) are then formulated to relieve the dysfunctions. When done consistently these menus are intended to restore more correct alignment and movement patterns and give the body a chance to utilize its own healing capacity. As changes unfold we continue to reassess to help assure progression in their therapy according to goals that have been set.
With this program I offer help in learning the exercises. a printout of exercise instructions for home, and easy access to video demonstrations and instructions online for reference. Support and follow-up are built in to the process in accordance with the clients’ needs. This creates a complete package of support as they progress on their path of recovery.
The exciting and empowering part of the therapy I do is that as things unfold clients’ understanding of the problems can grow. There becomes a true collaboration in recovery. It has been a great joy over the years to help students and clients become empowered to read the body’s messages, diminish fears and recover trust in the instincts we all have about our well being. This may be the greatest reward of all!
I am happy to offer free individual assessments via phone(203)488-1700 or before or after classes in the New Haven, Woodbridge and Guilford and Connecticut shoreline area to help you to understand how your posture and movement pattern may be getting in the way of your activities and pain free lifestyle. Many have found this to be helpful in making sense of how postural approach can help them address pain, balance and movement problems that have taken away activities or impaired them in living the life they desire. – See more at: http://creativeedgeyoga.com/2011/11/moving-more-freely-and-easily-how-posture-therapy-works/#sthash.r4wE2uAV.dpuf