Here is an article from Egoscue.com on how our backs work, and how we can ease our bodies into a more natural (and less painful) posture while still being productive:
This is Cindy Meyers, PAS Egoscue Certified therapist. I am still amazed at how this technique can change a person’s life. You know the drill:
“I used to be a runner but now I bike.”
“I used to be a biker but now I walk.”
“I used to walk for exercise but now I swim.”
The downward spiral is a slow process, but will hit you as you age if your body is out of alignment. When you restore balance to the body and everything articulates and works properly I instead hear,
“Wow!…. now I can run again!”
GETTING OLDER DOES NOT HAVE TO HURT!
Doing a simple menu of exercises designed to correct the dysfunctions in your body will keep moving for a lifetime.
Understanding Egoscue Method Therapy
The Egoscue Method recognizes that fundamental anatomical, physiological and biomechanical principles govern the human musculoskeletal system. With only very rare exceptions, each person is born with certain core design characteristics that serve as a strong, resilient and efficient operational platform. By using a blueprint of this extraordinary platform as a guide, the goal of the Method is to eliminate disparities that can occur when injuries or negative lifestyle conditions affect the way the musculoskeletal system actually moves as opposed to its underlying structural parameters. By restoring muscular balance, skeletal alignment and the harmonious interplay of internal systems, the body takes a quantum leap in healing power, stamina and physical capability. The Egoscue Method is not a form of treatment that chases after short term, symptomatic relief. Rather, symptoms provide a common sense starting point, a working frame of reference based on each individual’s unique combination of strengths and limitations. Our primary objective applies to everyone we seek to help—to eliminate musculoskeletal system disparities and the resulting postural dysfunctions that interfere with pain-free living.
A key part of the “blueprint” we refer to is familiar to all health professionals—it is known as the standing normal anatomical position. Without being overly technical the hip, knee and ankle joints are aligned vertically in paired stacks, each of which is subdivided by three horizontal parallel planes that extend through the joint pairs, creating what amounts to a partial dynamic load-bearing grid. The grid’s structure is completed by the shoulder joints which are in a functional interactive relationship with the major joints below instead of being aligned vertically like the others, although they too (the shoulders) operate individually and as a pair on a fourth parallel horizontal plane.Topped by the head, placed over the S-curved central spine that links the hips and shoulders, the grid allows upright posture and bipedal motion capable of a great range of movement. In addition, there is only temporary incidental rotation in the pelvis, legs, knees and ankles. (Think of rotation this way: Looking straight down on your upright body from above, draw a imaginary clock face with your head in the center facing twelve o’clock. In design position a straight line runs from hip joint to hip joint starting at nine o’clock and extending through the other hip joint, exiting at three o’clock. In such a configuration, there is no rotation, but if the lines depart from nine and three, say ten and four, rotation is present as the hips move off the design plane. This analogy works for the other load-bearing joints and the big leg bones. It is not unusual to find left-to-right pelvis rotation and right-to-left shoulder rotation.) The body is intended to rotate by twisting and turning, ascending and descending, in reaction to variations in the terrain and other temporary situations and then return to vertical alignment. When it remains stuck in rotation the integrity of the structure can be compromised.
As you probably have concluded by now, the load-bearing grid we have just described means that vertical and horizontal alignment is all-important to both the musculoskeletal system’s structural integrity, smooth functioning and full, pain-free capability.
An individual whose body deviates from this design must do so for a reason. That reason is, (in cases that do not reflect past injuries), a muscular imbalance in strength and/or flexibility. An individual’s standing, static posture provides essential information to our therapists in predicting what the body will do as it moves. These predictions can be confirmed and often reinforced by observing the patient’s gait, the way he or she strides forward, turns and executes other routine maneuvers. In the process, changes in muscle tension/length may be detected, along with atrophy of underutilized muscles or damage to over-used muscles that results when one group of muscles is repeatedly substituted for another that is more appropriate to the task. Such postural anomalies, we describe them in general as “dysfunctions,” directly impact joint mechanics.
This weekend marked Charlottesville’s largest annual all-female event: The Women’s Four Miler.
Here is a great article that we had circulating as all the women arrived on Friday night.
· 95% success rate
· Dramatically reduces your potential for injury
· Helps to make knee pain, foot pain or shin splints a thing of the past
· Helps make running any distance enjoyable whether you’re a beginning runner or seasoned competitor
In 2008, I heard about Pain Free Performance which was started by Susy Russell and Cindy Meyers, who I knew were in Physical Therapy. I had been to numerous spine specialists and to numerous alternative medicine practioners. The medications that were prescribed helped to a degree, but none had been bale to make me free of my severe sciatic pain or my very severe pain caused by Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RSD) also referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). In effect, my caregivers were telling me that I would have to learn to manage and/or “live with” the pain. For me, managing the pain meant planning each day’s activities carefully, so that I would not end up bed for a day or two — literally writhing in pain. I decided to the Egoscue method a try. Each day, I faithfully do the ecises that Susy prescribes me; and I AM MORE THAN THRILLED WITH THE RESULTS. Before Egoscue, I would have to leave UVA football games at half-time because of unbearable sciatic and or RSD pain. Not anymore! For the past two years I have been able to stay and enjoy the games with minimal discomfort. At basketball games, because of the narrow space between the rows at the JPJ Arena, my pain would start up and my foot would swell since I could not stretch my leg out to a comfortable length. I wouldn’t leave the game early, but by the time I go home I was a wreck and my next day would be spent in severe pain. Because Egoscue has helped me get my pain under control, that is all changed. I can once again enjoy the basketball games. I still can’t stretch out my left leg, but the pain does’nt overwhelm me and I’m fine the next day. In fact, I still have some level of pain each day – but it is bearable. I have very few “down days” and I can’t remember when I last spent a day in bed because of pain. Not to be trite, but, Egoscue and Susy have given me “a new lease on life.”
Before starting Egoscue I knew my mobility was spiraling downward at a rapid rate. It was becoming increasingly more painful to walk and stand. In fact, so much so that when I saw someone in a wheel chair I wondered if that might be me in five years. Since joining the program I’ve overcome one problem after another and what were once large issues have now become subtle annoyances. One easy measure: I used to carry and frequently use aspirin. Now I only rarely take one. With success has also come the peace of mind and confidence knowing I have the power and ability to influence and control my mobility as I age.
When I started my program I couldn’t decide which was more painful my feet or knees. There was only one pair of shoes I could wear with any comfort and even then I could only stand or walk for a maximum of 10 to 30 minutes before the pain got the best of me. I dreaded standing after sitting for any length of time because of the sharp pains in my feet. Walking and balance was made more difficult by my toes grabbing the ground like claws. As for my knees, I would experience periodic concussion like incidents which caused debilitating pain and swelling keeping me immobile for several days while guzzling aspirin.
Now after three years I no longer worry about walking, I have several pairs of comfortable shoes, and my toes no longer are curled. My knees aren’t perfect and I still have joint pains. But I’ve had no immobilizing incidences requiring massivce doses of aspirin. In fact, now I rarely take an aspirin at all.
The services provided at Pain Free are excellent. The entire staff is knowlegeable and well trained. More than that, they genuinely care about their client’s well being and comfort. You know that if you have a problem they will address it with the expertise and time it takes to diagnose the source and correct it or direct you to the resources that will. I not only have complete confidence and respect for each and every one of them, I also consider them to be my friends.