Good alignment of your bones is essential to minimize pain
If your bones are not properly aligned your muscles and joints are constantly being strained.
Long term strain
Long term muscle strain causes chronic tension, imbalance, inflammation and pain. Especially in the spine, low back, pelvis, hips and knees.
Good alignment of your pelvis and spine is absolutely essential for them, and everything else, to work as well as they can. Full strength, mobility and no pain.
Long term joint strain causes chronic stiffness, imbalance, inflammation, pain and excessive wear of joint surfaces otherwise known as osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is the number 1 danger to your joints.
Slower is Better
Good alignment is essential for the longevity of your joints. We are organic, we wear. The better aligned your joints are the slower they wear out.
The problem may be somewhere else
Ever driven a car with wheels that were out of alignment? The steering wheel shakes, or pulls to one side. You can feel the problem in the steering wheel, but that’s not where the problem actually is.
You get used to it
If the car still goes OK you just get used to it and ignore it. After a while you notice that the tread on the tyres is wearing unevenly. Nothing wrong with the tyres, but clearly, they are wearing badly, like they shouldn’t be.
There not Here
The misalignment is in one place, but it’s causing problems somewhere else. It doesn’t matter what you do to the steering wheel, it’s still going to wobble and the tyres are still going to wear badly. Until you realign those wheels. It’s the same with us.
Why not Where
The way to properly address the symptoms is, of course, to address whatever is causing them. Many hands on professionals ask where is the pain, and go straight to it. Osteopaths ask why is there pain here, and focus our attention on that.
Chronic or Recurring
It doesn’t matter what you do to the bits that hurt, if you don’t address the cause, the symptoms will never properly settle or they will just keep coming back. Any joint that has chronic stiffness and pain is likely to become arthritic.
Beware the Twisted Pelvis!
If your pelvis is out of alignment, as they so often are, it can cause strain and pain in the low back and hip joints, or further afield in your upper back, shoulders, neck and even headaches. Or pain in your groin, legs, knees or feet. Because of the strain that the misalignment causes throughout your body.
Here not There
Realign the pelvis and the pain goes away, right? Not necessarily. If realigning the pelvis doesn’t address what caused it in the first place, it’s just going to come back.
Tight Calves the Culprit
In my experience the number one cause of a twisted pelvis, by far, is tight unbalanced calf muscles. If you do not address this fundamental imbalance, the strain and pain it causes elsewhere – knees, hips, low back – will just keep coming back.
Absolutely my Best piece of Advice
If you have chronic or recurring foot, leg, knee, hip, pelvic, low back, upper back or neck pain, start stretching your calves. For at least a few minutes, at least a few times a day. Some is good, more is better. Start and finish on the tighter one, for most people that’s the right calf.
Typical Strain Pattern
Try this little test. Stand up. Get balanced. We are going to simulate a tight right calf. Bend your right knee. When you do this your pelvis rolls forward and down on the right side. It is now out of alignment. Your weight is now being distributed unevenly on your feet, knees, hips and spine. Pay close attention and you will feel your lower back twist to the left. This the single most common pattern of strain that I see every day, in my clinic, so there’s a very good chance that you have it too, and it is causing or contributing to your pain.
Loosen your calves up, and balance them out, and you may just be amazed at how much pain it reduces or relieves everywhere else. There’s more on this throughout the site.
Calf Step Stretch
Check out my favourite calf stretch, The Calf Step Stretch.
If you are out of alignment, the distribution of force through many of your joints is adversely effected. That in turn adversely effects the components of the joint. Muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, bone and cartilage. Muscles get tighter, joints get stiffer.
It starts out as strain – tight muscles and stiff joints, (with or without pain), and slowly, imperceptibly but inevitably, becomes damage. Osteoarthritis. This is irreversible and therefore totally undesirable!
What to do
The only way to avoid or slow this process is by keeping your bones properly aligned. You do that by keeping your joints flexible and your muscles supple and strong, and you do that with plenty of stretching and exercising.
Align yourself with Stretching
Especially stretching. For each stretch you do, you really need pay attention to which side is tighter and always stretch that side more by starting and finishing on the tighter side. This is a really important point.