Our similarities far, far outweigh our differences. We function according to the same set of rules that have always been there for us. Friction, gravity, joint mobility, muscle action, apply to all of us and exert their influence on us in equal measure. All of us. All the time.
We react to most of what happens to us in a predetermined, predictable way.
Just as we have the same coloured blood and the same physiological responses to hunger, fatigue and being cut, so do we have the same generalized autonomic responses to physical trauma and postural strain.
Head to toe
For about 20 years I have been assessing people in much the same way. I check everyone from head to toe.
4 Basic Principles
I’m looking at their flexibility, alignment, suppleness and strength.
With a simple screening process I assess the mobility of their neck, elbows, shoulders, upper, middle and lower back, pelvis, wrists, hips, knees and feet.
Again and Again
Every day, every single day, I see the same pattern of strain again and again.
Typical Strain Pattern
This is the strain pattern that underlies most of the pain and debility that most people present with in my clinic.
Stand up. Get a feel for how your body feels. Now bend your right knee. As you do this you will feel (and see) the right side of your pelvis roll forward and down.
As this happens, your sacrum (tail bone) has to side bend and rotate to the left. This forces your lower lumbar spine to do the same. And so the lower half of the typical strain pattern comes into being. Don’t take my word for it. Stand up and bend your right knee.
This causes you to become misaligned and if that pattern persists, (which it often does), you end up with chronic or recurring pain and/or stiffness.
This typical strain pattern underlies most of the chronic and recurring muscle, joint and back pain that I deal with, so there’s a pretty good chance that you have it too. This is good news, because if this pattern lies at the bottom of your problem, you can very definitely do something about it.
Typical Strain Pattern
- In a nutshell, this is what happens,
- The calves are almost always tight and tender.
- The right calf is tighter than the left.
- The left hamstring is tighter than the right.
- The pelvis drops down on the right and often rolls forward on the right.
- The sacrum, or tail bone, side bends and rotates (turns) to the left.
- The lower lumbar spine, lower back, side bends and rotates to the left.
- In the lower middle back, it side bends and turns back to the right.
- At the top of your back it rotates back to the left, ending up being most rotated left at C1 the top vertebrae of the neck.
- The left side of C1 is almost always more tender than the right.
This may be you
I see this pattern in the vast majority of people I treat for chronic and recurring muscle, joint and back pain. Which means that you may have it too. This is just the normal way out bodies compensate for what’s going on in the pelvis and legs.
The result is pain
This is more or less what happens every time you step forward with your right leg. In most of my patients (and maybe you) this pattern is happening all the time, instead of just half the time like it’s supposed to. The result of that is strain, pain and debility.
Our bodies are always doing their best to adapt to the circumstances that we and the world throw at them. Almost all of it happens below our conscious awareness. It is only when our bodies are unable to cope that they draw our conscious awareness to it. And the most effective way to do that is with pain.
The Vast Majority
By the time it hurts, this typical strain pattern is well and truly established. The vast majority of treatments I do are addressing this pattern of strain. And it’s incredibly, almost embarrassingly, effective.
The stretches I give my patients to do at home are the D.I.Y. version of what I have just done for them with treatment.
Almost always, the people I treat have tight, unbalanced calves and a stiff spine. If I balance them out and loosen them up, that usually takes care of their problem of pain and debility. It sounds absurdly simple, and that’s because it is. But it works. Time after time. Every working day of my life!
So my BEST advice to you is this :
Stretch your calves and twist your spine.
For a few minutes a few times a day.
Believe me when I tell you, this may be the best generic advice you ever get about your muscle, joint or back pain. Of course this can only help you if tight calves or a stiff spine are causing or contributing to your pain.
That, however, is highly likely, and the way you find out is to stretch your calves and twist your spine for a at least few minutes a few times a day. This may be a little uncomfortable, which is OK, but if you experience sharp pain, stop and seek medical advice.
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