People with chronic pain believe that their musculoskeletal system is fragile and prone to breakdown, that their case is very complicated and cannot be comprehended by a layman. And only a highly trained expert can figure out what’s wrong with them. That’s what I used to think before I was introduced to the Egoscue® pain free method.
Now I know that our posture is the most accurate reflection of how our joints, spine, and pelvis are aligned in relation to one another and shows, without expensive equipment or invasive tests, what muscles are not doing their assigned jobs and what bones are out of alignment. Chronic back, knee, hip, neck, shoulder, or wrist pain is just a signal of structural misalignment that’s causing it.
Believe it or not, there are only three types of compromised postures (they are called conditions in Egoscue® method): Condition I, Condition II, and Condition III. These conditions are clusters of dysfunctional misalignments. Let’s take a closer look at the compromised posture conditions.
Condition I Posture: This condition is a result of the excessive tightness of hip flexors. Three most common posture deviations associated with it are:
- forward pelvic tilt (an increased arch of spine at low back);
- everted feet (feet pointed outward);
- head tilted forward and down.
Since the body works as a unit, the excessive low back arch strains the spine. To compensate and relieve this strain, the upper back rounds, as well as shoulders, tilting the head downward. Tight hip flexors externally rotate femurs, taking the knees and feet outward. These are the perfect conditions for pain up and down the body.
Condition II Posture: This condition is a result of asymmetrical function. To qualify as condition II, a posture must have any two or more of these deviations:
- Trunk and/or pelvis rotation;
- Shoulder and/or hip elevation;
- Asymmetrical position of hand, knee, or foot (one hand is hanging lower than the other, one foot everted more than the other, kneecaps pointing different directions).
It could start from an injury when a person was avoiding putting more weight on one side, or playing sports, like tennis, where one side is always used more than another. This asymmetry puts load-bearing on one side more than the other while performing very simple functions like walking, running, or playing sports. Loading one side more puts undue strain on the joints of the loaded side, reinforces asymmetry and creates a predisposition for a variety of pain symptoms.
Most often people have a combination of condition II and I or condition II and III.
Condition III Posture: this condition is the most dysfunctional of the three. This condition is very typical for people who are less active and spend their days sitting in front of the computer, in the car, or in front of TV. This condition is associated with muscular weakness.
The main (but not all) posture deviations of this condition are:
- Posterior pelvic tilt
- C-curve of spine
- Forward rounding shoulders and a head that juts forward.
It starts with pelvis habitually tilting under – when bending or in a sitting position. The back is forced to flatten, turning S-curve of the spine into C-curve. Lack of activity weakens the muscles even further, compromising bones, spine, and joints and affecting all other systems: cardiovascular, digestive, and nervous. This posture has been found to be associated with anxiety, depression, low energy, and despair.
The Egoscue® pain free method treats the posture deviations, not pain symptoms. It always starts with detailed posture evaluation. The exercises are individually tailored to address the condition II deviations first – to minimize the asymmetry, and only after that work on condition I or III misalignments. To learn more about this method visit: www.uprightposturefitness.com.