Tens of millions of Americans and, I’d wager, more than 1 billion human beings on the planet suffer from chronic pain every day. Many more times these numbers of people—nearing the realm of practically everyone alive—suffer from some degree of compensation, limitation and functional loss in their bodies that they’re either unaware of or they’ve come to accept as being out of shape, part of aging or simply the way their bodies are designed. Compensation, limitation, functional loss and chronic pain in our bodies prevent us from playing sports we loved as kids, playing with our children or grandchildren at playgrounds, jogging or walking in our neighborhoods and even carrying bags of groceries or loads of laundry. These dysfunctions can cause us to suffer in health, quality of life and even income. Surely, it’s well worth our time to explore solutions for chronic pain relief and even prevention.
Did you know that pain symptoms such as back pain, shoulder pain, knee pain, ankle pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and an achy neck generally share a common cause? This cause is the origin of dysfunction, and for most, it’s the position of the pelvis and relationship of the hip joints. Many active folks have pelvises that tip forward, and many sedentary people, a.k.a. “couch potatoes” and “desk jockeys,” are saddled with pelvises that rock backward. It is optimal to have a pelvis and hip joints in a neutral position, or our design position. Some have pelvic disparities, with one side tipping forward and the other side rocking backward. One side may be positioned higher than the other. One side may also be positioned forward or behind the other side.
Feel Chronic Pain Relief Through Practice of the Posture Exercises Method
I would bet that at least 99 people in a room of 100 have minor or major pelvic and hip issues that create a chain reaction up and down the body, causing compensation, limitation, functional loss and/or chronic pain.
Yes, the pelvis and hip joints are the keys to understanding joint alignment and posture and why we can suffer from compensation, limitation, functional loss and chronic pain. I’ve gotten the eyes for postural alignment, thanks to practicing stretches and gentle exercises 98 percent of the days since mid-April 2010, earning a certification as a postural alignment specialist from Egoscue Institute and working with several dozen clients in my Posture Exercises Method. You see, once the pelvis and hip joints get out of whack, our femurs turn inward or outward. This causes the knees to point inward or outward rather than facing straight forward at 12 o’clock as well as affects our ankle joints, with most suffering from pronated ankles. The feet are generally cast too far apart from the standard 4 to 6 inches, with the toes pointing at, say, 11 and 2 o’clock—or somewhere far from the body’s design of 12 o’clock. Our shoulders are mirrors of the hips, so when our pelvis and hips are off, our shoulders tend to round forward, with one often sinking below the other. Finally, the neck droops forward. Suffer from migraines? Suboptimal posture is one leading cause.
Across the United States and the whole world, this situation is playing out in every body. You might not be in chronic pain or think you suffer from compensation, limitation or functional loss, but just observe the way the people ahead of you in store checkout lanes shift their weight from one leg to another or lean against shopping carts. You might see everyone do this. Now, what makes you think you have managed to avoid all this endless repositioning of your body? You might engage in these repositioning patterns yourself and even be aware of it. What this means is that your postural misalignment prevents your body from standing up straight and tall. If this is the case, close your eyes and think about what your body looks like 10, 20 or even 50 years down the road? Your postural alignment isn’t going to magically fix itself, and this is why many 60-plus suffer from severely rounded backs and necks, shuffle with stilted gaits, rely on canes and/or are, other than running errands, generally immobile. At 90, my grandmother experiences dire pain with every step she takes—and there are few in a day anymore. Freedom? This is not.
Sitting is a primary driver for pelvic tilts and hip disparities, and don’t get me started on crossing legs—an action that throws off the whole body—unless it’s for just a minute or two as a stretch, with each side getting an equal amount of work. My training in craniosacral fascial therapy with the field’s creator, Dr. Barry Gillespie has taught me that pelvic tilts and hip disparities can begin far before we logged our 5,000th hour sitting in a chair that’s too small or large for us. Pelvic tilts and hip disparities begin as far back as in utero and can be exacerbated during the birthing process. In his early days, Barry would start with the cranial work, but after 40 years of bringing people brain cycles and easing fascial strain, this wise, intuitive man knows the pelvis and hips are the origin for almost everyone.
In the past several weeks, schoolchildren across America and the world have heard their teachers say, “Sit up straight and pay attention.” Almost none of these kids have been able to do so to the best of their ability because their bodies do not have their postural muscles firing. Some of their postural muscles, which include the glutes, might actually not be engaged at all. When these schoolchildren sit with their pelvises rocking backward, their backs are slumped and heads crane forward. When this happens, breathing is compromised, with children unable to take full, deep breaths, and oxygen doesn’t flow optimally. Beyond the respiratory system, other bodily systems such as the circulatory and digestive systems are affected as well. Children with these bodies—which is to say practically every child alive—cannot be all they can be.
When these children grow up and join the workforce, little will change in terms of their bodies’ postural alignment, except that it’s gotten only worse. Workplaces are full of dysfunctional bodies, and standing desks, although good in getting the body into a loaded position, generally magnify the worst compensations—and the list of these compensations grows quickly. Consider, for example, that most standing desks have the monitor positioned far too low, promoting neck and back strain, and keyboard-mouse tray too high, leading to shoulder strain and, eventually, carpal and cubital tunnel syndromes. Simply put, if a person cannot stand up straight for five minutes without shifting his or her weight or leaning on a shopping cart while waiting in line, how then can this person stand straight with sound alignment for eight hours?
It’s impossible. This person cannot do this. This person’s posture is going to worsen unless corrective measures are taken.
Modern living has forced us to lead motion-starved lives, and this is the reason many elderly men and women exhibit very poor posture and shuffled gaits. Almost everyone is heading in this direction. Take relief for just a moment. It’s not just you; we are all challenged from the start!
How far you can get in life and the freedom you’ll get to experience with your body hinges on what you do with the kind of revealing information communicated in this story. If you’re the kind of person who takes charge when you get your body’s message loud and clear, you might’ve gone for appointments to physical therapists, massage therapists or acupuncturists or even had yoga or pilates sessions. Some of you might’ve experienced some relief and thought, “I feel better.” Some of you, however, had the instincts to know there were far greater gains to be made, but you just hadn’t discovered how to do so. Until now. Consider my Posture Exercises Method to be your ticket to a pain-free, functional and high-performance body today and when you’re 100 years young!
A body-tuning therapy method, the Posture Exercises Method treats the body as a whole unit, not individual parts. The Method also focuses on posture in addressing dysfunction causes, not symptoms, as is commonplace in the health-care industry. From 2000 to 2010, when I endured wicked chronic pain, I had physical therapy, chiropractic and massage sessions, but my pain persisted until I practiced the revolutionary exercises that are part of my Method. I’ve been free of pain for seven years and am continually making strides with my postural alignment, committing, these days, 11 hours a week to my practice, although your exercise menus can be tailored to your schedule needs. I haven’t missed a Method workout in one solid year because my practice lifts me physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Yes, it feels this good!
In the raw food world, a pervasive belief holds that if we eat an abundant amount of fruits and ample amount of greens along with a limited amount of fat, the body will fix itself in every way possible. This isn’t true. Yes, on a low-fat raw food diet, the body can correct many health issues, from overweight/obesity to Type 2 diabetes and even stage 3 brain cancer if other lifestyle conditions are optimal as well. When it comes to joint alignment and posture, however, the body cannot correct itself unless a person puts in the time and practices corrective exercises, although this diet can certainly help the body in relearning its original design position much faster than if one were to consume animal, cooked and processed foods. To further this point, I have seen many report a few weeks or months into their raw food transitions that their joint pain has dialed down in intensity or even vanished on a fruit-infused diet even though they’ve not exercised a lick. If joint misalignment and poor posture are present, it very well may be the case that these pain symptoms will return. Some have told me that this has been their experience.
For more than five years, I’ve trumpeted this low-fat raw vegan diet to be perhaps the greatest secret to health. For more than one year, I’ve turned much of my focus to revealing the other greatest secret to health: earning and enjoying a functional body. Just like with a fruit-based diet, optimal postural alignment is a gift that gives today and well into the future. If you put this diet and this exercise routine together, the results are purely magical. I know. I’ve been on these intertwining paths, starting only nine days apart, for the past seven-and-a-half years!
I encourage you to get moving! Life happens now, so what are you waiting for?