What Does My Posture have to do with My Pain?

I work with many former runners,”  “former cyclists,” and we can’t forget about the “former swimmers who are in search of a pain free lifestyle. The activities listed above are different from each other but they all have something in common. Chronic pain. Each person remembers a time when they could do all of these activities pain free, and they want those times back.

So, are these activities to blame?  I don’t believe so. If they were to blame, everyone that runs, bikes, or swims should all have chronic pain, and in the exact same place.

Do these clients hurt because of their age? Not at all. If age were to blame, a 67 year old should have pain in both knees instead of just one.

Is being overweight the issue? The answer here is a resounding, NO! I’m sure you were told to lose 30 pounds and your back pain would go away. Per your doctor’s orders, you did. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

So what it is? What is the “missing link” to low back pain, neck pain, knee pain, hip pain, plantar fasciitis pain, and a myriad of other symptoms? To find that answer, we will need to stay focused on the posture and the body coming to these activities.

While these activities aren’t to blame, our body will send us signals if it knows that our body cannot currently complete an activity pain free. Our bodies—male and female, young and old—are saying through pain, which is the only way they know how to communicate, to “Stop moving that way right now!” The only problem with not moving is that the body was designed to move. It was designed to run, jump, crawl, climb, skip, hop, run, bike and swim. How quickly we forget that there are no design flaws with the body!

The body is designed to follow the “90 Degree Rule.” The side view of the body should reveal a vertical line running through the ear, shoulder, hip, knee and ankle; all points should be stacked on top of one another. The front and back view of the body should show horizontal lines running through the middle of the shoulders, hips, knees and ankles. All joints should line up on the grid. Any deviation from this and chronic pain is right around the corner, if it isn’t here already. Once the structural integrity of the body is compromised, you are functioning on borrowed time.

The world we live in today is, to say the least, much different from that of our ancestors. Our grandparents and great-grandparents were required to do physical work to get a job accomplished. They actually had to be in motion. In other words, they used and maintained their postural muscles. How many of us drive to work, sit at our desk all day and then return to home only to plop down on our couch just in time to watch our favorite television show as we eat the pizza that was just delivered to our doorstep? While I know that’s an extreme example, our modern technology and conveniences are actually leading to our structural downfall. Not only are we no longer dependent on digging, planting, watering and cultivating the side dish for tonight’s meal, we don’t even have to get up and walk to the TV to change the channel! Ah, the good life!  Right? Wrong! Hundreds of millions of people are suffering from chronic pain and the silent killer is none other than our posture and the structural dysfunctions and compensations we have developed because of our sedentary lifestyles.

Muscles that should be participating in standing, walking, bending at the waist and twisting from side to side, are shutting down from a lack of use. When we do ask our bodies to make these movements, we get the job done through compensatory motions—for example, the muscles of the low back doing the job for the muscles of the hip when walking. Over time, those compensatory muscles fatigue, as they can’t hold up to the rigorous job of being asked to do something that they weren’t designed to do, and the end result is pain or diminished personal performance. It might take years for the pain to manifest, but the breakdown of the body is inevitable when it’s not functioning properly.

The good news in all of this is that there is hope for you and your chronic pain. Your instincts are telling you that you don’t have to accept this chronic pain and I know you remember the days when you didn’t have pain. It is time to recapture those days…the good ole’ days. The body is remarkable and it has every intention of allowing the healing process to occur, provided, you keep it healthy physically, mentally, and emotionally. It is time to let go of the pain. Having had the privilege to work with clients suffering from TMJ, migraine headaches, bulging and herniated discs, degenerative bone disease, knee pain, to name a few, the rewards for both parties are great. Change your life today—take the first step toward living a pain free, active lifestyle and call Egoscue Nashville.