Pronated ankles. A high shoulder. Low back pain. TMJ dysfunction. What do these have in common? Each of those problems can be caused/perpetuated by irregularities in the pelvis.
Virtually all NMT treatments will start with a postural evaluation, with an emphasis on the pelvis. Moving toward symmetry and stabilizing the pelvis can mean the difference between temporary relief from pain, or lasting release from your pain. 35 muscles attach to either the pelvis or sacrum, exerting forces from above and below. Balancing these forces can eliminate pain.
A common example: If the right side of your pelvis rotates anteriorly (front moves down, back moves up), it can push your leg down, creating a functionally long right leg. This results in the right side of your pelvis being higher than the left.
Two things our bodies strive to maintain are a level pelvis, and level eyes looking at the horizon. To compensate for a functionally long right leg/elevated right side of the pelvis, sometimes the right foot will turn out and pronate (collapse the ankle inward), thereby shortening the leg and leveling the pelvis. Pronated ankles can lead to foot/arch pain, low back pain and more. In some cases, compensation occurs by tightening the right psoas muscle (hip flexor, attaches to lumbar vertebrae and the femur), thereby shortening the leg by pulling it up towards the pelvis. A tight psoas in turn is a major contributor to low back pain.
If there is no compensation for the long right leg, the right hip will be higher than the left, and the torso will be tipped to the left. To correct this, and level the eyes, the torso bends to the right. Now the left shoulder is higher than the right. This can result in a number of different shoulder and neck pain syndromes. At this point, there is nothing a therapist could do, working solely on the shoulders, that would make them level. The asymmetry in the pelvis must be resolved first.
The above scenario reinforces another important concept: the problem is not always where the pain is. It is natural to want to treat pain by going to the location of the pain, but all too often that tactic is misguided. A better tactic is to first move toward symmetry (while understanding that none of us are completely symmetrical), restoring muscles to their proper resting length, which will allow the body’s natural healing abilities to resolve many pain syndromes.
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