You may wonder sometimes- why are you treating my hips when it is my neck that hurts?
In this newsletter, we discuss why we focus on caring for your whole body and how that relates to dealing with the area of pain you originally came in for.
You may have experienced this scenario: you go to a therapist with a specific pain in a particular area of your body.
The therapist focuses their treatment only to that area of pain, without checking in with the rest of your body.
You feel a relief of symptoms and move on with your week, but suddenly the same pain returns and you find yourself back in their care once or twice a week in a never ending cycle of maintenance.
Here at Spinal Symmetry, we are not particularly fond of the word, ‘maintenance’.
That is not to say that other therapists do not have your best interests at heart, but there are many different ways of caring for patients, and maintenance care is not the primary objective to our approach (although in some cases, there may be exceptions).
Think of it as a weed in the garden. If you cut it off at the stalk it is going to continue to grow, but if you take it out of the soil with the root, chances are, it wont! Maintenance care tends to be pain focused, while what we focus on is function.
Our main philosophy is that structure governs function, and that is why it is relevant to assess your whole body, no matter where your pain is.
Which is perhaps why, as you may have noticed, when we start investigating we tend to find pain in places you didn't know you had pain!
Our goal with this approach is to produce results that not only creates symptomatic relief, but also allows your body to keep it that way.
Since structure governs function, we place our focus first of all to the hips and pelvis. The whole reason why we do this is because your centre of gravity lies in your pelvis, and is formed by the gravity vectors (lines of force directed from your hip angles). This area forms the foundation to your entire skeletal system.
If your hips are not balanced, the angles will be unbalanced, and this causes the centre of gravity to shift and become off-centre.
This throws your pelvis out of balance, creating a foundation, which is not level for your spine to sit upon.
This can cause symptoms in your back, neck or head.
For example, if you came to us with neck pain, and we only focused our treatment on the area in your neck, chances are that the neck pain would keep returning and not alter, as the neck is the uppermost part of the spine that sits on the pelvis.
However, if we were to first rectify your centre of gravity- ie. balance your hips and therefore level out your pelvis, you have a much better chance of experiencing improvement and cessation of pain in your neck, sometimes without even touching your neck! The reason for this is that by addressing your centre of gravity, we are dealing with your skeletal system at it’s core, which is where the original cause of pain may have begun.
Below is an illustration of a balanced centre of gravity and an unbalanced
centre of gravity due to an underlying hip imbalance. (The red dots show where the centre of gravity lies. )
Our mission at Spinal Symmetry is to create the long lasting result of an entire skeletal system that functions as well as it can.
The most important part of this treatment is the part you actually do yourself, known as Dynamic Therapy.
The entire reason why we ask you to perform Dynamic Therapy nightly is to retrain your ligaments, in particular the ligament capsules in your hips. This is crucial to creating a long lasting effect to your body.
The changes that were made to your hips and pelvis during the physical treatment you received from a Spinal Symmetry practitioner will not be sustained on their own. By using the Dynamic Therapy strap, a neurological stimulus is created to the ligament capsules in your hips and sacroiliac joints. It is this stimulus that allows these ligaments to retrain.
Below is a diagram that describes the forces involved when you use the Dynamic Therapy strap. The green arrows show how the leverage of the strap causes the ligaments of the hips and pelvis (in red) to stretch, which is how the stimulus is created.
People tend to think of their body as being made up of different parts working independently, but the reality is that your whole body functions as one unit.
When a pain or ache starts seemingly out of nowhere or without explanation, it
has usually been building for a while, and the cause of it lies somewhere that probably isn't the actual location of discomfort.
In the picture on the side here, there is an underlying hip imbalance , but the pain presentation (represented by the red cross areas) is located in the shoulder and neck. This is an example of how compensatory changes can create different symptoms, which do not necessarily manifest the same way in everyone.
So as we’ve shown, rather than just dealing with the painful or dysfunctional area in which you may have come in for, we do assess your entire body as we work with the principle that all parts of the skeletal system work together in synergy.
If you have any questions on how this works or how your body relates to this approach please ask one of our practitioners here at Spinal Symmetry.