Balancing Your Foundation
No matter what symptoms a client may come in with, I always make sure to take notice of the alignment of their pelvis. Sometimes this gets a confused reaction because maybe this person came in complaining about their plantar fasciitis or their TMJ pain. However, the pelvis is the foundation of our body and if it is misaligned in any way, that will determine the position that the rest of our body is in.
A torqued pelvis can twist the spine, cause the jaw to become locked, pull down on the skull causing "tension headaches", and can disrupt the cranial rhythm. A pelvis that is uneven can also cause a leg length discrepancy. When this happens it's essentially like you're walking around with one foot on the pavement and one foot on the sidewalk all day long. The fascia absorbs the extra shock of the uneven gait and over time becomes tight and restricted, leading to joint pain and plantar fasciitis among other symptoms. Often people are told that one leg is longer than the other and the solution they're offered is to put lifts in their shoes. All that is doing is reinforcing the alignment problem and not actually resolving it.
If you had met me three years ago I was limping on my left leg. I had gotten up to do a massage one day and my ankle began to feel achy and not quite right. By the end of the day it was red, swollen and painful and it continued to get progressively worse over the next year and a half. Stairs became difficult to go down without some sort of pain and getting up first thing in the morning was agonizing. It felt like my ankles were going to buckle under me. Not to mention the lower back pain, neck pain and numbness in my thighs. And all during this time I had gotten regular massage and stretching from many great therapists but the results were temporary.
It wasn't until I connected with an incredible myofascial release therapist who had been doing the work for 30 years or so that I was able to get to the bottom of what was happening. My pelvis was upslipped on the left side and anteriorly rotated and my hip flexor muscles were the tightest he'd ever worked on. All of this was stemming from a horseback riding injury I had 10 years prior but had never gone to the doctor for. Once the pelvis was balanced over a few months of regular myofascial release, my pain was gone, I had amazing range of motion, and stairs were no longer an issue. My ankle pain wasn't really an ankle issue; it was a pelvis issue.
This is just one example of "find the pain, look elsewhere for the cause" which is one of the most important principles of the John Barnes Myofascial Release Approach. Every single structure within our bodies is connected via the fascia and the key to resolving any symptom is to remember to the look at the body as a whole with the pelvis as the foundation. So don't be surprised if you come in for something seemingly unrelated and your therapist wants to balance your pelvis first. It's worth it in the long run. I mean...if the cause of your pain was where you actually feel your pain, wouldn't your massage therapist have resolved it by now? Food for thought.