I recently saw a woman who had such crippling back and sciatic pain that she had to use a wheelchair to go to church and couldn’t stand. This was building for several months and she finally sought help.
What I found during our exam was one side of the pelvis higher than the other, contracted hip flexor muscles, one side of her rib cage was lower than the other, a walking pattern that promoted hyperextending knees and a very strong heel strike, a thigh bone that rotated in too far at foot strike, two flat feet and ankles that collapsed too. She was kind of like the picture to the right– her body was all askew. She was very tense so that when I touched or moved her, she jumped or couldn’t allow me to really move her passively.
She was very scared because her quality of life had diminished significantly and she was on the verge of tears. Her work involved a large amount of stress and she just seemed to absorb it right into her body. She was a very caring person but took on too much of other peoples’ concerns. She doubted she could ever return to her old life.
After 5 visits she was a completely different woman. No wheelchair, she smiled more and was more relaxed while walking. She could bend down to the floor without any pain and could sit or stand for long periods of time with no pain at all. In summary, she was the picture of health and confidence with no pain whatsoever.
How did she do it? As with all our patients at the clinic, we focus on decreasing tension and improving how people do things like sitting, standing, walking etc. She had downloaded my audio Somatics Movement Lessons (Hanna Somatics) and practiced those every day which began to unlock her body. There are 8 gentle lessons in this audio download, targeting different parts of the body.
The material in this audio download includes:
Lesson 1: Back Movements (approximately 35 minutes)
Lesson 2: Front Movements (approximately 30 minutes)
Lesson 3: Waist Movements (approximately 26 minutes)
Lesson 4: Rotation Movements (approximately 25 minutes)
Lesson 5: Hip Movements (approximately 27 minutes)
Lesson 6: Neck Movements (approximately 50 minutes)
Lesson 7: Breathing (approximately 27 minutes)
Lesson 8: Walking (approximately 32 minutes)
As a bonus, they help decrease the sympathetic nervous system level while increasing the level of the parasympathetic nervous system–great when you want to reduce the effects of stress on your body!
In the clinic I used similar techniques to more specifically release patterns of contraction in her body. We combined this with a better way of walking, sitting, and bending over. You can see an example of this in my post: I Don’t like Doing My Physical Therapy Exercises!. In addition, I merely told her she’s carrying too much stress from her work and she needed to distance herself from it and protect herself.
I think the moral of the story is no matter how bad it may seem, trust that there is a solution to your pain. You must keep trying–there is an answer!
Many of these issues are addressed in my book Fixing You: Back Pain (2nd ed) available on Amazon soon.