Posture, Leg Length Differences, and Chronic Pain

I'm back! Yes, I've been gone for awhile. Those who know me personally will know that on 1/30/09 there was a fire at my office building. Fortunately, no one was hurt and my office didn't burn, but my room was devastated by smoke and water damage. After a month of scrambling to make do in the wake of the fire, I moved into a new office with a former office mate, Anne Thomasson. Anne, who was also displaced by the fire, practices massage and also teaches a form of therapeutic exercise called Gyrotonics. She now has a large, beautiful studio and I love walking into such a light, open space every day. We're both settling into our new spaces.

We recently attended the Missouri State Chapter meeting of the American Massage Therapy Association at Lake of the Ozarks. This was the 50th Anniversary of our state chapter and 230 massage therapists attended. There were a number of presenters. Anne and I chose the workshops presented by Paul St. John.

Paul St. John has been a leader in the field of massage therapy since at least the mid 80s. He is a dynamic speaker and his approach is very structural and rational. This particular weekend he focussed on mobilizing the sacro-iliac joint, where the base of the spine meets the hip bone, and the cervical spine where it meets the skull. There was considerable discussion about postural distortion and how it can lead to chronic pain. Paul drew a lot of attention to assessing for uneven leg lengths, which he believes is an underdiagnosed and often an unrecognized factor contributing to many people's postural distortion and pain.

Techniques were taught to mobilize the sacro-iliac joint and the cervical spine where it meets the skull. After the four hour car ride home, I was amazed that I did not feel as stiff as I usually do, something I'm convinced was a result of the SI joint work I'd received that morning in class.

I'm looking forward to becoming more adept at the skills that were taught and incorporating them into my work. I had a great time seeing old acquaintances and meeting new people. The AMTA conference was, I believe, a great success all around.

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