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Rotated pelvis and shoulders

Lotte
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7 months 4 days ago
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04/22/2019 - 11:35am
Rotated pelvis and shoulders

I have been doing the Gokhale method for a year now, and while it helps with vertical curvature, it has not helped me with horizontal curvature. One of my hips is further forward than the other, and one of my shoulders is higher than the other, and the other one also curves down and forward. As a result I have slight scoliosis in my mid back, which causes a lot of pain. 

 

Is there anything I can do to stop my hips being so rotated (my left hip is much further forward than my right)?

 

I also find when I am stacksitting well, my arm will go completely numb within 15 minutes. Can I do anything to help this?

 

Teacher
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07/05/2009 - 7:54am

Hi Lotte,

What is most likely happening is one side is settling into anteversion more than the other - when this happened to me initially it felt like 1 foot was on the accelerator, 1 on the brake. When you kidney bean shape the foot it has a profound effect on the way the leg bones align, encouraging external rotation, and how the head of the femur works with the hip socket.  If this is stronger on one side than the other, 1 hip twists forward and typically a little upward, though exactly what happens varies from individual to individual.

This encourages a 1 sided action in the deep spinal muscles that create lift if they are engaged or both sides, or twist if engaged on 1 side only.  If both left and right sets of deep spinal muscles work but 1 slightly more than another you get a lifted twist into 1 side. It is this that I suspect is causing your arm to go numb. That it happens when you are stack sitting well unfortunately makes perfect sense. Your stronger, more aligned side is lifting and the body slightly twisting into that side due to the other side lagging behind.  For me this used to mean I could not stack sit for more than 5 minutes before it became painful in my L5/S1 and stiff in my shoulders, sometimes painful in the neck and base of the skull. I would strongly advise that the arm going numb, or pins and needles, is a sign that a nerve is getting compressed and you should back off right away. This is a signal that must be listened to.

I can suggest 2 distinct ways of working with this - 1 fairly simple short term palliative approach, apply the brakes on both sides and another more long term but also somewhat more difficult approach take the weaker foot off of the brake and put it on to the accelerator.  These are very distinct ways of working. Please keep them very separate in your mind.

The short term palliative approach is to stop anteverting the pelvis, maybe even slightly tuck the pelvis for a while, and focus on strengthening techniques such as the rib anchor and inner corset. and lengthening techniques such as stretch sitting and stretch lying on the back.  

Obviously this is not ideal long term as it is not the natural form for the human body, but it can be a very effective sticking plaster. When the pelvis is tucked the imbalance between left and right is "buried" under a level of muscle tension, the bones are "locked" into a less mobile place.

Wearing a sacroiliac SI support belt can also help, but be careful not to restrict L5/S1 and even if it feels good it isn't a complete solution. If someone is chronically tucked there can be an associated "collapse" or "settling into tuck" within the pelvis. If this is the case the SI belt could potentially make things worse. This is rare in my experience but something to be aware of.

I am aware this is turning into rather a long, and potentially confusing response. Without seeing you and teaching hands on, what I have said so far might be what is of most practical use to you right now.

But there is a better, if more complex, long term solution: make the weaker foot stronger so both feet are on the accelerator, power up settling into anteversion on both sides of the pelvis and indeed the whole body. This is the gold standard, unlocking the full benefits of pelvic anteversion and natural human structure.

A good place to start is with the inchworm and tibialis anterior muscle exercises on pages 211 & 214 of the "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back" book. The important thing is to note which foot is weaker and which is stronger. If this is not clear to you, I would advise caution as you don't want to accidentally make the difference between the feet even bigger. Work only the weaker foot on both exercises for while and see if that helps - you could use stack sitting as a test to see how this works for you. If you are (rightly) cautious another test you could use is to check the erector spinae, the ridges of muscle on either side of the spinal groove in the lower back. Typically if one side is chunkier, more muscular than the other, that side is stronger. You would want to work with the other weaker side.

When you get close to balance the feeling is good both physically and emotionally.  I am stack sitting, with a Gokhale head cushion on my head as I type this. Previously I would not have been able to stack sit in comfort long enough. Balance can be lost for various reasons I won't bore you with now. I sometimes notice that by a certain drop in my emotional tone. If that happens I rebalance the settling into anteversion in my body before stack sitting or any other posture that is built on pelvic anteversion.

Apologies for such a long winded response - even this is a simplified explanation.  As you are probably aware from reading the "8 Steps to a Pain Free Back" book a picture really is worth a thousand words. To extend that metaphor,  hands on instruction is worth a thousand pictures. Always let comfort be the measure, working from the book, in the Gokhale Method Foundations course or in refresher/alumni classes where there is time and and a good foundation of knowledge to delve deeper into "settling into anteversion".

Good luck! let me know how you get on. Hope this helps.


P.S. I use the Serola SI belt that is readily available in the UK and, in my experience, very effective. In the US Esther recommends another that I am not familar with. I will reach out to her to get details.


 

Lotte
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Last seen:
7 months 4 days ago
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04/22/2019 - 11:35am

Hi John,

 

Thank you so much for such a comprehensive response!

Having tried a few things out that you mentioned, I have indeed noticed that one foot is much flatter than the other! When I work on making this foot less flat, suddenly the hip that is further back rotates forward in line with the other, and suddenly my back feels more comfortable. The only problem is keeping this foot with a nice arch! Sadly, although I do my exercises and focus on repositioning the foot, it always inevitably slips back into its old position. I guess I just need to persevere.

 

Thanks for your advice on the serola SI belt (I live in the UK so can easily get hold of it). Will that help keep my hips even? 

 

Lotte

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