Patients, Patience, and Impatience

Hello, again, Folks,

Today, I speak of a peculiar paradox of somatic education -- something expressed in a Tibetan saying I heard, recently:  "When things are urgent, go slower."

People in pain have a certain urgency.  No surprise.

In their urgency, they go for the "quick fix" -- the pain med, the quick adjustment, the quick stretch, the hour of bodywork.  These quick fixes rarely produce either a complete or a lasting result.

The reason:  they don't address the problem as it is, but only the surface appearance.

Somatic education is peculiar in this regard:  the processes we use during clinical sessions are mostly slow-motion action patterns -- we go slower -- but the changes that result come very quickly.

The reason:  the changes sought through somatic education (generally, pain relief) come by means of an internalized learning process that involves new physiological adaptation.  Adaptation and learning require, inevitably, at least two things:  attention and intention.

Attention and intention go together.  To exercise an intention, we must direct our attention to what we are doing.

The thing about attention is that it is not instantaneous; it fades in.  Test for yourself.  Look away from the screen toward anything and notice that it takes a good part of a second even to focus on it.  The same is true of music.  Turn on the radio into the middle of a piece of music and notice that it takes some seconds to recognize even one with which you are familiar.

When taking in new information, going slower helps you "catch" it and take it in.

Then, and only then, you can apply your intention to it.

Most forms of therapy require little or no attention on the part of a patient; result:  little or no exercise of intention and little or no lasting change!

So, as a somatic educator, I find that one of the most common bits of coaching I have to give with my clients (/patients, although I don't use the word) is to slow down.  Doing things too fast, too hard, and with too little attention ("mindfulness") is a common American fault (and a popular editing technique of advertising and the entertainment media which perpetuates and reinforces this fault-- sequences of "split-second video clips").  Too many people are "A-D-D" ! ! !  That makes them accident-prone (and generally, sloppy and error prone).  They must slow down -- not because it's easier (generally, it's not), not because they need a rest (which is generally true), but because they need to pay more attention and to exercise intention more carefully.  They need to work smarter, not harder.

If people don't slow down, they end up doing things the way they habitually do them and, by repetition, reinforcing the very thing they are wanting to get out of -- the movement patterns and functional habits that cause their pain.  They have to slow down enough to do the things they do in a new way.

When it comes to somatic exercises (a way people can relieve their own pain without direct coaching by a somatic educator), people must exercise patience.  In this case, the patience they must exercise is two-fold:  (1) they must slow down in what they're doing (somatic exercises) enough to feel clearly what they are doing and to do it in good form (not merely count repetitions) and (2) they must persist in a somatic exercise program long enough to obtain its designed-in effect (entailing, generally, some days or weeks of practice -- and some hours of experience).  The result:  substantial and durable improvement -- faster and more durable than by conventional therapeutic, "low-attention" methods.

If patients are impatient for relief, they must be patient so they can get it more quickly than has previously been possible.

Only once they have slowed down and made the necessary changes can they return to "the speed of life" and keep their new-found freedom and well-being -- or even go faster than before and still keep it together.

"A man of true means,
whatever the day's pace
keeps his wits about him
and however a fine offer be presented to him
keeps a level head.

What ruler of countless chariots
would make himself laughing stock,
fool of the realm,
with pace beyond rein,
speed beyond helm?"
-- Lao Tzu

SEE MORE ABOUT SOMATIC EXERCISES
An Entirely New Class of Therapeutic Exercises (article)
Software for Your Body (instructional programs)

Religious Faces of Superman

There exists an archetype in contemporary culture with which many generations present can identify. Every generation alive today knows Superman.

Superman who, having emerged from the midwestern farming tradition came to represent a person of virtue, of kindness and of strength, of benificent values, of positive intent -- and who hides a secret: his identity -- and a vulnerability that few others share.

Remembering that Superman was adopted by his midwestern farmer parents, his last name was not originally, "Kent" -- but Kantrowitz.  Superman (pronounced with "super" rhyming "soup-pear") was a nickname his Kryptonian parents bestowed upon him after a visit to Paris, one spring -- "little Soup-pear-man" -- because that was all he would eat.  It was on the note in the space capsule in which he arrived:  His name was Kal-El, but his nickname was Little Soup-pear-man. You can figure out the rest. And, of course, they Anglicized the name. As a boy, he was big for his age, but very nice, an intelligent boy.

Another clue: His original name-at-birth was Kal-El -- "El", in Hebrew, meaning "God". Taking a Kabbalistic approach, the Hebrew name, Kal-El, can be spelled in three consonants (four letters), read right to left, "K""L""e""L",  , the eleventh letter of the alphabet (English or Hebrew), K, the thirteenth letter (Hebrew) or the twelveth (12-English), L, and the nineteenth letter, a silent carrier for a vowel, "ayin", where in English, the nineteenth letter is, S -- "S", get it?  Coincidence?  I think not.  The symbolic meaning of the numerical equivalents of "K""L""e""L" =  "11""13""19""13" (or "11""12""19""12") is "Great Potentiality" and "Great Faith".

But what if Superman were Buddhist? What would he do differently? Since he strives to minimize harm to anyone and uses his powers beneficently, for the sake of all sentient beings, what would he do differently? Perform service even while in his dreams? What do you think he dreams about? Lois Lane? Lana Lang? Lex Luthor? Batman? -- feminine archetypes and masculine archetypes? Do you think he behaves differently in his dreams than he does in the waking state? Or do you think that, as he sleeps, he rests in the Source of Light and Life, the Silent Bliss-Being beyond the human mind and body? (the super-man state). Do you think that he rests in deep Silence (of which the Fortress of Solitude is a Metaphor), "silence" and "solitude" -- which also start with "S" -- the silent nineteenth Hebrew letter.

What if Superman was Hindu? Then what? What would he do differently? Well, for one thing, he probably wouldn't eat beef or wear cows-leather shoes. Those boots? They're patent leather. Other than that? Would he play the flute and seduce virgin cowgirls into a mass-"big one"? Would he transform his appearance to show the various powers and viewpoints and wonders of the Great Universe? And who knows what he does in the privacy of his own home with "company"? Would he declare, of himself, that "atman" (individual self-being) and "brahman" (silent, imageless, aware Groundless Ground of Being) are one? ("I and my Father are one"? -- again, getting a little ahead of ourselves).  Would he appear as Krishna -- the avatar God-embodiment (emanation) of Godhead? flying around saving people from demons?

What if Superman was Moslem? Would he pray five times a day, facing Mecca? abjure alcoholic beverages? Not eat pork? He would eat beef -- but those boots? Still patent leather. Imagine if he were a fantasy/religion-crazed Muslim extremist who was sent on a suicide mission, but suddenly realized that he couldn't blow himself up and that there would be no "72 virgins" for Superman, so he gave it up. Could Superman "do" 72 virgins simultaneously? Maybe he could. Probably he could. That would be like Krishna.

If Superman were Tibetan Buddhist, he would live consciously emanating from the Clear Light as his embodied existence, radiating the force of beneficence, fearlessly and peacefully present, attentive, intelligently responsive, compassionate, protective, empowering, and emanating silent wisdom and virtue not merely unto living beings, but into, as and through all, serving all sentient beings, communicating The Great Emancipation.

For him, kryptonite is the reminder of the mortal and transitory nature of things, even transitory even in his origins -- being sent into the unknown, "out there", and arriving at Earth -- ever-vulnerable -- even as he is eternally unchanging (primitively rendered in language as, "invulnerable") and super-regenerating -- and so, in that sense invulnerable to most hazards by virtue of his exquisite embodiment, in his transient body (Nirmanakaya), of the subtle self-organizing field of his subtle mind-body (Sambhogakaya); steadily intuiting our transcendental nature (Dharmakaya), the formless ground of being that persists even in the absence of activity or self-sense -- self-emergent, self-regenerating, self-equilibrizing with super-speed, i.e., invulnerable. Vulnerable and invulnerable. See? You didn't know that about Superman. Why would he talk about it?  What's he going to say to everyone?  "I'm vulnerable -- just as you are -- but I heal quickly"?  Would he go around saying that?  Why?  On the other hand, who knows what he says, at home -- and he is emotionally vulnerable, same as any man.

If Zen Buddhhist, same as Tibetan Buddhism, but without the kryptonite.

In this respect, he is very similar to another personage -- Harold Somaman.  Somaman is different from Superman, in that his special powers have manifested differently -- energy field transformations, sensitivity to probability pressure waves (leading to precognition and synchronicities), special ways of dealing with attention and intention. certain ways of biological self-regeneration and psychological transformation, occasions of remarkable telekinesis, things mysteriously disappearing from his life -- odd things like that.

If Superman were a Christian, would he address Jesus as "Father"? -- and how would that make Jor-El, his father, feel? But wait! What if Jor-El was a name for Jesus' father in Heaven? who sent his only-begotten son to save humankind?  Kabbalistically speaking, the names Jor-El and Joseph have significance. Alphanumerically, either of those names is impossible to analyze -- there's no "j" sound in Aramaic, so their names would have had to have been "Yosef" and "Yor-El". Then, Kabbalistically, that would get interesting.  Taking a Kabbalistic approach, again, "Yorel": YORL: four letters: "10" "6" "25" "13" (with a symbolic meaning of "Divine Conception"): and "Yosef": YOSF: four letters, "10" "6" "18" "20 (changeable with "P")" (symbolizing "the leap into newness, bringing memories of the past, along"). Confused? I am -- but back to Superman. With the benefit of time-travel, he would reach Earth when he was truly needed -- second time around.  He would still save people, but still not be able to be everywhere at once, except in spirit. I don't think he would raise the dead; I think that was just a demonstration to make a point. Other than that, how would his character change? Maybe he'd be more loving? But then, we don't know how he is, at home, and his benificient actions can certainly be seen as coming from a loving spirit -- wouldn't you say? But he wouldn't eat meat on Fridays, only fish. Or would he?

But remember -- his name is Superman -- pronounced 'aha-ward" (Howard) Superman ("soup-pear-man"), superhero and goodness-doer extraordinaire -- who loved his mother and who lived up to his father's dreams -- a real mensch.

A-mayn.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
For more on Harold Somaman, click here.
For more on Superman and other topics from The Other Side of the Looking Glass, click here.















Palpation -- One of a Somatic Educator's Essential Techniques

Thomas Hanna said that palpation -- gathering information by touch -- is a lost art among medical professionals, and that we, his students, would become masters of it.

In the process of Hanna somatic education, palpation isn't just done at the initial functional assessment of a client's condition, nor is it only an information-gathering action.  It's properly done at every stage of a clinical session of Hanna somatic education to evaluate the results of each pandiculation, and it provides information not only to the practitioner, but also to the client about his or her current condition.  How else are we to know whether we are finished with a region and its movements?

In a previous writing, "Precision Positioning for Miraculous Results", I speak of this last point in some detail.

For now, I want to communicate some things about the art of palpation, itself.

PALPATION IS A FOUR-DIMENSIONAL ACT
Now, before you go bounding off screaming, "another New Age twinko!!!", I want to clarify.  The fourth dimension, time, is not a Twilight Zone alternate reality or a mysterious abstraction (as implied by the term, "time-travel").  It's motion, itself, in the most ordinary sense.

We measure time by means of devices that move or display regular changes (watches and clocks) and we experience time the same way.  The term, "second", refers to the period of time between two heartbeats, the second heartbeat defining the end of a second.  It's an approximate term, the way the length of a foot is about one foot and the length of the first segment of the thumb is about one inch and one swallow is about once ounce.  Time is motion.

In palpation, many people touch surfaces with their fingertips and think they are palpating.  When such a technique provides little useful information, they abandon palpation as an investigatory act.  It's not a shortcoming of palpation; it's a shortcoming of their technique and their understanding.

To do a decent palpation that actually provides useful information, you've got to feel, not for a surface, but for a volume -- three (3) dimensions.  And you don't go rushing in, do a couple of quick presses, and move out.  What you do is soften your hands, reach in, and feel for the first resistance for reaching more deeply; you feel for where soft space becomes firm contact.  You go in slowly -- both out of respect for your client and for rich information.  Then, you wrap your hands around what you feel to discern its shape.  If you're squeamish, palpate in yourself until you learn the lay of the land and what it might feel like to your clients.

If you want to get more out of palpation, trace muscles from origin to insertion; that gives you something on which to anchor your attention and gives your client new sensory information that tells them in which direction, along what lines, to contract in pandiculation.

Once your client has done the pandiculation, or after you have done Kinetic Mirroring, you use palpation and movement to evaluate the completeness of the result.  If some sensory-motor amnesia -- and muscular contraction -- remains, you either repeat the process or have your client adjust positions to reach what's left.  Palpate -- Pandiculate -- Palpate.  Continue until the involuntary tendency to contract is gone or it ceases to decrease, then move on.





Understanding SacroIliac Joint Pain, Stopping the Pain and Weird Symptoms

Sacroiliac joint dysfunction includes many symptoms. This entry describes them, explains their cause, and provides a way to get started freeing yourself from the pain. How do I know about these symptoms and their cause? I had them and they went away as my sacrum straightened out into normal position.

How did I accomplish that "straightening out"? I used a series of exercises I devised, based on my understanding of principles of clinical somatic education -- having been a clinical somatic educator in practice since 1990. I'll explain more, below.


It may see odd, to you, that many of the symptoms you have -- pain in places seemingly unrelated to your sacroiliac joints -- come from a twisted sacrum.

At the same time, many of these pains are medically un-diagnosable -- meaning, no medical explanation can be given for many of them -- or the explanations given were educated guesses and the therapy didn't work. If you've had extended therapy for those pains, and therapy for those mysterious pains didn't help, or didn't help enough, or didn't produce lasting relief (common), they weren't understood or approached, correctly, by the methods used.

The Simple Explanation of Sacroiliac Joint Syndrome (Dysfunction)

"If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it."
Richard P. Feynman



Sacroiliac joint dysfunction (SIJD) can be understood as displacement (misalignment) of the bones of the pelvis and strain at the ligaments that bind the joints together.  Other terms for sacroiliac joint dysfunction are,  "sacroiliitis", "sacroiliac joint disease", "sacroiliac joint sprain", "sacroiliac joint syndrome", and "iliosacral pain".

Of the symptoms of SIJD, pain at a sacroiliac joint (at waistline level, in back, two to three inches to one side) combined with groin pain is the most common. I list other frequent symptoms, below.


SYMPTOMS OF S-I JOINT PAIN SYNDROME

Do you have two or more of these symptoms? 

SENSATIONS

  • back and groin pain  |  MUSCLES IN CONTRACTION DUE TO PELVIC DISTORTION (QUADRATUS LUMBORUM and ILIOPSOAS)
  • a tired feeling across the low back, both sides | QUADRATUS LUMBORUM AND SPINAL EXTENSOR MUSCLE FATIGUE
  • sharp, stabbing pain at the back waist area, on one side | LIGAMENT STRAIN
  • a "deep pulling" sensation in the lower spine, like a taut wire | DEEP SPINAL MUSCLE PAIN
  • pain deep in buttock that doesn't respond to direct treatment (sometimes mistaken for piriformis syndrome) | NERVE IMPINGEMENT PAIN
  • deep pelvic/lower abdominal pain ("lightning"-like burning, or gripping pain), | UNNATURAL STRETCH OF THE LINING OF THE ABDOMINAL CAVITY FROM SACRUM DISPLACEMENT
  • pelvic floor disorder, one side more than the other, tailbone pain
  • numbness in the front or side of the thigh | NERVE IMPINGEMENT
  • pain around the top rim of the pelvis, usually at one side or in back | RADIATING PAIN
  • sciatica-like pain down the back of (usually) one leg at thigh, back of knee, or foot | NERVE IMPINGEMENT PAIN FROM EXCESSIVE "FOLD" AT L5/S1
  • iliotibial ("I-T") band pain or numbness (sometimes mistaken for a tight gluteus medius muscle)| NERVE IMPINGEMENT PAIN 
  • pain deep in one hip joint (sometimes mistaken for gluteus medius muscle pain) | RADIATING PAIN FROM THE S-I JOINT 
  • inner thigh pain | MUSCLES IN CONTRACTION DUE TO PELVIC DISTORTION 
  • burning bladder | RADIATING PAIN WITH POSSIBLE NERVE IMPINGEMENT 
  • pain along the thoracic (upper) spine, one side | MUSCLES IN "CRINGE" SPASM IN REACTION TO THE PELVIC PAIN 
  • pains in the ribs | MUSCLES IN "CRINGE" SPASM IN REACTION TO THE PELVIC PAIN 
  • restricted breathing or the sense that the breathing diaphragm is involved | MUSCLES IN "CRINGE" SPASM IN REACTION TO THE PELVIC PAIN 
  • neck or jaw pain | MUSCLES IN "CRINGE" SPASM IN REACTION TO THE PELVIC PAIN 
  • a feeling like your head is being jammed down onto your neck | | MUSCLES IN "CRINGE" SPASM IN REACTION TO THE PELVIC PAIN
  • a feeling like the pelvis is spread open, in front, jammed in back on one side
  • upper ribs and shoulders tight | POSTURAL REACTION TO THE OTHER SYMPTOMS

SKELETAL ALIGNMENT CHANGES

  • pelvic rotation along the spinal axis
  • anterior pelvic tilt with twist along a horizontal axis, one side anterior and the other side posterior
  • sacrum twisted between the two side hip bones (ilia), one sacro-iliac joint deeper
  • pubic bone misalignment/pubic symphysis separation
  • low back arched more on one side than the other
  • ribs and shoulder blade on one side down and back
  • neck pulled to one side
  • one foot pronated ("flat")

MUSCLE/MOVEMENT MEMORY CHANGES

  • awkward walking with both knees turned out
  • inability to sit cross-legged with knees down
  • tight hamstrings
  • one leg "shaky" or weak
  • one shoulder held pulled back
  • restricted forward bending without immobilizing pain ("tight wire" feeling)
  • impossible to stand fully upright without "jamming" pain in the low back
  • abdominal muscles tighten protectively, when bending forward

EMOTIONAL SYMPTOMS (combined with two or more symptoms from the other two categories)

  • chronic anxiety 
  • unremitting sadness 
  • irritability

That's a lot of symptoms; I had most of them -- all but three. I was a wreck -- and I was a practitioner in a field that's supposed to get people out of pain, and usually does. But I couldn't help myself because we hadn't been trained to deal with sacroiliac joint dysfunction ("SIJD"). I was truly on my own and I had to develop a way out. I was in the mood of, "I'm not taking, 'no', for an answer." By the way, the likely causes of my own SIJD, dating back to childhood, were falls on my tailbone, rollerskating, and a fall onto my feet from a second-story balcony, with the repeated urge to pop my lower back by forcible twisting and life-long pelvic discomfort until my crisis at about age fifty. 

If you have two or more of these symptoms, you may have sacroiliac joint dysfunction -- but don't assume that, from the symptoms. Other conditions can cause many of the same symptoms. Symptoms only suggest where to look for the cause. The way to tell if you have SIJD is by manual examination of your sacroiliac joints -- something you can do, by yourself.

Follow the instructions in the video, below (SELF-ASSESSMENT OF SACRAL POSITION) -- or get examined by a professional. If you find one side deeper, that's it: a jammed sacroiliac joint. If you can't tell, your symptoms may come from other injuries -- which is good news for you because other injuries are much easier to clear up than SIJD.  If you need help sorting it out, you may visit a chiropractor or osteopath to get a diagnosis and to get trained how to examine yourself. If you're going to correct your own SIJD, you'll need to be able to examine yourself on an ongoing basis, as you do the exercises I developed.


By feeling the region of your back described, you can feel ridges on both sides with your fingertips. These are not the S-I joints, but the edges of the neighboring hip bones. Toward the midline (the spinal line), next to those ridges, you feel and may see dimples. Your S-I joints are there. They're easier to find in some people than in others, but they're there, deep to the dimples.

The video, below, teaches you to feel if your sacrum is twisted, and if so, which side is jammed forward. Follow the instructions. It's a simple movement with your hands to feel the region of your S-I joints. Pay close attention to the spoken instructions so you know what you're feeling for. 




SELF-ASSESSMENT OF SACRAL POSITION

https://youtu.be/5zB1T6fYPLA



If you've found one side sacroiliac joint deeper ("jammed"), you know what's going on with you. Good for you. Now, you know what you need: a way to straighten out your sacrum so it stays straightened out.

I said that I developed exercises to straighten my sacrum. Those exercises became the program, Comforting Your S-I Joints. You can get started with Unit 1 of that program, for free.

You may enter your contact information, below. You'll receive a verification email message for you to qualify yourself to receive what is to follow: a series of email messages containing instruction in bite-size steps -- with links to instructional videos and some descriptive information, spaced apart by enough time to do each step (three days -- enough time to do the steps more than once).

Below the
GET STARTED, FOR FREE form, I go into more descriptive detail about all that.

TO GET STARTED, FOR FREE

To get started with the program, Comforting Your S-I Joints and to see a statement of the expected result of each section of exercises, you may enter your information, below.

We respect your email privacy

Unit 1 of Comforting Your S-I Joints is the foundation of the program. Called, "Unlocking the Situation", it decompresses a jammed S-I joint so that the sacrum can be caused to move by the exercises in Unit 2. You do Unit 1 before every practice session of Unit 2 exercises.

By getting started with Unit 1, you may develop the confidence that you actually can succeed at this program and, as improbable as it may seem, do for yourself what medical professionals and therapists have been unable to do, for you. Structured exercises that retrain muscle/movement memory can do for you what manipulation, drugs, TENS ("transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation" -- nerve stimulation through the skin), or surgery, cannot.


Who is This Program For?




More Detail about Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction: The Location and Shape of Your Sacroiliac Joints -- and What They Do

The sacro-iliac joints exist at the waistline, in back, anywhere from two to three inches either side of the midline. The width of the sacrum varies from person to person.






What Your Sacroiliac (S-I) Joints Do
Your S-I joints allow the walking movements of your legs to move flexibly, through your pelvis (which flexes at the S-I joints), to your trunk. Your S-I joints lend "cushion" to your spine and pelvis, when you sit. If the joints are jammed or the muscles of your pelvis are tight, there's no cushion and sitting can be fatiguing.


What Happens to Your Sacrum in Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction

These distortions affect the muscles of the trunk (primarily the back, the psoas muscles, and the quadratus lumborum ("QL") -- video, below). 

Your sacrum gets twisted, usually jammed one side forward, one side back. That causes your whole pelvis to twist, the opposite side forward. (More rarely, both sides are jammed forward -- more about that, later.) In addition, one side may jammed downward, causing the appearance of unequal leg length -- even though the legs are the same length -- and the appearance of one hip being higher. You may have heard all this, before, from your health practitioner; now you understand it, better.

Distortions of movement and spine shape may follow, with pain as far as the jaws and down the legs.




The pain triggers muscles of the abdomen to tighten, especially when bending forward or turning over, in bed. It's often a very delicate situation -- as you may have experienced.

Muscular pulls where the legs connect to the pelvis (the psoas muscles, the inner and front thigh muscles, the hamstrings, and buttocks) interfere with walking and add pain. Pulling forces interfere with walking and sitting and affect the S-I joints. In the healthy condition, everything is comfortable; in the unhealthy, jammed condition, there's strain and pain.



Causes of a Twisted Sacrum


THE SACRO-ILIAC (S-I) JOINT LIGAMENTS ARE NOT THE CAUSE OF S-I JOINT DYSFUNCTION, BUT THE VICTIM OF IT -- and the side that hurts is the non-jammed side (contrary to what one might expect).

This Mayo Clinic entry describes recognized causes of a twisted sacrum.

Sacroileitis — Comprehensive overview covers symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment of inflammation of the sacroiliac joints. 
ref: Overview - Sacroiliitis - Mayo Clinic

Causes for sacroiliac joint dysfunction include:

  • Traumatic injury. A sudden impact, such as a motor vehicle accident or a fall, can damage your sacroiliac joints.
  • Arthritis. Wear-and-tear arthritis (osteoarthritis) can occur in sacroiliac joints, as can ankylosing spondylitis — a type of inflammatory arthritis that affects the spine.
  • Pregnancy. The sacroiliac joints must loosen and stretch to accommodate childbirth. The added weight and altered gait during pregnancy can cause additional stress on these joints and can lead to abnormal wear.
  • Infection. In rare cases, the sacroiliac joint can become infected.
In my clients' experience, nearly all cases come from an injury, with far fewer from pregnancy or other causes. Injuries include falls (bicycle, horse, rooftop, skating, ladder, etc.) and motor vehicle accidents with one foot on the brake at the moment of impact jamming the leg into the hip on one side.

How a Twisted Sacrum Causes Sacro-Iliac Joint Pain

When a sacrum is twisted from its home position in the pelvis, we call that, "displacement". It's out of place. With displacement comes distortion of pelvic shape, which puts strain on ligaments of the pelvis, puts pressure on internal organs, and generates pain. The brain senses those strains and pain, and, as a reflexive response, causes muscular contractions that generate a "gripping" sensation in the pelvis that gets worse with movements such as bending forward to put on socks or flush the toilet, rolling over in bed or attempting to stand up straight. The pain triggers cringing, in which muscles tighten up, potentially anywhere.

Non-spasm pain may radiate from the S-I joints into the pelvis, lower abdomen, groin, or sex organs. One person with whom I worked had a diagnosis of interstitial cystitis (intense bladder pain) -- and a twisted sacrum from falls from horses.

Therapists unfamiliar with the bizarre symptoms of S-I Joint Dysfunction may attempt to treat symptoms as if they originate where they appear. Such treatment attempts fail. They don't address the symptoms at their origin -- the twisted sacrum.



Click on the image, above, to see entire comment.



Unsuccessful and Successful Ways to Extinguish S-I Joint Pain

Not-So-Successful Approaches

These may be familiar to you.

Two surgical measures used to stop S-I joint pain are radio frequency nerve ablation ("RFA" - cooking the nerve ending) and Sacro-Iliac Joint Fusion.

  • Nerve ablation costs about $2,100 and lasts 9-12 months before the nerve regenerates -- making repetition necessary.
  • Sacro-Iliac Joint Fusion surgery costs about $22,000 and has the side effects detailed in the article just below. Neither corrects the problem, but only minimizes symptoms.


Click the image, below, to read the article by Dr. Centeno.
Click for this article by Dr. Centeno.


Skeletal manipulation is another approach. However, because of the muscle spasms triggered by a twisted sacrum, adjustments to the sacrum don't "take". Distorted muscular pulls distort the weight-bearing forces that go through the pelvis and distort its shape. Symptoms return or never  go away.


https://youtu.be/K7urk1N5hPU
https://youtu.be/K7urk1N5hPU

The Three Biggest Mistakes Made by People
Trying to Get Out of Pain



Two other approaches have to do with the ligaments that bind the S-I joints -- and they're opposites.

  1. Loosen the ligaments by direct massaging or manipulation. 
  2. Tighten the ligaments by prolotherapy.

If it strikes you as odd that practitioners use two opposite approaches (and not together), it suggests to me that their approaches are "shot in the dark" efforts in terms of something they know about. Certainly, if they were consistently effective, SIJD would not be considered so difficult to clear up. 

But the ligaments are not the cause, but the victims of the twisted sacrum, and I've quoted the Mayo Clinic article as to causes. Any successful approach should somehow address the condition in terms of its cause, don't you think?

Another approach, the approach I took and advocate, has no negative side effects, consistently provides lasting relief, and restores full function. I explain it, next.

Clinical Somatic Education

Because the field of clinical somatic education is not well-known, I'll briefly explain it, to you. You may see this page, for more explanation.

Clinical somatic education is a health discipline used to extinguish pain and improve movement. Muscles relax, nerve pain ends, and joints come loose.

My earlier description of the causes of SIJD cites muscular involvement and distortion of pelvic shape. The two go together, as I have explained -- but, to put it more succinctly, "Bones go where muscles pull them." Clinical somatic education addresses the muscular involvement and skeletal alignment.

The system of somatic education exercises I developed to correct my own SIJD uses patterned movements to retrain muscle/movement memory. Changes of muscular pulls cause the pelvis to reshape. These changes can clearly be felt. Again, "bones go where muscles pull them."


Why I'm Satisfied with This Program

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A CONSIDERABLY MORE DETAILED UNDERSTANDING OF SACRO-ILIAC JOINT DYSFUNCTION

In investigating sacroiliac joint dysfunction in myself, I came to understand the condition and its causes.  At that point, I had an idea of what I could do to correct it: set up ongoing, symmetrical muscular forces to make my pelvis (sacral position) become symmetrical. I was the first "guinea pig"; I developed the exercises, in myself, and refined them based on the effects I felt. Remember -- I was qualified to do that, having been in clinical practice, since 1990.

As I stated, earlier, S-I joint pain comes from excessive and unbalanced forces on the S-I joints that trigger muscular reactions. Now, I'll go into more detail.

Most cases of SIJD start with an accident, such as a hard fall (athletic injury, fall from a bicycle or horse, ladder, tree, or rooftop); I told you what I think caused it, in me. Because the changes of muscular tension from an injury are asymmetrical -- meaning, the right and left sides no longer mirror each other, they keep the pelvis distorted. These muscular forces don't change in any lasting way with stretching because they're programmed into muscle/movement memory and so reappear, shortly after stretching or manipulation.

The brain recognizes the strains felt in the pelvis as an emergency situation: the integrity of the person's movement system is in crisis. Brain-triggered contraction patterns follow (as an emergency response) to reflexively stabilize the situation -- but it's a grip, not a correction to pelvic shape because the correct sense of pelvic shape has been lost in the injury. The term we use in clinical somatic education is, "sensory-motor amnesia" (S-MA). These muscular contractions are so strong that they hurt and trigger pain-related tightening, throughout the body. Radiating pain follows from the distortion.


Ligaments

What happens to ligaments chronically under strain? They get inflamed. Inflammation is nature's way of forcing fluids and nutrients into tissue that is strained (or injured) so it can heal. But under this kind of strain, no healing is possible -- basically because it is not a "damage" situation, but an ongoing strain-and-irritation situation. Suppressing the inflammation is of no help. The ligaments aren't the problem, anyway.


Muscles Triggered into Contraction by Injury

Isn't it true that injuries usually occur from one side, rather than exactly centered at the back or front?

What happens with any injury, then, is that a cringe response gets triggered -- a tightening centered at the injured region and radiating outward like the cracks in a damaged windshield -- but off-center, and the tightening isn't just momentary, but commonly lasts indefinitely -- so indefinitely that people mistake its effect -- pain and stiffness -- for aging.


Unequal left-right pulls affect one S-I joint more than into the other.

TO SUMMARIZE: Compression and twisting forces that converge at the S-I joints cause compression of the S-I joints, strain the S-I ligaments, trigger reflexive muscular contractions throughout the trunk and legs that cause muscle and cause radiating nerve pain (that may be mistaken for spasm) -- symptoms that never let up, day or night.

This complex collection of symptoms, we call, S-I Joint Dysfunction or Sacroiliac Pain Syndrome (the word, "syndrome " meaning a recognizable cluster of symptoms).

TWO VARIETIES OF S-I JOINT DYSFUNCTION ("SIJD")

  1. Two-sided (bi-lateral) S-I Joint Pain
  2. One-sided (uni-lateral) S-I Joint Pain (more common)

Two-Sided SIJD

Bi-lateral (two-sided) S-I joint pain is simpler than one-sided S-I joint pain. Bilateral S-I joint pain involves compression at both S-I joints.

One cause of bi-lateral SIJD is sitting too long, perched on the edge of a chair in a condition of high tension and stress, as at a desk doing work by phone or on a computer. That pattern of tension involves the groin, hip joint flexors and psoas muscles in front, and the back muscles. The combination produces strain on the iliosacral ligaments -- and soreness. Sometimes, it can be corrected by retraining the psoas muscles and hip joint flexors -- an easy "fix".

One-Sided SIJD

One-sided sacroiliac joint dysfunction is worse than two-sided SIJF and accounts for nearly all the chronic S-I joint pain I have seen.

Asymmetrical (off-center) muscle pulls and posture place more stress on one S-I joint than on the other. 

Symptoms commonly appear at different locations on each side and people commonly mistake the locations of pain as the locations of the problems. Clinicians may also mistake groin pain as a sign of psoas muscle dysfunction, rather than as pain radiating from an S-I joint.

ACTIONABLE UNDERSTANDING

By now, we can see how the forces of an injury initially distorted the pelvis and how muscular contractions, maintained by muscle/movement memory, have kept the problem in place.

We also see that the strain on ligaments is not the fault of the ligaments, but of the nervous system and muscular actions moving the bones of the pelvis into unnatural position. That puts strain on the ligaments.

That means that we can't correct the problem in any lasting way by addressing the ligaments. (To tighten the ligaments, as in prolotherapy misses the point and to stretch or loosen the ligaments may reduce their strain, but doesn't correct pelvic shape or habituated muscular tension patterns).

It also means that we can't massage away the problem (have you noticed?). It means that we have to free the person from the grip of cringe response and develop balanced, well-coordinated movement that supports the sacrum properly and induces the pelvis to become symmetrical.


Clinical Somatic Education to Correct Sacroiliac Joint Dysfunction:The Role of Muscle/Movement Memory

The medical model, which uses drugs, surgery, and electrical or mechanical devices, generally targets a specific symptom or location of pain, but does not, typically, address muscle/movement memory -- even if it does address skeletal alignment, as in chiropractic or osteopathy. Moreover, the medical specialty, "pain management", is a branch of anaesthesiology; it's primary approach is to mask or hide pain, not to eliminate its cause.

Unlike the medical model and standard therapeutics, clinical somatic education uses action (movement) patterns to free -- and then re-pattern -- the muscular tensions that cause the pain of S-I joint dysfunction and keep the condition in place.

The key term, here, is, "patterns". Thomas Hanna, in his book, Somatics | ReAwakening the Mind's Control of Movement, Flexibility and Health (available at many public libraries and via amazon.com), talks about how those tension patterns form with an injury and the process of ending them and their symptoms.

These changes of muscular tension pattern influence pelvic shape over the long term. It's an entirely new, brain-muscle-based approach that works without need for stretching, strengthening, or soft-tissue manipulation. Instead, it corrects muscle/movement memory, and thereby gets all of the effects of strengthening, stretching, and soft-tissue manipulation -- but in a lasting way.



Somatic education causes no undesirable side-effects, other than occasional, short-term soreness.



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With clinical somatic education, we correct S-I Joint Dysfunction in three stages.
  1. Unlock the Situation. We reduce the tension levels of the involved muscles, sufficiently to unjam the jammed S-I joint to permit repatterning of the forces that keep the pelvis distorted. 
  2. Reshape muscular tension and movement patterns through practice of movement patterns consistent with a sound, symmetrical pelvis and healthy S-I joint function. 
  3. Reinforce healthy, free, balanced patterns of movement -- not by strengthening, but by developing better integrated movement habits. These movement habits become second nature and do not require special attention in daily life.


HOW TO UNLOCK THE SITUATION:
Pandiculation: "The Whole-Body Yawn"

An action pattern related to yawning is ideally suited for retraining muscle/movement memory: it's called, pandiculation. This is a completely different action from stretching or manipulation.

https://youtu.be/IUHwNbR7qYY
does stretching, "one better"
 

Everyone has experienced pandiculation, already (although not in the "assisted" way it's done in clinical somatic education). The “morning yawn and stretch” is a pandiculation (but not the athletic stretch, by the way).

Pandiculation is what cats, dogs, and every animal with a backbone does, upon arising from rest. People call it, "stretching", but it isn't stretching; it's contracting and then slowly relaxing and moving or even shaking (you've seen a dog do this movement). Pandiculation can be done in more ways than just yawning.

Pandiculation is essential to reprogram muscles and movement. You need to unlock something before you can adjust it. Pandiculation unlocks muscle/movement memory, so it can be changed.

After the unlocking, exercises that use pandiculation accelerate changes of muscular (postural) habits. The pelvis starts to reshape and the sacrum, to migrate to a new, comfortable position. With practice, improvements accumulate.

Once the changes have occurred, pandiculation exercises reinforce the new pattern. Job done.

If you're used to exercises or therapies that produce such small changes that you can hardly tell if anything is different, this isn't that. With somatic education exercises, you can feel changes rather quickly (obvious after two practice sessions). As, your movement and posture change, the symptoms of SIJD fade out.

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Comforting Your S-I Joints, for free. It's free because I expect you to find it effective and to purchase the rest of the program.

Comforting Your S-I Joints | A RECIPE for RELIEF

This self-renewal program been well-tested -- starting with myself as the first "guinea pig". I had most of the symptoms listed. Once I found the exercises worked in me, I published them as preliminary instructional videos and then started teaching them to clients. Tabulated results of a survey of success rate appear, below.


I understand why someone might be very cautious about taking an alternate approach to clearing up the problem -- and I suspect that you may already have "been the route" with both medical and "complementary medicine" practitioners, to little avail. What I can say is that no one has gotten worse, from this approach, and an overwhelming percentage have gotten better. Everyone I have worked with, personally (I'm a clinical somatic educator practicing since 1990), has been satisfied with the result.

The program consists of a series of somatic education exercises done in a specific order.

As in a cake recipe, no one ingredient constitutes the entire recipe, and there are steps of preparation; a somatic education exercise may be viewed as an ingredient and the whole program is the recipe.

The "Gentle Spine Waves exercise" in Unit 1 of the program is such an ingredient and a step of preparation. It's not expected to relieve your S-I symptoms, by itself (although it works for simple back pain); it's a necessary step to unlock the situation. What it does is relax the back muscles.


https://youtu.be/-JMk0ANH7c8



 HOW WELL PEOPLE DID WITH THE REGIMEN
(OLDER VERSION OF COMFORTING YOUR S-I JOINTS PROGRAM)



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A quick-response email message will come to your email address requesting permission to mail to you. Once you give permission, "Getting Started for Free" emails will come to you with bite-size steps for Unit 1 of Comforting Your S-I Joints.

Comforting Your S-I Joints is a system of movement-based exercises that reprograms muscle/movement memory in a lasting way. You'll feel changes for the better with each practice session; changes accumulate over time. The entire system extinguishes the pain and restores mobility. They enabled me to get back to my life with no limitati
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Final words: These exercises are refreshing, not tiring. If you're feeling too tired to practice the exercises, practice them and get refreshed.







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The Somatic Codes

There is a special meaning for that term -- The Somatic Codes.

It's more akin to Morse Code than it is to the Codes of Hammurabi.  However there is virtue to it that would potentize the Codes of Hammurabi, if they were integrated together.

The Somatic Codes are rhythmic numerical sequences that beat a resonance through oneself -- using specific movement elements to create specific rhythmic and timed sensations.

This resonance of deliberately created self-sensations links or integrates memory, imagination, and sensation into an integrated, resonant, mobile faculty of intelligence.

(And what would that do for your golf game -- or your video games.)

I have detailed a portion of The Somatic Codes in my piece:  The Diamond Penetration Pandiculation Technique.

These codes accelerate and deepen the effects of somatic exercises when incorporated with somatic exercises.  There will be video in the near future on YouTube showing how this is done.

See many videos of pandicular maneuvers.  Here's the general channel of (some) of my videos.




Hypothesis on Developing Obesity

Just a summary entry:

Anciently, during periods following famine (and also, at the harvest), there followed periods of feasting and celebration.  Understandable.

What do people do, when feasting?  Overeat.  Consider Thanksgiving.

Now, that's not the end of the story; it's where something new makes it interesting.

What happens to the size of the stomach, when we overeat?  It enlarges.

And what happens to the abdominal cavity, as the stomach enlarges?  It enlarges, to accommodate.

And what happens when the abdominal cavity enlarges?  The muscles of the abdominal wall relax.

And what happens when the muscles of the abdominal wall relax?  They make room not only for food, but for the additional blood circulation needed needed for the stomach to digest all that food (particularly, the proteins).

Well and good.  Sounds healthy.

However, what happens when a person habitually overeats?  The muscles of the abdominal wall come to stay habitually relaxed.

And what's below (or just interior to) the abdominal wall?  It's called, "the greater omentum".  The greater omentum is a body of fat that drapes, like an apron (apropos) over the abdominal organs.

And what do you think happens to all those nice, juicy nutrients from habitual overeating, with habitually relaxed abdominal wall muscles and all that increased blood circulation and with the greater omentum nearby, through which some of that circulation circulates?  By George!  That greater omentum, which has lots of nice space around it, is just waiting for all that nice excess nutrition to fatten it up. The body adapts to our way of life and changes shape accordingly; ask any fitness nut.  We become how we live.

The fault doesn't lie with the greater omentum.
The fault doesn't lie with the increased circulation.
The fault doesn't lie with those relaxed abdominal muscles (that everybody wants to tighten).
The fault doesn't lie even with all those nutrients.
The fault lies with the fact that the person habitually eats too much at one sitting.

If (s)he ate less, the stomach would not enlarge, so much, the abdominal wall would not distend as much, and there would be less room for the greater omentum, and less circulation.  And less belly fat gain.

After times of famine, it's understandable that people might feast.  And it seems somehow "naturally sound" for people feasting after famine to get fatter -- as a way of "putting somthing away" in case of future famine -- a protective evolutionary development.

And in fact, what has been observed is that people who starve themselves to lose weight end up gaining more weight, than before, after the starvation diet ends.  That's one reason why it's being said, "Diets don't work."  It's the evolutionary program for famine.

Maybe I've just described more about how that works -- and why it's better to eat many small meals and snacks than it is to eat a few large meals -- as, in some people's case, one big meal each day.

Now, it's also understandable why some people overeat. Famine is a "stressor".  And under stress, our belly wall does tighten ("Startle Reflex").  Feasting after fasting is a way of relieving that stress and also of forcing that tight belly wall to relax, simulating relief from stress.

Does the nature of the stressor matter, when it comes to relieving stress?  Do we really differentiate one stressor from another at the feeling-level?  or do we just go for the all-purpose stress-reliever, the traditional one, the ancient one, that one that was appropriate after the stress of famine (or deprivation) -- food.

Could it be, that is why people are seek to relieve stress by overeating?  Why we might eat when depressed?  or lonely?

And what does it say about our times?

Obesity is a symptom of a distressed society and of ignorance about stress and eating (including poor choices/quality of food/quantity).

Just a hypothesis.

"Never eat anything bigger than your head."
~~ R. Crumb

a few resources:

Calmly Energizing

Somatic Breathing Training to Reduce Stress

 

The Cat Stretch

Somatic Exercises to Reduce Neuromuscular Stress


free instructional somatic exercise video:
to reduce Startle Reflex


5 Movement Exercises to End
TMJ Syndrome in about
Two Weeks