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What Your Gait Reveals About Your Pain

In the span of two days, a petite 65 year old woman and a 285 pound college lineman had come to our office seeking relief from back pain. Once we evaluated them, it turned out that their issues were both pretty similar, and could both be resolved quickly. The woman had actually been to quite a few providers for relief of her pain, but there was no obvious reason they found as to why she was hurting. That is, until we were able to watch her walk.

Think about it; most of us walk miles a day. It makes perfect sense that if there is even a little bit of imbalance in our biomechanics, the assymetry shifts demand on our spine and some of our muscles, which can lead to cummulative injury (taking thousands of steps per day) or acute injury.

As chiropractors when we are watching you walk and analyzing your biomechanics, in our minds we are seeing your spinal motion, the muscles that are underfiring, the ones that are overworked, and most importantly the way that you are subconsciously compensating to avoid the pain. Biomechanically, the body functions as a machine. Connected from the foot to the knee, hip, and spine. That is true for elite athletes as well as for the rest of us! When we watch you walk we can identify the biomechanical cause of dysfunction and compensation leading to your pain. In these particular instances, the perpetrator was the psoas muscle.

The psoas muscle is often an overlooked contributor to low back and hip pain, and it can be injured doing anything from every day activities or performing sports with explosive movement such as our football player. It is a very long muscle that runs from the bottom part of the pelvis and the top of the femur all the way up to the lumbar spine. When people sit all day (most of us!), this muscle is shortened and can become overly tight.Then upon standing, it is lengthened. However, when the muscle is too tight it puts too much stress on the lumbar spine increasing the force on the motion segments of the spine, which leads to low back pain and discomfort. Once our back becomes locked up, our bodies try to compensate by using more pelvis and hip motion to protect the spine from becoming irritated. This leads to further overworking of the psoas and other stabilizing muscles which creates a snowball effect. So the question is- how can we resolve this issue?

Here at Staker Chiropractic Center, we utilized Active Release Technique (ART) that was immensely effective in treating both of these patients. ART is a soft-tissue treatment method that is highly effective in overcoming and preventing all muscle-related problems. In our office we address both the structural misalignment of your spine along with the soft tissue component of overworked, tight, and compensating muscles. We find that this approach proves to be the most effective treatment for the great majority of our patients.

Our goal is to get you out of pain, and get you back doing what you love. Don't live with that nagging pain you are dealing with- let us resolve it quickly AND permanently!

If you want to learn more about ART and our practice, visit our website!

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