An observant, trained manual therapist, will always assess for, and then correct, imbalances and adhesion’s throughout your tension network. Returning balance to muscles and fascia is the optimal, pain free chronic pain therapy
Chronic pain causes guarding. Assessing pain free range of motion provides the information that unravels and ends your specific myo-fascial pain. Foot pronation, eversion, supination, inversion, internal or external rotation are all signs of muscular imbalances and their resulting tension patterns.
Until very recently, I passionately believed that a genetic condition called Morton’s Toe, (the first metatarsal is shorter than the second), was almost always the source of most chronic pain and range of motion limitations. Now, I believe that chronic pain results from either “lower cross syndrome” or Morton’s Toe, or some combination of the two.
Both conditions result in walking with feet in some degree of rotation, either external or internal and either supination or more often pronation. In my experience, foot rotation indicates stress vectors that result in diverse afflictions such as: bunions, foot pain, knee pain, hip pain, sciatica, sacrum pain, lumbar pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, TMJ, and some forms of migraine headache. Balancing the stress vectors usually (often unbelievably) significantly reduces or eliminates all those symptoms.
A shim under the ball of foot, behind the big toe will often reduce, or eliminate foot rotation. HOWEVR, “lower cross syndrome” can also cause abnormal foot rotation and all the above listed painful conditions. The shim is very easy and inexpensive to make and use.
Until a year of so ago, I was very sure that pain and dysfunction almost always started at the feet, and worked its’ way up. If you Google “Morton’s toe”, you will discover hundreds of websites reinforcing that belief.
I HAD TO UPDATE MY PARADIGM! A knowledgeable and gifted therapist recently assessed, and then taught me how to free up the sacroiliac (SI) joint. A fully functional SI joint has a small amount of play, or give, in it. For at least the last two decades the functional range of motion in my neck, both shoulders and both hips has been (mostly) pain-free, but pretty limited . I could barely turn my head over my shoulder when trying to check the other lane, (while driving). I had a limited ability to raise my arms above my shoulders. My hips have always been stiff.
Bodywork would temporarily improve my range of motion. However, even with remedial stretches, limited range of motion quickly returned. My feet externally rotated at least 30 degrees when walking. Using a Morton Toe shim, which I will describe on another page, helped reduce my foot rotation. I am convinced that wearing the shim has kept me out of chronic pain, even if it did not dramatically improve my overall flexibility.
I recognize that I would benefit from regular stretching. However, I can do everything I want to do, and am not in pain. I simply lack the motivation at this time. That will probably change in the future.
Now, after a simple SI joint exercise, even without shims, my feet track relatively straight ahead when I walk. I can turn my head almost a full 90 degrees in both directions. I can easily turn and see out the back window while driving. Bilateral range of motion in both my shoulders and hips has improved.
The point is that Morton’s toe may play a secondary role to Lower Cross Syndrome in pain and range of motion dysfunction. More likely, the large core muscles in the hips and abdominals play a larger role. Read about lower cross syndrome to better understand why.
Meanwhile, read on to discover and try strategies that will almost certainly help you understand and resolve your own pain issues.
I passionately believe that osteoarthritis is not a disease. You can’t catch it by sitting next to, or drinking from the same cup, of someone who has it! I believe osteoarthritis results from a myo-fascial tension imbalance that puts abnormal torque on the joint. This imbalance and torque result in the wearing away of articular surfaces. I further believe, and research supports the idea, that some cartilage can regenerate. It MIGHT be possible to reverse osteoarthritis by simply returning myo-fascial balance to the body. For sure, myo-fascial balance (almost always) reduces or even eliminates osteoarthritis pain.
Current medical procedures often rely on cortisone injections or joint replacements. Rarely, do doctors address or treat the myo-fascial imbalances that put torque stress on joints. Visualize the tires on your car. If the front end is out of alignment, the tires wear out on the sides. Aligning the front end prevents further abnormal wear. Our bodies self repair by design. It just might be, that eliminating a major source of joint wear would give the joint the opportunity to repair itself.
I damaged both my knees about 10 years ago trying to force my legs into lotus position. I limped around for a year or so, then discovered the Morton’s Toe concept. I have worn corrective shims in all my shoes since then. Both knees are pretty healthy now, with little or no distress. For the last two years, I social dance 2 or 3 times a week. Lots of turns, spins and other torques on my knees. Although my knees get a little grumpy after 2 or 3 hours of dancing, I am pretty sure I could not have sustained that much knee torque a few years ago. I am anxious to discover how my knees feel after dancing now, with my new-found, improved range of motion and no morton toe shims in my shoes.
The goal of this web site is to educate both the layperson and professional therapists regarding pain therapy techniques that absolutely work. Some of the strategies are easily performed by the layperson. Others will probably need the specific hands on training of a professional body worker.
All assessment strategies that I refer to are common protocols used by many professional bodywork therapists including doctors, chiropractors, and physical therapists. They are all within the scope of practice of a licensed massage therapist. For example, specific protocols efficiently and accurately assess and differentiate between the at least 8 various sources of knee pain.
There are protocols to assess: minor muscle strains, meniscus damage, collateral ligament, or cruciate ligament damage, joint capsulitis, inflamed bursa, nearly every condition known to cause myo-fascial pain. The information on this website will help you understand that inexpensive, non invasive, viable pain treatment is available. You simply have to seek it out. You may have to pay for it out of pocket. Insurance companies severely limit their number of independent providers.
Although assessment and treatment are relatively easy, you will almost certainly need professional, hands on instruction, before you are able to become predictably proficient. However, you will discover that effective, inexpensive treatment is possible. The hard part will be finding a trained orthopedic body work therapist.
Disclaimer: I am a licensed massage therapist. I am not a doctor. The ideas presented on this website present information, and updated paradigms, for understanding and treating myo-fascial chronic pain. Implement the therapeutic strategies presented at your own risk. This website is not intended as medical advice. Do consult with your doctor if you have ANY concerns about using any of the techniques. However, keep in mind that ultimately you, not your doctor, are responsible for your health and well-being.
Keep checking back. I will keep adding information and pertinent links as time and permits.