A couple of weeks ago, my advanced program class at Lauterstein-Conway Massage School did our final exam for the orthopedic massage training. We were assigned a partner in the class, and our job was to interview them, observe, palpate, check range-of-motion, and do special tests if needed to identify the tissues involved.
Then we treated them, and they did the same for us.
My partner, James, did a great job of reassessing my pelvic alignment, first done back on June 22 by our teacher, Jan Hutchinson, PT/LMT. I’ve been wearing a sacroiliac belt around my hips much of the time since then. My hips feel tighter, and my walk has changed for the better. I rarely feel much discomfort at the left SI joint any more.
But I’m still not there. I still had a slight lateral tilt, an anterior tilt, with the left innominate having more of an anterior tilt than the right, and the pubis was also tilted. James watched me walk and could see that it affects my gait.
James applied what we’ve learned in the class. Since the bones are supported by the muscles, we learned techniques to length and shorten muscles to move bones into better alignment.
By the end of his treatment, he retested me. Everything was aligned. No tilts! Good job, James!
But it didn’t stay in place. It usually takes lots of repetition for the body to hold itself differently. But at least my body got to sense what it’s like to be aligned albeit temporarily, and that will only speed the healing process.
It’s going to take more treatments like that to literally retrain muscles and fascia into holding it. I’m hoping James will trade sessions with me, and I can work on his neck issues, which I have some experience with.
A couple of days ago, I had a session with Jan Hutchinson, who gave me some exercises and also taped me up with kinesiotape. Jan told me that because of my age (62) and the duration of my pelvic alignment issues (19 years), it might take 1.5 to 2 years to really keep my pelvis aligned. It takes time for ligaments to shrink, and aging (specifically the decline in collagen and elastin, components of connective tissue, that starts around 40) slows down the healing process even more.
She advised me to continue wearing the sacroiliac belt when I’m doing massage and bodywork, working out, and doing anything even a little bit strenuous, as well as when sleeping because of changing positions when unconscious and possibly stretching the very ligaments I’m trying to shorten.
I’m inclined to be positive: I am active, and my connective tissues are being used. My diet is healthy – and what I mean by that is I eat very little processed, packaged food, no grains, no dairy, and very little sugar. It’s a nourishing Paleo diet. I take good quality supplements targeted to my needs. One of my friends teasingly said I look like I’m 40! (I don’t see it, but I am definitely active and strong for my age and size.)
Jan gave me three exercises to do as often as I can: anterior/posterior pelvic tilts, side-bending lateral tilts aka hip hiking, and transverse pelvic tilts.
She advised that any time I feel that the SI joint might be out of place, to stand, place my foot out in front or to the side, and drag it back into place, while keeping my pelvis level.
She recommended the book Body Learning: An Introduction to the Alexander Technique by Michael Gelb and gave me a couple of technical articles to read.
The kinesiotape goes up the spinal erectors on both sides and across the top of the sacrum and iliums, as well as an asterisk-shape over my left SI joint.
The kinesiotaping seems to perform myofascial release. I felt its effect for a couple of hours and then my body seems to have adapted. I don’t notice it now except when I go to scratch an itch and remember it’s there.