"Not Your Mother's Arthritis"

15 March 2017, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

"Not Your Mother's Arthritis"...

The words jumped off of my computer screen at me. Admittedly, I was intrigued. Not my mother's arthritis?, I thought. What does that even MEAN?

As I read the article, the meaning became more and more clear. The author was insinuating that arthritis is typically a condition that "old people" get. However, they were quick to point out, the "age-of-attack" is becoming younger and younger.

According to the article:

About 54.4 million American adults have had a doctor diagnose them with painful joint inflammation and stiffness, according to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs Report. That breaks down to about one in four adults in the nation.
 
"This is not your mother's arthritis," Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said. "Contrary to popular opinion, it is not an old person's disease."
 
Aging baby boomers aren't the only ones who have it. The majority of current cases of arthritis -- 32.2 million -- are in people under age 65. Women have it more than men, and the number is particularly acute for diabetics, heart patients and those struggling with obesity. About 49.3% of people with heart disease have arthritis, 47.1% of diabetics and 30.6% of people who are obese.
So just to review, 54 million Americans are suffering from arthritis, and 32 million of those are under the age of 65. That equates to roughly one out of every 10 Americans that is suffering from arthritis. In addition to that, nearly half of all people who suffer from heart disease and diabetes have arthritis, and nearly one-third of obese Americans have arthritis. Is there a common link between these groups? I believe, yes!
 
I'll touch on heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in a minute, but I first have to ask, what do we really know about arthritis? Let's start with what we have been told. I would venture to say that the vast majority (if not all) of those diagnosed with arthritis have been told that it's part of the natural, normal aging process, and there's nothing that can really be done about it short of medication to help ease the inflammation and pain.
 
Sound familiar?
 
However, I don't believe arthritis has anything to do with age. I think it has everything to do with your compromised posture and lack of motion! You see, what we really know about arthritis is that it can only survive in an acidic environment, meaning one that is void of oxygen. If you're familiar with your body's pH system (the internal balancing system of the body), then you know that pH-neutral is 7 on a 0-14 scale. The lower you are on the pH scale, the more acidic your body is. The higher you are on the pH scale, the more alkaline your body is. Ideally, we would fall right in the middle around 7 (I'm actually ok with folks being on the alkaline side of the scale). However, most of us are chronically acidic. The reason? What we put in our bodies. Many of us pump our bodies full of processed food, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, low-fat foods, no-fat foods, sodas, the list goes on and on. Very seldom do the things going into our bodies actually contain oxygen. By and large, the foods we eat and the drinks we consume were never living, breathing organisms. The result is an acidic body; one that is screaming for oxygen, is inflamed, and is breaking down quickly.
 
Another way to describe an acidic body is one that is running "hot and fast." Think of your car battery, for example, which is an acidic battery. You want your car to run immediately upon turning the key. You want it to warm you quickly in the winter and cool you quickly in the summer. By design, that battery is intended to run hot! However, that means there's also a chance for that battery to burn out fast. Yes, it's 'hot and fast," but that comes at a price when your battery dies quicker than you would like it to. Similarly, an acidic body will burn out "hot and fast."
 
Now think about a AA or AAA alkaline battery in your television remote. That battery is a "cool and slow" battery. You want that battery to run at a nice, even pace, and last for a long time. You want it to stay "cool" and burn out "slow." An alkaline body, just like the battery, will do that exact same thing. It will last a long time and use its energy wisely and efficiently.
 
If you're wondering why your body is burning "hot and fast" and, therefore, burning out, pay attention. Heart disease, diabetes (Type II, not Type I), and obesity are all considered to be "lifestyle" conditions. Bad eating habits and lack of exercise are two major contributors to poor health, and the body will burn out if it is continually deprived of good food and exercise. It's just a matter of time. The more acidic the body, the "hotter" it runs. The lifestyle that consists of processed food and no movement isn't going to last. It's not meant to last.
 
Now, connect the dots with me. Is it any surprise that those with the lifestyle conditions mentioned in the article also have arthritis? To me it makes perfect sense. Their bodies are acidic, which means their pH is off, which means they're lacking oxygen, which means they aren't moving properly. How do we get a system in that condition functioning properly again? We correct the posture, fuel the body, and get moving!
 
I believe the 54 million Americans suffering from arthritis don't have anything inherently "wrong" with them. I believe they are suffering from poor eating habits and lack of exercise, combined with a compromised posture. In short, there is an incredible overall lack oxygen in their system, simply because they aren't moving enough, aren't moving functionally when they do move, and they aren't fueling their bodies properly. If their bodies were pH neutral or even slightly alkaline, that would mean they have more oxygen in their system due to moving more often, moving more efficiently, and putting proper food into their body. Posture plays a huge role in the overall landscape of health. The better aligned someone is, the better chance their body has to accept the nutrients they are taking in and disperse them to the right places at the right time. 
 
So if you have a lifestyle condition and/or arthritis, you have to understand that those aren't "death sentences." They also aren't due to your "old" age, no matter how young you actually are. Instead, think of them as conditions, and remember that conditions are changeable. Get your posture where it needs to be, get your body closer to pH-neutral/alkaline, get moving again, and get your body oxygenated like it's designed to be! Personally, I can't wait to see what changes!
 

QUESTION: What do you believe about your arthritis diagnosis?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can also follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Warm-Up for Walking

21 December 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

This article originally appeared on Sonima.com and was written by Pete Egoscue

 

 

When you engage in any form of exercise you want your body to be as balanced as possible. When your body is in balance it can move evenly and symmetrically. Symmetrical movement ensures that your weight is distributed evenly and makes it less likely that you’ll become injured or plagued by pain. Balanced movement also makes you more efficient when you walk, meaning your energy is used optimally to get you from point A to point B, and you’ll reap the most physical benefits from your efforts.

While you may think your body is already in balance, the truth is that anyone who spends most of their time sitting at a desk or in a car is going to have some physical imbalances. This 15-minute warm-up is designed to put your body in a neutral position by targeting common areas of weakness and tightness that lead to asymmetrical movement. Spending just a few minutes creating openness and mobility in key areas such as the ankles, feet, and hips will allow you to make the most of your walk and enjoy yourself even more while you’re out there.

QUESTION: What's your favorite way to warm up before your walk?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

The Importance of Minimal Dosing

1 November 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

Imagine with me for a moment: You're working away at your desk when you feel a headache coming on. You're up against a deadline, and the last thing you need is to be derailed by pain. Feeling the time crunch, you reach for the bottle of Advil, pop a couple in your mouth, flush them down the hatch with some water, and you continue pounding away at the task in front of you.

I'm certain all of you can relate to that scenario. Maybe you haven't been under the pressure of a deadline, but you and I have both reached for the Advil a time or two in an attempt to ward off a headache.

But, here's my question: Why do we only take two Advil? If two are good, wouldn't 10 Advil be better?

If course not! We take two Advil, because two are enough!

Obviously there's a minimal dose of Advil (or any other painkiller for that matter) that does the job. At a certain point, your system can't handle any more, and an excessive dose can work against your body and be harmful to you. Taking 10 Advil makes ZERO sense when a minimal dose works just fine.

I believe the same is true with our body (and our workouts, as I'll explain below). In my experience with Egoscue, the best menu I can write you is the one you do every day. I could write you an unbelievable menu that is 15 ecises long, but if you don't do it, it's no good for you. On the other hand, I can write you a menu that is five ecises long that gets done daily, and it can have a profound impact on your body.

With Egoscue, there's a cumulative effect. Just like the saying, "A little bit of something is better than a whole lot of nothing," Egoscue works in much the same way. We have to give our bodies "a little bit of something" every day to combat the ill-effects of our (mostly) sedentary nature. We struggle with chronic pain, because our bodies have become structurally compromised. They are motion-starved!

Last week on my Facebook Live broadcast, I gave you all homework. Your assignment was to do lateral bear crawls once per day. That's it. Bear crawl, sideways, the length of your hallway, and then come back to where you started. For those watching the broadcast, it sounded like a simple assignment, and honestly, it was. I wasn't trying to overload your system. I wasn't trying to break you down. I was simply giving you a minimal dose of movement. I was giving you a "little bit of something" to break up the monotony of sitting. I was giving your body something new, something it (most likely) hadn't done in a long time, if ever.

Notice I didn't assign those bear crawls eight times per day. I didn't even give them to you three times per day. I simply wanted you to go down your hallway and come back. Why? Because it's a minimal dose. Once per day simply gets the engine started. All I wanted to do was introduce the movement to you. Now, my guess is that you did them more than once per day on occasion. I'm going to assume that your body started enjoying the new movement, craving the new motion, and you happily obliged.

My goal with the bear crawls was to simply get you moving a little bit more, and get a little bit of "buy in" for when the next assignment comes around. Similarly on the therapy side of things here at Egoscue, I won't write you an ecise menu that's 15 ecises long on your first visit, when I know you're pressed for time and you're trying to work this new regimen into your daily schedule. I know that your compliance will be much greater with a shorter menu (minimal dose) that you do daily.

We at Egoscue have a saying when it comes to fitness and working out out that "anyone can make you puke." What we mean by that is you can attend any group fitness class and be pushed so hard that you throw up, but is that really the goal? Does throwing up mean that you accomplished your goals of getting in a good cardio workout and increasing your heart rate? Just because you puked, are you really better off than the person beside you who didn't throw up?

Maybe you are...but maybe you aren't. What if you could accomplish your goals without puking? What if you could breathe heavier, have your heart rate climb, and have lunch stay down. What a concept!

That's exactly what happened to Jason Glass (who first taught me about minimal dosing at the 2016 World Golf Fitness Summit) when he experienced The Patch for the first time. If you haven't had a chance, listen to the interview he did with my colleague, Brian Bradley. After you've finished listening to the interview, watch what Jason experienced on The Patch:

Did you notice that Jason's heart rate got to 164, yet he and Brian were essentially walking The Patch? They weren't running all over the place and doing work until they puked. This entire workout lasted about 15-20 minutes. Basically, what you see in the video is how long it lasted.

If you're struggling with chronic pain, you might not be ready to get on The Patch (nor would I recommend it), but my point remains the same: Whether you're doing Egoscue or Patch Fitness, there's a minimal dose that gets the jobs done. Like the old saying that I mentioned above--I'd rather you do a little bit of something than a whole lot of nothing. If you're struggling to get your Egoscue ecise menu in each day because it's too long, communicate that with your therapist! Believe me, they want to know that information! It's crucial that we find the minimum dose that works for you!

QUESTION: When it comes to your Egoscue ecise menu, what have you found to be your minimal dose?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Betting Vs. Investing

26 October 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

I was listening to an interview with author Simon Sinek the other day when he said something that struck me. He was talking about the business world and specifically, discussing company stocks that have performed steadily over their existence. He discussed how, when deciding where to invest our money we often times hope and "bet" that a company will succeed, rather than "investing" in companies that have a proven track record of success.

Too often (almost daily), I talk to clients who have "tried everything." They've done multiple modalities, some have had multiple surgeries, and all are at their wit's end. All this time, they've been "betting" that something, anything will work for them. Most of the time they have bet on an outside entity--someone else to do the work, a brace to stabilize, maybe a pill, or perhaps even a new joint, to numb the pain.

However, instead of betting on something external of themselves, they should have been "investing" in what they've already known will fix the problem--their own body--and their innate wisdom about what needs to happen to eliminate their pain. There's a proven track-record that the body heals itself.

Think about it this way, if you cut your arm, it doesn't stay cut. If you break your leg, it doesn't stay broken. The body heals itself, right? The same thing is true with chronic pain. I believe that deep down, you know what needs to happen. You know your neck pain and your knee pain are connected. You know your body is twisted and misaligned. You know what the answer is. Perhaps you don't know where to turn for the answer, but all the while, you've known what it takes to get pain free.

To relate it back to Simon Sinek's comments, just like those businesses that have performed steadily, your body has performed steadily over its existence. It's designed to run, jump, climb, skip and hop--all pain free (and you can remember a time when you were able to do all those things pain free!). It's designed to twist, bend, squat, and lift--again, all pain free. I'd imagine you can remember doing those things free of pain and limitations as well. When the body can't accomplish those things pain free, it tells you. You get a very clear signal that's alerting you to the fact that you're out of balance and that something's off.

Let me be clear: Pain doesn't mean you're broken. Quite the opposite, in fact. Again, your body is performing steadily and exactly like it should. Your hip is designed to degenerate, your disc is designed to herniate, and your meniscus is designed to tear. If these things weren't designed to happen, they wouldn't. It's as simple as that. Yet, when those things happen, we often freak out and jump ship. How quickly we stop trusting our perfectly designed body! We begin looking for solutions external of ourselves. Although we shouldn't, we lose sight of the fact that it's a steadily performing machine. You don't need to rely on an outside source to "fix" your body. Instead, trust your instincts, listen to it, and "invest" in what you already know to be true: You can heal.

QUESTION: Are you BETTING on someone or something else, or are you INVESTING in yourself?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.

Correcting Your Misaligned Shoulders

19 July 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

This article is by Pete Egoscue, and originally appeared on Sonima.com.

Baseball pitchers, football linemen, and swimmers know firsthand the importance of healthy shoulders. If any of the small muscles that work together to keep the joint in place and protected get hurt or misaligned, they could end up with a sidelining injury. Shoulder pain is less threatening to non-athletes, but can still throw off one’s day-to-day, especially if range of motion has been compromised. Suddenly, reaching for an item on the top shelf, putting on your jacket or picking up your toddler sends a wincing pinch to the area. This could be a sign that your rotator cuff, which consists of four muscles (supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor, and subscapularis), might be out of whack.

To ease shoulder pain as well as reduce future aches, try this strengthening sequence from Sonima.com’s alignment expert Pete Egoscue, the creator of the Egoscue Method for pain-free living. Start with a static extension stretch to reposition your shoulder blades. From there, perform hand and leg lifts with a synchronized motion to help restore the body’s natural balance and range of motion. Ease into a counter stretch position and hang. Reset your spine with cats and dogs before continuing onto a series of arm circles. Next, perform a sitting floor twist on each side to remind your body how to rebalance itself. Lastly, complete three sets of hero squats , which are great for both your shoulders and (added bonus!) your abs.

 

QUESTION: How have your misaligned shoulders impacted you?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well.

When You Were a Kid, What Did You Do for Fun?

19 August 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

It's a question that may hold more weight than any of us realize. But, if you would, take a moment and think about it. What did you do for fun? What vivid memories do you have from you childhood? What were you doing when you were just absolutely having a blast?

This is going to sound cliché, but I grew up in a small, rural Kansas town on a dirt road that dead-ended into railroad tracks. I know...I know...I couldn't make it up if I tried. Fortunately, it's all true. We knew (almost) everyone in our town, and I was pretty much free to ride the streets on my bike at any time I'd like.

During the summer, my buddies and I would head to the railroad tracks in search of anything--railroad spikes, tie plates, rocks, coins--that we thought was cool or valuable in our 8-year-old minds. We'd build forts, we'd play war, we'd pretend we were BMX racers, we'd stay out until it was dark.

We were kings.

Yet for as active as we were, our parents were even more so. I mean, whose mom and dad over the age of 60 didn't have to walk to school uphill both ways?

As a society, we've had several "active" generations, but unfortunately, we're a dying breed. Our grandparents, our parents, us...we're going extinct. The activity levels that we knew as kids are rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Our children are sitting for hours during the school day and then coming home and sitting more. By and large, they're more tuned out to life, and tuned in to the screen in front of them. They're addicted to technology, and many of them couldn't care less about getting outside and actually moving.

Check out the video below from Nature Valley. The granola bar company realizes we have a problem, and they have launched their #RediscoverNature campaign. Personally, I love it. As a father of three boys, I very much limit their screen time. I want them outside. I want them playing. Remember playing? You know...that thing we used to do where there was no agenda and no expected outcome? Playing! Having fun!

When you watched the video, did you listen to the older generations talk about what they used to do?

Their answers were things like:

Pick blueberries...

Fish...

Play hide-n-seek...

Build forts...

But when you listened to the young kids' answers, you heard:

Play video games...

Watch videos...

Watch TV...

Text their friends...

Folks, this video kills me.

Kills.

Me.

It kills me, because we're killing our kids. That's the honest truth. We're killing them. The body is a use-it-or-lose-it organism. It responds to, it needs, positive stimuli. No positive stimuli? No energy. No metabolic rate. No blood flow. No body. We're getting sicker, earlier, and there's a definite reason why: We aren't moving.

We have to change. We have to do better. We have to #RediscoverNature. We have to ask our kids to go for a walk, go to the park, throw a ball, take a hike. As the woman in the video said, "That special connection with nature, I think it's innate in all children but needs to be nurtured."

It's high-time we start nurturing that special connection in our kids. Their lives depend on it.

QUESTION: When was the last time your kids spent time outside?

The Right Question to Ask

24 July 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

I have to admit, my youngest son is driving me nuts these days. I’m ready to check myself into a place that has pretty, white, padded walls and white jackets that buckle in the back. Admittedly, I should have the upper-hand over my own son, but currently, I most certainly do not. And it’s all because of three little letters: W-H-Y. Yes, that’s right, we’ve entered the “Why?” stage of life. 

Me: “Don’t run with that sucker in your mouth.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because I said so.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because it’s dangerous.”

Son #2: “Why?”

Me: “Because you might get hurt.”

Son #2: “Why?”

It’s at that time that I, feeling completely defeated, exit the room and leave him running around with his sucker still in his mouth.

Through all of the “Why?”s, I’m reminded of a valuable lesson: That’s exactly the question we need to be asking when we’re given a diagnosis.

Can you imagine how that would change our outlook on our conditions and diagnoses if we started acting like a three-year-old?

Health Practitioner: “John you have a bulging disc in your lumbar vertebrae. L4/L5 to be exact.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Well…because the disc at L4/L5 is pushing out against your spinal cord.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Um…because there’s too much pressure on that disc.”

Me: “Why?”

HP: “Because the vertebrae have collapsed together.”

Me: “Why? I mean…what caused it? Why did it happen at L4/L5 and not another disc?”

See where I’m going with this? Notice how just three little letters completely change the outlook and the conversation? Instead of getting a diagnosis and accepting it as truth, asking “Why?” begins a conversation that will get closer and closer to the root cause

Just imagine if my health practitioner had said the following: “John, you have a bulging disc in your lumbar spine. L4/L5 to be exact...Because I said so.” I would never have accepted that answer if he actually said those words, and neither would you. Sounds silly when I put it that way, doesn’t it?

However, if we fail to ask “Why?,” we are essentially telling our health practitioners that “Because I said so” is an acceptable answer.

According to my son it’s not an acceptable answer, and it shouldn’t be for you, either.

QUESTION: What condition or diagnosis do you need to ask more questions about?

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The Most Twisted of All Occupations

12 May 2015, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

I’m curious…after reading the title of this post, which occupation do you believe I’m talking about?

Maybe some of you think I’m talking about doctors.

Perhaps some of you had a bad experience with a car salesman and assume I’m referring to them.

I’m sure more than a few of you thought this post is about lawyers, but it’s not, despite the fact that everyone knows a good joke about a twisted lawyer!

What’s true is that there is someone out there who is more twisted than all those other occupations combined.

Your dentist.

Dental professionals are, hands down, the most twisted of all professional groups. But here’s the catch–them being “twisted” has nothing to do with their business practices. Far from it, actually. Dentists aren’t twisted! They aren’t corrupt! But what they are is physically twisted, as in “rotated.” And because of that, they are in some SERIOUS pain.

As a company, we present multiple times each year to dentists from all over the world, which results in us working with hundreds of dentists and hygienists in our clinics every year. Regardless of where I’m speaking, one thing remains the same: When I’m talking to dental professionals, across all of those seminars and appointments, they are ALL rotated. They either present with torso rotation, pelvic rotation, or both! The all look like this:

 

When working with dentists, I can almost always guess which side of the patient they’re on when they are working. Typically, dentists and hygienists are seated and flexed in their thoracic back with their torso rotated toward the patient. A right-handed practitioner will sit on the patient’s right side while rotating their body from right to left. The left-handed practitioner will sit on the patient’s left side and rotate their body from left to right. For the vast majority of their day, and therefore, their career, they spend their time like this:

Notice the upper body flexion, rotation, and even a little bit of a lean to his right? This dentist is spending hours, upon hours, upon hours in the same position. His muscles are learning to work in this position, to stabilize him in this position, and the pain begins to set in!

As a result, when this dentist stands up, he stays in this position. That’s right, even standing, he keeps his compromised posture. He remains flexed and rotated. And the pain begins to creep into other aspects of his life. Not only does he hurt when sitting but also as he plays with his kids, goes to the gym, and tries to hit a golf ball.

Pain has taken over, and it’s all because he’s twisted. He is out of balance and out of alignment. His posture is “off,” and his body is alerting him to that fact.

In order to restore balance to his body and eliminate his pain, he has to address the system as a whole. And, you do, too! It’s crucial that we counteract everything our bodies are doing that takes us away from function and balance. The sedentary nature of our lives is wreaking havoc on our bodies, but it’s doesn’t have to be that way! It's time for you to take action! We have clinics all over the world that can get you the help you need. Contact your closest facility today!

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