Daily Mobility Exercises by Dr. Kelly Starrett Forums General Chronic Spinal Torsion – SI Joint the root or a symptom?

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    • #70814
      AvatarTyler Lindon

      After spending the past year trying to figure out the extent of my dysfunction, which has kept me from enjoying anything and everything with an activity level above 1, I’ve returned to this forum in hopes of getting some feedback on what treatments are worth considering.  I am at a complete loss as to what direction to go in next.  My spirits are devastated, and I badly need hope restored.   I will lay out the important info in as easy to read format as possible.  Thank you for reading.

      1.  I can trace this condition back to my earliest memories.  (Learned to write with a tilted head, paper tilted, and elbow flared…as an example.)
      2.  That means there is 30+ years of varying degrees of dysfunction across all joints.
      3.  In the past year, since discovering the problem, I’ve seen 2 teams of Chiropractors, 2 teams of Physical Therapists(including ASTYM treatment), PCP, podiatrist, and a Sports Medicine Specialist.  I spent the first 4 months trying to fix it myself with the help of KStarr’s book.  I’ve learned a great deal about bio mechanics in the process but I’m also more confused than ever.
      4.  Regardless of treatment, from harsh chiropractic adjustments, to gentle instrument assisted chiropractic adjustments, to soft tissue work… one thing remains constant.  I can convince you that this problem is neurological one day but the next day I’ll convince you that it is soft tissue restriction/inflammation.  My proprioception is beyond confused.
      5.  I was Vegan for the past year with little to no refined sugar or gluten in hopes of minimizing inflammation.  I didn’t see any positive effects as it relates to mobility.  
      1.  Multiple subluxations found in my cervical, thorasic and lumbar spine.  All have been mobilized and function pretty well with the exception of SI joints.  The L5-S1 joint is hit and miss. 
      2.  Over the past year, I’ve slowly come un-wound from the neck down.  My shoulders still aren’t aligned, and why should they be when all the wrong muscles are firing to keep me 1-up on gravity.  Same with the hips.
      3.  Hot showers give the tissues plasticity for a short time.
      4.  Every position is uncomfortable(sit, lay, stand, squat, ect).  Extrapolate this condition out another 20 years and I will be in pain rather than discomfort as further use of joints in a less than optimal manner will result in faster deterioration of the joint and surrounding tissues.
      5.  Unable to perform any functional movement correctly.  Squat, Press, Push… a keen eye will spot the compensatory techniques I’ve developed.  I can reveal these to the untrained eye with ease.
      6.  Sleeping can cause more pain or it can align me.  The alignment lasts until I try to engage my core to get out of bed.  Wrong muscles fire, I pull the joints out and it’s business as usual.
      7.  Unable to successfully perform pelvic self correction, using various techniques.
      8.  Unable to “tighten core” to strengthen the mid line.  Instead my right Psoas and left QL are the primary drivers in mid line stabilization.  Prime example of the wrong muscles doing the job.  
      I’ve been perplexed on ways to describe this condition to my doctors, as well as friends and family.  So here are a few ways I like to put it:
      1.  Working on a Rubix Cube while blind folded.
      2.  Feeling like a one handed puppeteer with twisted strings.
      3.  Feels like a boa constrictor is wrapped around my spine.
      4.  Never ending cycle of involuntary contract/relax.
      5.  Feels like my left leg is a peg leg and my right is a floppy noodle offering no support.
      I could write a book on this subject so I’ll just leave it at this and see if anyone bites.  I’ll be glad to give details if requested.
    • #74209

      Hip and shoulders are your prime movers and when there are issues here it is the first areas to address because it is where you will see the most change.
      Spine first then prime movers.
      None of theses situations are new so it can take time before seeing change.
      You need to be more mindful of the way you are moving. Yes, this is alot, but you need to start being more aware so you can maintain organized positions, then maintain this positioning when moving etc.
      You need to retool your mechanics technique for movement patterns.
      Have you addressed sleeping position and how you are getting out of bed?
      Until you address how you are doing it it will not improve.
      Sounds like you need to identify a better professional to see if the ones you have seen have not helped.
      Have you talked to anyone you have seen about movements you  can/can’t do?
      Or had them watch your movements so they can see what you are talking about?

    • #74210
      AvatarTyler Lindon

      Thanks for the reply Kaitlin.

      I became mindful last year, thanks to KStarr and his youtube videos.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t mindful for 34 years while this condition unknowingly persisted on.
      I approached this problem last year in the same way you stated in your reply.  That was my smash and floss days of 4 hours on the yoga mat each day, mobilizing various areas.  I learned anatomy and biomechanics to a novice level in these months.  I converted my home and work office to standing offices… but the problem was that I couldn’t set my pelvis by squeezing the glutes and screwing my feet into the ground.  You can’t create torsion on a collapsed system.
      As for movement patterns, the most basic of them are too difficult.  I am unable to sit, stand, squat, … you name it and I’ll get into the position incorrectly.  If my SI joint isn’t functioning, even close to properly, where do I go from there?  I feel like I’m always leaning to the left, until my L5 gives which brings my torso to center… for a while, until the thorasic spine can’t take it any more, then my shoulders pop and I swivel back around.  My neck making the final adjustments.  So, in essence, the SI joint failure means that I have to compensate in other ways.  These patterns are well developed and I have no clue how to adjust them.   
      Getting out of bed has gotten better as I tried different ways of rising.  Move sheets first, relax first, stretch first, lean up first… heh, I’ve had 365 mornings to work on this and the test results are in.  The same reason I can’t walk to the door correctly, or bend over, or open a jar of peanut butter, is the same reason I can’t get out of bed correctly.  At the very core of each movement pattern, whether consciously aware and exerting an effort or completely oblivious, I am flawed, cursed, bamboozled.  I’ve mentally tugged on every muscle in my body that responds to my mental reach.  The ASTYM treatments taught me that there is a lot of “feeling” I am missing in my pelvis.  Only when some of the overworked muscles, like my right psoas and left QL, are released with assisted massage am I able to tug on muscles and discover new ranges of motion.  The problem is that these treatments are expensive and I’d have to be on them for another 6 months at the current rate of progress.  They only treat people with this technique for 12 sessions, so 6 months isn’t even an option. 
      I agree that a new professional is in order.  I’m leaning towards the neuro side of things in the near future but was hoping to get some feedback here as to which specialist(s) to consider.  I need someone who has resolved chronic SI joint dysfunction which has built 30yrs worth of compensatory patterns.  
      I forgot to mention, I’ve even had Audio/Visual treatments to help lower my brain waves.  o.O
    • #74211

      So bottom line is you gotta start at square one and re tool movement patterns and continue to build your knowledge how things work together and independently.
      Yes it is alot, but acknowledge that and move on. Got to work chipping away.
      It can be done and things will get resolved.
      I can say this from personal experience.
      I was in a pretty bad accident a couple years ago and had to rebuild/retool from the most basic level.
      You have 2 choices in these situations get caught up in everything you can’t do/what is wrong or you can start addressing things piece by piece. Mobility and drill/skill became my workout. Spending quality time is key.
      A couple of shorter more focused sessions have more of an effect than one long session.
      Sounds like you need to start with a new plan.
      Have you watched the programming videos and or webinars to expand your knowledge about how things work and inter relate?

      You may be missing some basic strength in areas such as the abs that is required to have an organized position when moving. You’ve done several different things, but have you repeated any for a few days/multiple sessions per day?

      Have you asked around at the facility that you workout at for recommendations on doctors?
      Word of mouth can be the best way to find a quality practioner.


    • #74222
      AvatarTyler Lindon

      I appreciate your words very much, thank you again.  I’ve done everything you’ve mentioned including watching the webinar when it was streamed free for a day.  For now, I’ll re-tool, as you suggest and move forward.

    • #74224

      Yes, it may take some time to retool movement patterns, but building a better base of movement, positioning, and correcting deviations in technique will pay in the long run. :Look at the skill/drill work as your wod.
      You have nothing to lose. As things are in better positioning, have better technique movement patterns you may see some things take care of themself.
      If you’ve had injury to an area you have less of a tolerance for deviations in technique so you gotta get them dialed. Start chipping away at it. Approach it as a chipper wod.
      Questions on anything feel free to message me or email Happy to help.

    • #75649
      AvatarJason McEwing

      Supple Dragons, I came across your posting while doing an online search for spinal torsion corrective exercises. I suffer from it, and it too has turned my life upside down. I’ve spent the last 18 years studying my condition until finally cracking the code 3 years ago. Now I am working diligently to fix it, which is just as challenging. But I am much better than before.

      There are many things you can do to identify if you have it:

      First, I recommend you extend your arms out to your side as if you are trying extend your wings like a bird? Is one side more restricted than the other?

      Another one is stand with feet 2-3 feet apart and drop your hip one side so the knee bends. Do it on the other side and compare the gluteus Medius flexibility? Is the flexibility, ROM equal?

      The reason I recommend this is when you have spinal torsion you will also have “Trendelemburg gait”, which means a dropped hip, due to muscle imbalances. In other words, everything is connected from feet to head so if one part of your kinetic chain is dysfunctional, so too will another.

      I can go on for ever, but this is a good start…

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