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Hyperlordosis (Extreme Lumbar curve) & movement
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T Cutbirth
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 2:27 am    Post subject: Hyperlordosis (Extreme Lumbar curve) & movement Reply with quote

While watching the H2H video again tonight and working to duplicate some of the movements, I find myself experiencing great tension when I work to slightly squat and flatten the back.

The thing is, I have some connected physical traits which make this difficult, namely:

Flat feet
Bowed legs
Hyperlordosis (extreme curvature of the lower back)
http://www.espalda.org/english/divulgativa/dolor/causas/alteraciones/hiperlordosis.asp

I have been like this for a long time. Both Chiropractors and Doctors have said the same thing - the bowed legs (caused by walking too early - around 9 months of age) caused the flat feet, which causes abnormal tension in the legs, which travels up through the pelvic girdle producing the lordosis. When I rollerblade regularly, people think I'm pushing my butt out, but I can't help the posture. Situps, etc. have never done anything to help the situation. When I was doing certain Tai Chi breathing exercises (Chigung/Qigong), most postures engage the psoas muscles to pull the pelvic girdle forwards (reptile/lizard waist is the Chinese term for it). I can do this to some extent, but it causes extreme tension in my thighs and glutes.

Is it just a physical condition I will have to work with? What can be done about this? I have read that there are some stretching and abdominal strengthening regimens that should help, but what I've tried in the past has not worked. Correcting this seems critical to enabling my body to move naturally as one unit as emphasized by Vlad in the H2H DVD.


Last edited by T Cutbirth on Mon May 09, 2005 12:57 am; edited 1 time in total
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Stephen Moore



Joined: 06 May 2005
Posts: 9
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello

There is another thread on this forum with techniques for relaxation that I feel would be relevant.

In my experience deep rooted tension or long standing tension can be improved through relaxation and relaxation combined with stretching.

Rather than using the contraction of muscles to pull or push your posture into the 'right' position - identify precisely what muscles are in permanent contraction to hold the posture out and learn to release them.

Posture is something that should be 'uncovered' rather than 'held'

Oops got to go to work!. I'll post some exercises later when I get time.

Stephen
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Marc Bresee



Joined: 17 Jun 2004
Posts: 317
Location: Sarasota, Florida

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

T

How long have you been working with systema squats? From what little I know, these most elemental exercises do the allot for core strength and posture. Work the squat frequently and just work in the range that allows you to keep your posture. Don't push lower by making your posture bad.

From all I have heard, you should try to talk to Misha about your structural problems. He is reported to have unusual talents in this area.
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Alberto Stronk



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 84
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have flat feet, somewhat bowed legs and a larger curve to my spine.

The only way these things affect me in Systema is during the long running we start the class with. Other than that, I have no problems with movement.

I would suggest getting good prosthetics, and if you already have those, just get out and do it to the best of your ability.
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T Cutbirth
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In the future I plan to get some decent orthotics. My doctor had recommended some off the shelf orthotics until I could afford to get some "real" ones fit and made. They just make my feet hurt and they make my hips sore, as well, so I've stopped using them.

I woke up this morning in bed thinking about this issue, since I was laying on my back. One thing that I remember sort of helping was a series of stretching and flexing exercises where we would lay in "Corpse/Dead Man Posture", then go up into "Candle" - there are exercises almost exactly like this in Russian systems, from what I've seen. This combination let my lower back, after a few repetitions, lie flat against the floor. I remember being amazed about this, because when I started there was a large gap between my back and the floor which you could put your hand under.

The tension thing really makes sense. I don't know why I have that tension, but I will work on it.

Thank you, everyone, for your feedback.
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Jesse Barnick



Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 95
Location: NJ, USA

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 4:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most often, hyperlordosis is a result of something called “Lower Crossed Syndrome”
Which basically means:

Abdominals & Gluteus maximus = Weak
Erector spinae muscles & Iliopsoas = Tight

Fallen aches are going to cause the tibias to rotate inward, which in turn is going to do the same thing to the femurs and cause the pelvis to rotate forward. Meaning unless you can stabilize the arches, it’s not really going to matter what you do with the rest of the body.

What I would do:

1. Get arch supports (orthopedically shaped, not ready-made or store bought. The cost is worth it.). It very well might feel like stepping on a golf ball until the feet adapt to them. The hips might be sore because they’re not used to being in proper alignment.

2. Stretch the tight muscles and strengthen the weak ones.

3. Find a massage therapist who specializes in myofascial release. (You can relax all you want but if the deep fascia (connective tissue surrounding and pervading your muscles) is causing the restriction, it has to be stretched and loosened before any strengthening will have any benefit.
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Alberto Stronk



Joined: 21 Feb 2005
Posts: 84
Location: Toronto

PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 6:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T Cutbirth wrote:
In the future I plan to get some decent orthotics. My doctor had recommended some off the shelf orthotics until I could afford to get some "real" ones fit and made. They just make my feet hurt and they make my hips sore, as well, so I've stopped using them.



Orthotics will make you feel very uncomfortable for the first few weeks you use them, due to your body adjusting to an unnatural postion. I could barely walk when I got mine but now it feels awkward to do anything without them.
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T Cutbirth
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PostPosted: Sat May 07, 2005 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As far as the lower crossed syndrome, I know that I have a tight lower back (it's practically cupped), but I don't have weak glutes. When lifting weights, I've always had a higher than average squat, my vert was always way above average, and when I used to rollerblade for 3-4 hours a day, my butt was like iron, and the curvature was worse than ever (especially since my rear got bigger and more muscular, it looked comical the way it stuck out). This factor was ruled out by my physician for those reasons - the glutes weren't weak - the tight ilipsoas and lower back muscles, though, those are undeniable.

Orthotics are simply not an option for me right now, but maybe in the near future. I will work on abdominal exercises and stretches for the lower back, though.
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TJ Lofgren



Joined: 26 May 2004
Posts: 16
Location: Milwaukee/Chicago

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 5:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

T, I have similar issues in that I have to great a curvature of the spine, low arches but not flat, and a very tight lower back. I'm fairly flexible and have strong legs and abs (even if I may have a little extra covering them) however I do believe there is some weakness in my extreme low abs that contributes to the curvature. If Misha has knowledge in this area I will ask him about it when I’m in New York. If your going to be there we can remind each other if not I hope I remember to ask the question after receiving all the information during the day and I'll post his answer to the best of my ability.

TJ
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Larry Wall



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 290
Location: +47° 13', -88° 37'

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 8:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was born with flat feet and in my 20's taught myself to walk with an arch. Essentially you have to pay a lot of attention to how you track until it "becomes natural." Start tracking at the point of the heel and as you roll your foot make sure you track along the outside edge. Then as you reach the ball of your foot feel the tracking goes across the ball of the foot to the big toe and then out the big toe.

At first this is a lot of work and it's easy to get frustrated. It took me essentially two years of constant awareness work to have this become natural for me.

Another thing that helps is to strengthen the vastus medialis obliques (VMO) (sp?) muscles that run along the inside top of your legs from their origin at the crotch to their insertions at about the inside edge of your kneecaps. With flat feet (and with women who have wider hips), the VMO tends to stretch and weaken too much, which throws the alignment of the entire leg off. It also greatly increases the risk that the kneecap will not track properly. In some cases the kneecap can completely dislocate to the outside edge of the leg if you stress it at an odd angle and your VMO is too weak to prevent it from happening.

But by far, teaching yourself to track along the proper paths of the feet (as opposed to tracking from the heel up along the inside edge of the foot and then out the big toe) is the most valuable if also the hardest thing to do.
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RachelKlingberg



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 857
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 2:08 pm    Post subject: corrective insoles Reply with quote

Wow, what a gold mine of advice! Many thanks to all who posted.
"Fallen arches" are sort of a myth. Most people who have flat feet were born that way. Everyone's arch is unique and because one person's is higher or lower than another's does not necessarily mean that it will cause flawed gait or posture. For genetic flat feet such as Larry described, custom orthotics are a good solution, because the feet are flat all the time, and not just during weight-bearing activity such as standing or walking. Flawed gait will cause poor tracking of both the knee and the hip socket, weakened or even atrophied leg muscles, and problems with the back or neck. There is no way to separate a structural problem of the foot from overall posture problems. With poor posture, the simple act of walking or standing increases the stress on the joints and muscles as they try to function in ways they were never designed to. Although strengthening weaker muscles such as the VMOs will help stabilize the knee and hip, and therefore, the foot and ankle as well, unless the foot problem is corrected, everything else will be a temporary fix. I'm amazed that Larry mindfully corrected his gait but as he reveals, it was not easy to do so, and it took several years.
Use care when strengthening the muscles through exercises. Aim for symmetry, because when you overstrengthen one muscle group, it can actually worsen posture or gait problems. Slow squats are a terrific exercise, and if you have a mirror to check your posture as you do them, all the better! Take it lightly at first and only go as low as you can go while maintaining good posture. Do just 2 or 3 a day, but very, very slowly, and listen to your body as you perform the exercise. Slow rolling is also helpful. Another suggestion is to save your $ and buy Vlad's 2-tape conditioning exercise set. It's not listed in the store, but you can e-mail them and ask to purchase it. It contains many great exercises you can do at home without a partner. And as recommended above, stretch frequently. Not once a day, but once every few hours.
Custom orthotics, myo-therapy, and videotapes aren't cheap, nor are they covered by health insurance. But the cause-and-effect loop of your flat feet must be halted in order to correct your posture. Travis, I'd give off-the-shelf insoles another try. Corrective insoles should not be worn constantly at first. Wear them a few hours a day until your muscles get used to the new way of walking. An over-arched spine, in addition to posture and gait problems, might also affect your internal organs or even wear away the cartilage of your joints and eventually cause athritis.
I hate to sound so dire, but in my experience, most posture problems and indeed, most musco-skeletal pain, is caused by flawed gait or the poor carriage of the head. Although the pain or weakness or mistracking joints may develop anywhere in body, the source is typically gait and/or posture. (Of course, I am not including problems like herniated discs or RSI in this casual assessment.) I wouldn't want you to go through what I did to correct my gait, because it was a large investment of time and money. It was well-worth it, since I suffered from chronic pain and now that I am free of it, I can hardly believe I ever accepted what the doctors told me, that it's "just the way I am."
Since your lordosis is acquired, not genetic, you may be able to reverse the condition. There are corrective insoles that are better than the kind you find in drugstores, but not nearly as expensive as custom orthotics. I wear PCIs. They are $45 and unlike custom orthotics, you can return them for a full refund if they fail to correct your gait. Note that PCIs are not for genetic conditions such as the flat feet that Larry described. They are for "acquired" conditions.
Quote:
A majority of low back pain sufferers are experiencing muscle pain or myofascial trigger points that are firing. These can be caused by an unstable pelvis from a physical or functional leg length difference, or from an excessive forward leaning posture leading to muscle over-use just in the act of standing up. A forward rotated pelvis which is the result of over-pronation can also cause an excessive lordosis (curve of the lower back) which may be a contributing factor. Posture Control Insoles help because of three factors: 1] Functional leg length discrepancies are reduced, stabilizing the pelvis. 2] A posterior rotation of the pelvis reduces lordosis. 3] A posterior rotation of the pelvis causes a posterior shift of the body's center of gravity which reduces the amount of forward leaning and muscle over-use.

Here's the link: http://www.mortonsfoot.com/pain.html and another link about posture that may be helpful: http://www.causeof.org/posture.htm
Naturally, consult your physician rather than this forum before following any course of treatment.
Travis asked Is it just a physical condition I will have to work with?. Yes, it is. Such is the burden of mortality! But hey, at least you have all four limbs so things could be worse, eh? LOL.
*Vsego nailuchshego* (best wishes),
Rachel
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T Cutbirth
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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would have to say that my flat feet and curvature are pretty genetic and not acquired. For instance, out of my 4 children, 3 have flat feet like me, but not the bow legs. My son has the curvature in his back. He is in pretty darn good shape, naturally. He had a 6-pack when he was 2-years old (and, no, he's not underfed! Laughing ). One of my daughters has feet just like her mom's - nice arches - no back, feet, or leg problems.

My sister and one of my brothers also have the same lordosis, though not to the same extreme that I have it. Again, they don't have the bowed legs, so dont' have the same acute angle between the ankle and the foot. My other brother is built nothing like me, doesn't have flat feet, and has no outstanding curvature to his back. Really, I think the biggest physical/genetic factor for me are the bowed legs. They throw off the alignment of everything else, and I really can't change the bow itself.

When I am able, I plan to get some orthotics. Until then, I will have to work hard to stretch (and maybe get some myo-fascial therapy for) my lower back. You have all been very helpful, and I appreciate your posts!
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RachelKlingberg



Joined: 12 Dec 2003
Posts: 857
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Travis,
I did think "walking too early" was unlikely to cause flat feet and it was more likely that you were born that way, but I was reluctant to post that, not being a podiatrist, but rather someone with a similar problem.
A podiatrist might be able to help you, though. I can't tell you how many physicians told me I was knock-kneed and would always be that way, and that it was nothing to worry about. As a result, by the time I was correctly diagnosed, I had developed arthritis (and a mistrust of Western doctors), and I had to spend four months in physical therapy 3X a week. I hope you will be spared from a similar ordeal!
Woody's post reveals that even genetic structural conditions can be altered. Like AnderZander wrote: Posture is something that should be 'uncovered' rather than 'held'.
Good luck with your posture, and with everything else!
*Vsego nailuchshego* (best wishes),
Rachel
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T Cutbirth
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PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2005 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you.

Yeah, I think the feet would be what they are no matter what (all my cousins on my mom's side are the same, while there is no flat-footedness on my dad's side). Walking early, though, while my cartilagenous bones were so soft, has been identified by both doctors and chiropractors as being the environmental cause of my bowlegged-ness. I don't have rickets or anything, but my legs are definitely bowed, and I think along with the flat-footedness, I have this goofy lordosis!
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Larry Wall



Joined: 15 Dec 2003
Posts: 290
Location: +47° 13', -88° 37'

PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the lordosis, you might also want to work on your psoas muscles, both yourself and by getting some ART or other deep tissue work for them.

Strengthening the abs is of course a very good thing in this regard as well. But the psoas muscles are often the main culprit in lordosis and the most overlooked.

All the best!

Very Happy
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