Scoliosis and Pregnancy Don't Have to Be Painful

 
I originally went to see Martha when I was pregnant. I was having a debilitating sharp pain that would randomly run down the front of my leg, especially while driving. I would have to pull over to the side of the road until it passed. The pain went away after the second or third session. That’s when I knew that Somatics really worked. Since then, I have routinely done the Somatic Movements and the special calf releases. I no longer wear my orthotics. The freedom to wear “normal” shoes has helped my self-esteem and my anxiety about my health problems.
— Anne, Maplewood, NJ

Anne called me and said, "No one will touch me, and I'm wondering if you can help me." She explained that she was seven months pregnant with her second child, had scoliosis and was suffering from severe pain in her left hip, groin and ribs. When I asked her why no one would work with her, she said that everyone said they didn't know what was wrong, and it might be dangerous. Instinctively she knew that tight muscles were causing pain. She was correct.

One look at Anne told me that years of compensating due to accidents was at the root of her muscular pain. This proved to be correct. I knew that if I could teach her to feel her waist muscles again and begin to move her hips, she'd feel much better.  Anne's left side was much tighter than her right side, (as in the photo on the right) and her left hip was drawn upward. Her right ribs twisted back and downward, and her weight was pitched more onto her right foot.  She showed a typical "trauma reflex" - a reflexive muscular holding pattern that occurs in response to an accident or injury.

This is also the pattern of holding that creates scoliosis: a trauma at an early age (she'd been in a leg cast for months as a baby) can cause one to have to compensate until the injury heals. This leaves the waist muscles tighter on one side than the other and causes the ribcage to twist in compensation.  The muscles, which attach to the spine, pull the spine out of alignment during the growth spurt that occurs during adolescence. Co-contraction occurs in the shoulder and back on the other side of the body.

After three  hour long sessions that involved learning to release and relax the muscles on the left side of her body - the waist, shoulder and rib muscles (including the muscles of her legs) - and the back muscles and ribs on the right side of her body - she found she was able to breathe deeply for the first time in months.

The nagging pain in her groin was greatly diminished. Learnng to contract, lengthen and release her overly-tight muscles was both pleasurable, and easy. Anne and I had several more clinical sessions over the course of two months, re-programming her movement and muscle control.  She wanted to make absolutely sure that when the new baby arrived she could handle all the lifting, holding, and nursing she would need to do.

Anne is doing very well; her baby is now two years old, and to date, the pain she arrived in my office with is gone. She continues to do a few minutes of Somatic Exercises a day in addition to taking care of her growing family. Every once in a while she comes in for a "tune-up" just to keep herself "on track" and in control of her body.

 

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