In our Ask Me Anything webinar about posture this question came up:

“I played racquet sports competitively for over 30 years and am paying for it now with osteoarthritis in my lumbar spine and left facet joints. I live with chronic back pain. In order to reverse the impact of overuse in my right shoulder and opposite lower back, should I do somatic movements more on one side than the other? I feel lopsided, and want to correct this so I can find balance in the center.”

What this person describes is the habituation of the Trauma Reflex – the reflex of compensation due to an accident or injury or through repetition of a one-sided activity like racquet sports or holding a baby on one hip.

One side of the torso contracts and rotates more than the other. This is experienced as a twist in the center of the body that can be felt from the shoulders, to the pelvis, and down through the legs. There is a sense of lopsided-ness or a feeling that you are walking like a car with one flat tire.

Because this reflex is deeply compensatory in nature, the answer to this person’s question is “not necessarily”.

Sometimes the pain is not where the problem is and it could be that this person’s pain is the result of tension on the compensatory side rather than on the dominant side. Both sides need re-education and re-patterning in order to find balance again – yet in a different way one side to the other.

In your practice look for differences right to left. In the Side Bend, for example, can you release the bottom-side waist as you shorten and contract the top-side waist and then do the same thing on the other side? How are the sides different?

Look for this in the Back Lift and even in the Arch and Flatten. You will be the judge as to whether you need to do more repetitions on one side more than the other based on what you discover. When you stand up, do this mirror exercise to continue to retrain your brain to find true balance and symmetry through the center.

Our next online workshop is all about addressing postural issues and registration is now open. Join us on December 6!