Wednesday, January 1, 2003

Are You Centered? (Physically, that is)

© 2003 by Dr. Tim Maggs

Who would ever think you'd waste your time reading an article on you and your "center of gravity"? I ask you as I ask myself, who'd ever think I'd spend time writing an article on "center of gravity"?

Well, the more I travel in life, the more I try to hone in on those issues that really, really make a difference. You know, the one's that you really have to pay attention to. Not some of those worthless laws or rules that have no value in life. There comes a time in life when you want to focus on those rules that matter. And, after all is said and done, this is one of them.


In a December issue of Time Magazine, the cover story was all about arthritis, the new epidemic and how it's being recognized earlier in people. Of all the arthritis' out there, osteoarthritis, or wear and tear arthritis, is the most prevalent. The story went into detail about the new and advanced treatments available today. In order of usage, the list went from drugs to surgery to exercise to alternatives. You can only imagine the short list provided under exercise (if you move your arthritic joint, it will hurt less---PLEASE!!) and alternatives.

What the list failed to address at all was the importance of posture, balance, gravity and structural defects. As with any structure, imbalances accelerate degeneration or wear and tear. But, in our pathology-based world that treats everything pharmaceutically, "posture" has no shot of making the short list of treatments. But, let me tell you why it should be number 1.

Pay Now or Pay Later

How on earth can the industry sell the package that we don't have to do anything about potential degeneration until we've begun to degenerate. You mean to tell me, there's NOTHING we can do to prevent it. Time Magazine didn't give anything preventative, but I can assure you of this, there is a ton we can do.

Let's look at the simple issue---What causes osteoarthritis? It's the fixation or locking of a joint put under abnormal stress for a prolonged period of time, and then Wolf's Law kicks in. Wolf's Law simply states that any bone under stress, given time, attracts calcium salts to innately fuse it to the surrounding bones as a protective measure to resolve the weakness or stress. So, whatever part of your structure is the recipient of abnormal stress, due to an imbalanced center of gravity, will be the site of attraction for calcium salts, or..osteoarthritis.

This is not a pathological or pharmaceutical issue. People with osteoarthritis should not be going to their doctors to get drugs or look for a miracle cure. It's a biomechanical issue that will require a re-education of the body to re-establish mobility in the joints and balance in the structure. And, this takes time. In my office, we usually consider a period of 6-9-12 months, depending on the age, condition and status of the patient.

The Structural Fingerprint® Exam

It all begins with a status report of the structure. Center of gravity is a finding on the visual standing test as well as the standing x-rays, both front to back and side to side. Center of gravity is critical for normal function and normal wear and tear of the musculo-skeletal system. With imbalances, there will always be an accelerated degeneration. So, the first step is to locate sites of imbalances, fixation or weakness.

This is done through a series of physical tests, such as range of motion of a specific area, muscle tightness in that area and ultimately, standing x-rays, which provide 75% of all biomechanical information needed. The first x-ray shown is the front to back view of the low back, and shows the alignment of the spine with the pubic joint (lies in the front of the pelvis). The second x-ray shows the center of gravity from the side view. A line drawn from the center of the 3rd bone in your low back (lumbar spine) down to the front 1/3 of your sacral base will show you if your weight bearing is ahead of or behind the area designed to handle the weight in your body.

If either of these gravity lines are off center, you know there will be an increased stress and an acceleration of breakdown in whatever joints are under the most stress. So, with running, it's an easy formula----balance and correct centers of gravity make it the perfect sport. But, with imbalances, running slowly adds to the degenerative process that is taking place.

Simple Answer

The simple solution is to go through a complete biomechanical exam, and then be willing to do the corrective measures recommended. To ignore this approach and subscribe to the current system of waiting until the degeneration produces symptoms is insane. We've come too far as a society to allow such lunacy.

It may be difficult to find the person to perform this exam, but in time, each and every community will have someone you can look to. Until then, feel free to contact my office for some suggestions.

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