You'll see Al-X all over town, at the Flynn, at a Cross Fit class, on our local campuses, at your school events, on athletic courts, and fields, on the bike path, at Catamount, Indian Brook or Colchester Pond, on the rivers, in the parks, on Church Street, at the country club, or just going through the neighborhood.
Staying active like Al-X, should be a fluid movement as you transition in an alternating reciprocal manner (left, right, left, right, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale). This is much like the rotation of a helix around it's core as it shifts between its’ 2 strands. This is also how you should move when you walk and breathe. You should be able to pass through neutral positioning as you move toward achieving alternating gait and respiration, which is why Al-X is represented by a double helix.
Movement becomes compensated and painful when the ability to pass through neutral is limited and reciprocal activity is lost. When this happens you change how you move, or in other words you change your pattern. As your pattern changes, you start to hold yourself in a different way and your posture changes. This is usually in an asymmetric pattern because we tend to follow the rotation of our dominate pattern/stance as it tends to be more stable.
(Go to the patient information tab when you are done here and look at recognizing asymmetries.)
For multiple neuromechanical reasons, most people favor their right leg. The main reason is for lateral stability. It is easier for humans to pitch their pelvis to the right as right stance patterning/position is more stable when it comes to lateral shifting.
If you look at Al-X, you can see the dominant neuromechanical preference of the right leg.
(You can also see it all around you, in magazines, and in the mirror)
When this asymmetric pattern exist, pathology and pain will follow as structures in prolonged positioning will impinge in the pattern or become unstable out of the pattern. Treatments need to consider this underlying loss of neurologic reciprocal activity and address not only pain but patterns, positioning, and asymmetries so that pathologies will not keep returning.
1. ARE YOU Neutral? Sagittal Plane.
Treatment Goal: Reposition/Inhibit/Exhale
The ability to establish and maintain a mid-line.
The first thing that must be established and controlled is sagittal plane alignment giving us as much symmetry as possible. This is represented by the line that bisects the sacrum, sternum, and sphenoid bones. This alignment is a neutral position that we should be able to transition reciprocally around. In order for this to happen the body needs to be able to maintain the shaded square to ensure proper positioning of the neck, shoulder, and hip joints so that the reciprocal rotations associated with gait are happening in a properly positioned axis . This "core" is intimately associated with and influenced by vision, respiration, the diaphragm, rib, spine, and pelvic positioning.
2. Are you Stable? Frontal Plane.
Treatment Goal: Frontal plane strength.
From the start of your trunk down (think of the muscles that you use for jumping jacks) you need frontal plane control of your torso and legs equally on both sides of your body to ensure that you can maintain your base of support and stability, which in turn keeps your square neutral. This is easier to do with both legs down but we need to be able to do it efficiently on one leg at a time, alternating each leg as we walk. It is in this plane where we maintain a consistent axis of rotation (the line that bisects the sacrum, sternum, and sphenoid bone) for gait.
3. Can you Transition? Transverse Plane.
Treatment Goal: Limb movement and rotation without spinal compensation.
You should be able to extend a limb without spinal extension or lateral compensation. This allows for rotation at the appropriate joints without impingement or restriction. If you can not reach equally with both sides of your body, you have lost transverse plane activity . This occurs most often when frontal plane strength is unbalanced..