Tahoe Health: Rolfing — a natural way to a pain-free body
Special to the Tribune
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Millions of Americans are consuming billions of dollars worth of pain killers annually and will likely never get out of the loop of pain, inflammation and drugs unless they start thinking about the problem differently.
It is accepted as “normal” that as we age, we should suffer increasing aches and pains and therefore reduction of activities, quality of life and increase need for ibuprofen, aspirin, acetaminophen and even on into the prescription drugs.
But is there an alternative? Is there a treatable cause for much of the pain so that you don’t have to go down that path?
Myofascial adhesions are the little known cause of the majority of pain people suffer.
When we went to school, we learned basic anatomy — including muscles, tendons, ligaments, joints and bones — but we were never taught about fascia or connective tissues.
So when we have neck, back, hip or shoulder pain, we think, “what could be causing my pain?” and only think in terms of that anatomy we learned.
If we know we haven’t broken a bone, sprained a ligament, pulled a muscle or injured a joint, then we are at a loss why we feel such discomfort, range of motion restriction and stiffness in the body, and therefore we have no idea how to solve it except to take a painkiller.
Why are you experiencing pain?
But there is a structure in the body that is the cause of most of the pain and stiffness everyone is experiencing. We just didn’t learn about it and most doctors didn’t study it either — it’s the fascia.
Fascia, also known as connective tissue, is the strong fibrous material in the body that surrounds the muscles and organs of the body giving them their strength and structure.
Connective tissue does just what it’s name implies — it connects everything together and to itself.
With repetitive motions — computer work, many sports such as golf, tennis, skiing, cycling, as well as with activities that require long sustained contractions of the muscles, like standing or sitting for long periods — muscle is contracted and connective tissue ends up forming adhesions to itself in the contracted state, creating short and tight muscles.
Short tight fibers put a lot of strain on joints and tendons leading to inflammation and pain!
So even though you may have not experienced any injury you can think of, you experience chronic pain, aches and range of motion restriction or inflexibility and inflammation.
This is due directly to adhesions in the fascia that will not allow for your muscle fiber to return to its natural full length, giving the joints and tendons a rest from being under tension and that leads to pain.
This is why people are experiencing so much back pain, hip soreness, neck stiffness and even foot pain.
A natural solution to pain
Ph.D. biochemist Ida P. Rolf in the 1940s invented a therapy designed specifically for the release of fascia adhesions that became known as Rolfing.
Practioners of Rolfing are known as Rolfers and they are specialists in the release of fascia or connective tissues of the body.
With Rolfing, it is possible to cut back and even eliminate prescription drug usage, return to activities you thought you could no longer do, and eliminate chronic injures and stress — and I’ve even helped hundreds of people avoid surgery for back pain, shoulder problems and carpal tunnel syndrome.
It is no longer necessary to accept the “normal” story of increased pain and decreased activities in life.
Rolfing is a holistic manual therapy that treats the whole body, releasing the hips for dramatically freer movement, unsticks the low back returning proper flexibility, unwinds the hardened shoulders and neck that this stressful world tends to create, and restores people to a pain free body — naturally.
Joe Dunkley has a new clinic in Incline Village on Tahoe Boulevard and has been a practicing Rolfer for 15 years, working with top athletes in the golf world, Ironman competitors, runners and bikers, as well as sports medicine doctors, business leaders of Fortune 100 companies, and the state of Colorado. Visit JDRolfing.com to learn more.