Alignment is how your body is put together and how much things match up equally or in a line.
Our goal, in order to feel good and function properly, is to have our bodies lined up well enough so that they can function well and can compensate for the small natural variations.
Read on to learn more about alignment, your SI joint, and hypermobility.
Areas of dysfunction with hypermobility and alignment
One of the more common areas of “dysfunction” for those of us with hypermobility occurs in the spine.
When this happens, most seek help from osteopaths, chiropractors, physical therapists, or massage therapists because their back is “out,” or their hips are “out,” or their neck is “out.”
But, this is an oversimplification of what is going on. In the majority of cases, nothing is “out.”
In this type of situation, an area of the body has shifted, causing muscles to spasm or not to function or fire correctly. This causes pain and typically weakness and difficulty moving.
When this shift occurs, it can be extreme or subtle. The shift can be a rotation or a lateral move, or it can be stuck at one joint and moving too much somewhere else.
And, when you experience these different dysfunctions, they all lead to the same problems, pain, and difficulty moving.
When you have hypermobility, there is more movement in the joints, which makes your joints more prone to shifting around.
And, when your joints shift around, you’re also more likely to experience muscle spasms.
So, what needs to be aligned?
The SI joint
The SI joint is stabilized by a network of ligaments and muscles, which are designed to limit motion.
The normal sacroiliac joint has a small amount of normal motion of approximately 2-4 mm of movement in any direction. But, with hypermobility and alignment, the SI joint functions differently.
How to check your alignment
A basic way to check your alignment is by starting by lying flat on your back. Lift your hips off the ground and then set them back down.
When doing this, you don’t have to push yourself to go very high. Next, straighten out your legs while lying down. Then come to a sitting position, complete a full sit-up, and use your arms to assist if need be.
If this feels painful to you, enlist some help. Once you’ve completed this movement, look at your feet.
Are they even? Does one appear to be longer than the other? If so, you may have an alignment issue.
Who can help with your hypermobility and alignment?
If you feel that you are not lined up or need professional assistance to evaluate and treat your alignment, then I highly recommend visiting a professional.
When it comes to hypermobility and alignment, seek out a professional.
Look for osteopathic physicians who do manual corrections, chiropractors who do small movement manipulations rather than traditional large movement, manual physical therapists, or massage therapists.
Starting from a good starting point is much better and easier than starting from an area of significant dysfunction and trying to correct movements with muscles that don’t work.
SI movements and precautions
When it comes to hypermobility and alignment, there are some basic movement precautions or guidelines that give you some basic principles to work on and focus on to avoid positions that can cause pain.
Keep things equal
This applies to everything, especially hypermobility and alignment. The first thing is to keep your weight equal on both sides. This then applies to all other activities.
For instance, try to do equal things with both sides, work both directions, and avoid things that are pulling only to one side.
Even when you are lifting and carrying trying to keep weight fair.
Don’t cross your legs
When you have hypermobility, you need to make a concentrated effort to try to keep your knees apart.
If your knees are straight ahead or slightly out to the side, this makes your pelvis more stable and in turn makes your trunk more stable.
If your knees come together when sitting or with movement, it pulls through your hips, making your SI joints “gap”, which then makes them less stable.
As a general rule of thumb, keeping your knees apart improves your stability.
Another rule to follow to the best of your abilities, regardless of what you are doing, is to refrain from remaining in a rotated position.
Turn and then turn back, or adjust your surroundings in order to keep yourself straight.
This means facing the TV directly, turning your whole body to talk to a friend, and not working in a position that you are rotated.
To learn more about SI precautions, click the link here for the instructional handout.