pie-chartHere’s a fun little mind game that once you learn it, it will be hard not to keep performing it. First, you need to think about how the body moves. Let’s just take walking as our type of movement. There are many joints which must act in certain ways in a particular timing pattern for walking to be an efficient means of transportation. There are thirty-three joints in each foot alone that should interact in a certain way. Then there is the ankle, knee, hip and pelvic joints. Continue up the body, and we find thirty-three more joints which make up the spine. The shoulder blades, shoulders, elbows and wrists (not to mention all the joints of the hand) also must behave in ideal ways for optimal efficiency. Lastly, we have the skull and jaw which play additional roles in movement.

Now, for a person to walk from point A to point B, all the joints in the body must add up to 100% effort. The body will not be able to reach it’s destination if it does not achieve 100%, and it cannot achieve more than 100%. This means that where one joint moves less another joint, or joints, must move more (and vice versa). If someone has a stiff ankle, the ankle will not move enough so another joint must increase it’s role. Perhaps the spine will sway more, or the hips will hike a little higher. The goal of reaching 100% is achieved, but the outcome is quite different.

So go to a park or shopping mall and sit down on a bench and observe people walking by. It won’t take long before you get a feel for the game and you begin to see how people really move. You may get a better understanding of why so many people are in chronic pain just because of how they try and organize a pattern of movement that attempts to get around where movement is not occurring. It does not matter if someone has use of all of their limbs, or if they need crutches or a wheelchair, they will find a way to reach 100%.

You may begin to see types of patterns. There was a fellow named Vladimir Janda who performed this game in his local park in Poland. He started to notice types of movements, and he eventually boiled it down to two basic body postures. He labeled them “Upper Cross Syndrome” and “Lower Cross Syndrome.” He noticed common ways in which people would compensate for areas of excessive movement and areas of excessive tension. Many movement professionals have benefited from his insights when helping people get out of pain.

If you are one for problem-solving puzzles, this becomes quite an exercise. You will be amazed at how the unconscious mind is wired to achieve success at all costs. Which is a truly remarkable statement about who we are.