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I suspect I have a lot of imbalances in my body causing pain.

How do I assess and correct them?

I expect to consult a professional, so what kind of professional is part of the question. (Regular private sessions are above my budget. I expect to take Pilates classes).

Exercises/treatment should be specific for my problems, so not any Pilates class just because it is good for balancing my body.

I am looking a bit at Functional Movement Screening/ Sysems

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closed as off topic by Baarn, Kate, Nathan Wheeler Jan 11 '13 at 16:21

Questions on Physical Fitness Stack Exchange are expected to relate to physical fitness within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

You assess and correct them by going to a professional, eg physician. – Baarn Dec 30 '12 at 21:42
@Informaficker, not everyone subscribes to the doctrine of Western Medicine that physicians know best. Many physicians know nothing about exercising, except that it is important. – Mew Dec 31 '12 at 13:38
@Chris I don't care about the cardinal direction of the treatment, but I think that methods should have been proven to work by applying universal scientific standards. A prolonged discussion about this however is unnecessary and off topic here, feel free to join the Physical Fitness Chat or post on Physical Fitness Meta if you think we should change the sites scope. – Baarn Dec 31 '12 at 13:43
True story bro! – Mew Dec 31 '12 at 13:50
This question is off-topic according to the FAQ. Specifically, there's not a "real problem that you actually face" in this question. The main theme in this question seems to be "I think I may have a problem of some sort, so how do I find it and correct it?" The way this is stated, I don't think it's possible to give a decent answer. Please rephrase your question to fit better within the scope of the FAQ and we can re-open it. – Nathan Wheeler Jan 11 '13 at 16:21

The short answer is that you find someone who specializes in analyzing static and dynamic postures and movements and have them give you program to follow to correct any areas of dysfunction. The more information and knowledge that you have, the more able you will be to find the practitioner that can meet your needs. Here are some ideas:

  • Physical Therapy - You say that private sessions are out of your budget. However, if you have medical insurance, pain that is related to postural dysfunction may well be covered by physical therapy. It could be in the form of assessment of posture in all planes, range of motion, strength and movement patterns, with a specific exercise program designed for you to do at home or in the gym to correct these imbalances.
  • Pilates is a good method to achieve postural balance with flexibility and control. It is often best to do a private session to get the best personal assessment and then follow up with classes.

  • Functional Movement Screening Systems help you assess and improve movements and patterns of movement. The Kindle edition of Gray Cook's book is probably the best and/or most inexpensive way to look into it.

In addition to Pilates and FMS, and here are some ideas of assessment methods that you can consider:

  • Total Motion Release Total Motion Release is a method of assessing movements that cause pain and then performing specific pain-free movements (often on the other side of the body) and assessing the results. TMR site has some video demonstrations.
  • The Egoscue Method Pete Egoscue's book, The Egoscue Method of Health Through Motion, helps you self analyze your alignments and gives you specific exercises to correct problem areas. This is more of a static than dynamic assessment, but may help you find specific restriction.

  • Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais The Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais both focus on the connection of movements, sensory awareness and thought patterns. These methods generally have classes and/or private sessions. Tai Chi and Qi Gong would also be methods of becoming aware of alignments.

  • Yoga Yoga combines flexibility, strength, relaxation etc. to improve posture, breathing and movement. A restorative yoga instructor could be helpful to you for corrective asanas or postures that allow you to release tension that may be causing imbalances.

There are many more ways to correct your alignments. In general your assessments are looking for areas with restricted motion, areas with weakness not allowing natural movement, chronic holding patterns from tension, thought and reflex patterns that affect the neural stimulation of muscles and myofascia, all of which can affect movement patterns and cause pain. You are wise to correct imbalances as these can restrict your exercise and fitness programs. Good luck.

(Full disclosure - the two book links are from our site's amazon store.)

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