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Structural integration (including Rolfing)

Structural integration aligns, balances and lengthens the body by pressing into the connective tissues of the body and maneuvering them back into place.

I am a woman age 63 in good physical shape with chronic hip pain. Looking for non-surgical options and wonder if structural integration will help.

Jon Stange (Santa Monica, CA) on Jan 24, 2012
Have you experienced an injury previously that may have caused this "tearing away"? Obviously without seeing your structure and movement patterns it is hard to give any advice as to why you're having this pain. The pelvic pain is a common condition because of its function as a bowl, supporting the torso and visceral contents from above and also having ground contact pushing into the ankle, knee and hip joint. If for any reason the integrity of the overall structure is unbalanced due to postural weakness or injuries, pain will develop because of the disassociation with fluid movement and how body segments relate to each other. Structural Integration can help, absolutely. The bone's position and function is determined by soft tissue strength and length, so if it is bound-down, so are the bones.
Rosemary Rickard (Tampa, FL) on Jan 24, 2012
You will need to fill out a Medical History Form with more information for the Massage Therapist to be able to get a more complete idea of what has been going on with your hip. A Doctors report and diagnosis and an Ok from him or her to get Deep Tissue Massage would also be helpful for the Massage Therapist, since there are many conditions that can cause pain in the hip. Your doctor may suggest an MRI to further investigate your hip joint pain to see what is the cause of the pain. With that said, a higher level of care must be taken if you have a muscle that has torn away from the bone. My question is how big is the tear? Is it a micro-tear or a large tear and what caused it to tear away from the bone? If it is not arthritis, osteoporosis, bursitis, or any the bone disease. It seems like it would have helped by letting it rest and ice. Structural Integration done by a therapist who is proficient may offer some pain relief by reorganizing your muscle inbalances and depending on what the cause of the pain may be. I personally would always try less invasive methods of healing before any surgery due to the down time and rehabilitaion incurred from surgery.
Brian Chambers (Chicago, IL) on Jan 24, 2012
Structural Integration (Rolfing, structural therapy, and other forms of deep-tissue/myofascial repatterning/active bodywork) can be a great component of any program for regaining and keeping optimal function. However, if there is is a significant tear in the muscle (something only a qualified orthopedist should determine), there is a strong possibility that surgery is necessary, and rather than fear and avoid this, take courage and embrace it as an important step on the road back. At the same time, realize that expert bodywork, exercise, posture and biomechanic coaching, stress-relief, and nutrition are ALL important before during and after surgery. In my experience, the people who have the best outcomes from surgery are those who did their best to heal without it, but then got focused on a successful procedure and a strong recovery. Having said all that, I would look for a bodyworker with experience with your condition and take it one session at a time WHILE YOU ALSO consult an orthopedist. And keep staying off the pavement! Good luck!
Minki Kim (Astoria, NY) on Mar 19, 2012
Hi, Great question by the way. Yes, pavement can take its toll on one's structure, and specifically in your case, the hips. If your doctor is right about a muscle being torn away from the bone, then I suggest you let it heal, and perhaps move and stretch your hips at your own pace and intensity. I believe the Rolf Method of Structural Integration can reposition the myofascial (myo = muscular, fascia = soft-tissue) structure back to its proper place with a series of sessions. The hands-on bodywork can realign the form of the muscle you mentioned that's in question here, and therefore highly improve its function. Through manipulation of the fascial (soft-tissue) matrix of your body, it will lengthen, reorganize, and revitalize this muscle. Structural Integration is an avenue worth exploring because it approaches your issues by trying to correct the 'root' causes, instead of merely relieving your symptoms. Our approach seeks to educate you on your own body, its everyday usage, and how you can refine and economize your movement patterns in order to relieve and prevent dis-ease in the body. I commend your pursuit of non-surgical options and personally believe Structural Integration is one of the great options you can try. With some patience and tenacity, you can prevent going under the knife. Thank you for your wonderful question and I hope this has offered some insight to your question. To your sound body and mind, Minki Kim
Christina Richards (New York, NY) on Mar 18, 2012
Hi, I am a Rolfer. Rolfing balances in the body in gravity. Often imbalances in the muscles and fascia cause hip issues in the first place. We stretch and lengthen the fascia that is pulling on the joints so their can be more balance, ease in movement, increased range of motion. Contributing factors may be coming from above or below the pelvis. I have had several clients who have had hip issues and have been able to avoid surgery by getting Rolfed. Best, Christina