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Treat the Cause, Not the Symptom

I’ve heard a saying regarding pain in the body, “the victim screams while the criminal is silent.”

When Tom Myers, internationally known fascia expert and author of Anatomy Trains, said this he was referring to the interconnected relationships between the soft tissues in the body. The pain is not always, and actually not often, being generated where it hurts, but rather is in response to an imbalance somewhere else.

For example, consider pain on the top of your shoulders. You know the spot, where you have those annoying, chronic knots that hurt like crazy when you apply pressure. Why do you have that tightness? Is there something wrong with those muscles? A problem in your shoulders? Your neck? Maybe. . . Or perhaps, the tightness signals a compensation in those muscles for something else going on in the body. The upper back/neck muscles are the victims screaming, while the real perpetrators—a hip disparity, lower back dysfunction or weakness in the core is silent.

Modern medicine is symptom-oriented, focused on relieving the pain often without looking deeper to find out WHY the pain is occurring. Medical professionals have become very good at treating painful symptoms. Unfortunately, these dedicated healers often overlook or lack the time needed to investigate the cause of the pain. This leads to an unending cycle of symptoms and invasive procedures.

You’ve probably heard stories of people who have had multiple joints replaced or repeated back surgeries. Chronic pain and joint degeneration is caused by stress within the body. If the cause of this stress (e.g. muscles imbalances) is not addressed the stress will just be redirected to other joints and soft tissues.

Misaligned Posture Was the Cause of My Chronic Symptoms

When I had my third knee surgery, on the same knee, I told the doctor I felt like there was something bigger to these injuries. The majority of my surgeries were to repair “wear and tear” issues that developed slowly over time. I didn’t understand WHY I was having these problems while my competitors, who probably logged more bike miles than me continued to pedal pain free.

It wasn’t until starting posture therapy and seeing my position that I realized the knee wasn’t the problem. The cause was the position of my spine! Too much forward rounding in my upper back and shoulders which was balanced by an equally exaggerated curve in my lower back in the opposite direction.

This position increased the forward tilt of my pelvis and changed the orientation of my hips that internally rotated my knees. Not long after my last knee surgery, I had hip surgery, again on the same side. The knee and hip were the victims being damaged to the point of needing repair while my curved back and shoulders didn’t make a sound.

After my final knee surgery I had not taken action to find and correct the cause of my pain so the cycle continued damaging my hip. Only by reducing the dramatic curves of my back, which created a positive chain reaction on the alignment of my hips and knees did my frequent trips to the operating room end. Now I am hot on the trail of the criminals, which is silencing the victims.

Join Jessica for her upcoming webinar on this topic: Posture: The Undiagnosed Cause of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain

Article originally printed on thepfathlete.com. Reprinted with permission.


Coach, author, and former professional athlete, Jessica Kisiel, MS, is passionate about helping people who are in chronic pain maintain an active lifestyle. She has overcome many injuries herself, including severe hip osteoarthritis. Using her professional knowledge and personal experience, Jessica has guided hundreds of clients out of pain and back to activity and competitive sports.

During her healing, she discovered Posture Therapy, which turned out to be the missing piece in her recovery from hip, back and neck pain. When she was a patient, she began the certification process for The Egoscue Method® and continued her posture training to receive credentialing from the Postural Restoration Institute® (PRI). Unique in holding both these designations, Jessica is sought out by people worldwide in search of answers to their pain. Jessica’s story, and much of what she gained through her recovery process, is explained in her book, “Winning The Injury Game”. 

MFN Contributing Author