Posted by: charleenesfitness | January 30, 2013

Power of the tower – thanks for sharing Egoscueportland

The Power of the Tower

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When clients first see the Egoscue Multi-Positioning Tower and are told it is going to be in their new menu their response is typically one of these two:

1. Wow! I’ve heard so much about this and have been wondering when you’d have me do it. My friend said the Tower helped her so much!


2. I don’t feel anything. How is this helping me? Why do I have to lie here so long?

I thought I would take a minute an explain a little about how the Tower works, why it works, why it can take a long time, why you might not feel anything during it, and what postural imbalances it can have a positive effect on. Whether you have done the Tower before or not, hopefully this will help you get a better understanding of this powerful E-cise and encourage you to try it for the first time or continue to commit to it if you are already doing it.

The Supine Groin Progressive is the most common E-cise that the Egoscue Tower is used for and Pete Egoscue in Pain Free describes that “This E-cise is designed to allow flexion and extension of the leg, rather than rotation through adduction and abduction (side-to-side movement).”

Let’s break this down to a very simple terms that you will understand and then explain why it can take an hour (or longer) for that to happen. In Pain Free, Pete first introduces the Progressive Supine Groin in the knee pain chapter when talking about “external rotation”. External rotation of the femur can be seen when looking at your knees in a mirror from the front and the knee caps are pointing outward (instead of straight ahead).

The femur is being rotated out by strong tight muscles in the hip (psoas, iliacus, etc) that usually are also holding the pelvis in extension (anterior pelvic tilt).

What is happening in the body in this situation is described in the P3 (Posture, Pain, and Performance Workshop material):

Keep in mind that the body is a unit and that the body is linked functionally from head to toe. The anterior tilt of the pelvis is caused by the strong, tight hip flexor muscles and puts excessive arching into the low back. The more a person walks with the tight hip flexors, the more they pull down on the spine and exacerbate the problem. To relieve the tension on the spine, the upper back rounds – taking the shoulders forward – and the head tilts downward. To relieve the tension in the hips, the femurs externally rotate, taking the knees and feet outward. This is a formula for pain up and down the body.

Going back to the knee chapter of Pain Free, Pete talks about how this constant rotational torque coming from the hip is transferred into the knee joint. The knee is a hinge joint (think door hinge) and is designed to flex and extend (the door opening and closing) not rotate. That rotational torque is what can cause knee pain. The Tower is designed to unlock the tight hip flexors which will allow the pelvis to return to neutral, the spine to come out of lordosis and return to normal and the femur to return to neutral and point straight again. This will cause a chain reaction up the body allowing upper back to come out of excessive spinal flexion, the shoulders to move back into position and the head to center itself over the torso once again. The Tower also helps to reconnect the kinetic chain from your ankle to knee to hip and get them functioning as a unit once again.

(BTW just because I’m talking about knee pain here, that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing the Tower addresses. The Tower will help with: low back pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, sprained ankle, degenerative knee pain, degenerative hip pain, degenerative disc disease, spondylolisthesis, spondylosis, herniated discs, carpal tunnel, plantar fasciitis, and many other problems. I’ll outline how the Tower effects some of these in future posts – stay tuned.)

Watch this video to learn how to do the Tower:

How long it takes each person to do the Tower will depend on their unique postural imbalances but for most people it takes around an hour. As the video explains, you start with your leg in the top level and stay there until your low back releases completely to the floor (typically 5 minutes). At that point you can lower your leg one notch and then wait for your back to release to the floor again. Since there are six levels of the Tower it will take on average 30 minutes per leg or 1 hour for both legs.

If you are in chronic pain and have tried everything, but not the Tower, it is worth a try. This is the one e-cise that is easy to do and will make a huge impact on your posture and pain. Stop by your nearest Egoscue clinic to come try it for free. We’ll explain what is going on in your body and why the Tower will help you. 

To learn how the Egoscue Tower helps eliminate chronic lower back pain  watch this video.

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