The Egoscue stretch is a postural series of stretches designed to eliminate chronic pain without drugs or surgery. While most chronic pain treatment methods only address symptoms or try to deaden or mask pain, Egoscue corrects the postural issues that are at the root of your ongoing discomfort. Founded by Pete Egoscue in 1978, the Egoscue Method focuses on a series of gentle stretches and exercises to correct misalignments in the musculoskeletal system of the body.
Dealing with achy joints doesn’t have to be part of getting older. By improving your posture and doing the Egoscue stretch to stimulate muscles that support your joints, you can avoid becoming one of the 100 million American adults who live with chronic pain. A regular stretching routine can not only relieve pain, but it can prevent pain from becoming cyclic.
Stretching is a whole lot more than the toe touches we learned in gym class years ago. Not only can stretching help increase your flexibility, which is an important factor of fitness, but it can also improve your posture, reduce stress and body aches, and more.
The Egoscue stretch is for anyone who is limited by chronic pain or a lack of functional mobility. Though The Egoscue Method is primarily designed for those with chronic pain, it can also help eliminate pain associated with repetitive use, sports, and workplace injuries, and help those who simply want to maximize their health and well-being.
Benefits of The Egoscue Stretch
Some of the most common benefits of Egoscue include:
1. Improved Posture
Ideally, everyone should have a healthy posture without trying. Our natural posture should be the correct posture. Good posture is about more than standing up straight so you can look your best. It is an important part of your long-term health. Making sure that you hold your body the right way, whether you are moving or still, can prevent pain, injuries, and other health problems.
Egoscue stretches help to properly align the musculoskeletal system and give stretches to improve your posture, which becomes optimal over time.
2. Reduces Muscular Tension
Chronically tense muscles tend to cut off their own circulation, resulting in a lack of oxygen and essential nutrients. Stretching allows your muscles to relax. A flexible muscle is less likely to become injured if you have to make a sudden move. By increasing the range of motion in a particular joint through stretching, you can decrease the resistance on your body’s muscles during various activities.
3. Less Pain
Many different conditions can lead to painful joints, including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bursitis, gout, strains, sprains, and other injuries. By recognizing the cause of the issue rather than just focusing on symptoms, Egoscue can promptly reduce acute or chronic pain and often end it altogether.
Egoscue stretches can help to recover that full range of motion and naturally reduce joint pain. In general, Egoscue corrects posture, which can reduce pain throughout the body, particularly the back.
4. Avoidance of Surgery
People who have success with Egoscue often avoid very costly surgery and a lengthy recovery process. While surgery is sometimes the only way to treat a physical condition, the more conservative approach is to first try physical therapy. If physical therapy eliminates your pain or helps you heal from injury, there may be no need for surgery. And, if you do need to undergo surgery, pre-surgical physical therapy can often put you into better physical condition to withstand the surgery, and possibly help provide a better recovery outcome.
Specifically, back and knee surgery can be avoided by improving posture and alignment. For example, pressure on your back can be increased by 50 percent just from leaning over the sink incorrectly to brush your teeth. (1)
Another good reason to try Egoscue before surgery is that studies have shown that the outcomes of knee surgery are no better than those after a placebo procedure. (2)
5. Long-term Improvements
Poor posture can lead to excessive strain on our postural muscles and may even cause them to relax when held in certain positions for long periods of time. Once correct alignment is achieved and an effort is made to continue exercises, improvements are very long-lasting. A body appropriately aligned is a body that is more likely to have all of its systems working optimally.
6. Anyone Can Benefit
Regardless of age or athletic ability, anyone can benefit from the postural improvements that come from a successful Egoscue protocol. Egoscue exercises are relatively easy to remember and easy to practice at home or on the go.
Muscles and joints weaken and range of movement deteriorates as we age. Stretching benefits include the development and maintenance of strength, improving flexibility, and increased circulation and blood flow, all of which will provide a greater quality of life and healthy aging.
6. Better Balance & Athletic Performance
Better posture equates to better balance, so there is a direct improvement in balance once posture is improved through Egoscue. (3) In addition, it increases blood supply to your muscles and joints, which allows for greater nutrient transportation and improves the circulation of blood through your entire body.
How to Do The Egoscue Stretch
These stretches are not the whole solution to chronic pain or posture issues, but they can be a good start.
- If you try these stretches at home, make sure that none of them cause you any pain.
- If one of them does, just skip it and move onto the next one.
If you feel like all of them are too tough, or you’re in too much pain to do any of them, then don’t think that there’s no way to improve your posture. There are literally hundreds of posture correction exercises, all with different levels of intensity, and there will be some you can do comfortably.