"Not Your Mother's Arthritis"

15 March 2017, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

"Not Your Mother's Arthritis"...

The words jumped off of my computer screen at me. Admittedly, I was intrigued. Not my mother's arthritis?, I thought. What does that even MEAN?

As I read the article, the meaning became more and more clear. The author was insinuating that arthritis is typically a condition that "old people" get. However, they were quick to point out, the "age-of-attack" is becoming younger and younger.

According to the article:

About 54.4 million American adults have had a doctor diagnose them with painful joint inflammation and stiffness, according to the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Vital Signs Report. That breaks down to about one in four adults in the nation.
"This is not your mother's arthritis," Acting CDC Director Anne Schuchat said. "Contrary to popular opinion, it is not an old person's disease."
Aging baby boomers aren't the only ones who have it. The majority of current cases of arthritis -- 32.2 million -- are in people under age 65. Women have it more than men, and the number is particularly acute for diabetics, heart patients and those struggling with obesity. About 49.3% of people with heart disease have arthritis, 47.1% of diabetics and 30.6% of people who are obese.
So just to review, 54 million Americans are suffering from arthritis, and 32 million of those are under the age of 65. That equates to roughly one out of every 10 Americans that is suffering from arthritis. In addition to that, nearly half of all people who suffer from heart disease and diabetes have arthritis, and nearly one-third of obese Americans have arthritis. Is there a common link between these groups? I believe, yes!
I'll touch on heart disease, diabetes, and obesity in a minute, but I first have to ask, what do we really know about arthritis? Let's start with what we have been told. I would venture to say that the vast majority (if not all) of those diagnosed with arthritis have been told that it's part of the natural, normal aging process, and there's nothing that can really be done about it short of medication to help ease the inflammation and pain.
Sound familiar?
However, I don't believe arthritis has anything to do with age. I think it has everything to do with your compromised posture and lack of motion! You see, what we really know about arthritis is that it can only survive in an acidic environment, meaning one that is void of oxygen. If you're familiar with your body's pH system (the internal balancing system of the body), then you know that pH-neutral is 7 on a 0-14 scale. The lower you are on the pH scale, the more acidic your body is. The higher you are on the pH scale, the more alkaline your body is. Ideally, we would fall right in the middle around 7 (I'm actually ok with folks being on the alkaline side of the scale). However, most of us are chronically acidic. The reason? What we put in our bodies. Many of us pump our bodies full of processed food, sugar, alcohol, nicotine, low-fat foods, no-fat foods, sodas, the list goes on and on. Very seldom do the things going into our bodies actually contain oxygen. By and large, the foods we eat and the drinks we consume were never living, breathing organisms. The result is an acidic body; one that is screaming for oxygen, is inflamed, and is breaking down quickly.
Another way to describe an acidic body is one that is running "hot and fast." Think of your car battery, for example, which is an acidic battery. You want your car to run immediately upon turning the key. You want it to warm you quickly in the winter and cool you quickly in the summer. By design, that battery is intended to run hot! However, that means there's also a chance for that battery to burn out fast. Yes, it's 'hot and fast," but that comes at a price when your battery dies quicker than you would like it to. Similarly, an acidic body will burn out "hot and fast."
Now think about a AA or AAA alkaline battery in your television remote. That battery is a "cool and slow" battery. You want that battery to run at a nice, even pace, and last for a long time. You want it to stay "cool" and burn out "slow." An alkaline body, just like the battery, will do that exact same thing. It will last a long time and use its energy wisely and efficiently.
If you're wondering why your body is burning "hot and fast" and, therefore, burning out, pay attention. Heart disease, diabetes (Type II, not Type I), and obesity are all considered to be "lifestyle" conditions. Bad eating habits and lack of exercise are two major contributors to poor health, and the body will burn out if it is continually deprived of good food and exercise. It's just a matter of time. The more acidic the body, the "hotter" it runs. The lifestyle that consists of processed food and no movement isn't going to last. It's not meant to last.
Now, connect the dots with me. Is it any surprise that those with the lifestyle conditions mentioned in the article also have arthritis? To me it makes perfect sense. Their bodies are acidic, which means their pH is off, which means they're lacking oxygen, which means they aren't moving properly. How do we get a system in that condition functioning properly again? We correct the posture, fuel the body, and get moving!
I believe the 54 million Americans suffering from arthritis don't have anything inherently "wrong" with them. I believe they are suffering from poor eating habits and lack of exercise, combined with a compromised posture. In short, there is an incredible overall lack oxygen in their system, simply because they aren't moving enough, aren't moving functionally when they do move, and they aren't fueling their bodies properly. If their bodies were pH neutral or even slightly alkaline, that would mean they have more oxygen in their system due to moving more often, moving more efficiently, and putting proper food into their body. Posture plays a huge role in the overall landscape of health. The better aligned someone is, the better chance their body has to accept the nutrients they are taking in and disperse them to the right places at the right time. 
So if you have a lifestyle condition and/or arthritis, you have to understand that those aren't "death sentences." They also aren't due to your "old" age, no matter how young you actually are. Instead, think of them as conditions, and remember that conditions are changeable. Get your posture where it needs to be, get your body closer to pH-neutral/alkaline, get moving again, and get your body oxygenated like it's designed to be! Personally, I can't wait to see what changes!

QUESTION: What do you believe about your arthritis diagnosis?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can also follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

An Object in Motion...

29 November 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

Sir Isaac Newton. Now HE was a smart guy, wasn't he? I think it's safe to say that he had some pretty good ideas!

Gravity, the Laws of Motion, and the fact that the Earth and its planetary neighbors revolve around the sun rather than the other way around, are all Newton's doing. While all of those ideas impact us on a daily basis, there's one specific idea that I want to hone in on today. That is Newton's first law of motion: An object at rest stays at rest, and an object in motion stays in motion.

I guess today's topic is more of a question for you: Are you an object at rest, or an object in motion?

For most of us, sadly, the scale tips toward us being objects at rest. We used to move. A lot, actually. But these days...not so much. I talked on Egoscue LIVE! recently about how we, essentially, live our lives in a 3' x 3' x 3' cube. Rarely do we move outside of that box, and the vast majority of our "movement" is accomplished by our hands and wrists. That's not a good plan of attack if we're looking to keep this machine we call our body working at its optimum level.

When we are at rest (and therefore staying at rest), we are basically telling our body that it's okay to not move. We're giving ourselves the green light to stay parked at a red light. That doesn't make much sense, does it?

Now, please hear me--I'm not saying we shouldn't rest. Far from it, actually. I believe "resting" is crucial to our systems. Resting allows us to hit the "reset" button. Sleep is important. I love sleep. The over-stressed workaholic who tells you he doesn't need more than four hours of sleep each night is 1) lying, and 2) headed for a rude awakening (no pun intended). We absolutely, positively need down time.

But we also need "up" time. We have to move, we're designed to move, and we have to do it daily. Actually, we need to move multiple times each day, but the vast majority of us are falling well short of that much-needed goal. Not only will we have more energy and less pain by moving more, but we'll also be more attentive, and our brains will function at a higher rate. That "afternoon fog" will magically melt away.

If you don't believe me that you are an "object at rest," then it's time you start keeping a "motion journal." Pete Egoscue suggests this activity in his book Pain Free and thinks your day might look something like this:


Hour 1: Woke up, showered, dressed, made breakfast, drove the kids to school.

Hour 2: Drove to work, answered phone messages

Hour 3: Attended meeting, reviewed annual-report draft

Hour 4: Interviewed job applicant, made calls, had lunch at desk.


Hour 5: Meeting--boring!

Hour 6: Cab to client's office, discussed problems and prospects

Hour 7: Cab back to my office, answered phone message, drafted memo.

Hour 8: Conferred with Ronnie and Alice, went through the mail.

Hour 9: Drove to the grocery store, shopped, drove home.


Hour 10: Prepared dinner, ate, did cleanup.

Hour 11: Drove to choir practice, practiced.

Hour 12: More choir practice.

Hour 13: Drove home, helped kids with homework.

Hour 14: Did office paperwork, checked the computer for E-mail.

Hour 15: Watched TV, got ready for bed, went to bed.

While that may not be your exact schedule, I'm guessing it's pretty close. Clearly, with the exception of walking to hail a cab, or down the hall for the meeting with Ronnie and Alice (if the meeting wasn't in this person's office), there's not a lot of motion listed in this example. And, I think it's safe to assume there wouldn't be much motion listed in your journal, either.

Sure, dropping down on the ground and spontaneously doing push-ups and sit-ups may be frowned upon in your workplace, but there are some thing you can do to ensure that you're in motion throughout your day. Here are some suggestions:

Hold a walking meeting.

Reach overhead with both hands.

Twist laterally at the waist.

Use the restroom on a different floor and take the stairs to get there.

Turn your head and look as far to the left and right as possible.

Stand on one leg.


I suggest our clients set a timer each hour and take a five- to ten-minute motion break. Having an audible reminder is a good way to break out of the object-at-rest cycle. Remember, we are designed to be in motion. Movement is the key to a highly-functioning metabolic system, and the faster the metabolic rate, the healthier the individual. If you're an "object at rest," that means your metabolic system is "at rest." Keep in mind that as your metabolic rate decreases, so will your health! So if you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, that very well might be your body's way of telling you to be an object in motion!

Newton was a smart guy! Don't forget how important his laws of motion are throughout your day!

QUESTION: What's your favorite way to stay in motion through the day?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!

Get a Move On

8 November 2016, 12:00 am
Published in Blog

This week's article was written by Elliott Williams, a therapist in our Del Mar clinic.

In southern California we are plagued with pressure from coaches in every realm that if your kid doesn't play NOW, he or she will miss out on the opportunity to play at all. What's also true is that non-contact injuries are prevalent—at an all time high, actually—at the same time the pressure to succeed at a sport at a young age increases.

Let me tell you why we shouldn't be worried about mastering a single sport at a young age, or at least why I won’t be when it comes that time for my children. To master a movement, requires that one actually move first, and our kids don't MOVE. They sit for the majority of their day, and then when the time comes to play their year-round sport, they do the same movements over and over and over. Repetition is necessary to get good, or even great, at things, but the body requires more than repetitious movement. It requires different movement in different planes, it requires different joint action and muscle interruption.

For example, one thing that we at Egoscue consistently see in most basketball players is tight upper back, rounded shoulders, feet and knees that point outwards, and the infamous “tight hips.” Why? because when they are playing defense they have a wide base, their arms out, feet out, shuffling left to right with their back rounded and head up. When on offense it’s the same thing, wide base, back rounded, etc. Not coincidentally, we often can assume what their limitations or symptoms are before they even step foot in our clinics.

Making constant dysfunctional movements adds layers of compensations upon layers of compensations. And, while you and I might not be an elite-level athlete, our dysfunctional movement patterns still show up in our daily lives. For us, our compensatory movement presents itself when we place our hands on knees and push ourselves up out of the chair, or out of the car, or off the couch, or the toilet etc. You and the basketball player might very well be coming in with the same symptoms such as low back pain, knee pain, or shoulder issues, all due to the same problem: your compromised posture and dysfunctional movement patterns.

But allow me to refocus on our kids. Recently, two of our VP’s here at Egoscue and I, traveled to New Orleans for the World Golf Fitness Summit put on by TPI (Titleist Performance Institute). They had some of the most respected people in the golf world presenting on what to do with their golf students, professionals and juniors, alike. It hit me that throughout all the seminars, I kept hearing different variations of the same message: “STOP HITTING GOLF BALLS.”

Speakers want their clients to go have fun, do something different, and measure their progress by what they are adding in that isn’t golf. We at Egoscue know what the end result is when that happens, and it isn’t shocking to us. We know that these golf instructors will see a better golfer, with better overall function, and fewer limitations; the exact thing that Pete Egoscue has been saying for 30 years. And, it’s no secret that Jack Nicklaus has given that same piece of advice to so many that ask him for his opinion on how to get their kids to the PGA Tour.

We were in New Orleans to present on The Patch, our portable obstacle course. The thinking behind The Patch is simple: reciprocal training. What you do to one side you to do the other, what you go over, you go under, if you turn left you also turn right, etc. It seemed like the entire WGFS event played right into our hands, and it was a thing of beauty. It’s not about how many golf balls you can hit, how many jumpers you can take, how many passes you can throw or ground balls you field. It’s about changing the stimulus and requiring the body to work in different ways, on multiple planes. IF we do that, non-contact injuries are limited, if not gone completely. If we as parents do this for our children, the opportunity to play at a high level will be an option, even without "specialization." Why? Because we’re creating athletes, not just basketball players, golfers, or baseball players. The pressure to create a sport-specific focus at a young age is mounting, but the truth is that giving our kids room to be kids and “play” (like you and I did when we were kids) will benefit them much, much more down the road. By allowing them to develop functionally—free to move without any rules or expectations—they’ll return to their sport more balanced, stronger, faster, and with more power. And not to mention with less likelihood of an injury.

QUESTION: Is your family moving enough?

As always, thanks for sharing these posts with your friends and family (it's easy, just click below)! Don't forget to join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter. You can follow Pete on Twitter, and you can follow me there as well. You can now follow me on Instagram, too! Let's connect!