What exactly is Integrated Positional Therapy, and how does it work?
Integrated Positional Therapy teaches how to quickly identify the most common misalignments and to develop a quick and simple approach to getting back into balance. IPT is a gentle and simple self-care approach that has been shown to be effective at successfully addressing a wide-range of common acute/chronic neuromuscular conditions and associative pain. Unlike conventional methods that focus on the symptoms of pain and pain management, IPT takes a novel approach to eliminate neuromuscular pain at its root cause.
With a focus on the close relationship that musculoskeletal imbalances play in the development of general and localized pain, IPT delivers simple, therapeutic self-care movements that help correct muscular imbalances and effectively hone-in on many of the root causes of pain.
Developed by neuromuscular therapist Lee Albert, NMT, Integrated Positional Therapy (IPT) incorporates techniques such as Strain/Counterstrain, stretching and home care to re-align the body’s structure and relieve pain caused by structural imbalances. IPT effectively addresses pain patterns caused by injury, stress, repetitive strain, postural distortion and chronic neuromuscular conditions.
What causes most of the aches and pains we feel in our bodies? Is there something they all have in common?
The problem of chronic pain in our bodies is complex and far-reaching. As it applies to musculoskeletal pain it encompasses many different areas such the head, neck, back, limbs, specific joints and bones, and even chronic non-specific widespread tissue pain—just to name a few.
Yet, despite the wide-ranging conditions and symptoms, all types of musculoskeletal pain share similar underlying mechanisms, manifestations, and potential treatments. In the final analysis, most pain is foundational, resulting from imbalances in a musculoskeletal system that is out of alignment. There is a great deal of research that presents evidence that the root cause of many neuromuscular pain patterns is due to biomechanical misalignments caused by muscle imbalances. We are in pain, because we are misaligned or “crooked.” Therapists often refer this as the muscles being “locked long” or “locked short.” Even if you think you have good posture, you probably do not, as misalignments are often not obvious to the untrained eye
How do we acquire these muscle imbalances that are leading to most of our pain?
Basically, muscles develop imbalances due to over or under use.
In our daily lives, we have all developed habits that impact our muscular system. These habits are things we usually do every day in our jobs, such as the way we sit and what we choose for exercise or don't choose for exercise. All of our daily actions require that we use or don't use our muscles in a particular way. Some of our muscles we use a lot and some we use far less.
Since all muscles are attached to bones and other connective tissue providing skeletal stability and support, muscle imbalances due to muscle tension, trauma, repetitive or improper use can lead to excess muscle shortening or lengthening—allowing for the movement of skeletal components that create postural misalignments, musculoskeletal stresses, and pain. In short, the root cause is muscle imbalances. In simple terms, some muscles become too long, and some muscles become too short which leads to postural distortions and pain. As the imbalance becomes greater, the pain that is experienced in the body becomes more severe.
Is there an easy way to to correct these muscle imbalances?
Muscle imbalances can be corrected by strengthening the long muscles and stretching the short muscles.
Integrated Positional Therapy teaches you how to quickly identify the most common misalignments and to develop a quick and simple approach to getting back into balance. IPT is a gentle and simple self-care approach that has been shown to be effective at successfully addressing a wide-range of common acute/chronic neuromuscular conditions and associative pain. Unlike conventional treatment methods that focus on the symptoms of pain and pain management, IPT takes a novel approach to eliminate neuromuscular pain at its root cause.
What are the most common conditions that IPT Addresses?
The most common conditions are low back pain, neck and shoulder pain and headaches.
Most people have the same or similar muscular imbalances in their bodies with some variations. This coincidence is explained by the fact that we do similar activities all day long. For example, most of us drive a car, sit at a computer or slump in our chairs for a good part of the day. These positions will bring about similar muscular imbalances that will produce similar aches and pains. Almost everyone has tight neck and shoulder muscles whether they hurt or not. Neck and shoulder tightness is primarily caused by slumping over the computer or steering wheel or just walking with your head forward of the body. These positions all cause the neck and shoulders to be tight.
Almost everyone also has a pelvis that is out of balance, i.e. crooked. I have observed in my 25 years of treating pain, that if the pelvis is brought back into balance the discs, the joints, the muscles and other structures will also come back into balance and function normally which will reduce or eliminate the pain in many other areas of the body as well.
How does stress relate to many painful conditions that people experience?
Stress will make your tight muscles feel even tighter.
Many psychotherapists, yoga teachers, and stress specialists recommend slow, deep breathing as a way to reduce stress and anxiety in the body and mind. The world we live in can be stressful. We often live in a constant “fight or flight” state. Our bodies were designed for survival when danger is present. If our well-being was threatened, such as being chased by a tiger, our bodies would release adrenaline, which would make our muscles stronger and tighter. This adrenaline response would help us to run faster and/or be able to fight off that tiger. The adrenaline is then depleted after we use it, and our bodies go back to their normal state.
In the modern world, many everyday occurrences can trigger the release of adrenaline in our bodies. This could be anything from the boss yelling at you at work, to getting the kids ready for school, to watching bad news on the TV. When adrenaline is released, your muscles tense, getting ready to “fight or flight.” Our breathing becomes shallow and rapid. Since we don’t fight or flight, the tension in the body remains for a much longer time than if we had taken some action by running or fighting. This condition of tight muscles due to the activation of our sympathetic nervous system is often referred to as stress. Chronic stress then turns into anxiety. This stress is the underlying cause of many illnesses in our modern life.