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Sources of Pain

Could the True Cause of Your Pain Be Revealed by a Full Clinical Postural Alignment Assessment?

If you have been in pain that has not been relieved by treatments, it could be that the cause of the pain has not accurately been identified and corrected accordingly.

With over 29 years of experience as a clinical massage therapist using postural alignment as a central assessment tool, Brad Highberger has the skills needed to discover untreated issues.

Pain Is Not Necessarily in the Same Place as the Cause of the Pain

Poor postural alignment can often create progressive damage that causes pain and reduces your ability to do the things you want to do.

My program includes a full clinical assessment followed up with manual myofascial therapy* and suggestions for specific strengthening and stretching routines. This combination will create better alignment and help balance your system.

Sometimes, if necessary, referrals will be made to help you get the best and quickest results.

*Myofascial Therapy releases restrictions caused by thickened and bunched tissue.

Call to schedule a free 15-minute consultation to determine if a postural assessment and treatment is the right fit for your situation at 802-730-4955.


More information about problems associated with some types of poor postural alignment.

What happens when we don’t notice changing posture or movement patterns that cause increasing imbalances?

  • Joint degeneration

For example: an overly developed quadricep (upper leg muscle) in one leg may pull forward the ilium (upper ridge part of the pelvis). When one sided, this will compress the hip bone against the sacrum. It also rotates the sacrum under the lowest vertebrae (Lumbar 5) causing added wear to bone and discs.

  • Nerve Entrapment: Tendons and ligaments that are too tight can squeeze nerves and cause disfunction and pain.

For example: improper postural alignment and/or residual trauma tension can tighten the small rotatory or multifidus muscles over nerves, causing spasms next to your spine. If this is squeezing a nerve coming out of your spinal column, the same pain and symptoms that a bone pressing on the same nerve could be present. Diagnosis of the true cause is key to relieving the pain.

  • Nerve Compression: This can be caused by two bones pressing on a nerve. As noted above, this is different than muscles, ligaments or tendons squeezing nerves.

For example: arm pain and numbness may be caused by two bones squeezing a nerve in the neck that feeds the arm/hands.

  • Referred Tension from Muscles to Organs

For example: if your psoas muscles (major hip flexors) are tight, they can pass that tension on to the ovaries, making conception more difficult. This can even magnify existing digestive issues and limited breath capacity.

These are just a few examples. Through conversation, my postural alignment assessment, and palpation of tissues, we can zero in on your specific situation and find ways to ease your pain and difficulties.


What causes our posture to change?

  • Falls and Accidents

For example: Repetitive bumps and bruises in the same area can cause areas of scar tissue. These then often stiffen and tighten over time, restricting movement. The result is that natural ways of moving change and can cause problems in other areas of the body.

  • Mental and Emotional Trauma – People may develop protective physical posturing to hide or reflect past trauma or fears of trauma recurring.

For example: a position of hyper-alert head forward or head/eyes down can cause neck, back or breathing issues to develop.

  • Repetitive Stress: Doing the same thing in the same position over and over can lock in muscle or other postural patterns creating unnatural movement limitations and stressful movement patterns.

For example: specialized repetitive job tasks or lopsided activities such as tablet reading, mouse use, tennis, downhill skiing, etc. can all cause repetitive stress issues.

  • Normal Dominant Muscle Use and Strength Patterns: This includes right or left handedness, and right or left leg use dominance.

For example: Hiking and pushing off most strongly with one side, or while biking,  pushing down and not pulling up (not using bicycle shoe clip-ins.)

All of the above-imbalanced postures frequently also cause progressive joint stress and injury/accident proneness.


Why does the body hold onto patterns that cause problems?

  1. All the above patterns continue to strengthen and deepen simply by the way our nervous system habituates intentionally. There is a neurological Law of Facilitation: “Every time a nerve impulse passes through a pathway it becomes easier to go that way each time.” It becomes harder over time to use our muscles in the balanced way.
  2. Emotional intensity, including painful trauma or blissful intense emotional joy, magnifies the depth of the neurological groove each time we experience them, making movement and conscious pattern change harder to make.
  3. Over time, the habitual pattern causes thickening and shortening of soft-tissue fibers. Muscle fibers may actually become stuck together!


Two Main Things are Likely Needed to Correct a Postural Imbalance

  1. Release of stuck together muscle fibers
    • I use myofascial work. There are also physical therapists trained in sensitive palpatory manual therapies.
  2. Neuromuscular re-education
    • This involves stretching and strengthening exercises to appropriately retrain muscles to work together again.

From my experience, there are very few massage therapists or physical therapists who are trained specifically enough to accomplish this goal effectively. I have focused on these methods for many years, with good results.


Skilled Neuromuscular and Craniosacral Therapy treatment can more easily and efficiently release the habituated patterns and provide relief.