As a dancer I began to suffer knee pain after an accident in rehearsal in which I severely strained my quadriceps (thigh) muscles on my right leg. We were five days away from opening night, and I was a featured dancer. I was whisked off to physiotherapy (this was Holland, 1978), and underwent treatment that enabled me to compensate enough to open the show. Several months later, however, my knee began to hurt.
I was told that I had torn my medial meniscus. I had it surgically repaired, and went back to dancing. My left knee mysteriously began to hurt about a year later, despite the fact that I never had an accident on that side in my life. Then my right knee began to ache again. I underwent an experimental surgery to repair ligaments that the doctors said were too loose. At the time, I was only 22 years old and in peak physical condition. The surgeries still didn’t help, and I continued having sore knees on and off for the next two decades. It became difficult for me to sit on my knees or to sit cross-legged.
My knees stopped hurting when I discovered Hanna Somatic Education.
But how did Somatics help when traditional medical practices didn’t?
Hanna Somatics taught me what my client, “Lisa” learned last week: the problem with my knees was less a knee issue than it was a problem with tight muscles in the center of my body. Lisa came to me with posture that showed a Trauma Reflex: a side-bending and twisted posture that resulted in leg muscles that no longer coordinated properly. Her waist, hip, and leg muscles had learned to stay tight. Her body was out of balance, and her knees were feeling the strain. Note the muscles of the leg in the photo on the right. See where they insert at the knee on both sides? Notice the muscle tendon that goes over the knee and attached underneath. Imagine what could happen to your knee if you were bent to the side and you had more pressure on one leg than the other.
If the muscles of the leg are overly tight, they will pull on the knee and can cause pain.
The muscles of the leg had become tight, pulling on their insertion at the knee, which resulted in pain. Lisa’s knee pain disappeared once she learned to self-correct, relax the muscles of her waist, stand balanced on both feet, and move her pelvis when she walked. We methodically pandiculated the muscles of her thigh, and reset the muscles to a comfortable, relaxed length. This caused pain from the hip to the outside of the knee, and pain from her groin to the inside of the knee to disappear.