Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Getting your Wheels in Motion

With spring time blooming before our eyes, it's time to get our wheels into gear. Perhaps you want to get started on tending to a new garden, give your home a thorough spring cleaning, have more play time with your kids, or get out and hike. It can be challenging to complete all these daily needs if our wheels aren't moving with fluidity and the gears aren't in proper functioning order. 

How are My Wheels Spinning?

So how are all these wheels and gear metaphors supposed to help you in the first place? A swiss neurologist named Alois Brugger (1920-2001) created one of the first 'get your wheels in motion' theories. Through his concept of the Brugger's Cogwheel, he was able to identify how different parts of the spine are interdependent on one another, much like wheels and gears on a bike. If one wheel isn't working properly then the rest of the system won't function smoothly. It could result in more effort to get up those steep hills of a busy life. Brugger related this with posture in saying that poor posture is not caused by how well you can hold a stoic posture with your shoulders back, chest high, and neck straight. Rather, poor posture is caused by a dysregulation of central motor function, our nervous  system. 

What Happens When a Wheel Gets Stuck
I'd like to think of the nervous system as the gears that control the movement of the wheels. Minute changes in the different segments, or wheels, of the spine create what 'posture' means to us. That's why everyone's posture is unique and individualized. 
Brugger stated that one doesn't have to have pain to in order to know he/she has poor posture. The nervous system is magnificent in that it is able to adapt to mostly any input it is given. So when you sit at your computer desk or hunch over your garden bed, your brain accommodates for the positioning. It does this by changing the signals sent from the brain to the muscles, and back to the brain. This feedback loop repeats until the signals being sent to the brain are changed. Pain occurs only when regulatory protective mechanisms aren’t enough to hold the person in their postural alignment. In addition, pain doesn't necessarily originate where pain is experienced. For example, if someone has pain in their mid back it could be because the wheels above or below that segment aren't functioning well. Even though the person may or may not feel in these other areas, the movement of the wheels will assuredly be affected. When the wheels are functioning properly then all the other organ systems can function well too, such as improved respiration and circulation.

Connecting With Your Wheels
Here is a simple movement exercise you can do to connect with the wheels of your spine.
1. Sit at the edge of a chair, feet flat on the floor. 
2. Begin to draw your pubic bone forward and down to allow the pelvis to tilt forward. Allow the movement to start at the base of the spine and initiate the cogwheel interplay of lower spine, middle spine & neck.
3. While continuing the motion notice how the movement flows through the torso and mid back...the neck & head.  Utilize Brugger's cogwheel image.  If you can't imagine the cogwheels, stop, imagine the reverse cogwheel action & then reverse it again.
4.  Continue rolling the pelvis forward & backward (tucking tail/lifting pubic bone<>pubic bone down/forward & tailbone lifting) and clarifying the cogwheel effect. 
5) For extra credit, see what this same movement feels like with incorporating the pelvic floor in each direction.
 Repeat 5-10 times in a pain free range of movement.

The Brugger's Cogwheel is just one way of connecting to the available movement that your body has to offer. At Wholeness in Motion, we can work with you on helping to master these movements and how they are unique for you.

Written by: Susan Trancik, PTA

1)http://www.dynamicchiropractic.com/mpacms/dc/article.php?id=18210 (retrieved on 3/17/14)

3) http://victoriatheraputicmassage.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/8ff6a.jpg (retrived on 3/24/14)

(retrieved on 3/24/14)


  1. Nice article. I think it is useful and unique article. I love this kind of article and this kind of blog. I have enjoyed it very much. Thanks for your website.
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  3. It is true that when a wheel gets stuck so the complete operation gets stuck and the chances of erosion increase in our body as well but for the body of ours we can get now the services of physiotherapist who can bring us in the real shape that our body had before getting stuck.

  4. some part of the instructions like start stop signals and commands with cogwheels will be good. wheels lengthens the body. width of the body missing in the cog wheels model, still imagaination of the width with cogwheels gives good results. this is complementary medicine still something might be missing in this model.

  5. defining functional set of cogwheel broadly with daily activities gives good results. the positions imagines just sit. may be it useful to think in many poistions these cogwheels makes a free flow movements not making the body rigid. too much using the wheels gives bad results and showing partiality on some set of wheels also gives bad results. among many available complementary techniques this is one part and helps some of the misuses of the using of the body. atlast all depends how we are using and how we are functioning ourselves. and many complementary techniques have there own advantages and disadvantages of maths and caliculations and reasoning the caliculation depends souly on the user but not on the developer.

  6. Where can I find Alois Brugger's book, English version. What's the Book name ?
    Thanks in advance

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