patient experiences

Pre-hab: Prepare Yourself for Surgery

You’ve heard of rehab, but have you heard of “pre-hab?”




Prehab is preparing your mind, body and spirit for surgery.
Recently, I’ve seen many of my patients and friends heading into surgery. But often times what I hear is that their care provider did not educate them on preparing for surgery. Prehab has been shown to reduce hospital stays and reduce the post-surgical pain experience.
A study by researchers at New England Baptist Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, based in Boston, found that knee and hip replacement surgery patients who had participated in water and land-based strength training, and aerobic and flexibility […]

Ahhhh…..3 Simple Poses/Practices for Awareness and Relaxation of the Pelvic Floor

So you’ve been told to do Kegel’s. Why? Possibly because you’ve been told you have incontinence or overactive bladder syndrome. But what if there is more to the story? What if you have pain “down there?” Or what if you have low back pain (LBP) or sacroiliac joint (SIJ) pain? Kegel’s, or contracting and strengthening the pelvic floor may not be appropriate for you. Sometimes the muscles of the pelvic floor are overworked, or tense or hyperactive (you choose). And this imbalance between short/tight muscles may be at the source of your issue (pain, incontinence, etc).

Let’s put it this way: if you have a […]

Back Pain and Pelvic Pain and Stress?—Oh My!


Ever wanted to follow the yellow brick road to Oz—make a wish that your pelvic pain would go away? Or perhaps just click your heels three times and you’d be home, comfortable in Kansas without any pelvic issues to speak of? Ok, perhaps not. But I can bet you’re wondering “if I could just find the source of this pain, I could change it.”  Not so easy…..

Before I started studying more about the pelvic floor, I would have not really considered checking the pelvic floor with patients that had back pain, abdominal pain or even stress. But you know how they say, “if you […]

Peeing Too Often?: Overactive Bladder Syndrome


Do you pee a lot? I mean do you pee more frequently than you think is normal? Or do you pee and then literally feel like you could pee again 10 minutes later? I used to pee about 4-5 times in the morning before I leave for work—this is in the span of four hours or so (I know, TMI). But, I was thinking, “I know this can’t be right.” Or maybe it is and it’s just because I drink of a lot fluids.   But it isn’t, “normal.” So, I’ve changed it. Find out how below.

 Overactive bladder syndrome could include any of the following:

Increased […]

Chronic Inflammation: Let Food Be Your Pharmacy (Part III)


Hopefully you didn’t skip the first two parts, because the foundations are there. In Part I, we looked at what inflammation is and how it becomes chronic. In Part II, we discovered that you can change your genes by changing your lifestyle and how certain lifestyle choices are better than others in reducing overall inflammation.

One of those lifestyle changes involves what you put in your mouth.  Yes, your diet… surprise there, I hope. Though I am quite alarmed and still surprised on my morning commute, every time I see a line of cars waiting to get through the McDonald’s drive-through on their way to work (adults, […]

Trust Your Gut, Heal Your Gut: A Personal Story


I just wanted to share my personal story of working through a case of systemic inflammation—because I didn’t think it could happen to me.  And perhaps you are feeling similar and it might help direct you towards some resources so you can start to feel better.

I consider myself to be healthy—a vegetarian since 1999, practice and teach yoga, a physical therapist, daily exercise and meditation.  I teach and talk about having an anti-inflammatory diet to my clients and suggest stress-relieving tools. Pretty healthy, right?

But then I started to not feel so good….just not like myself. And when you practice yoga and meditate, you can […]

Ouch, my jaw hurts!……must be my TMJ, or is it?

Jaw pain, you may have had it at some time, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a larger problem. When it is ongoing and starts to interfere with eating or is causing headaches, then it’s time to seek help.

Several patients have come in, reporting, that they have a “TMJ.”  Well, that’s true, and its true for all people, we all have a TMJ. TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint—a long word for the joint of your jaw.  What they really meant to say was that they had “TMD,” which is temporomandibular disorder.  TMD is defined as disorders associated to the jaw, ie difficulty opening, pain […]

Find Resolve in Impermanence: A Look at Dancer’s Pose


Shiva Nataraja: Lord of the Dance
Inspired by a recent article in Yoga Journal with a combination of a grief relief workshop I took this past weekend—a look at this pose with a little more depth.

Shiva derives from the Sanskrit root, meaning “liberation.”  “He cannot stop the passage of time or the fire that surrounds him, but he can find bliss amid the chaos.”1 In one image, it combines Shiva’s roles as creator, preserver, and destroyer of the universe. It conveys the conception of the never-ending cycle of time.

Shiva’s dance is set within a flaming wheel. The god holds in his upper right hand the […]

Find Balance: From Your Yoga Practice to Daily Life (Part II: Mental Balance)

Ever feel out of sorts? Stressed? Anxious?  You wouldn’t be human if you haven’t.  What happens? Heart races, stomach tightens up, perspiration, shallow breath. Suddenly you’re in the thralls of a physiological “stress response” regulated by the autonomic nervous system (sympathetic in this case).

If you remember from Part I, Merriam-Webster’s definition of Balance included not only physical equilibrium but also, mental and emotional steadiness.1

To consider how to achieve mental and emotional balance, we should reflect on the forces, which might teeter us into a state of unsteadiness.  Some things that can throw us off are:

Stress (including unintended life circumstances)
Daily habits (including taking on more than we can handle)

I’ll […]

Find Balance: From Your Yoga Practice to Daily Life (Part I: Physical Balance)

In my physical therapy practice I often get referrals for balance disorders. Difficulty in balance usually stem from a combination of sources. Some patients come in with vestibular (inner ear) dysfunction, Parkinson’s or Parkinson-like features, cerebellar insults, post-traumatic accidents such as motor vehicle accidents or falls, post-chemotherapy (“chemo-fog”) and poor balance without any known diagnosis.  And usually the diagnosis is not so specific, sometimes just reading, “Balance, Evaluate and Treat.”  As an integrative rehab professional, I have to differentially diagnose from their signs and symptoms, gathering subjective and objective findings to determine a hypothesis or a “physical therapy diagnosis.”

I have tried to keep it somewhat […]

Conservative Treatment for Plantar Fascitis: It isn’t all just stretching

You may have experienced this before: pain on the heel or sole of your foot upon rising from bed in the morning, burning sensation along the arch of the foot, or pain along the arch of the foot, under the big toe and perhaps into the heel, after you’ve walked for a bit. I’m not a doctor, and can’t diagnose you, but it’s likely that you experienced plantar fascitis.  I’ve experienced it, and I know it’s not fun, nor does it “go away” quickly. Below is a description of plantar fascia, how it functions, why it might become irritated and how do we help […]

You are not your diagnosis to be “fixed”

Tat tvam asi, “I am that.” But your doctor wrote you that you were a bulging disc, or a torn rotator cuff, or a neck strain, or a ruptured achilles tendon, etc, etc.  Understand that you are more than your diagnosis.  There is more to you than is written on that prescription pad. You are more than the physical body; you are a mental body, an intellectual body, a spiritual body. And with that, you can not be fixed.  I see patients daily, often with a dozen or so co-morbidities and a half dozen or so medications to “treat” the co-morbidities. They come to […]

Old memory, physical pain

I was treating a patient and they reported having pubic pain. At prior visits, she reported having pain in certain positions with her husband.  I delved deeper knowing the history of this patients pain was well seeded.  My initial intuition said this was something other than physical, but as a PT, during a PT visit, I had to think anatomical/biomechanical.  I laid suspect to the sacroiliac joint.  Finding a minor obliquity, I treated it with some muscle energy technique.  But my intuition was telling me that there was something more.  Asking, “when did it start?”  Patient replied, “when I was pregnant, 12 years ago […]

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