Carpal Tunnel Syndrome and Vitamin B6

Several studies have suggested that Vitamin B6 deficiencies are associated with carpal tunnel syndrome. Thus, many believe supplementing with Vitamin B6 (25-50 mg, 2 to 3 times a day) helps improve median nerve pain.

Doctors are divided on why Vitamin B6 provides CTS relief. Some think that synovium swelling and inelasticity are caused by B6 deficiency, while others believe Vitamin B6 acts as a diuretic, helping the body to eliminate excess fluid.
*How Vitamin B Can Help Your Carpal Tunnel, Retrieved January 9, 2011,, 2011.


Turmeric can help reduce chronic Inflammation

 Turmeric, specifically its main active ingredient Curcumin is a very strong anti-inflammatory. It has been used in India for centuries as both a spice and a medicinal herb. Recently, medical science is confirming the validity of its use and finds that the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin easily match the effectiveness of some anti-inflammatory drugs – yet without the risks and side effects.

  The inflammatory process is incredibly important as it helps the body fight foreign pathogens and also has a positive role in repairing physical damage. And while this short-term inflammation is beneficial, it can become a major problem when it becomes chronic and starts to work against the body’s own tissues. It is now believed that long term, low-level systemic inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic, Western disease. This includes heart disease, cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s and other degenerative conditions. Therefore, anything that can help fight chronic inflammation is of potential importance in maintaining our health.

 Given that curcumin is such a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it could help not only with systemic inflammations, but also with the localized chronic inflammation of arthritis. Many studies are showing this to be true. So while you are working toward a better posture to relieve stress on these joints and retard further fractioning, you might think about using Turmeric/Curcumin to ease the discomfort.

 In one study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than an anti-inflammatory drug. Another   study published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine in 2009 compared curcumin with ibuprofen for pain relief in 107 people with knee osteoarthritis. The curcumin eased pain and improved function just as well as the ibuprofen.

Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine, a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%. Finding a supplement that has extracted a high percentage of curcumin might be a good addition to the daily diet. Or there is a great recipe for Turmeric Milk which is delicious.
Just take 1/2 cup of water and 1/4 cup organic ground turmeric and mix on medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring the whole time until it thickens into a thin paste. (I grind a good bit of pepper to mine while mixing) This paste will keep well in the refrigerator for a week or more. Then you can take 1-3 teaspoons of the paste and mix with a cup of Almond milk and drink hot or cold. Yum!



Low Back Pain

On any given week new people will come to us seeking relief from low back pain.  And while the lower lumbar region is the area of their discomfort, it is typically a result of tight hamstrings, gluteals (buttocks), psoas and quads (hip flexors).  More and more people are spending more time at their computers and all this sitting keeps the low back under constant attack from tight hamstrings and shortened hip flexors.

Envision the Hamstrings as a continuation of the spinal muscles that run along each side of the spinal vertebrae. And the hip flexors a continuation of the spinal muscles that run deep in the front of the spine. As an individual sits for longer periods, these muscles remain shortened and cause corresponding changes in the spinal muscles in the back. The stiffness most folks experience upon standing is due to this situation where the length:tension ratio of these partner muscles is out of proportion, therefore not allowing the joints of the low back to move properly .

So to compensate for this temporary dysfunction, the body recruits other muscles to help pick up the pelvic girdle and allow the hip joint to properly function. This recruitment pattern in movement exposes the low back's vulnerability to strai

Scientists have discovered a new body part

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

After centuries of medical science I thought doctors knew every single bit of the human body. Incredibly enough, ScienceDaily reports on the discovery of
a new body element called the anterolateral ligament, which apparently has been hiding all this time in our knees.

According to ScienceDaily "the Anatomical Society praised the research as very refreshing and commended the researchers for reminding the medical world that, despite the emergence of advanced technology, our knowledge of the basic anatomy of the human body is not yet exhaustive."
This ligament was first postulated by a French surgeon in 1879, but it's only been confirmed now by two doctors at the University Hospitals Leuven, in Leuven, Belgium.
They have been the first to identify it using macroscopic dissection techniques. The doctors say that this ligament can be found in 97
percent of all humans.
Not only this is an amazing discovery in an age when we thought we knew all about the human body but, according to the doctors, this ligament appears to be crucial in anterior cruciate ligament injuries so common in certain types of

Arthritis is a term for inflammation of a joint. But so many people interpret a diagnosis of arthritis to be the end of the issue and prematurely accept that they will always have that pain. In fact it can easily be treated and improved.

I find that many times, a myofascial strain pattern is compressing the joint, causing friction between the bones that can cause inflammation in that joint. When the muscle strain pattern is released, the joint is decompressed and the inflammation goes away.

Myofascial trigger points can also cause pain deep within a joint. Consider that trigger points are a contraction knot of muscle fibers. These trigger points pull the ends of the muscle in toward the trigger point, pulling on a tendon which has its origin or insertion in the painful joint. It pulls 24/7, causing pain and inflammation, until there is an intervention to release the TrP. Work the trigger point out and the pain diminishes and eventually disappears.

Any Joint pain is most frequently called arthritis ..... except when it is called bursitis, tendonitis, or one of the other "itises" pronounced as diagnosis of the condition, often without ever being tested or touched.
When you discover the strain patterns which are causing your postural imbalances, you can change it and then get on about the task of changing the world.

The cure for arthritis is YOU.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Massage Therapy Research for the Pain of Osteoarthritis of the Knee

Research supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) showed that sixty minute sessions of massage once a week for those with osteoarthritis of the knee significantly reduced their pain. Each massage therapy session follow...ed a specific protocol, including the nature of massage strokes. This is the latest published research study indicating the benefits of massage therapy for those with osteoarthritis of the knee.
• The study involved a total group of 125 subjects, with 25 receiving the 60-minute massage over 8 weeks, while others received less massage or usual care without massage.
• Previous studies on massage for the pain of osteoarthritis of the knee showed similar results, but were on a more limited number of subjects.
Perlman AI, Ali A, Njike VY, et al. Massage therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized dose-finding trial. PLoS One. 2012; 7(2):e30248

June 6, 2012

Now here's an interesting article I came across recently. More for my Gardening page than about Posture, but health-related nonetheless. Enjoy!

Why Gardening Makes You Happy and Cures Depression
Written by Robyn Francis   

While mental health experts warn about depression as a global epidemic, other researchers are discovering ways we trigger our natural production of happy chemicals that keep depression at bay, with surprising results. All you need to do is get your fingers dirty and harvest your own food.
In recent years I’ve come across two completely independent bits of research that identified key environmental triggers for two important chemicals that boost our immune system and keep us happy - serotonin and dopamine. What fascinated me as a permaculturist and gardener were that the environmental triggers happen in the garden when you handle the soil and harvest your crops.

Posture Trends

We've been teaching posture correction for over 20 years. Finally it has become the mainstream trend. Everyone is writing books and making videos about how to correct your posture. And I think it is fantastic that the public is being made aware of how important this is in terms of avoiding pain and joint degeneration. I tried for a good while to incorporate this education into the school systems, but they just weren't ready for it way back then. Someone new will have the energy to put that in place in the next decade I feel sure, and if they'd like my input, I'd be happy to accommodate.  But I have a concern about all the new programs that promise you better posture in x weeks if you just follow their program. The real results are going to be attained by addressing the specific needs of YOUR individual body. The assessment is the key. Knowing what applies to you and what doesn't. What you need to strengthen and what you need to stretch. How it all ties in together from head to toe on your particular framework.

I am happy to report that my knees are still pain free 6 months after I canceled the bilateral total knee replacement surgery. Just came in from a hilly walk which I would not have been able to complete 6 months ago due to pain. But this morning, I actually wanted to keep going; only time kept me from it. It is exhilarating not to be restrained by knee pain anymore.

Client Comment

I'm not the only one benefitting from practicing a PostureFitness® menu for knee pain. Here's what one of my clients sent me this morning:

"Thanks for checking in.  I have been doing the program you gave me daily and am happy to report that my knees are feeling great.  In fact, I'm planning to go to the Y today--- first time in three months!  So they have paid off for me in a very good way.  I'd love to come in to see you next week for my next installment of e-cises. " 

~ It's a good thing and NNC is happy to help.

My total knee replacement -- The Cobbler's children

As a neuromuscular clinical massage therapist  and corrective exercise coach , I have been specializing in relieving pain by restoring posture for over 20 years. But it is challenging to evaluate and assess your own body. i had been helping everyone else but myself.  There's an old saying, "The cobbler's children have no shoes." 
 I really needed to supply myself with the same care I take of my clients. 

My Total Knee Replacement

My story begins: 
 I scheduled TKR this year for both knees. My surgery was scheduled for November 1, 2011.
My quality of life had diminished to the point I could no longer hike with my friends or even walk far enough to call it a walk. Doing simple house work had become a real chore because my legs and knees would fatigue and ache long before the job was done. There are several flights of stairs involved in my daily life and I had begun to dread them all. The laundry would simply pile up because it was too challenging to navigate the stairs to the basement. My yard and garden suffered from profound neglect because I could not  stand long enough to water everything much less bend and kneel and tend to the outdoor tasks I used to love so much. The thought of going on vacation was not exciting because I knew I could not get around well enough not to be a complete bore to my travel companions. I stand in my job, and everyday when I left my office I would literally limp to my car and couldn’t wait to sit down. Which is all I did after getting home in the evenings.

Now, I should explain that I am a Professional Posture Fitness Specialist  who  has great success with my clients in keeping them pain free and out of the Operating Room on a regular basis. But I had not been walking my talk for several years. An extraordinarily stressful business relationship had taken its toll on me and when the dust finally settled, I found myself forty pounds heavier. Amazing that all this fat had been accumulating without me really acknowledging it at the time. I had become much more sedentary as I focused on computer monitoring to protect the business reputation I had worked so hard to earn over the years.  At the same time my elderly parents were declining in physical and mental health. Since they live in another state, instead of my activity level increasing as I tended to their needs, I became even more sedentary as I sat at the computer or on the phone  helping guide them  toward the best resources available in their area. This is the same  thing that happens to so many of us – perhaps different scenarios, but the same resulting stress levels and with the same destructive increase in the time we spend sitting.

My knee joints deteriorated  with all that sitting and weight and were diagnosed as 'bone on bone'  6 years ago. The pain changed over the years , sometimes managable, sometimes crippling. During that period, I sought out the opinions of Physical Therapists, Fitness Trainers, other NMTs.  I was keenly aware that my gait had become dysfunctional and my muscles were not firing correctly, but I needed help to determine where the source of the dysfunction actually resided in my body structure. It is hard to actually diagnose yourself!

My colleagues at Nashville Neuromuscular Center were invaluable in giving me an accurate postural assessment and great soft tissue massage which helped greatly to alleviate the pain when it became too much. It was my associate at NNC who confirmed my suspicions that I had an anatomical leg length discrepancy -one leg is longer than the other- *( I will discuss anatomical vs functional leg length imbalances elsewhere in this blog. It's quite a controversial topic among bodyworkers) But this condition was unquestionably confirmed by an xray of my full standing posture. And when I put a lift on my shoes, my gait improved to the point that I no longer waddled like a duck and some of the pain in my left leg was reduced. Thank you Bethann Easterly and Paul St. John! But leveling my pelvis was not the answer to all the resulting compensations that were now causing me trouble.
So I made the decision to have my knees replaced in an attempt to regain a better quality of life. And I began to acquire all the paraphernalia necessary for the long and brutal rehab – walker, toilet seat riser, shower transfer seat, lining up people to drive me during the 8 weeks I would be out of work and unable to drive.  But in one short week’s time, my inner alarm went off. This went against everything I taught and said that I believed about posture and pain and the ability to change joint pain and the human condition. 

So I knuckled down and worked all the traditional exercises in my clinical repertoire to strengthen glutes, quads, hams, calves and abs to improve the strength, position and support of my knees. When I was not making significant improvement, I reached out and took the advice of other trainers and  physical therapists, and worked their prescribed programs. To my great surprise and dismay, things did not get better. The weight continued to pile on as I became more fearful of trying any form of cardio or lower body strengthening.

I had all but stopped giving exercise protocols to my clients because I was unable to demonstrate them myself and I’ve always held myself to the standard that I will not ask my clients to do anything I cannot do. Plus I was no longer confident that my knee protocols were going to provide the results they were paying me for.  

When I finally hit myself over the head with the realization that I always start my clients out with small movements. I call it "oiling the joints." Restoring the ability to move and allowing a person the chance to perceive correct movement is the first step. Only then can one progress.  I had to act on that knowledge myself. No one could to do it for me.  And thus I finally set about treating myself as I would a client with these same challenges and utilizing a blended menu of subtle movement combining techniques from Feldenkrais, Chek, Hannah, McGill, and others.  I am using this blog to journal my experience toward my goal of avoiding total knee replacement surgery.

Rather than take away from information on Posture Fitness in general, I have created a page specifically for this issue.