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.