a doctor’s story


gregIt’s an early morning in Haiti and I’m doing an airbench before clinic. My eyes are closed and I’m concentrating on Cindy Meyers’ words: “push down on your heels and push your lower back into the wall and hold for two minutes”.  I look like a man sitting in a chair without the chair under me. This is a small pause before my very busy medical clinic begins.

How did I come to airbenches in Haiti, doing these and other  postures described in “Pain Free” by Pete Egoscue to help resolve issues in my foot, my lower back and my shoulder? I’ve written this little story to describe to you how postural therapy has rescued me and why I believe many others in Charlottesville would benefit from some time spent with the people at Pain Free Performance where they treat pain with postural alignment.

Seven months ago, I was faced with several muscular skeletal problems that were not going away, the result of one bike collision with a car, 45 years of running with the wrong stride and a slowly aging 60 year old body. My pain was so severe a year ago I hiked down a Glacier National Park mountain backwards for two miles because I couldn’t come down on my right heel, it felt like a knife jabbing my foot! The bears thought I was just wacky but at least they stayed away.  I sought out help from Cindy Meyers (and staff) at Pain Free Performance. In February I saw Cindy for an evaluation and she photographed my body from several angles against a grid background. She showed me where my shoulders and hip bones were off balance, and then how my head was too far forward on my neck and how my gut was not so much full of extra hamburgers as I thought, but it protruded a little because of the lack of curvature in my middle back. She watched me walk and perform some stretches and positions so she could evaluate the way my body moves and from that she gave me a specific regimen to begin to re-balance my body.

Cindy and the staff at Pain Free Performance are Postural Alignment Specialists certified by Egoscue University.  Developed over forty years ago by anatomical functionalist Pete Egoscue,  this postural alignment therapy focuses on realigning the entire body. So even though my heels were giving me fits, the fact that my head, shoulders and hips were off kilter is what was causing the overall dysfunction and pain in my feet.

Every two weeks I have spent an hour with Cindy and staff for re-evaluation and a new program prescription as my body changes. I spend about 15-20 minutes each day performing these simple but deeply effective isometric postures, strengthening and balancing my skeleton and muscles. The results are amazing! Who knew? Even a vegan diet couldn’t get rid of my gut, but not only is that disappearing but my heel pain is pretty much gone! I’m back to running after a two year hiatus and my foot strike is now mid foot not heel. I’ve even gained an extra half inch back in my height with my spine better supported!

Now my family, office staff and Haitian friends are accustomed to my  airbenches, cat-dog postures and standing shoulder shrugs. I am continuing to make these postures a part of my routine before my work day, before running and other workouts. This is an incredible team of caring and gifted health workers. Their skills and their motivation will keep you going in the right direction until you are as healed as you want to be.

Dr. Greg Gelburd