A four-year study involving 276 spine patients ages 53 to 75 published in the February 15 journal Spine suggests that we should--at the very least--take a deep breath and think twice before choosing epidural steroid injections to relieve the pain of lumbar spinal stenosis, not only because this oft-used treatment may not work, but also because it may cause more harm than good. Better yet and instead it might make sense to simply get in the habit of breathing deeply, which naturally lengthens the spine and helps relieve unhealthy stress on the vertebrae... But more about Gokhale Method solutions in just a bit! Read more
The lumbar spine is the region of the spine between the rib cage and the pelvis
I'm reaching out to pregnant women today, because I've been reflecting on a clinical study that captures the scope of the problem of lower back (lumbar) pain in expectant mothers and because I have all too vivid memories of how lower back and sciatic pain affected me when I was nine-months pregnant with my first child. This crippling pain continued for a year, at which point I had back surgery that provided only temporary relief. This painful chapter in my life is what started me on my path to understanding the causes and treatments for back pain. Read more
The butterfly stroke provides an intense workout for the
"rib anchor" muscles.
One of the many benefits of having excellent posture is the ability to enjoy an active lifestyle without injury. Conversely, an active lifestyle can help cultivate good posture. While you are still honing your posture, water is a perfect medium to train in since your buoyancy will reduce impact on your joints. In this forgiving medium, you can safely increase your muscle strength, stamina and flexibility while exploring the nuances of natural posture. You can reset movement patterns and connect the dots that make up the Gokhale Method while enjoying the soothing effect of the water on your body and mind.
No matter which stroke you choose, you will have occasion to summon up and strengthen your deep abdominal muscles. These muscles are especially important for the health and safety of your spine. Read more
Notice how the baby's knees are bent in a wide stance to
allow his pelvis to settle comfortably between his legs.
The holidays are upon us and ‘tis the season for cooking, cleaning and entertaining. You may find yourself especially reliant upon your body as you enjoy the added festivities. We want to help keep you safe and healthy with some seasonal posture tips!
Whether you are baking dozens of cookies or wrapping bundles of presents, your shoulders may feel uncomfortable if neglected. Firstly, assess your surroundings. Whatever your task, ensure that it is within comfortable reach. Read more
Spring brings renewal. All around us the earth is alive with the sounds and smells of new life. As the weather grows more inviting, your yard and garden may be calling. For many people, gardening and outdoor work are favorite pastimes, yet the fear of back pain can be inhibiting. Let the Gokhale Method help you to thrive alongside your plants!
When planting flowers and digging in the dirt, use hip hinging to save your knees and lower back. Maintain your spinal shape as you bend from the hips. Take a wider stance to reach the ground more easily. When you feel your hamstrings pulling, bend your knees to keep from tucking. Check to see that your knees track over your feet and that your shoulders remain back for good blood flow to your arms and hands. Try resting one elbow or forearm on your thigh as the other hand performs your gardening tasks to reduce the demand on the muscles in your back. Read more
Over the years, GMF course alumni have often reported that they lost weight. Occurring too frequently to be coincidence, these testimonials have spurred me to thinking about the weight loss – posture connection. Here are some possible mechanisms:
1. After restoring their primal posture, students are out of pain, feel better, and indulge in the natural human impulse to move and go back to an active life. Read more
Lengthening the spine is an important component of the Gokhale Method and the best way to begin a posture transformation. Creating space between the vertebrae decompresses the discs and promotes healthy nerve function. Allowing your spine to be in gentle traction often throughout the day is an excellent way of creating a healthy baseline. We can do this by sitting, standing and sleeping with good posture. In addition to these Gokhale Method basics, sometimes your back muscles crave an even deeper stretch. Below I’ve outlined three additional ways you can stretch your spine that are safe and therapeutic. Read more
This backbend is more dramatic than the average shower backbend, but his form is impeccable (see the even groove on the midline of his back)
As your mother always said, practice makes perfect. Luckily, every day you are presented with countless opportunities to perfect your posture while sitting, walking, sleeping and...showering.
Yes, that’s right. You can, and should, be aware of your posture even while performing the most mundane of tasks. So before your next shower, take a few meditative minutes to enjoy the healing properties of warm water...and then pause before you grab your shampoo bottle. Why? Because the half-minute you spend lathering your hair is probably the most vulnerable shower-time for your back. Read more
When I was 12 years old my mother took me to our family doctor for a check up. I remember him looking at me and saying “One of your shoulders slopes down more than the other. Isn’t that interesting!” What’s interesting to me is that the word scoliosis never came up in the conversation and that there wasn’t any further investigation of my sloping shoulder. As a 12-year old I had never heard of scoliosis, so I thought my sloping shoulder was just an oddity I would live with.
It was not until many years later when I returned to school to study massage therapy that I began to notice changes in my spine that manifested as chronic low back pain. I thought it was because of the sitting I was doing in classes or the crawling around on the floor for shiatsu practice sessions. The pain never really subsided, though I did find temporary relief through bodywork and the application of heat. Though the pain was not severe, it was bothersome because it was... Read more