Sessions Conducted on:
When I started working with Matt in June this year (2012) I was in a considerable amount of constant pain.
Two years previously I had been to a chiropractor and unfortunately hadn’t had a good experience. Some restricted movement in my left hip at yoga had taken me there in the first place. X-rays taken had diagnosed a twisted pelvis, compressed vertebrae at the base of my spine and two at the top, which were giving me the start of a ‘dowager hump’.
However, 3 months of treatment (and several thousand pounds) later, I was in agony. The ‘adjustments’ left me with constant neck and shoulder pain and a ‘cold burning’ sensation over my entire upper back and down my left arm that hadn’t been there before the treatment.
Some physiotherapy recommended by my doctor eased it a bit, but for two years I had constant pain in my left shoulder, had pain and restricted movement in my neck and the ‘cold burning’ sensation down my left arm.
I bitterly regretted going to the chiropractor but the only other alternative my doctor could offer was surgery. I thought I was stuck this way for the rest of my life.
Then I read a Pete Egoscue book about ‘Healing through Motion’, recommended to me by my daughter. I read the book and thought it would be worth a try but I wondered if I could find a therapist rather than just try to do the exercises on my own.
A web search revealed there weren’t many therapists in the UK and none in my area, but I was drawn to the ‘Upward Spiral’ website and was intrigued by the online service using Skype and photos on offer.
To be honest, I was a bit wary and skeptical about how it might work. So I decided to email first and start a dialogue to find out more. Matt responded very quickly and I was vastly reassured by his friendly and welcoming (and non-pressurising) manner.
I had initially thought about just using the photo method, where you send four photos of yourself but after exchanging a couple of emails, I decided to go for the Skype session, as I thought it would be more interactive.
I knew from past experience with Skype that speaking would be easy, but I wasn’t sure how a therapy session would go.
However, it was really easy. Matt sent through instructions about what to wear and I just had to make sure I had a bit of space to do exercises on the floor with the camera positioned so he could see me. I’d sent through my photos (taken with my iPhone) in advance, and this had given Matt time to examine them.
We met on Skype at the agreed time and we spent quite a bit of time chatting about my history, what I wanted to achieve, how much time I could devote to exercise on a daily basis and his observations from my photos.
By the end of this talk I realised that my problems primarily stemmed from a misaligned right hip and I realised that the pain in my left knee and the restriction in my left hip, which I’d had for years but never associated with my neck and shoulder, all stemmed from there.
Matt talked me through a set of exercises and watched me perform them via the Skype connection. They were mostly really easy. They aren’t exercises in the sense of calorie-burning type exercise but they are designed to ‘switch on’ muscles that haven’t been used in a long time.
After each set of exercises, I’d stand in front of the camera and Matt would see what difference it had made. And it did start making a difference right away. I started to straighten up and the pain in my neck eased almost immediately. Squeezing my bottom and thigh muscles would lead to less neck pain – who’d have thought it? But it was true.
At the end of the session, Matt sent me through a PDF with photos of the exercises and written instructions to remind me how to do them. He followed up with emails to check how I was getting on and to answer any questions, so I always felt well supported.
I remember my excitement the first day I realised that my glutes and thigh muscles were engaging properly when I was walking. I emailed Matt and he shared in my delight at my progress.
As the weeks went by, I had several more Skype sessions and would send another set of progress photos beforehand.
By September I’d moved beyond my pain. It had gradually been subsiding over the weeks. At first it was relieved by doing the exercises, but eventually, as the muscles we were stimulating started to engage more fully, it was rarely that the pain appeared. By October it had disappeared completely.
However, I kept on doing the daily exercises because I realised this wasn’t about just relieving pain but about repairing my function so that my body would work properly and the pain wouldn’t come back.
By October I started noticing significant physical changes in my body. I stood straighter and had better aligned posture, my bottom was no longer saggy and flat but firming up.
For years my tummy had been soft and flabby no matter how many sit-ups I’d done. I realise now it was because other muscles (like my neck) had been compensating. Now they were working properly, my tummy and core was firming up.
My back, which had been fairly rigid at the beginning, now had greater flexibility. I could turn my head easily in both directions to look over my shoulder. The ‘dowager hump’ pad at the top of my spine had begun to disappear.
These former restrictions in my function I had previously put down to getting older. Now I realise that it is not inevitable that we will get less supple and in more pain as we get older.
I would like to point out that I wasn’t a couch potato before I started this. I did swimming, yoga, walked for miles, ran 5ks, worked out at zumba, circuits and did weights at the gym.
I was a pretty fit lady. Nonetheless, there were muscles in my body that weren’t ‘switched on’ and so other muscles were compensating, so I wasn’t able to improve my core strength. Now my hips have balanced up and I can do the ‘lotus’ and ‘tree’ poses much more evenly at yoga. I don’t get sore knees when I run. My shoulders have more range of movement in my swimming. I can look over my shoulder easily when I drive. And I have no pain.
I am totally delighted with the progress I have made in just 4 months, and what is best is that I am in control of it. It is not something that anyone is ‘doing’ for me. I am doing it for myself, with Matt’s guidance.
It’s been worth every penny I’ve paid for the Skype sessions (which has been significantly less than I previously paid the chiropractor, that’s for sure) and worth every half hour a day I’ve devoted to doing the exercises.
I am going into my 50s being stronger, fitter, more healthy, and in less pain, than I’ve been since my 30s. I am one very satisfied customer and would highly recommend these sessions.
Dr. Shuna Marr (PhD)
Edinburgh Napier University