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The Gokhale Method w/ Thoracic Spine Disc Protrustions

djkarp
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12/10/2011 - 11:43am
The Gokhale Method w/ Thoracic Spine Disc Protrustions

I just recently came across the Gokhale Method while researching spine doctors and methods for addressing pain/numbness associated with Thoracic Spine disc protrusions (I have 4... T2-3, T7-8, T8-9, T9-10... all mild to moderate protrusions). I've started working through Lesson #1 and have read all the introductory material in the book. I'm wondering if anyone has experience with Thoracic Spine issues (so much attention seems to be on the Lumbar region) and any recommendations on how I might make the most of this program? Thanks!

lindawingo
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11/09/2011 - 5:57pm

Hello-

like you, I was wondering how this method (which seems to focus on low back pain) may help me address my neck/shoulder pain issues. As I read through the book, I began to see how my posture while sitting, standing, walking and even lying down to sleep, is integrally connected with my shoulder and neck postions.  But also, years of poor posture has led me to have improper hip, knee and foot alignment relative to how I distribute my bodyweight.  All off these things taken into consideration might explain my foot, knee, hip, neck and shoulder pain that has grown worse over the years, despite seeing the best podiatrists, physiotherapists, chiropractors and orthopedic surgery specialists in my area.  None of these professionals offered me a simple, concise explanation as to why a 42 year old woman who keeps herself in top shape has osteoarthritis of the neck, bursitis of the hip, sciatica, patellofemoral syndrome, plantar fasciitis and bunions.  I was told to get cortisone injections, and if that didn't work, "we'll do surgery; maybe that will work".   No thanks.  There must be something else I can try.

After reading the "8 Steps..." book, I was intrigued enough to sign up for a free Gokhale class. While doing the stretchsitting exercise in the class and adjusting my shoulder and neck postions, I noticed something happening in my neck (I have an osteophyte @ T1 and herniated discs @ C5-6 and C7-T1).  While stretchsitting, when I took a deep breath, I could feel and hear my upper vertebrae moving.  Esther explained this was good: the upper vertebrae will move with each deep breath _IF_ we have the _proper_ posture.  This movement stretches out the tissues around your upper vertebrae and allows fluid to bathe those compressed discs and helps accelerate the healing process. Imagine if every deep breath you took throughout the day was helping to heal your thoracic and cervical discs.  What a benefit that would be.  When I felt it and heard her explanation,  I was sold.  It all made sense.  You do the stretchsitting, stretchlying to stretch your lower vertebrae for low back pain; stacksitting and tallstanding to maintain proper J-spine alignment, which allows you to stretch your upper vertebrae with each deep breath.  Hip-hinging to protect your back and glidewalking to preserve your feet, knees, hip, back and neck.

I signed up for and have just completed the introductory class in Gokhale Method.  I do all the strengthening and stretching exercises and drills in the book, and have been for a few weeks now.  I have been trying to glidewalk, but will need more pracice.  It is difficult to have the discipline to change your old posture habits, but I have found that are already taking root and becoming normal to me. I have much less pain in my neck and shoulder during the day and I especially notice less neck pain when I am sleeping at night. Thus, I am sleeping better and I have cut back on sleep meds by half.  By following Esther's advice, I have less hip and knee pain when I sit, stand or sleep.  I am hopeful the foot exercises and changing how I walk will help my foot issues.

The Gokhale method has addressed my many aches and pains.  It has given me the hope that I will be able to do all the activities that I want to do as I get older- play golf, tennis, run, bicycle, hike, ski, kayak - but I haven't been able to (even when I was in my 30's) because I've always had this pain or that pain that I've been trying to heal.

I hope you give it a chance and that it will work for you.  Best of luck.

Very Sincerely, Linda

 

 

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