© Jolie Bookspan, MEd, PhD, FAWM
no one ever come to you without leaving better"
~ Mother Teresa
Your Success Story
Stories appearing on this page are only from people who want to be on this page. No private e-mails or letters sent me are shared without permission.
To send a story for this page or to tell me your success in private mail to: Scientist@DrBookspan.com.
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BOOKS To Fix More
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Success of the Week
From all that come in, one selected for you to enjoy and benefit
Foot Pain, Pronation, Achilles, Stress Fractures
Frank Kaler, Aerobics, yoga, & spinning teacher, cyclist, general contractor.
Stephanie Schwartz, Psychologist, and Derek Barrett. PLUS video to fix flat arches related to foot, ankle, and knee pain.
Very Flat Feet and Knee Pain, PLUS "Mystery" Back Pain
Joe Hagan, U.S. Courts, Fixed all three in one appointment.
Lower Back Pain
Steve Kramer, Photographer. Fixed his back and knees, and went back to fencing, winning medals in international competition.
Arthritis, Hip Pain, and Success With Running
Preparing for Trekking
Andrea Clearfield traveled to Nepal to research sacred music
Preventing Pain from Returning
Laraine P and Jayakrishnan
Special stories from James Michie sportsman and yoga devotee, and Christopher Emmolo Bouncer and martial artist
Patient Hall of Fame
True stories from readers of my column The Fitness Fixer which ran 2006 to 2010.
Reader Hall of Fame 2010
Reader Hall of Fame 2009
Reader Hall of Fame 2007 and 2008
Devin Leary wrote me after reading about my accident (on the Rare Photos page, toward the bottom). He wrote about his sustaining major injuries including serious head injuries from a motor vehicle accident:
"I found your web page 'Rare Photos' when I was all bandaged up, stuck at home moping around. If I remember correctly, I read it from start to finish, and afterwards, got up off my lazy butt and went for a walk. It was sometime around then that I made a positive decision to start being more active and actively working towards getting my mind and body 'back' and ready to conquer the world again. I've been reading your Healthy Martial Arts book as well and been making an effort to incorporate it to my daily life."
~ Devin Leary Manager/Owner, Master Scuba Diver Trainer, Arraia Divers - PADI 5 Star IDC
Colette did a lot of good assessing and fixing of several injuries at once, then made it sound easy.
Jennifer Semchuk had major pain and disability six months after hip replacement surgery.
Robert Davis had months of tennis elbow physical therapy but lateral elbow pain remained until we checked and fixed causes. Then he sent this photo reading my book Healthy Martial Arts like this:
Success Story of the Week - Kaethe Ellis Williams
With YOUR posture in place and YOUR exercises in practice I was in the ribbons last weekend, the first time I've been able to show my Arabian horse in two seasons. At age 66 I was in four classes competing against 18 year olds (youngest) to the 45 and Over Division which always makes me the class doyenne. I ribboned in all four classes and qualified for our big Regional show next month in Denver. I am religious about all YOUR ideas and riding my beach cruiser bicycle to increase my stamina for the show ring. Posting at the trot, galloping and dodging the other horses and riders round and round a huge arena while being judged and managing nerves plus maintaining the BOOKSPAN posture at all gaits and transitions; it is the ultimate challenge! I felt like along with my show number pinned on my back I should have been sporting a big BOOKSPAN banner! I cannot thank you enough!!!
I'm still hoping I can meet with you on July 30th in Philly for a session, but with our severe drought here in western Colorado it may not be prudent for us to leave the ranch in wildfire season. I will keep you posted!
I cannot thank you enough for helping me get my life back; I live to ride......Kaethe
Update after November 2012 appointment
"HAPPY THANKSGIVING! I just wanted you to know that on this Thanksgiving Day, I am THANKFUL for You! I give thanks for all the help you gave me during my appointment with you. I loved every second of the generous help you shared and I felt like a million dollars afterwards, and still do! You are a true miracle worker and I am so grateful, it makes me want more!!! Please let me know when you are coming to Colorado and if you want to ride a horse. Happy Trails, Kaethe"
"I loved Philadelphia and would love to return. The (hotel you recommended) was very friendly, clean and well located. You were the highlight of my entire trip and since my session with you, my husband has noticed marked improvement.
So the "miracle photo" is for real! Thanks for the photos! Kaethe"
Update June 2014
Kaethe writes, "Another Colorado Miracle Thanks to You! Region 8 Champions!"
She sent this photo, and added the caption:
Update February 2015
Kaethe writes, "A very successful February horse show in Arizona and I owe it all to you, THANK YOU!!!!"
Update November 2021
Kaethe sent this photo and writes:
"I really loved the cute greeting you sent for my 76th birthday! Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and count my blessings that I "discovered" you and your wonderful healing methods!
I hope you are continuing to do amazing things for other people and that you are in a happy healthy place yourself!
My horse Olive and I ride daily and appreciate our wonderfully active life!
Kaethe in Colorado
Previous Success Story of The Week From Andrew D
Your teachings have done so much for me; I apologize if I am being too forward but I would like to tell you my story, in brief so I do not bore you. :-)
For approximately two years I suffered chronic pain on the left side of my head, neck, shoulder, back, and groin. Doctors gave me Diclofenac and Celebrex (both severely irritated my stomach so I stopped taking them), checked me for hernia (none), gave me a cortisone shot in my shoulder (only helped a little), gave me Tramadol for pain, and finally did an endoscopy/colonoscopy which turned up basically nothing (except for irritation/inflammation which was probably from the anti-inflammatories they had given me... not to mention the stress!).
I am a web application developer and so I sit quite a bit; I also regularly exercise [for the most part] in one way or another (e.g. yoga, biking, etc. but no formal training...).
Finally, one day while I was searching the web for information about my problem (my problem that I and all of my doctors could not identify) I came across your work on neck pain and how to fix it. I read the whole thing and then did what you said, right there at my work I felt better, and over the next 24-48 hours my 2 year nightmare was over - I was almost 100% fixed and pain free.
For the next two weeks I scanned your web site and from it I purchased "Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier" and "The Ab Revolution" (amazing book, I totally move better all the time now... now I finally know what it means to be strong); from studying this information I finally understood what was happening to me - round shoulder syndrome and generally poor body mechanics. I was amazed at the wealth of information and its effectiveness, my exercise and everyday life changed dramatically; I am now functioning at a much higher level and pain-free to boot
I can't thank you enough for the positive impact you've made in my life, your personal story is profoundly inspiring, and your work produces miraculous results - thank you.Sincerely, Andrew DePratt
This Came In From Bonnie McG
Hello Dr Bookspan.
Around this time last year, you traveled to Pittsburgh for a martial arts event and took the time to see me and help me with my serious knee problems. You skipped getting your award to give me a private appointment, still in your competition uniform. I wanted to update you with my progress.
I am 95% pain free now and extremely active :)
In the spring, I quit my job as a cleaning lady at Duquesne University and I am now running my internet business full time.
I have a huge wonderful garden with an abundance of fresh food daily.
I would not have been able to accomplish that without your help and knowledge.
I am very happy, have little stress, and finally got my life back.
I will always use the knowledge I now have, to help anyone I meet with the same problems I’ve endured.
I have accomplished so many things within this year and just wanted to thank you again for all your help.
You are truly a blessing and your research will definitely continue to help so many people
Take care and all the best to you. Bonnie
Foot Pain (Metatarsalgia), Pronation (Flat Feet), Achilles, Stress Fractures
Frank Kaler - aerobics/yoga/spinning teacher, cyclist, general contractor - tells in his own words:
I began my athletic career as a distance runner in high school. In my first season, despite promising results, I began suffering from multiple stress fractures of the medial tibia (shin bone). I retired from running my first season. Looking for a substitute, I opted for bicycle racing which I enjoyed for about 5-years. During my sixth year as a cyclist I entered a triathlon. I thought that my bones had become strong enough to endure the stresses of running. Not long after beginning running I began to experience new pains: "big toe" (distal metatarsal) pain in both feet and Achilles tendonitis.
Somehow I finished well in my first big race, and afterwards went to a podiatrist to find out what the problem(s) were. He informed me that my symptoms were degenerative arthritis (over-use related), bunions (metatarsal) and Achilles tendonitis (distal insertion) due to undue lateral motion of my heel while running. The cause of these symptoms, he said, was pronation. He told me I needed an operation to remove the bunions and "repair" the arthritic joints. I was 22 years old. He also told me that I would need orthotic inserts in my shoes for the rest of my life. I had the operation, was fitted for the custom orthotics and I wore them religiously for almost 20 years. I tried to continue with triathlons after the operation using orthotics in my running shoes, but the tendonitis issue became chronic and I could not run more than one or two miles without severe tendon pain and moderate, but nagging, pain in my "big toes."
I came to think myself a debilitated, crippled, has-been. I never thought I'd be able to run comfortably or well in competition again.
For 20 years I relied on my orthotic "crutches" to allow me to walk with minimal comfort. They never allowed me to be comfortably athletic. I retired from competitive athletics.
Dr. Bookspan showed me the cause of my pronation was not "fallen arches" as the foot doctor had told me. She showed me that my arches were well formed. I had no genetic malformation of bones or joints, but I allowed my body weight to slump inward on my feet, pressing on the arches, flattening them. The pain in my big and second toe bones in the ball of my foot was from the pronation pressing it against the floor (and shoe) with each step instead of my distributing the weight all over the padded sole of my entire foot. Because I walked with feet facing outwards, my toes were being pushed sideways resulting in bunion (and pressing that painful big toe bone), instead of keeping my weight level and the foot facing straight forward. No wonder it hurt.
I have learned that it is a sign of nothing more then improper "foot posture." How does this happen? I let it happen. Intentionally or not, I let it happen. Over time I nurtured a bad habit that neither doctors, coaches nor I ever recognized until Dr. Bookspan showed me that I can easily change it. My podiatrist saw pronation as the primary cause of symptoms which I suffered. He was wrong. Pronation was the primary symptom of something else: my bad body positioning. The bunions, tendonitis, etc., were results - secondary symptoms.
Dr. Bookspan showed me what proper foot posture is as I walk, stand, and run. I now am beginning to explore the new thrill of using my own musculature to properly posture my feet. Rather then relying on my orthotics to support my weight as I rock through each step, I rely on myself. I begin each step on the bottom of the heel (for long strides) and now rock through my strides with plenty of air beneath the arch of my perfectly healthy foot, and rather then rely on my big toe to drive myself forward at the end of each step, I use all 5-toes and no longer feel any pain. I only feel strength.
My "REVOLUTION" occurred at least 30-years late. Had I understood this simple fact early in my athletic career, I never would have had the problems described. I probably would not have had the three stress fractures in high-school. I never would have created my arthritis or bunions or needed the operations. I never would have needed the orthotics. I would probably still be running in good form today. It's never to late to start.
Today I run, even box, without any foot pain, pronation, or stress fractures. As I continue applying what I have learned, to prevent my "two flat tires" I can exercise and live without pain. It is a great relief.
Notes from Dr. Bookspan:
This does not mean to walk only on the sides of your feet or strike hard on your heels only. Frank had been flattening his arches downward toward the ground. He stopped doing that, and normalized his arch to be level.
Metatarsalgia, pain in the bones of the ball of the foot, does not mean you must give up running, or impact, or have to lose weight, or take medications to relieve the pain. If the cause is simple bad foot positioning, you can easily and quickly stop that cause and you will no longer grind the toe bone and it will stop hurting. Some people get this pressing from their orthotics or engineered "supportive" shoe. Check that your shoe and your "cure" isn't rubbing or pressing. You can hold up your own arches. More on this in the next story.
"There is nothing noble in being superior to some other man. The true
nobility is in being superior to your previous self."
-- Hindu proverb
Stephanie Schwartz, psychologist, tells her story:
I hyper-extended my right knee sliding into 1st base at the Labor Day softball game. It was the final employee game on the field of Veterans Stadium where I worked as an usher for the Phillies and my single scored one of the winning runs for our team.
Unfortunately, the RBI also left me with a pain in my right knee that lasted long after the game ended. Whenever I'd stand up, the underside of my knee would tense up and the pain would follow. It was especially bad in the mornings when I first stood up. I was always able to walk it off and even continue exercising.
But after 6 weeks of this happening every time I stood up I began to seriously consider seeing a doctor. Then one Friday night in yoga class, the doctor came to me.
Dr. Jolie's Healthier Smarter Yoga class focuses heavily on education about identifying and fixing injurious joint positions during work on strength and balance. I was concerned about further injuring my knee, yet as the class continued I realized just the opposite was happening. My knee was feeling better, stronger. I walked out of class feeling better than I had in weeks. As I went back to my normal routine however, the pain returned.
The next Friday I went back to yoga class. Again I required more balance and performance from my knee than I ever did in my daily life. And again my knee felt better than it had all week! This time I decided to speak with Dr. Jolie after class to find out just what I was doing in class to bring me such relief and why the pain came back when I went back to my normal routine. I explained to her how I'd hyper extended my knee and how the pain kept lingering despite my best efforts to "walk it off." She asked me a few questions about where exactly on my knee the pain was (the underside) and how long it lasted (only when I first stood up after sitting for a long period of time). "I don't have any x-rays of you or anything but I can tell by the way your knees are bending inward that you're falling in on your arches. In class we always make sure students don't do that."
Huh? I'd never had a problem with my arches before. And besides, pain was in my knee, not my feet! But as I looked at the two of us in the full length mirror and watched her exaggerate my poor standing posture I realized it was true. And as I watched Dr Jolie's mirror image straighten out her posture I saw how ridiculously easy it was to correct. A simple shifting of my weight from the inner edges of my feet to distributed over the soles made a dramatic difference.
Over the next week I practiced shifting my weight off the inside and more to the whole foot. Just realizing when I was "doing it again" was more than half the battle. Walking and standing were such routine actions for me. They were so automatic I'd never considered how I was standing and walking. Once I became aware I was standing and walking poorly, fixing it was a snap. And the results came quickly and clearly. The more I stood and walked correctly, the less my knee hurt, which encouraged me to continue to practice standing and walking correctly. The pain hadn't come from the single injury that hyperextended it, but years of pressuring the knee inward. The positive momentum took on a life of its own! By the time I returned to yoga class the following Friday, I could stand up and walk just fine without any pain, no matter how long Id been sitting beforehand. After six weeks of nagging pain, it was a welcome relief!
It's been nearly a year since then. In that time I've continued to train almost every week with Dr. Jolie. Her classes are really high end sports medicine classes for the price of a yoga class. In addition to providing an awesome strength training workout, she has taught me the power of knowledge. The key to eliminating pain is to pay attention to stopping injurious habits and using healthy movement, not just in class, but in our daily lives.
Derek Barrett of California, tells about his knees:
Hi Dr. Bookspan! Quite the exciting life that you lead there! You are quite the modern day Renaissance person! I read your article "How to Fix Knee Pain." I rolled my pronated feet out more to the soles of my feet, moved my knees that were swaying inward of the feet to vertically over the feet, and felt my outer quads immediately activate, and watched as my knee caps straightened up. Then I squatted down and my ALWAYS clicking knees did not click. They felt SO FLUID ! AMAZING and SO SIMPLE HOW DID I MISS THIS?!! I want to do more proactive training with (you) to implement your alignment/reconditioning methods so I can make them more automatic. Also, I practice yoga as well and did Thai boxing for a year (not at your level but was a lot of fun). I can call you the "Peaceful Warrior," and defender of all that is good in this world. Keep up the good work Paladin. :-) Thanks again
Fixing Flat Arches to Neutral
Here is a short gif we took showing how simple this can be:
This video has no sound (and neither should your foot):
1. First one of my students shows the foot allowed to slouch, so that the arch flattens. Arrow, and sad red face.
2. Then we show using muscles to lift and hold a normal arch. Happy green face smiling!
3. Then we demonstrate that if you stop using your muscles and slouch again, the arch will flatten downward again. Red sad face.
Remember - You can prevent your own arches from sagging and slouching during all you do. You can have normal arches all the time, with more mobility and muscle use without pain. Use this video to learn it. Then use it during all you do.
are others are available directly on my Flickr page:
Below is a Tweet from a reader of a fun benefit of her husband not needing shoes to hold his arches - a cleaner house:
Flat Feet and Knee Pain, PLUS "Mystery" Lower Back Pain
Joe Hagen had very flat feet
My name is Joe Hagen and I had very flat feet. I saw Dr. Jolie Bookspan in June of 2014. I am writing this in August, 2014.
As a child I actually walked on my instep. Corrective shoes through grade school got me walking flat footed and I had been that way ever since. During Dessert Storm, as an Air Force Reservist, I was activated to serve full time. As a surgery technician I found myself standing for hours a day beside the operating table. It was the first time my feet ever bothered me. In short order I made doctor appointments. The orthopedic surgeon, and the two technicians first reactions upon seeing my stance was to remark, "Wow!!" All said they'd never seen feet so flat, and wondered how I managed. I ended up with orthotics which helped the discomfort but did nothing to correct my condition.
Dr. Bookspan's reaction was more clinical but she too was impressed with how flattened I stood. Her solution however was to treat causes of my flat feet rather than only suppress the pain that walking without support would bring on. My feet and arches need to be held up, not pushed up, she directed. Lifting my instep using my own feet and ankle muscle allows me to stand normally, without artificial support, for the first time in my life. My feet do feel better, but they also look better with and without shoes. At the end of my first session there had already been a change in my stance. Dr. Bookspan gave me simple drills to strengthen my feet, and the knowledge that you need to use the strength, and how to do that. Since then, when I catch myself letting my feet slouch mostly on my instep, I correct further and feel better because of it.
I don't have to strain or make a large correction to have control of my own feet. I don't know that I'll ever have (or need) a high arch, but I know that my feet feel better, and the knee pain I used to have is gone.
One more thing. At my appointment, I only mentioned I was there for my feet and knees. Dr. Bookspan looked at how I was standing and asked if my back hurt. I was amazed. How could she know? It hurt most of my life. Beside that, my doctors all had told me nothing could be done. Dr. Bookspan showed me I was standing swaybacked - I leaned my upper body backwards, which made a sharp angle in my lower spine and caused that constant ache when standing, and why it always mysteriously disappeared when I'd sit or bend forward (taking out that sharp angle). She showed me right then how to change the backward-lean to an upright upper body, and the pain was gone. She also noticed my rounded shoulder and showed me how to straighten to healthier neutral. It felt better. Then she said it was time to start the appointment to fix the feet and knees. I told her fixing the back pain alone was worth the whole appointment. Since then I can stand for any length of time without pain - in back or feet.
Thank you Dr. Bookspan!
Note: Mr. Hagan practiced using the video in the previous story - Fixing Flat Arches to Neutral. If you haven't seen it yet, please take a look.
One Year Update
On May 12, 2015, Anne Hagen (Joe's wife) wrote:
I think of you often but am finally taking a minute for an update. Joe is back to fencing pretty faithfully. He set up a greenhouse with chicken wire and has planted veggies for our summer salads. He also does considerable flower planting, so he moves and bends and moves some more. Fencing photos to follow!
Two Year Update - Joe's Wife Ann fixed her knees at the same appointment as Joe
On May 31, 2016, Anne Hagen wrote:
I think of you often. I've been squatting to pick dandelions from my yard and want someone to take a photo so there is evidence! I have been faithful with my new healthy leg exercises and am much stronger than two years ago when we met (can it really be two years!!!???).
Lower Back Pain - With Bonus Knee Success
Steve Kramer - "Photoenvisions" Freelance Photography in Chiang Mai Thailand - writes in his own words:
How do you put a miracle down on paper and not have it sound like a loony UFO sighting? But I guess it's really not a miracle. It was just plain common sense.
I had already resigned myself to a life of surgery followed by chronic pain, limited physical activity, and lots of medication.
It was not a bright future. I had been told by several very, VERY qualified orthopedic surgeons in three different countries that the only remedy for my injured lumbar discs was surgery and pain medication for life.
"Nothing to be done about it so get used to the idea. Perhaps a 'Pain Clinic' can teach you how to manage the pain better." I was already eating more pain medications all day every day than I cared to be, and I wasn't happy about it.
From working with Dr. Bookspan I learned about obvious pressure I was putting on my back by standing and sitting in all the ways we already know you shouldn't do. Sitting rounded forward, lifting with a rounded back was degenerating my discs and pushing them outward. When standing and lifting overhead, I was arching my lower back too much inward, transferring the weight to the low back instead of using my muscles to keep from arching backward. To help remind me how to move with proper mechanics, she told me to watch how so many other people injure themselves through their own body weight.
I watched other people moving. I think THAT'S what really got me excited; seeing others who were complaining about the same back pain I was experiencing moving themselves all wrong! They were bending badly, sitting badly, and standing badly. In general living their physical lives incorrectly. I could SEE it! Plain as the nose on my face. And it made sense. If you move your body correctly, you aren't pushing spinal discs out of place or grinding the joints, and you allow them to heal, and the pain stops. Simple as that.
The exercises that some of the orthopedic physicians had me doing were correct in theory but incorrect in practice. Yes, I needed to stretch my back muscles, but not by standing up, bending over and touching my toes. That was creating MORE pressure on the disks. Yes, I needed to strengthen my abdominal muscles, but NOT by doing stomach crunches that exacerbated the problem in my back and created more problems in my neck! So I began doing the exercises the way taught in her articles and books. No pressure on my spinal disks. I began paying attention to my positioning when standing. Paying attention to the way I stood up from a chair, the way I reach for something on a higher shelf, the way I even get out of bed in the morning. With repetition it becomes ingrained and I won't have to think about it again.
I don't need to go to the health club or gym for any of this. It's something that I do all day every day now, not just two hours a day, twice a week. That was less than four months ago. Today I don't take ANY pain medication, and I lift, carry, walk, and do more than before. A pain-free life. I like that."
UPDATE 9/2012 - about TEN years later.
Steve had moved to Japan, writing me often with his expanding pain-free life of photography, work, motorcycle trips, martial arts, and more. This is one short note:
"Time is moving quickly towards our return to western Japan's mountains and some more paragliding.
With that end in mind, I decided to take off my excess weight and get my muscles back in tone. I've been walking everywhere, especially where I can find steep hills, using stairs instead of escalators in the train stations, and even walking up the 6 floors to our apartment. I cut down on portion sizes at each meal, and so far, I've lost 28 pounds! Another 10 and I'll be back to where I was when I was fighting and fencing regularly! I'm a happy camper.
I've also been carrying extra weight as I walk around, bringing more camera gear with me, and of course, the results have been that I managed to get a few really nice 'Japanese' photos that I really was missing before. I'll attach a couple here so you'll get an idea of what I've been seeing on my walks."
Update on Steve's Birthday Dec 2012. Steve replied to my birthday card with this:
"Thanks, guys! It's been a wonderful day! But, as I have lost 50lbs, and can now run up 12 flights of stairs, I have decided that instead of turning from 65 to 66, this year I'm going from 65 to 64!
See ya soon!"
Update Dec 2013 - Return to FENCING!
Steve had moved back to Thailand. He wrote me about returning to fencing for the first time in over 25 years. He had started as a high school junior in 1962-63, then Junior Olympic squad, an offer of a fencing scholarship to NYU (he declined), Fencing Master for fencing societies, teaching at an Adult Ed program, and for three years at the college level. In 1982 he won the Eastern States Professional 3-weapons Fencing Championship. Then he had injuries, pain, stopped fencing. Life on hold for a long while. Then he first contacted me, and fixed his pain. The stories of that are above.
In 2013, Steve wrote me a fun e-mail of feeling so good and able, that he looked up a fencing club in northern Thailand where he was living. He said, "All the equipment has changed. The rules have changed. I didn't even know how to assemble the electrics, much less how to dress for electric scoring. We never had any of that stuff back in the day. It was only used in large competitions, not by small clubs. So the Fencing Master helped me get dressed and wired up. Then we got on the strip... I really didn't know what to expect... "I CAN STILL FENCE AT 67 YEARS OLD ALMOST AS WELL AS I DID AT 27! If I can get my feet moving again, I'm going to be able to compete again! YIPPEE!!!!!!!!!!!"
Later in December, KNEE PAIN was starting
Steve wrote me, "I fenced with the second seeded fencer in the club. We timed out at 4-4 in double overtime. Then I fence the #3 fencer. We timed out at 4-4 in double overtime. About that time I figured I was ready for a heart attack and had to stop and rest. Besides, my knee is in such bad shape that even with it in a brace the pain was getting to be too much."
I wrote back, "I will check that knee and make it better if you want." Steve replied:
"If I want? Are you kidding me? You are 95% of the reason I can even get through my day without needing a wheelchair. I shall dedicate my impending International Fencing gold medal, senior division of course, to you!"
Update March 2014 - FIXING KNEE PAIN and Fencing Success
I had been back in Thailand and got together with Steve and his wife. Steve gave me a guitar lesson, then we all had a Thai meal and I evaluated his knees. I don't take people off their activities, I look at how they do them. We found that when Steve walked and fenced, he let the arch of his foot flatten toward the floor and he let his knee do two things - slouch inward (angulate) and separately, rotate inward. In his fencing photo above, it is clear his front knee is several inches rotated and angled inward (it is a slight angle but enough to rub and hurt with every lunge and bend). Also you can see that his foot is turned outward, so that the kneecap faces one direction and the lower leg another. When bending the knee to move and fence and climb stairs, that rubbed. When he stood on one foot, the knee rotated inward under his weight instead of holding straight in line with his foot. That made a grinding rotation. I showed him how to move his knee to face in the same direction as the foot, and to be above the foot, not sagging inward of it. He practiced holding healthy knee position when bending, moving, and balancing on one foot. Some of the quick techniques are detailed above in the true accounts from Frank Kaler and Stephanie S. We practiced everything needed, and I gave Steve instructions how to progress further each day.
After I returned home, I checked in with Steve. Steve wrote back, including a photo for me that he snapped of all of us together. He wrote. "Nice memories! By the way... no more knee pain. You done it again! It's a shame more people don't listen.
Update June 2014 - With Knee Pain Fixed, More Fencing Success
"I just returned from fencing in the Royal Thai Navy Open tournament in Bangkok. Did better than I expected."
Update September 2015 - More Fencing Success at the 2015 Bangkok Tournament
"It was a GREAT weekend event! I got to see many, many people again that I only see at these tournaments. Many of them good friends during the event and then later on Facebook, even though we can't understand a single word of each other's language! There were people competing from 14 countries, over 400 people in all. The venue was great, the competition even better. There were two current Olympic Gold Medal winners competing in this tournament, but fortunately not in my events.
"Four of us from the Chiang Mai Fencing Club went down to Bangkok, three of us were competing, and we brought home four medals. To me, THAT is a successful tournament! I took two Bronze medals, both in Foil, myself. I was the oldest fencer in the competition, as much as 50 years older than many other players, and averaged more than 25 years older than all the fencers in my events! See attached photos!"
For inspiration - Olympian competitors, below:
Update 2016 - Success at the 2016 Bangkok Fencing Tournament
On May 26, 2016, Steve Kramer wrote:
"Another Royal Thai Navy Open International Fencing Tournament down in the Big Mango. See attached photos. Eight of us from the Chiang Mai club entered this year, but the competition was MUCH harder this time, and I was the only one to advance to the finals. 3rd place in Men's Foil. Last year three of us brought home four medals. This year, just me."
Update June 2017 - GOLD at the 2017 Bangkok Tournament
Steve sent the photo below, and wrote, "I'm so proud of my gold medal, I am going to have it bronzed."
CONGRATS STEVE ON THE GOLD!
Steve wrote back, "You share the credit for it, right? I couldn't have done it without you!"
Arthritis, Hip Pain, and Success With Running
Ted - Pharmacist and runner
Ted loves to run. We previously fixed his back pain from running, then his knee. He no longer needed the knee sleeve he wore in the photo when he first sent his back pain success story.
We kept in touch about all his successes with pain free running. A few years later he wrote, worried that his hip x-rays showed severe hip arthritis and that an old hip injury hurt. We got him back to pain free running. That is what I do. Around the same time, the New York Times ran an article, quoting a physician who said he always had pain after running and that he "had no idea why." More about that follows with what Ted and I did to fix his hip pain.
Four years ago, Ted came to me with back pain from running. He had been running with too much inward curve in the lower back, a common cause of lower back pain while standing, walking, and running. We stopped his back pain from running by teaching him to reduce his too-large inward curve to neutral spine during running and daily life.
A year later, he wrote back saying that since his back pain was completely gone (plus a few other things we fixed in the interim), he noticed some hip pain. We made sure that while he was fixing the back pain he was not shifting bad body mechanics to the next segment and making new hip pain. He wasn't. Ted just had other simple habits to fix. He had been running with that foot turned out (duck-foot). Ted wrote: "A straight push off after the foot-strike made the pain go away."
Earlier, Ted had written that his doctor said his x-rays showed arthritis in both hips. I told Ted not to let doctors scare him into anything rash (surgery, giving up running, taking medicines that cause other problems, and so on). Often the arthritis or other abnormality that shows up on an x-ray is not the cause, or the only cause, of pain.
The New York Times article had quoted the President of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as saying he (the President) "Has no idea why his knees are sore after each time he runs." The article also quoted prominent physicians saying, "Most folks should not go (to doctors), because most general doctors don’t know a lot about running injuries. Most docs, often even the good sports docs, will just tell you to stop running anyway, so the first thing is to stop running yourself. In fact, because you probably will have to make a co-payment if you see a doctor, you will be adding insult -the fee - to your injury." NY Times source - http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/01/fashion/01best.html?ref=health
I (Dr. Bookspan) don't believe that fixing pain from running means stopping running. I don't "limit the person to limit the pain." What we do differently is determine causes and fix those. Running was not the cause, unhealthful running mechanics was the cause.
The NY Times article continued that In a study reported at a recent meeting of the American Orthopedic Society, Dr. Matthew Silvis did MRI scans of the hips of 21 professional hockey players and 21 college players. Results showed 70 percent of the athletes had abnormalities, More than half had labral tears, which are scary looking rips in the cartilage that holds the leg in place in the hip bone. None had pain, or only minimal discomfort that did not affect their playing. The same is true for rotator-cuff tears. Studies have demonstrated that about half of all middle-age people with no shoulder pain have these rotator-cuff tears that show on scans but they have no pain or symptoms.
I wrote to Ted with several things for him to check and fix about his body mechanics. Ted replied:
"I used your ''Better Exercise on Stairs'' method to go Pain Free up stairs (which I had not been able to do for 8-months)
"Thus encouraged, I used the Same Mechanics to do AN EXTREMELY Slow Jog on my 20-min Sunday Walk/Jogs. which have been PAIN FREE.
"The doc looked at my x-rays, told me he had NO idea how I could run on my arthritic hips, had me demonstrate the Flattened Better Exercise on Stairs Method, I explained my 41 year Love of Running....and he said ''You've already figured it out, keep doing what works and YOU call ME if you need to come back.''"
Ted didn't need to go back to the Doc, but he did write to me:
"Sorry to bother you Dr. Bookspan,
"In my running you helped me with my back, then you helped me with my knee, (and shoulder).
"I may be pushing my luck here, But NOW my hip flexor (psoas) is inflamed and essentially my thigh is swollen. By paying attention, I found the pain in the hip is in front, about where a tendon would attach to the hip (not the ball joint as I had feared).
"QUESTION--is there an isolation exercise for this tendon??? assuming there is one (I didn't pay much attention to Anatomy in Pharmacy School). What would be some good re-hab exercise/stretches?? This is an old injury from catching my foot on the upswing while running across a tarp spread over the track."
After making sure that he had not caused this new pain from any previous work we did, and it was directly from tightness in that area, I gave him a nice stretch for the front of the hip where the leg meets the body (anterior hip).
"Thanks for the quick response
"I went out this morning and did 40-minutes (ohboyohboy) Pain Free
"I'm game for any other techniques (and am reading all your web site info…)
"This has added literally YEARS to my running starting 4 years ago when you helped me fix my Back Pain."
Then Ted went walking around downtown on concrete surfaces. He wrote that he was in pain again. We checked and found more tight anterior muscles. I sent him to all the anterior stretches in my book Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier - click DrBookspan.com/books. Ted replied:
".....I just got the book last night,
"was hurting from a lousy 20-min run,
"looked up ''quad'' and ''hip flexor'' stretches and was Pain Free this morning.
"Like I told my running buddy, this is like a CookBook for Pain Relief,,,,,,,
"I cannot wait to go out and hurt something else."
Pain Free Trekking to The Kingdom of Lo - LUNG-TA The Windhorse
This is the story of trekking to record the sacred music of LUNG-TA The Windhorse. Travel was by horseback and walking at elevations approaching 14,000 feet over treacherous areas with washouts, slides and erosion, some with sheer drop-offs over 1000 feet.
Composer Andrea Clearfield and artist Maureen Drdak trekked a month in Nepal in September 2008, to research and collect music, history, personal accounts, and art from Buddhist communities and monasteries, for a commissioned major work to be performed the following March in Philadelphia.
They spent fourteen days trekking northward across the western highlands, arriving at Monthang, capital of the remote restricted Kingdom of Lo in Upper Mustang, close to the Tibetan border.
The Kingdom of Lo has been described as the "American Southwest on steroids." The artists' trek led northward following the canyon of the Kali Gandaki river, recognized as the worlds deepest gorge, cutting between the Himalayan mountains of Annapurna and Dhaulagiri.
Andrea had been one of my students, off and on, for several years. To prepare for her travel, she came to me for needed conditioning, and to fix an ankle injury.
She was surprised when I told her the first thing she needs is healthy full squatting.
Full squats with healthy knees, back, and ankle positioning and motion is a baseline ability to be able to go to the bathroom in many areas she would be, to sit to rest, and for better back stretching than bending forward. We reviewed good bending for many of the most important things she will do. I reminded her she will be sitting horseback for hours and will not need exercises that sit or bend forward, but those that restore muscle length to get straightened up again. I evaluated her ankles for stability, gave her needed proprioception skills and drills, and reminded her that while the Westerners on treks will have expensive boots holding their ankles up for them, atrophying and disusing their muscles, the porters for her trek will likely be in flip-flops, holding their own leg position using their own muscles.
Following her trip, Andrea wrote me:
"On my trek to Nepal, what I found most beneficial was having learned from you the proper use of good bending, particularly for squatting - necessary for using the "toilets" and for other functions in village life. I also benefited by incorporating your teachings of good body positioning and movement into my long treks on horseback, and found my back to be strong and pain-free, even after 8 hours of riding through fierce winds and remote high desert environments through the Himalayas. I also practiced your changes to daily yogic asanas in the various tea-houses where we stayed, paying attention to healthier ways of moving in these poses. Although I left the States with an ankle injury, this has healed as well.
Thank you, Jolie, for helping me stay healthy and pain-free on the trek!
Namaste and Tashi Delek,
Preventing Pain From Returning - Reader Successes From Laraine P and Jayakrishnan
"A clever person solves a problem. A wise person avoids it."
Laraine P first wrote her success story of fixing her herniated discs on my Healthline.com column The Fitness Fixer.
She wrote later that pain had returned. I replied and asked her to check if she had returned to the same habits that caused the first pain, and gave her ways to check. Laraine replied:
"Good Morning Dr. Bookspan:
"I e-mailed you several times regarding the extrusion in my lower spine (L1 S1) & you were kind enough to respond to each & every e-mail. I know you are busy & you still took the time to answer. I am practicing the body mechanics daily & doing exercises & I am improving - thank you so much again for your support.
"You replied back asking if I was not just doing the exercises but using them to live and move correctly. Sometimes I didn't. I try to do them exactly the way your book has instructed --- and as you said not to do them as a regimen but incorporate them in daily life.
"I wanted to let you know that I did do your Wall Test at home yesterday & I noticed that my shoulders were slouching and I was not neutral spine. I guess for the past couple of weeks after I was making progress I went back into the habit of bending forward with my shoulders & didn't realize it. Yesterday, you mentioned to check my positioning with the wall after your three exercises, I concentrated on neutral spine & noticed the pain subsided & I was much better.
"Thank you again for the reinforcement - sometimes after using poor body mechanics for so long, it takes time to change that - we simply find it easy to go back to the old habits of poor posture without realizing & can get discouraged thinking we are not going to get better. I really believe in your book & if find when I keep doing things the healthier way & maintain that, I will heal.
"As I said in my previous e-mails last month, this is the most logical & sensible way to maintain a healthy back. I guess I lost my morale yesterday & thought I was going backwards. Keep up the good work - you are wonderful. You are an inspiration to all that have pain. Also, thank you for your persistence in making sure that I am moving and doing things correctly..."
"This back injury had sure been challenging for me. Now I'm better. I'm glad that I found your web site and got your books."
JayaKrishna (Kris) wrote:
"Dear Dr. Jolee, I am the Indian guy from Jersey who attended one of your seminars in person.
"It has been more than 5 years since I first read your article in the December of 2004.
"After 5 pain free years, it is was only last week when I suddenly felt my lower back tightening up again for the first time. Almost predictably I started feeling severe shoulder pain. But this time I was fully prepared. I went back to the basics. Whom else to seek for help other than you, St.Jude of the Joints. I pulled all the articles written by you and read them one by one. Thanks to your principles, I then did some deep soul searching and found out that cause was violating of the golden principles outlined by you due to the pressure of work or the strange feeling of invincibility that comes from enjoying good health.
"It is very strange that when we recover and start enjoying life again, we sometime forget and start thinking ourselves to be invincible. Bad habits creep in again.
"As an atonement for my violations I ordered two more books by you: which is Healthy Martial Arts, and Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier. I took my new year resolution to be always mindful of these golden principles from you. I promised myself a one day sabbatical every year when I would re read your articles and reiterate these golden points.
"I once got this little nugget of wisdom in a party (Most unlikely place). Nursing drinks in our hands, we were all discussing on the secrets of success and happiness when one of the drunks said the most profound statement: The one who is punished the most in a particular endeavor or area and is still standing will have the secret to success and knowledge.
"Looking at your life, your education, experiences it is no wonder that you have been chosen to share your treasure trove of knowledge on healthy living. I cant tell you how much I am grateful for your acquaintance.
"Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars" - Kahlil Gibran
On Oct 12, 2014, at 4:31 AM, James Michie wrote:
"Years of high impact sports and a misspent youth in a gymnasium had left me with persistent knee soreness, lower back pain and a horribly painful shoulder all on my dominant left hand side."I'd spent thousands of dollars on physios, chiropractors and 'specialists' who'd injected me with cortisone and pushed me out the door telling me there was not much more they could do. Around this time I discovered yoga and in my usual obsessive way i signed on at a yoga school and practiced 4 hours per day for a year. I'd even had the yoga school's swarmi a 120kg man stand on my back with wooden shoes on and proceed to grind into my back with his wooden heels!
It was real desperation stuff. Surely, I thought, if people had been practicing yoga for thousands of years to cure all sorts of physical ailments then all I had to do was stick to the program and i would be healed. I couldn't understand why my lower back felt worse and my shoulder continued to ache.
"By pure chance, a "Dr Jolie devotee" crossed my path and urged me to look at her web site. That was when the penny dropped. I realized that all these 'traditional' yoga poses: forward bends, shoulder stands, spinal twists had been making things worse not better!"I was fortunate enough that Dr Jolie agreed to a personal appointment with me and I flew out of my jungle yoga hide away and headed for Philadelphia. I learned that many of the poses that are taught in yoga are working in complete opposition to how the body functions. (Learn simple reasons and fixes on the Healthier Smarter Yoga page.)"I discovered that I had a considerable forward head tilt and a very tight hip flexor muscle. Dr Jolie taught me healthy yoga techniques; neutral spine, correct my forward head tilt and stretch out my hip flexor muscles effectively, and this made all the difference. Right away. My lower back pain continued to leave me (for the first time in 20 years !) and after a couple of months of remembering to practice holding my head in healthy position, and stretching out my hip flexor muscles using healthy position during my regular walking and activities, my shoulder and knee pain vanished.
"I have been completely pain free for over a year now and feel reborn.
Thank you Dr Jolie your help and guidance has been a life saver."~ James Michie, Melbourne Australia
A special story in his own words by Christopher Michael Emmolo
For years I had worked as a bouncer and security escort in very seedy environments. I was involved in heaps of real-life hand-to-hand combat, sometimes against armed opponents. After years of being bashed around and training in the martial arts, I had developed severe joint pain in my knees, my shoulders, elbows, neck, and back. Those days, the pain used to be a 15 on a scale of 1 to 10. I had been told by several doctors that I would have crippling arthritis for the rest of my life and that I would have to learn to live with it. They put me on medication. Every three to six months or so they were giving me something stronger.
There were many days when I could not even get out of bed without having enough pain that I was nearly in tears. I have a very high tolerance for pain, as does anyone who studies the form of martial arts I practice, called Kagedo, particularly the advanced students. The pain in my joints was so severe that I was missing work and missing many valuable training hours.
Christopher (thrown on left) helps students by being the
demonstration at the EUSA Black Belt Hall of Fame seminars
I had started training in the fighting arts when I was 12. When I was 16 I was diagnosed with floating kneecaps. The orthopedist said that by strengthening the muscle surrounding the kneecap it would prevent them from floating (which caused them to lock or give out). This was very painful. He gave me exercises to do over the summer and said that if they didn't work that he would do surgery. He prescribed ibuprofen for the pain. I spent the summer doing the exercises. They didn't work. I wore knee braces from the time I was 16 until just a few years ago.
When I was 17 or 18 I dislocated my elbow wrestling in a high school tournament. Several doctors had told me that it had not been dislocated, but I knew better - I was the one who put it back in. My orthopedist told me that not only had I dislocated the elbow, but I chipped it when I put it back in.
By the time I was 20 I was taking ibuprofen regularly. I was also on medication for a hiatal hernia. By the time I was 25, one of my doctors told me that if I didn't quit the martial arts, I was going to suffer from debilitating arthritis my entire life.
At age 29 I was taking the prescription Naproxin twice a day, the equivalent of three Aleve tablets, twice a day. By the time I was 30, I feared that the doctors may have been right. I had just earned my black belt in Kagedo at the time. I was not able to train much of the subsequent year due to my debilitating arthritis, spending days in such pain I could not get out of bed.
In February of 2004, I went to the emergency room for abdominal pain. A few tests were done, but the doctors found nothing really conclusive. They diagnosed me with a spastic colon and put me on Bentyl, Nexium, Zantac, and one other prescription I cannot remember.
Finally, in the summer of 2004, just after turning 31, I went to see the doctor again. The pain in my joints was too much for me to bear. I would wake up in the morning and lie there for over an hour before I was physically capable of moving. I would be in so much pain that I would not be able to bend my knees, and barely my elbows. My shoulders hurt constantly. My neck and shoulders would grind all the time. I was in so much pain that I was faced with the thought that I may never be able to train in the martial arts again. The doctor prescribed Neurontin and Tramadol for the pain.
In November of 2004 I attended a martial arts seminar with Dr. Bookspan at the Black Belt Hall of Fame annual event. I had met her the previous year at the same conference. My instructor and I were giving a seminar immediately following Dr. Bookspan's so we attended hers.
Her seminar was her Ab Revolution core training method that she developed a sports medicine approach to training. During her seminar, I learned one of the best ways to develop my abs. More importantly, I learned the basics of proper body positioning, and could already feel the difference.
After the conference weekend ended, as we were all leaving, she reminded me how to stand and move with healthy positioning to eliminate the injurious pressures that training and moving wrong can cause.
She said that she could fix me up and we began an email correspondence and exchanged emails several times a day. She started by asking some basic questions: "Where does it hurt?" "What medicines are you taking?" and so on, plus careful checking of piles of things that might be causing the pain. She gave me things to try after explaining the concept so I'd understand what I was doing, not just go through the motions. I read her articles, started doing the stretches, and even some of the exercises. After just one week of working with her, I noticed such an improvement that I felt that it was time for me to try going without my arthritis medicines. I felt great. The pain in my joints had been reduced at least 80%. That's better than any of the medications I was taking. During the next couple of weeks I kept reading the articles on her web site, and we would discuss them, how I felt, my diet, and so on. After about 10 days I had stopped taking the four medications I was prescribed for my stomach and digestive problems.
What specifically did we do? I'd worn orthotics since first or second grade, and I walked pigeon toed. This was made worse by training in Kune Tao, another martial art I practiced, that required a pigeon toe stance that I used even for normal walking. My feet pointed inward which caused me to fall in on my arches, which then added to the pain in my knees, and caused pain in my ankles. Dr. Bookspan told me to make sure that my feet pointed forward, neither out nor in, and referred me to one of her articles, "How To Fix Your Own Knee Pain." It worked. Simply making sure that my feet did not point inward and cause me to fall in on my arches drastically reduced the pain in my knees, and eliminated the pain in my ankles. I hold my own arches up and no longer need the orthotics.
I was used to hunching over a computer desk all day, followed by driving home in a contorted position which had me reclining back and reaching up for the steering wheel as though it were a handle. When I walked, my head hung forward, which caused my shoulders to round and hunch. Dr. Bookspan had me read a few of her web site articles including, "How to fix your own neck pain" and explained to me what was going on with my body. My arthritis was not getting progressively worse, my posture was! By following her instruction, I learned how to properly carry my head so that it is not hanging anymore. This forward hanging head was the cause of at least 90% of the pain in my shoulders! The rounding of the shoulders was causing pain in my elbows because of the position in which my arms hung. My shoulder would grind so badly that it was like there was gravel in the joints. After reading one of her articles and taking her advice, I began doing two simple stretches several times per day. These helped correct the posture of my head, neck, and shoulders, which alleviated all of my upper body pain.
Correcting my body positioning and ergonomics has had a profound impact on my life. Dr. Bookspan had corrected my posture and provided me ways to be sure that I am maintaining proper posture. Proper position is key. I had near crippling arthritis. If it rained, I could be assured of a very painful day. There were days where I was physically not able to bend my knees because of the joint pain. There were days where after taking medications to alleviate the pain and subsequently wreak havoc on my stomach, I could still only move from the bed, to the couch, to the bathroom and back and that was still too much. Dr. Bookspan gave me my life back. I no longer need to reach for the three prescriptions I took for my arthritis pain. I need only be sure that I am using proper posture, that my head is up and not forward thereby relieving shoulder pain instead of causing it. It also helps alleviate the back pain at the top of my back, between the shoulder blades. I make sure that if my head is up that my shoulders are back instead of rounded forward. This helps alleviate not just shoulder pain, but also helps alleviate the pain in the upper portion of my back between the shoulder blades, and coupled with Dr. Bookspan's pectoral stretch, it helps alleviate the joint pain in my elbows. I make sure my hips are under me, not arched behind me, which alleviates the lower back pain and makes it easier to point my feet forward, which takes the weight off my arches and alleviates the joint pain in both knees and ankles.
Then things took a back step. The day before Thanksgiving I was attacked by two teenage boys in a drug rage from what could only have been PCP. I was in a fight for my life, one of them had a piece of pipe to brace his fist, and I won. But I had a broken nose, a bruised ligament on the left side of the jaw, numerous cuts in my mouth and a few on my face, as well as heaps of swelling. Remember what Rocky looked like at the end of the first Rocky movie? I should have looked that good. What's worse is that I had a 6 am flight to New Hampshire on Thanksgiving day.
In order to see and to eat I had to employ some of the worst posture I've ever had. I couldn't close my mouth all the way, and still can't as of the time of this writing (December 2004). The emergency room doctor would not clear me to fly unless I agreed to take the pain medication, which I had tried to refuse. I was put on 800mg of Amoxicillin, 800mg of Ibuprofen, and 500mg of Vicoden. After two days I felt like garbage. I was in pain and my stomach was not happy. I couldn't eat solid food.
I emailed Dr. Jolie and let her know what happened because I thought it was the end of all the progress we had made. She told me not to worry that not only would I heal, but I wouldn't starve, and she would fix whatever damage the bad posture caused me.
She suggested putting healthy fruits and nuts and spices in the blender. I discovered a whole new world of healthy food. Fruit became my new sugar fix instead of my daily pile of junk food. I traded my two bottles a day of soda for water or healthy blender drinks. Her other dietary suggestions helped with some of the aches and pains I had from the attack and subsequent "after care." I was stunned.
The modifications Dr. Bookspan made to my diet caused me to lose an inch and a half off my waist. Most importantly, I felt great. In two weeks I had healed faster than was expected, felt better than I had in a long time and lost a few pounds. I just started being able to utilize proper posture again. After only a few days, I've noticed a dramatic improvement. My joints no longer hurt and I'm not constantly tired.
Dr. Bookspan has been referred to as "the St. Jude of the Joints." St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes. I was a lost cause when she began helping me. Thanks to Dr. Bookspan, I have my life back!
Reader Hall of Fame
"It is a fine thing to have ability, but the ability to discover ability in others is the true test."
-- Elbert Hubbard, American artist and philosopher
Real stories from readers appeared on my Fitness Fixer (tm) column that ran on Healthline.com from 2006 to 2010. More than testimonials, they were meant as tutorials so you could see what each reader they did to fix their injuries and improve physical abilities, so that you could do it too.
The Healthline.com company discontinued my column, The Fitness Fixer, in April 2010. At first, they kept most of the almost 800 original articles, but took off all dates that identified each as original work in the field. They also removed almost all the photographs and all the movies I made to explain the concepts. A few years later, they started removing my articles and replacing them with their own. They redirected my article links to their articles selling their products.
If your major health site would like to syndicate or run this groundbreaking health column that makes so many success stories possible, let me know: Scientist@DrBookspan.com
You can send your own Reader Success Story through my Fitness Fixer page on Twitter - www//twitter.com/TheFitnessFixer or directly, to the same address above.
Reader Hall of Fame 2010
- Steve in Thailand mends a stomach hernia - Diastases Recti, What It Is and What To Do
Stronger Physical Training
- From Paul J and son James J - Fast Fitness - More Plank Chess and Success Photos
- Peggy Santamaria - Shoveling Snow - Reader Wins Mother Nature's Fitness Challenge with Fitness Fixer
- BikaBill - one of the winners of the How To Sit Up Straight Contest: Good Bending Strengthens Legs and Lifting Ability
Stronger Mental Training
- From Paul J - Fast Fitness - Concentration Training
- Ivy of New Zealand Fixes Neighbors Fitness in - Making Results Last
- Ivy and Robert Davis inspire others to send in their stories: Fast Fitness - How To Be An Inspiring Success and Send In Your Story
Created Entire Programs
- Peggy Santamaria and the mail crew of Appalachian crossroads - Functional Fitness as a Lifestyle By Mail Room Workers
- Peggy Santamaria - New Healthy Employment Programs for Developmentally Disabled
- Stuart Wood - Natural Hard Exercise - Stuart's Community Health Stewardship Continues
Please see some of their work on the Fitness as a Lifestyle page on this site
- Reader Paul J won the contest to name the figure who illustrates many of my books, articles in Fitness Fixer, web site articles, and Academy teaching materials. Winner - Contest to Name The Illustration
Does Your Major Organization Want to Run The Fitness Fixer?
These are just the Fitness Fixer successes from January to April 2010, then Healthline discontinued our work. Many more readers sent their stories to me directly. Thank you! See previous years of successes below.
If you are a major health and news forum and want to run The Fitness Fixer (tm) let me know - The Fitness Fixer.
"When someone does something good, applaud! You will make two people happy."
- Samuel Goldwyn
Reader Hall of Fame 2009
Here were real stories from readers that appeared on my Fitness Fixer (tm) during 2009. he company that featured the column, Healthline, removed most of my photos and all my movies that I had made for the column, when they discontinued it in 2010. Shortly thereafter, they started removing these articles and substituting their own.Use my web site DrBookspan.com or come to my CLASSES or personal appointments for to learn and make your own success story.
Designs World Health
- Stuart Wood studied and used my work, then designed several programs for children and adults to learn healthy movement not only for itself, but to use for building community works. Watch for many honorable and important projects from Stuart to come as one of my Academy appointees - Reader Gains Academy Appointment for Making Community Projects Healthy
- Stuart doesn't stop with his award, he continues with StuartShip - How To Start Healthy Movement Programs
- Alessandro Schiavone from Ravenna, Italy designed the graphic above-right, for the annual World Health Awards
given by my Academy of Functional Sports Medicine - First Winner - of Functional Sports Medicine Logo Design
Preserves Historic Music and Health
- Fixed ankle pain and used healthy squatting, bending, and horse riding for a month rugged trek. Composer Andrea Clearfield and artist Maureen Drdak trekked a month in Nepal to record the sacred music and art of LUNG-TA, the Windhorse - Pain Free Trekking to Kingdom of Lo
Stops Causes Of Injury Without A Bunch Of Reps
- Reader Paul J shows the humor in listening to how to fix the Forward Air Head Syndrome - Doing Sets and Reps and Missing The Point of the Exercise
- Monica From Montana - Reps of Exercises Don't Fix Pain; Fixing Causes Does
Rehabs Injuries and Health Without Props
- Paul J - Fast Fitness - BIPOD Reader Prescription for Healthier Feet
- Robert Davis shows good bending and points out counterproductive reliance on the exercise ball to fix pain - Fast Fitness - Better Legs and Pain Relief Comes From You Not The Exercise Ball
- Robert Davis - Fast Fitness - Double Arm Strength, Endurance, Balance, Stability, and Free Inversion Table
- David from Belgium - Your Muscles Are Your Orthotics for Arches, Knock Knee, and Knee Pain
- Paul J got ankles and balance - Reader Success With Functional Fitness Training - Stronger Ankles, Better Balance
Fixes Pain With Functional Exercise
- Robert Davis - Fixed Injuries, Got Strong, With Functional Exercise - Real Life
- Robert Davis - used healthy movement to make cleaning healthy in - Cardiovascular Cleanup
- David from Belgium demonstrates - Fast Fitness - Better Back and Leg Exercise When Vacuuming
- A Grand Rounds host takes Fitness Fixer advice. Says he was cured only when he chose to move in healthier ways. Nice since each Grand Rounds host only sees a post for a few minutes at most - Thank You Grand Rounds Vol. 5.47 - Cost Containment In Healthcare
Applies Healthy Bending
- Kathy B - Reader Success - Using Good Bending For Shoveling Snow
- Robert Davis fixed back injury from lifting then discovered all the other health in good movement habits - Healthy Aging Starts Now and Healthy Aging Starts Now - Part II
- Ivy helps Merlene in - Strengthen a Neighbor, Strengthen a Community
Fixes Discs and Back Pain
- Reader Laraine P - Fixing Discs by Fixing Causes
- Monica in Montana - Reps of Exercises Don't Fix Pain; Fixing Causes Does
Back To The Running She Loves
- Lisa P was told to stop running. She got out of shape but the injuries remained. She learned to stop the foot injuries, lost weight, got in shape, ran marathons, changed to healthy movement, and was able to fulfill her dream of working as a professional photographer - Physician Told Her Give Up, Fitness Fixer Made Her Able
- Lisa H - Less Pain Means a Happier Lisa
Tells Us Fun
- Paul J - Moving More is Fun
Counts Healthy Times
- David from Belgium - Fast Fitness - Count How Many Times You Help Or Hurt Your Body Daily
- Robert Davies - Weak Hips on Purpose? Running Injury and Hip Strengthening
Makes Things For Us
- Mike Benson shows how to change stretching mistakes - Pectoral (Chest) Stretch - The Most Common Mistake in the Best Shoulder Stretch
- David from Belgium, frequent contributor, made a movie and demonstrates - Push Ups with Neutral Spine
- Another helpful movie from David showing you can control your own legs - Fast Fitness - Fixing Arches, Knock Knee, and Knee Pain Without Orthotics
- Tired new parents David and wife Renilde demonstrate how to change to healthy carrying, and allowed us our first glimpse of new baby Aiko. Unfortunatly the cocmpany Healthline removed almost all my photos for my articles when they discontinued the column in 2010 - Fast Fitness - How Abdominal Muscles Prevent Hyperlordosis When Carrying
- Paul J's son James J made a fun model for Readers - Neutral Spine Fun For Kids and Adults
- David from Belgium took time to make us many training videos even with firstborn daughter Aiko on the way, then continued after her arrival with a gem of a vodeo of my isoetric abs drill with his new baby, called by reader Shannon Hammer, "The most charming "fitness video" I have ever seen." Previously it appeared on my Fitness Fixer column artiucle, "Fast Fitness - Isometric Abs Training" however they removed my movies when they discoutinued my column in 2010. This video now appears on my Fitness as a Lifestyle page. Scroll down about 3/4 to "My "Isometric Abs" In a Very Functional Way." Keep your sound/speakers on.
Demonstrates Fixed Fitness
- Robert Davis demonstrates the one arm handstand - Fast Fitness - Double Arm Strength, Endurance, Balance, Stability, and Free Inversion Table
- Robert Davis demonstrates handstand pushups - Fast Fitness - Add Balance, Stability, and Portability to Military Press - Handstand Pushups
- Olympic wrestler Dennis shows how to change a commonly misused exercise - Fast Fitness - Straighten and Stretch Hip While Strengthening Core, Arms, Legs, and Balance
- My student Juan Rico shows how to change a common exercise on the ball to actually use muscles intended - Fast Friday - Oblique Core Strength and Balance on the Ball
- My student Dr. Hanley Owen demonstrates - Fast Friday - Functional Oblique Abdominal Muscle Practice - Holding Straight
- My students Dennis, Ryan, Linda, and Ginger show how to apply a targeted stretch to relieve or reduce menstrual cramps - Fast Fitness - Stretch For Menstrual Cramps
Stretches Smarter and Healthier
- Leslie, then 69 demonstrated - Fast Fitness - Better Standing Hamstring, Achilles, and Inside Leg Stretch
- Liz took and sent us photos of holding healthful ankle position when stretching, not allowing the common bad habit of overstretching the side ligaments - Fast Fitness - Develop Ankle Stability Sense While Stretching
- Robert Davis - Do Body Building and Vegan Go Together?
- Ivy from New Zealand - Healthful Real Food Tastes Good - No Commercial Health Food Needed
- The 7th grade son of readers makes a movie about it - Health Homework Becomes AntiObesity Chronic Disease Reality Check
Helps Better Behavior Reach Others
- Lily explains and gives examples that area easy to try yourself - Fast Fitness - Pro-Social Behavior Improves Health of All
- Dr. Ernst - Headache From Head Position. He writes, "The approaches you have been advocating are often very effective, and cost nothing."
- Stuart Wood - Reader Gains Academy Appointment for Making Community Projects Healthy
- Paul J, Steve Rice, BikaBill, Georges Nakhlé, and Sister Mary - Contest Winners - How To Sit Up Straight
New Academy Appointments
- Jim Morris - Mr. America Appointed Academy Practitioner
- My Mom - Chairman of the Dance Party - Academy Awards - Academy of Functional Exercise Medicine Awards Leading World Health 2009
- Paul J - Academy Please Force, Think Tank, and Namer of Silly Syndromes - Forward Air Head Syndrome - Doing Sets and Reps and Missing The Point of the Exercise
- Stuart Wood Community Health Projects Steward - Reader Gains Academy Appointment for Making Community Projects Healthy
Hall of Fame Inductees Bumped to Next Year
- Two great people won their fame this year and manfully allowed their stories to go next year so others could be counted now - Fellow rider BikaBill, and my old friend and fellow wild-hair Mark Lonsdale who will have his successes as frogman, marksman, and Specialized Tactical Training Unit instructor, coming soon.
Want the DVD?
- Free Wiki-DVD Project of Fitness Fixer Techniques - Projects
Thank You Readers For Nice Comments And Successes In The Comments
Anton, Alberto (farioreo), Anya, Terry Lee, Teresa, Vietanh, Dada, Caregiver Sandy, Captain Scott, Mr. Glass, Poleminx, Y, Marina, Rennie, Rene, Belly Dancer, Ted, Shannon, Dentists Plantation, BikaBill, Cockroach Catcher, jojo, JayaKrishna, MegaMom, TonyP. Sam, rania123456, meanne, Joe, Jeff, Elliott, RealMother, Hope, M.Pradeep, Kirstine, Steven, Uma, Vasudha, Laura, byte5, Sylvia, DD, Naiche, Margie, Reggie (R2_G2), SwissGraphics, Charles, Brooke, Sebastian, JH, adarrel, Ted, priyamno1, EMR, NurseLine, John, Dufbil (David), Alena, Shane, Maryk, Jilly, Ness, 4myJagiya, MountainsMan, Wondering Oriental, alkime, Anonymous, and others. Anyone else? Let me know if you should be here to thank.
Thank You All For Your E-Mails Of Success
Paul J wrote, "8 months Chiropractor free, so Merry Christmas to you." Anya taught her Grandmother to fix neck pain over Skype. Watch for insightful, smart, strong, stories from Anya to come next year. Anya reminds, "We are so far from knowing our limits!" Hundreds more, too shy to put their story online, mailed me notes of the best thanks - that because of these methods, they stopped pain, they got strong, they had their lives back.Thank you everyone for using my methods for Good. Thank you for writing your stories for others to benefit. Congratulations on your great work.
Start Your Success Story
Start envisioning your success using these methods. Send me your photo sharing link with photos of what you do to fix your fitness, your well being, your life. Send in your story and you will soon be in the next Reader Hall of Fame - Success at DrBookspan DOT com..
Dr. Bookspan Reader Hall of Fame 2007-2008
Here are real readers who wrote a success story that appeared on my column The Fitness Fixer (tm.) which ran on Healthline.com from 2006 to 2010 Many readers had large successes. I had put links to their stories telling how they used these methods for stronger, healthier, pain free, happy, more active life and how you can do it too.
When Healthline discontinued the column, first they removed almost all my photographs and all my movies that I had made and that readers had sent me showing the concepts. Then they substituted their articles for mine so that my links went to their pages selling products. I had to remove all the links. Come back to this web site or my classes and books for great ways to have your own successes.
Creating Healthy World-Wide Programs
- David of Belgium developed and teaches an improved new yoga system. He presented it at a world yoga congress. His system corrects for the widespread pain syndromes from flexion overuse, and reduces the cause instead of adhering to set ritual pose sequences - Getting the Right Yoga Medicine. He continues to translate my work into Dutch, create links for posts to reach world audiences, and make dozens of photos and videos for Fitness Fixer posts.
- Dr. Clara Hsu teaches Fitness Fixer methods to patients in her practice, prescribes my web site, gives my books as presents around the world, and has offered her office space to hold workshops for our new International Academy - How Doctors Help Patients With Fitness Fixer and How Doctors Use The Wall Stand.
- Mr. America, Jim Morris, internationally encourages goodness and my Ab Revolution retraining technique - Mr. America Urges Goodness and ResponsibilityReaders Getting Strong With My "Real Life" Exercises
- Leslie - Are You Stronger Than A 67 Year Old Lady?
- Ivy - Farm Work, Lifestyle Exercise, and Preventing Overuse Pain
- Ivy - Good Life Works Better Than Bad Ab Exercise
- Zoe - Don't Confuse Exercise With Real Fitness
- Mike demonstrates - Fast Fitness - Core Hip & Body, Posture Strength & Balance
- Terry Lee tries the handstand in the comments of Fast Fitness - Handstand Rows
- Liz Brown M.D. does her morning handstands in the comments of Thanksgiving Health
- Liz teaches how to overcome thinking that you can't do the handstand - Wall Handstand Success With Liz
Fixing Foot Drop and Sciatica
- Sylvia - Fixing Foot Drop
- Ivy - Inspirational Ivy and Inspirational Ivy II - Beating Foot Drop and Sciatica, and Getting Healthier
Fixing Neck and Upper Back Pain/Arm Numbness
- Rich T - Fix Neck, Play Hockey, Use Brain, Fun Life
- Bill - Freed From Pain, He Rides Again and Inspirational Update from Bill
Division 1 Athlete Finds the Secret to Fixing Postural Pain
- After 4 years and physical therapy didn't fix his pain, this "Big D" athlete tells how it is done - Fixing Posture - No Exercise Needed
Fixing 8 Years of Neck Pain and Dizziness
- Miroslav - Vertebral Artery Compression, Dizziness, Discs, and the Forward Head
Readers Fix Their Shoulder Pain
- Mike - Flasher Exercises Not Best for Shoulder Pain
- Hanson stops shoulder pain caused by yoga - Overhead Lifting, Reaching, and Throwing - More Part I
Readers Fix Herniated Discs
- Kristin - 14,000 Miles on a Bike - Herniating and Fixing Discs
- Barb - Feeling Better Than She Ever Has Part I - Fixing Herniated Disk and Reclaiming Active Life and - Feeling Better Than She Ever Has Part II - Fixing Herniated Disk and Reclaiming Active Life
Fixing Lower Back Pain From Hyperlordosis (overarching /swayback/ too much lumbar inward curve)
- Ted - Back Pain From Running
- Nick - Prevent Main Factor in Back Pain After Running and Walking
- Carina - How Much Inward Curve Space Should There Be In The Lower Back?
- Jean Christophe requested this post - Lower Back Pain and Golf
- Jeff - Fixing Pain and Golf Easier With Real Life Movement Than Isolated Exercises
- Liz - Which Stretch Stops Back Pain by Making Neutral Spine Possible?
Recovered From Failed Surgeries
- Bernie - Fixing Leg Numbness, Back Pain, Flank Pain, Knee Pain, Nerve Pain, Three Unhealthy Surgeries, Part I and Fixing Leg Numbness, Back Pain, Flank Pain, Knee Pain, Nerve Pain, Three Unhealthy Surgeries, Part II
Staying Mobile Against Cancer
- Zoe - Exercise and Cancer and Don't Confuse Exercise With Real FitnessSaving Money Living Better
- Ivy - Is Healthy Living Less Expensive?
- Lily sends - Non-Plastic Non-Aluminum Sports and Fitness Food Carriers
Fixing Knee Pain and Fallen Arches
- David from Belgium - Your Fitness Fixer Requests in the Works
- Jill - Inspiring Update from Jill - Celiac, Knees, Fasciitis, and Restoring Happy Life
- MMLash - You Can Fix Your Own Knees
- Diana fixed her ankles, and demonstrates while I film her - Sprain Prevention and Rehab Training
- David from Belgium filmed himself demonstrating - Fix Flat Feet, Pronation, and Fallen Arches
Fixing Lower Back Pain From Biking
- Kristin - 14,000 Miles on a Bike - Herniating and Fixing Discs
- Liz - Which Stretch Stops Back Pain by Making Neutral Spine Possible?
Sense of Humor
- Mike sent us - A Laugh at Sedentary Mindset
Fixing General Lower Back Pain From Bad Bending
- Barb - ER Nurse To Her Own Rescue
- Liz - How a Reader Stopped Recurring Pain, Got Stronger, and Said Aha!
- Jean Christophe - Readers Count - Second Missed Cause of Back Pain With Golf
- Jeff - Fixing Pain and Golf Easier With Real Life Movement Than Isolated Exercises
Fixing Hip Pain and Stiffness
- Ted - Runner Fixes More Pain With Straighter Push-Off
- Ivy - Getting More From a Hip Stretch
Restoring Real-Life (Functional) Range of Motion
- My student Christopher fixed serious martial arts injuries and demonstrates - Common Exercises Teach Hip Tightness When Kicking, Stretching, and on the Stairs
- David S demonstrates a different way to do the lying figure 4 hip stretch - Fast Fitness - Better Posterior Hip, Ilio-tibial, and Piriformis Stretch
- Mike shows the seated figure 4 - A Whole Big Fix
- Bernie, who is 80 years old - Relaxing Hip, Leg, and Groin Stretch and Quick Relaxing Hip Stretch
- Pearl - Pearl is 97 (written in 2007. She was still going strong at 107 in 2017!)
- Dr. Ernie - Better Stretches for Swimming - Cook Strait Update
- Steve K demonstrates - Fast Fitness - Great Hip, Side, Leg, and I.T. Stretch
- I filmed a short movie of my student Ms. Han demonstrating how to sit on the floor and rise without hands - Functional Agility, Flexibility, Strength
- David of Belgium took time to make many movies for us to see methods better, this one to increase hip stretch (carefully) - Fast Fitness - Balance, Strength, Stretch, and Socks
- David of Belgium also took many photos to demonstrate fun ways to increase strength, balance, and stretch - Easy Handstand
- Ivy - Strengthen and Retrain Function With The Lunge
- Vikki, a Search and Rescue Paramedic demonstrates - Quick Hamstring Stretch At Work
Helped Their Kids
- Mom V enrolled daughter - After School Trapeze Arts is Good Exercise
Improving Function in Extreme Environments
- Dr. Ernie swam it - Sixteen Miles of Cold Water and Getting Fitter in 50 Degrees
Lost Weight, Improved Nutrition
- Steve K - Fun Steve Loses Weight With Fitness Fixer
- Dr. Ernie - Nutrition for Endurance Swim Training
- Jill - Inspiring Update from Jill - Celiac, Knees, Fasciitis, and Restoring Happy Life
Stopping Pain From Scoliosis and Arthritis
- Marla - Fix Scoliosis and Arthritis Pain, Fix New Orleans
Fixing Wrist Pain
- Bill - Stronger Pain-Free Wrists When Biking
- Stephie fixed her knee pain by not letting her arches flatten when standing (see knee and arch links), and demonstrates - Prevent Wrist Pain During Pushups and Cooking
Strengthened Self Discipline and Self-Respect
- Dean and Ivy - How Strong Is Your Arm? - Readers Find Out
- David reminds us - Health Can Occur on Weekends Too
Fixing the Cause, Not Just Symptoms
- Bernie - Cauda Equina - Result Not Cause
How to Remember Health
- Rich T reminds - Fix Positioning by Watching Others
Maintaining Balance and Agility
- Joe - Married 63 Years With Good Balance
- Bernie - Fast Fitness - Dynamic Partner Balance Challenge
Readers Helping Others
- Katayon - Daughter's Love Saves Parent's Knees
- Ginger - Student Balances, Listens, Fixes Father's Back Pain
- Ivy - Each One Teach One
- Mike - changes school programs to be healthier - Healthy Youth Parties - Fun Exercise, No Junk Food
- An anonymous reader took time to find a neighborhood association with volunteers to shop and deliver a food order at no extra charge to the blind diabetic widow in - Thank You To Readers - Simple Gifts
- Mike - A Whole Big Fix
- Dennis fixed knee, ankle, foot, lower back pain - Walking Softly Benefits Olympic Wrestler
- Bernie - Fixing Leg Numbness, Back Pain, Flank Pain, Knee Pain, Nerve Pain, Three Unhealthy Surgeries. Ivy - Inspirational Ivy
Thank you everyone for using my methods for Good. Thank you for writing your stories for others to benefit. Congratulations on your great work. Thank you readers Mim, Kate, Al, Kathy, Julia, PhatMac, Eddie, Carol, Dave, Tony, Anton, Terry Lee, Airchild, Teresa, Nina, Marina, Wondering Oriental, 9Volt Terry, Alberto (farioreo), Kip, Lee, Ness, Jayakrishnan, Michael LMT CNMT who gives his massage clients the Fitness Fixer and my professional website DrBookspan.com as their homework, and all the others who wrote their success stories in the comments of various posts. Hundreds more, too shy to have their story online, mailed me the best thanks - that because of these methods, they had their lives back.
Fix your own life using these methods, then:Send Your Photos and Success Stories showing the principles in action to me on TWITTER! Prizes for the best ones. Tweet nice notes and success stories how you are better, which is my big reward. Follow for health updates, quick & short www:twitter.com/TheFitnessFixer
For more inspiration see The Fitness Fixer Index.
For questions to me about fixing your pain, and better training and life - use Individual Care Personal Consult.
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Top students may apply for continued work and certification through DrBookspan.com/Academy.
Workshops for your group Click my Clinical page and scroll down to see "How to get appointments."
Bookspan Basics - Quick good biomechanics retraining drills for healthier life, fitness, sports. Teachers and trainers can use these in school and team programs.
Open our RESORT for healthy life training - maybe at your campus, studio or cruise ship? Also join fun and instructive Dr. Bookspan projects - help the world, be in my next books, write rhymes about your pain fixes. Click Projects.Learn more in the Books and e-Books.
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Information, drawings, and photos are © protected copyright. To cite this article or any parts, put author Dr. Bookspan, and link to this site DrBookspan.com at the top and bottom of your reprinting. A suggestion to get my books is also nice. No Derivative Works License means no changes to content, wording or links.
Drawings of Backman!™ copyright © Dr. Jolie Bookspan from the books Stretching Smarter Stretching Healthier, Fix Your Own Pain, and others.
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