Thursday, January 2, 2020

"My Confidence to Workout Has Returned"

Before starting with Grimm, I was having weakness in my left arm with pain coming and going due to neck injury. Through just a few visits my symptoms have resolved, my range of motion is significantly better, and my confidence to workout has returned. Most importantly Grimm PT has helped me maintain these results on my own, by allowing me to identify warning signals before pain returns.
- Allison P. 1/2/2020

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Alpaca Bag for Peru!

There are too many memories of my time on the inaugural Mechanical Care Everywhere mission trip to Peru.  As each day passes I am amazed at how small the world is becoming to me and how many similarities we all share.  Cusco and New Orleans are both Roman Catholic cities and share many similar customs.   Masks, celebrations, Catholic school uniforms, and even a second line parade following a funeral reminded me of home.  However, never have I found it so important to assist the patient in becoming self-reliant and independent of the therapist as I did in my short time there.  In the small mountain village of Ccorca, there are no therapists to treat the people.  What better system is there besides MDT which is based on the assessment and following education of the patient in self-care to assist these people in their musculoskeletal problems.  Frequency of flexion and poor sitting posture are not unique to the technological world as we know it but is an issue in underdeveloped areas as well.  Women, men and children in this area work very hard farming and raising livestock without the assistance of machinery that we are accustomed to using here in the United States.   This means hours of flexion planting and harvesting potatoes, heaving lifting and carrying, miles and miles of walking in mountainous terrain and you guessed it:   very little extension. 
Patients line up and wait to see us

Having traveled hours to get to our makeshift clinic, patients were lined up waiting to see us.  Many people were expecting pain medication as they do here but were so grateful to find non pharmaceutical methods to manage their symptoms.  Many patients had tears in their eyes as they thanked us for the time that we spent assessing them and giving them tools to manage their symptoms on their own.   Many women could not wait patiently in line and would do their best to interrupt my evaluation of another to insist that I see them by tapping on my shoulder or thrusting their intake forms into my view.  They were desperate for help!
Not an easy life in Peru

This was a common job of the people I evaluated.  I had assessed an 85 year old woman who carried a pack such as this and had walked two hours to seek care and had to rush back to take care of her animals before it turned dark.  Extension in standing over a table abolished her painful symptoms in minutes.  There were tears in both of our eyes as we hugged each other after the assessment.  Was this something she could do?  Yes.  Was this something she could do on her own?  Yes.   No need for endless visits to the clinic which is something that would not be possible in this culture. 

Sustained slouched postures

I remember reading many years ago that Robin McKenzie wanted to reach as many people as possible to allow them the tools to treat their own pain.   Colin Davies reminded us that this was indeed part of his mission and that he would be proud of our efforts in Peru.   I am proud to have served and hope to do more in the future.  Yes, "Alpaca bag for Peru" and beyond with Mechanical Care Everywhere!😏

For more information on Mechanical Care Everywhere you can visit the website: and please consider a small donation for future endeavors. 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Should I Work Out if I Have Lower Back Pain? Part 1

This is a question I hear all the time...actually it is generally phrased "When can I work out?"  I wish there was an easy answer for this, but it depends.  There are absolute contraindications or Red Flags, meaning you shouldn't exercise until medically cleared to do so.   These include:

  • It the pain is severe and you are having numbness, tingling and weakness in your leg
  • If you have lower back pain after a recent car accident
  • If you recently had back pain and now you have changes in your bowel or bladder function, meaning you can't pee, or you are peeing without knowing in, or pooping on yourself without trying.
  • If you don't feel well with your lower back pain
  • If you have a high fever or you start sweating with your lower back pain
  • Develop other problems in addition to back pain, clumsiness...
  • If you have had a previous history of cancer or tumor.

You may be thinking, I wouldn't even think of asking that, but I have had a few patients in the past that I recommended they go to the Emergency Room.  If you are experiencing any of the above, I recommend the same for you.  You may need need some imaging to rule out something serious like a broken bone, infection, or cancer.   Of course, you wouldn't want to make any of these problems worse.  

Stay tuned for Part 2 next week when we will discuss return to exercise in the absence of  Red Flags.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Season of "Mardi Gras Float Riders" Shoulders

· · ·
These little ladies – my hens,  have little to worry about when Mardi Gras comes around.  However, if we lived just a little south of here they would probably be an integral part of the chicken run or “Courir de Mardi Gras.” 

Happy Mardi Gras!

Physical Therapists and Orthopedists all over the Greater New Orleans area know that they will be seeing many patients with sore shoulders after their annual rides on Mardi Gras Floats. 

            Throw Me Something Mister! 

A little self –care goes a long way

While throwing beads, practice stopping the activity as soon as you feel discomfort in your shoulder and rest for about 30 seconds.  This will allow your shoulder to recover.  A good habit to get in is actually stretching your shoulder blades together with your hands clasped behind you – 3-5 reps with 3 second holds. 
If you have rested about 5 days and are still suffering with a painful shoulder you can actually try a commonly prescribed McKenzie exercise for shoulder mechanical pain.  This exercise is called shoulder extension in standing.  Place your affected arm behind you with the palm facing up by internally rotating your shoulder.  Stretch in this position to the end range.  You can hold this stretch for 30 seconds or perform sets of 10 – 15 repetitions.  As with any exercise if it makes your pain worse or obstructs motion – don’t do it and see a McKenzie practitioner. 

A great friend of mine, Joel Laing, Dip. MDT a physiotherapist from Melbourne Australia, a great mate, has a you tube video with some more helpful tips.

McKenzie, Robin, Grant Watson, and Robert Lindsay. Treat Your Own Shoulder. Raumati Beach, N.Z.: Spinal Publications New Zealand, 2009. Print.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Your Back Pain May Be Rapidly Reversible

Do you have back pain that is lingering?  Did you know that along with the pain, mobility and strength are also affected?  The McKenzie Method of Mechanical Diagnosis and Therapy (MDT) is an reliable assessment that may determine that your pain may be rapidly reversed with one exercise. This exercise can then be used to abolish your pain as well as prevent it from returning.  Check out this video of a young man with central low back pain and his rapid recovery.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Be the Best You Can Be

I haven't been blogging lately, because I am working on becoming an expert in my craft.  No excuses I know, but really I have been busy!

Painted Bunting at my bird feeder

Many years ago and today I read a quote from Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, who said;

"If you read an hour a day, one book per week, you will be an expert in your field within three years. "  Brian Tracy's Blog, (2012).

I must say, that I am currently doing this by taking part in the online portion of the McKenzie MDT diploma program.  Talk about stepping out of your element!  Online classes were completely foreign to me when I started.  My heart rate was a little racy the first week because I didn't know how to navigate the website, the first module was very foreign to me and I doubted my decision to do this.  I must say there is quite a bit of reading, tons of early mornings,  and questions to be answered and discussed.  I am 6 weeks into the online portion with about 6 weeks to go.  Hopefully on the downside of the mountain!   Actually, I am really enjoying the process.  

It is very exciting because the course is limited to 20 participants from around the world.  It is just amazing that I am taking part in discussions with other experts in MDT from Brazil, Scotland, India, Greece, Chile, Canada, Africa, Poland, New Zealand, Australia, and a few interesting states like Pennsylvania, Florida, New Jersey, Virginia, and of course Louisiana.  Just downright amazing!  The internet has made the world a much smaller place and I am grateful.   You see, I have been practicing MDT McKenzie Method for almost 30 years by myself!  To have conversations with others who are so knowledgeable and enthusiastic is invigorating.  

My goal in this endeavor is to simply be the best MDT practitioner I can be and hopefully teach others someday.  MDT is not offered in the physical therapy programs around here in any great detail.  I think it is a shame, because in my opinion,  it is the most effective assessment and treatment plan around.  I would have saved myself some grief in the early years of my practicing if this were taught in school.   This is probably why your favorite doctor or clinician isn't aware of the power of  MDT.  He/she just hasn't been exposed to it in any great detail.   I want to change all that around here.  I want people to have access to rapid results with emphasis on self-treatment for their musculoskeletal problems.  

What is your goal?  Are you setting goals?  Are you taking steps to achieve your goals?  I invite you to join me in stepping out of your comfort zone.  Who knows we could all be experts in our fields if we just devoted one hour a day.  Wow!  Think of the possibilities.

In the meantime if you are having any aches, pains or movement problems interfering with setting and achieving your goals, you know what I am going to say, "Everyone Deserves a Good Mechanical Assessment and Treatment Plan!"  Schedule yours today by visiting or by calling 504-228-0524.  I hope to see you soon.  

5 Ways to Gain a Competitive Advantage: The Importance of.... [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Mar. 2015].

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Things People Say in the Gym that Make Me Think Cervical

As you know by now, I enjoy CrossFit several times a week so I  hear things said at the box.  The regulars are constantly trying to improve their fitness and sometimes get discouraged by aches and pains that crop up.  As you know CrossFit is constantly varied, functional movements performed at relatively high intensity.  It is also measurable by demonstrating increased work capacity across broad time and modal domains.  With that, you always know where you stand in your fitness journey if you keep track.  When you keep track, you want to improve.  You begin to really pay attention to your body, where you limitations are and where the aches and pains are.  

When athletes get frustrated and complain about any of the following:

  • weak grip strength
  • painful 1st rib
  • hot elbows
  • scapular pain
  • tennis elbow
  • intermittent pain in their shoulders
  • "my arms are toast today"
  • trigger points in the trapezius
  • intermittent pain anywhere in their arms 
  • numbness and tingling
  • wrist pains

Common Areas that Pain Originating from the Neck is Felt

I always think, hmmm, I wonder if this is a cervical problem?  It is not unusual in my practice to see any of these complaints resolve with end range movements of the neck.   It doesn't mean it is a serious problem, and generally it is a condition that is rapidly reversible.   The MDT McKenzie evaluation will help me to decide which direction that patient should move in to abolish their symptoms.  I am sure you are saying, yeah right!  No way can this shoulder pain be coming from my neck!  Well, you might be right, it could be a shoulder problem but it could be coming from your neck.  A MDT McKenzie evaluation will help to determine that.  Don't worry, if it is a shoulder problem we've got that covered too.  

Check out my previous blogs on neck problems at the gym:  Hurting my Neck at the Gym and Hurting my Neck at the Gym - part 2.  The best way to find out where your nagging upper extremity problems are coming from is to get a great comprehensive evaluation.  The MDT McKenzie evaluation is a reliable assessment process designed for all musculoskeletal problems, including pain in the back, neck and extremities.  Once your clinician knows the source of your pain, they will then instruct you on how to take care of the problem yourself in as little as 3 - 5 visits.   If you don't let it linger too long, this could easily be remedied in a few visits with noticeable increase in strength, decrease in pain and improved mechanics and maybe even a few PR's.   

You know what I am going to say.  "Everyone deserves a good mechanical assessment and treatment plan!"  Call 504-228-0524  or visit to schedule your evaluation today. 

McKenzie, R. and May, S., (2000) The human extremities: mechanical diagnosis and therapy. Raumati Beach: Spinal Publications.

McKenzie, R. and May, S., (2006) The cervical and thoracic spine: mechanical diagnosis and therapy. 2nd ed. Raumati Beach: Spinal Publications.

McKenzie, R.,(2011) Treat Your Own Neck, 5th ed. Raumati Beach:  Spinal Publications.