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When I first started dating my guy friend, he slept with two pillows.  I told him to start sleeping with one pillow, to take one away.  A few days later he texted me from work and said “my neck feels a lot better when I sleep with one pillow.”  I said “Yep.”  Here’s why……
If you read my post on curve reversal – well that’s happening to your neck when you sleep with a bunch of pillows.  Sleeping with multiple pillows puts the cervical spine in all kinds of weird positions, and it’s in these positions for 8ish hours……

c spine

The spine REALLY doesn’t like that.  It wants to be in proper alignment when you sleep.  These strange positions that you’re placing your neck in by sleeping with a few pillows then strains the intervertebral discs.  And then…the jelly inside the disc gets moved around, the disc deforms, maybe hits a nerve, and causes pain.  This sounds bad right?  Sleep with only one pillow….a flat-ish one if possible – especially if you mostly sleep on your back.

Here’s a cool picture….


DISCLAIMER Part Two: Don’t you dare listen to me, my brain is all messed up.


They think, therefore I am.

The last line of this article is brilliant.  The essence of who I am is the exact same as it was before the stroke.

Read this.


Curve Reversal

I saw this term the other day doing chart  reviews….When looked at from the side, and you’re looking at someone who is sitting up straight, the spine should look like a backwards ‘S.’  In order to attain this shape, the spine naturally has some curves in it.  The inward curve of your neck is called lordosis.  Then the thoracic spine curves out a little bit and the curve is called kyphosis.  Then you move down to the lumbar spine, the low back, and there’s another inward, lordotic curve.


Too much of one thing is not good and will probably cause pain….For example, sometimes people have a kyphotic posture that looks like this….Too much kyphosis in the thoracic spine.


Sometimes there’s too much lordosis…..Why I found this picture on a blog about metal coatings and sand blasting is beyond me.



Now when you bend forward – most people bend forward at the waist and flex the spine – all those curves reverse.  You get curve reversal.  Try it.  Bend forward at the waist and the lumbar lordosis turns into an outward, convex kyphosis.  The cervical lordosis turns into kyphosis, the thoracic kyphosis doesn’t really turn into lordosis but you lose the curve and it becomes straighter.  Sometimes, other issues can cause curve reversal, like bad posture, car accidents, bad body mechanics.

Here is a picture of curve reversal……

reversed curve

The way I used to treat back and neck pain was all about maintaining these curves and returning them to normal.  The spine moves, and in between each vertebrae is a gelatinous disc which can be deformed and re-shaped, so things can change, posture can change and curves can be changed.

Good lord, I really miss this stuff.


Meditation and Physical Therapy

A search term on my blog the other day was “meditation and stroke recovery.”  So I searched this term myself on both Google and the Yahoo search engine and my blog came up on the second page of the Google search results and on the first page of the Yahoo search results.  That’s pretty cool.  Yay for me.  The results of that search led to me to a bunch of other sites.  A few of those sites were research articles about meditation.  One in particular kind of made me cringe.  Here it is.  Below is a copy and pasted line from that research article which is from an international, online, peer-reviewed medical journal.  ‘Peer-reviewed’ is considered the best kind of evidence according to the powers that be.

“The study concluded that meditation along with conventional physiotherapy management is more effective than conventional physiotherapy alone in the management of stroke.  Thus, in post stroke rehabilitation, meditation should be incorporated in the management regime of stroke patients.”

There are lots of other research articles similar to this one.  This is the first one I have seen though that specifically talks about rehab and meditation together. The fact that meditation is not recommended by neurologists makes me angry and upset.  If I hadn’t found through MY research a bunch of stuff about meditation it never would have been recommended to me.  By anyone.  That’s sick.  That’s just sick.  It’s not right.  The fact that meditation is not required for treating brain injuries is just – it’s not just ignorance now, it’s flat-out negligence in my opinion.  Anyone that I ever have as a patient in the future, guess what will be STRONGLY recommended.

Please go here for a better, affordable alternative to learning Transcendental Meditation



I have observed something recently that upset me so I thought I’d write about it.  I am working with a stroke survivor right now, this guy is a very accomplished man.  Very accomplished, very educated.  There are some aids that come at different times to help out with things and this upsets me……one of the aids totally and completely means well and thinks this behavior is being supportive and encouraging but this isn’t good.  This person literally cheers for him(my patient), like cheers him on and kind of talks to him like a child.  Don’t do that.  Oh my God don’t do that.  That’s extremely, extremely condescending and it made me go into a murderous rage when someone would talk to me like that.  Good thing back then I could barely move.  I know for some people they don’t know any better and it’s natural to do that.  I mean maybe, natural for some I guess.  Please, please make an effort not to talk to someone like that.  The outside is very changed and seems one way, but the inside is still there.  Treat the person just like you always did.  Don’t assume that the person must be talked to differently or isn’t understanding you.  Don’t assume that.  I’m pretty certain that anyone who assumed and said that about me – I’m thinking of specific people here – is seriously regretting it now.


Grumpy Cat – not a fan of strokes…….



Gluteus Maximus

Happy New year.  Since 2014 has been called “the year of the rear,” I thought this was appropriate.  I think I’ve written about something like this before but here goes again….Yesterday I had a yoga lesson and was in the cobra position that looks like this(this is called a prone press up in the physical therapy world)….

th site is in a different language and I have no idea what language it is)

So I was in the position and noticed that my butt was clenched.  So I internally rotated my hips.  Ok, here’s what that means and why I did that.  Part of the job of the gluteus maximus, the main butt muscle, is to externally(laterally) rotate the hips.  That means rotating your thigh outward which will point your toes outward.


If you do the opposite, the muscle will be shut off.  If a muscle can’t do all of its actions, it does none of its actions.  So internal(medial) rotation of the hips shuts off the gluteus maximus and since I purposely did the opposite action of what the gluteus maximus is supposed to do, my butt unclenched.  Muscles are very passive aggressive that way.