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Gail’s Story: Overcoming Arthritis and Regaining Freedom

A NOTE FROM MY MOM

I started experiencing knee, back, and hip pain when I was around 35. I figured it was just from being so active. I played softball, waitressed, and had two young children. 

As the pain led to stiffness, swollen knees, and joints, I decided it was time to see a doctor about this issue. The orthopedic doctor put me on Celebrex and it helped somewhat, but it did not fix the problem entirely. The pain and swelling continued over the years until I ended up with surgery for a frozen shoulder. 

Finally, I went to see a rheumatologist and was diagnosed with arthritis. I was told that it was very important to exercise along with taking medication. Over the course of three years, I tried methotrexate, Leflunamide, Hydroxychloriquine, Embrel, Humera, and finally Rinvoq. Even with the medications, I still had to have my knee drained twice. I also tried to exercise like I used to at the gym, but it only seemed to inflame my joints. I became very depressed and frustrated because it felt like fighting a losing battle. I was at my wit’s end and was tired of taking all the medication and risking my health, especially with the outbreak of COVID-19, so I knew it was time to try something new. 

That is when I started Tristan’s Yoga Prehab™. His Knee and Hip Reset for Pain + Stiffness course along with Restore Your Core have given me back my life. I am able to do the things I want to do without the pain and inflammation I experienced from normal gym exercise.  My flexibility and strength returned and I now have the proper tools to use to combat any knee, hip, or back issue before it can become a problem.  

I remember looking at the cost of his courses and wasn’t sure if I wanted to spend that much money on something I had never tried – would it work? But, I read the reviews and calculated just how much I had spent on a gym membership, doctor bills, therapy, and medications and realized the cost of his program was a drop in the bucket compared to these expenses. Not to mention the 2 years of pain I suffered from the frozen shoulder. I started with the Knee Reset and fell in love with the way I started feeling and healing. I was hooked and the more courses I purchased, the more my body and life started to return. The way he has developed these programs and the information he provides has truly made a difference in my life.

I can get down on the ground and play with my granddaughter or climb the steps to her playhouse. I have energy again and most importantly, I have “me” back. At 58 years old I am more active than I was in my forties. 

Thank you Tristan for sharing your passion for yoga and knowledge of Physical Therapy with all of us in these courses so that we can take back our health and wellness!

 

 

**Struggling with arthritis? I formulated a gentle, progressive course exactly for you! Try CHAIR YOGA FOR JOINT HEALING today!

Top 3 Tips for Relief from Arthritis Pain: No medication needed!

I’ve got a quick story for you, about a client who suffered from arthritis. She had been feeling achy, chronically stiff, and had pain in her joints that was starting to radiate through her limbs. Ouch. When she was diagnosed – she was shocked, thinking “I’m 23 years old – how is this even possible?” Well, with autoimmune arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), your immune system attacks the lining of your joints – at any age! 

She looked for alternatives because she didn’t want to be on arthritis medication for the rest of her life. And I don’t blame her! Some of these intense anti-inflammatory medications used for osteoarthritis treatment and RA can be really hard on your vital organs — even causing prolonged nausea, headaches, fatigue, and brain fog. Many RA medications also drastically reduce your immune system placing you at higher risk for infection, drug-related cancers, and in rare cases even death. No thanks!

The good news is that there is an alternative to medication! One important thing to note about joint pain is that typically the more you move, the better you will feel. I know, I know – it sounds counterintuitive. But, think of it like this. The motion involved in moving your joints actually creates lubrication between your joints, making it easier and much less painful to move. Remember, motion is lotion…for your joints! 

This client worked through progressive yoga and physical therapy-based mobility exercises with me, and quickly experienced amazing results – as long as she keeps up with her mobility work she experiences no more chronic pain and has yet to go on arthritis medication! HUGE WIN! 

Here were the three most important things I shared with her…which I will now share with you!

#1 If you have any form of arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, it is so important to stay mobile. Even the most gentle movements will go such a long way to increase your mobility and level of comfort. Yoga-based mobility is great for this, because you can work your whole body and isolate certain joints that need more TLC. 

However, with Rheumatoid Arthritis, specifically during times of flare up, it is advised that you avoid intense stretching and exercising as this may be more detrimental to your joints and create more damage than good.  It’s not to say don’t move at all, rather modify your intensity and be gentle on your body as you move through your day or attempt a light mobility practice during a flare up.  Once it resolves, you can continue your regular strength and mobility practices.

#2 Practicing balance poses and core strengthening with mobility work or gentle yoga practice will improve your flexibility and balance. This will increase your long term strength and endurance, which will in turn support your joints and overall stability for a lifetime. 

#3 One of the most common things I would see as a Physical Therapist Assistant were people who experienced gradual muscle deterioration, aka “sarcopenia” – because getting moving again with arthritis was causing them too much pain. So, in addition to rebuilding muscle strength and endurance, you also want to ensure that you keep up with your strength and mobility work! This requires just a few minutes of daily movement – if you don’t use it, you lose it! So be sure that you stay consistent! As I always say — CONSISTENCY IS KEY! 

Arthritic pain and stiffness can be present at any age, whether it is simple osteoarthritis from “wear and tear” and the aging process, or Rheumatoid arthritis which is a systemic inflammatory disease process that attacks your joints.  

Your body is unique and so will be your journey if you have arthritis.  Not every person requires medication, though some may eventually or intermittently from time to time.  However, EVERY BODY can benefit from healthy mobility practices, yoga, whole body strengthening and balance training to protect your joints.

With arthritis you do want to make sure you work progressively – start simple and gentle and go from there. Need some help with this? Not sure where to start? Check out Chair Yoga for Joint Healing, which is the perfect “done-for-you” place to start! 

If you need ongoing support, get on board with the Yoga Prehab™ Membership – for just 0.60 cents per day, you’ll get the very best at-home Physical Therapy-based healing guidance, easy-to-follow yoga mobility programs, and more!

The 5 Best Ways to Prevent Knee Pain

What is one of the most used – and overused – parts of the body? 

If you guessed your knees, you are correct! Because this system of muscles, joints, and ligaments get used all the time for almost every movement you can think of, it is at an increased risk for injury, stiffness, and chronic pain. 

There is A LOT of information out there about how to keep your knees feeling their very best. To be honest, not all of it is good information. That’s why I put together this list of the best ways to prevent knee pain. 

You know me – I like to help you take prehabilitative and preventive measures to ensure that you stay in the best shape and live your most comfortable life! 

Don’t let knee pain stop you – get ready for an active, adventurous summer! 

  1. GET MOVING: I have said it before and I will say it again – motion is lotion! Achey, shaky knees are often craving some movement. Gentle movement – please do not go run a half marathon! Warming up the muscle group around your knees stimulates joint fluid and actually works to lubricate your joints. This makes movement more comfortable and less painful. Which is exactly what you want!

  2. USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR NATURAL PAIN RELIEF: Did you go on a super long walk? Good for you, get those steps in! If you’re feeling soreness in your knees afterward, try this. Add a few drops of peppermint or eucalyptus oil to coconut oil or other carrier oil and rub on your knees. Eucalyptus and peppermint have properties that reduce inflammation and ease pain, making it the perfect natural remedy for stiffness and aching knees. It will be easier to get up and moving again in no time!

  3. CHECK YOUR SHOES: Make sure that your shoes are providing you with adequate support. Are your arches caving in? Do your heels feel supported? You are likely putting extra strain on your knees if your shoes are not supporting your feet. Without proper support, every step you take, every move you make will cause knee pain for you..! All joking aside, your feet need to be balanced in order for your whole body to remain balanced. When you’re imbalanced, it causes your knees to overwork or overcompensates, leading to that annoying aching feeling.

  4. A HEALTHY DIET IS THE BEES KNEES (pun-intended): Try to stick to an anti-inflammatory diet. Less bleached grains, more vegetables and fruits that have vitamins, C, D, and E – all of which combat inflammation in the body. If you eat fish, try to choose those high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Use turmeric, which is high in curcumin and proven to reduce inflammation, to spice up your cooking. I actually think turmeric is amazing on potatoes – par-boil, add to a pan with coconut oil or avocado oil, salt, turmeric, onions, garlic – fry it all up!

  5. INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE: Your body is never functioning at its best if it is lacking proper hydration.  The body is made up of 70% water and most of your joint fluid is comprised of water.   Actual liquid helps keep everything operating smoothly in your body, from digestion to detox systems, to muscle and joint movement.  Aim for at least 8 glasses of water a day.  Start every day first thing with a glass of water in the morning.

I hope this wellness wisdom helps you navigate and resolve some of your daily aches and pains. I am dedicated to providing the best service to each and every Yoga Prehab member. 

Every level of skill, every level of fitness, everyone from every walk of life is welcome – that’s why I made sure to keep this program so affordable…

Personal training, physical therapy, and chiropractic visits add up fast! Plus, I know that for some people, going to doctor’s offices, gyms, and in higher-risk spaces is just an option right now. 

Yoga Prehab is engineered to keep you out of the doctor’s office and doing more of what you love – for much, much less at ONLY $19.99 a month. 

Plus, if you sign up for the whole year, you save even more!! Annual membership is $199, saving you $40 – that’s like getting 2 whole months of Yoga Prehab completely free!

5 Myths About Core Training

Some trends may come and go, but core strength is always in! The core is such an integral part of all body movement, and as a result questions about core training are common in the fitness and physical therapy industries. Unfortunately, there is also a lot of misinformation swirling around. No more! I’m here to bust the most common myths about core training and give you the real deal about how to perfect your core strength, bulletproof your body, and help prevent some of the most common injuries and strains. 

Myth #1: The Abdominals Make Up Your Core.

Well, not quite.  The abdominals are just one piece of the puzzle.  Your true core is made up of multiple groups of muscles that attach to the pelvis, hips, and spine, not just the abdominals. This includes the diaphragm, pelvic floor, deep abdominal muscles, and deep spinal muscles. 

Myth #2: Crunches are the BEST Core Strengthening Exercise.

Nope!  Sure, crunches have their place in fitness.  However, crunches only target the superficial muscles of the abdominal group.  To truly engage and train the entire core, exercises like planking are FAR MORE effective.

Myth #3: If I Have Chiseled Abs Then My Core Is Strong.

Sorry to burst your bubble, but that is false.  Congrats on the aesthetics because that’s no easy feat!  However, just because you have muscle definition does not mean there is actual stability built in the deep core.  

More often than not, the emphasis is placed on the abdominal muscle group than challenging the core to stabilize your spine correctly —  leading to muscular imbalances in the posterior chain aka your back.

Myth #4: Core Isolation Exercises Are The Best Way to Strengthen My Back.

Isolation exercises serve their purpose, however, your core is designed to brace and support your spine as you perform movements like walking, running, bending over, pushing, pulling, and rotation/twisting.

The BEST way to strengthen your back and engage your core is to focus on your breathing as you exert effort during movement. Strong and intentional exhalation during movement activates your pelvis floor and balances your intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize and protect your spine while you move.

Myth #5: You Should Train Your Core Daily

Not a good idea.  Just like any other muscle in your body, core muscles need time to rest if you’ve been targeting them consistently.  Here’s the thing, your core is ALWAYS active, however, over time it can get sluggish and weak — leading to other muscle overactivation to cover the loss of stability.

Aim to train your core 3-4 times a week for optimal results.

The most important thing with core strengthening work is to keep it up! You’ll likely feel the results before you see them. And like I said, core strength and abdominal definition are two totally different things. The amazing results you’ll see and feel will be better posture, enhanced stability, and stronger movement throughout your whole body. Definition in your entire core will come with time. Stick with it each week and you will see the results pay off!

Need more core training guidance? Get in on the Yoga Prehab™ action this month with Restore Your Core, which is completely targeted at regaining strength, stability, and definition in your core. This whole month I’ll take you through gentle, at-home exercises, that engage the entire core so you’ll see the best results!

3 Tricks to Relieve Painful “Text Neck”

Do you know what your neck looks like when you’re scrolling through your phone? If I had to venture a guess, I would say it is probably at some sort of an angle, positioned downward to better stare at your device. This phenomenon is leading to more and more cases of “text neck” as I like to call it – which is stiffness and pain in your neck (and upper back) due to increased, chronic straining (AKA scrolling through news feeds, email, websites, etc across all of our super convenient devices). 

I know that I’m not immune to this problem! Practically every day I catch myself tilting my head in some weird way while absorbed in something on my screen. Today, it’s a normal and common problem, but it shouldn’t be something we all just accept as appropriate and healthy posture. All evidence points to this sort of posture creating really problematic stressors and strains on the spine. Over time, this can only lead to problems and pain. Consistency and commitment to taking care of your neck is key, as is adjusting your posture when you are on your smartphone or other devices.

In a study conducted by Dr. Kenneth K. Hansraj, Chief of Spine Surgery at New York Spine Surgery and Rehabilitation Medicine, it was found that as the head tilts forward the force place on the neck dramatically increases. When we hold our head in a healthy, neutral position, the forces to the cervical spine are about 10-12 pounds and evenly distributed, which is normal. But as we tilt our head forward the force increases:

Repetitive forward head posture and frequently hanging your head may lead to all sorts of neck problems, including early wear and tear, degeneration, nerve root impingement, herniation/bulges, and possibly the need for surgery. Imagine having a consistent force on your cervical spine that is the equivalent of 30-60 lbs? The results from that long term force cannot be good for anyone.

This graph from the study described above shows the effects of the tilt that accompanies cell phone use.

Be sure to use these best practices to decrease the strain you are putting on your neck and spine:

1. Be aware of your head and position

As shown above, even just a slight tilt away from a neutral spine practically doubles the force your cervical spine is feeling. Good posture isn’t just “shoulders back,” in this day and age we all need to be sure we are keeping our chins away from our chest and maintaining a healthy, neutral spine. 

2. Use simple neck stretches throughout the day

Even just gentle, slow, alternating ear to shoulder movements can stretch each side of your neck to prevent stiffness and cramping. This is even useful for those of you sitting in desks and around conference tables during the workday. Or students in lecture halls and classrooms! Just as you might get the urge to stretch your legs, be sure you are giving your neck some much needed time for gentle stretching throughout the day. 

3. Practice yoga poses that target neck and shoulder mobility

Naturally, as a yoga teacher, I am a huge proponent of yoga (shout out to my Yoga Prehab™ tribe!). But only because it actually works

In today’s busy world, I find that the countless clients I have worked with over the years really do have time to invest in their health and well being, even if that means just practicing a few minutes of yoga per day. 

My favorite poses (asanas) to target problematic neck and shoulder stiffness are the much-beloved downward facing dog and the ever-popular, super stretchy cat-cow. These help to stretch out and relax the neck, shoulders and even provide tension relief for both your upper and lower back. 

Pop into these even just for a few minutes when you feel that text neck tension creeping up on ya’ – bye text neck!

For a proven method to release, stretch, and strengthen these problem areas and heal from “text neck” once and for all, check out my course The Text Neck Fix. Better to spend a few minutes a day with me, than to need weeks of expensive rehab for nerve damage, disc issues, or other neck, shoulder, and cervical spine-related issues.

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Please consult with your physician before beginning any exercise program. Content provided above is not meant to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease, injury, or other medical issues. By participating in this exercise or exercise program, you agree that you do so at your own risk, are voluntarily participating in these activities, assume all risk of injury to yourself, and agree to release and discharge Yoga with Tristan, Tristan Gatto, his heirs, beneficiaries, associations and partnerships from any and all claims or causes of action, known or unknown, arising out of Yoga with Tristan’s negligence.