See what clients have to say…
I highly recommend working with Maryann to address joint and muscular pain because her approach is effective and easy to incorporate in the long run.
Before working with Maryann, I had seen a variety of heath care practitioners about long-standing neck, back, hip and ankle pain. While I would feel better after seeing them, the benefits would not last.
By contrast, Maryann has customized alignment exercises for me to feel better and move better every day.
The exercises take time, but they are easy to do thanks to Maryann’s clear instructions and helpful emails and how-to videos. The alignment measurements and photos are also great for tracking progress.
Maryann is knowledgeable and responsive, as well as thoughtful and kind. She makes the exercises fun, and working with her has been one of the best things I have done for my health.
I’m so glad I found Maryann and posture alignment therapy. Years ago, my right knee started hurting and cracking a lot. Physical therapy helped me walk without my leg hurting eventually, but it didn’t stop my knee from cracking every time I bent it or find the larger problem at hand. The longer I lived with that problem, the more problems I developed… lower back, neck, and sometimes jaw pain. I’d treat it with periodic massages which made me feel better for a few days, but it just kept coming back. And every time I tried to do any exercise program, it would just eventually inflame my knee and back even more.
I booked a one-on-one session with Maryann and was thrilled to see what I never really got from multiple physical therapists — a diagnosis (valgus knees) and explanations for my areas of pain and misalignment. Even over Skype, Maryann was so helpful in making sure that I maintained the correct posture as I learned how to do my e-cise menu. In just a couple days of doing the exercises, my back and neck pain disappeared, and jaw pain hasn’t returned. Whereas before my back and head tilted to the right, I can now see myself standing up much straighter in the mirror and notice that my knees curve inward a bit less as my weight now seems to be distributed to different parts of my feet. And the inflammation around my lower back that had accompanied the pain diminished as well — between that and the better stance, it looks like I lost 10 pounds!
I still have more work to go with my knees and ankles, but I can already feel certain muscles strengthening as some of the e-cises get easier. It’s amazing how pain that has come to be normal can be muted so quickly, and that has had a wonderful effect on my spirit. I am so thankful for all that Maryann has already given me with just one session, and I can’t wait to keep ironing out the kinks in my posture!
Meeting with Maryann was more than just a session where I learned some new exercises, it was a session where I discovered a whole new approach on how to relate to my body. I realized that by doing the work I could actually really address areas where I was experiencing pain and that I was resigned about ever changing. I feel better and there is a compounding effect where I can do more and move more which actually makes me feel better and then I can do even more. It’s not just about the posture work, it’s what having a solid foundation of posture makes available. It’s like I could take responsibility for a key aspect of my health (my body’s structure) in a way that I never could before. Thank you Maryann!
I knew I had plantar fasciitis middle of the summer and with a Beast Spartan Race (14 miles and 32 obstacles) at the end of October, I thought I had plenty of time for my heel to heal. I did all the “normal” remedies to help with the pain and assist with recovery: rolling the bottom of my foot with a golf ball or tennis ball, stretching my calf (and rolling my calf), bought new shoes, stopped running, started icing, etc. If it was on google, then I was doing it.
When mid-September approached, and I still had the same pain, I was referred to Maryann. I was willing and needed to try anything else, something new. After my first appointment with Maryann, I had already noticed a difference! She took the time to meet with me, study my alignment, posture, form of walking and prescribed a daily menu for me based on my body and my alignment needs, or the out of alignment habits I had formed over the years.
I was diligent about doing these “exercises” she prescribed every day and within about 2 weeks I was able to run again! I completed my Beast Spartan with no heel pain and I 100% attribute that to Maryann and her precise medicine of exercises. She was always in contact and kept close tabs on my progress.
If you are in ANY pain, especially if you think its “chronic” or “I have had that my whole life” or any other excuse you use to live with this discomfort, I strongly suggest an appointment. It is your health and your body, and YOU are worth it!
Last July 2016, I contacted Maryann Berry because I was experiencing TMJ or lock jaw, lower back pain, and I was constantly sick.
Over the years, my posture worsened and I described my head to look like a turtle’s head. Every time I went into the pool, water would settle in my ears and cause an ear infection. I had been trying to treat my TMJ symptoms with my chiropractor, massage, and wearing a nightly mouth guard from the dentist.
Since doing the exercises every day for eight weeks the results are phenomenal because I look at my jaw and my jaw works without pain! My posture is aligned and I have great drainage in my sinuses, so I haven’t been sick for the two months that I completed my daily exercises.
I feel strong and grounded for my workouts, Hula Dance practice, and flag football games because my lower back isn’t in pain, either! I learned that this time, it’s not a quick fix and I’m committed to adjusting my posture every day to stay strong for years to come.
Everyday gravity will push me out of alignment, but I will beat gravity by doing simple 15-minute exercises, just like I brush my teeth every day. I check out my jaw in the mirror and am elated! I’m so thrilled to know that I didn’t have to live with this pain for the rest of my life.
In August 2017 was when I found out about Maryann and Realign. I was having a frozen shoulder and was having unbearable pain. Obviously, I had tried physiotherapy and massage, but nothing could decrease my pain. My doctor and physio were worry because my shoulder could almost not move anymore and that was not normal. After asking for pictures from myself to analyze my posture, Maryann and I met via Skype as I live in Canada. She was very professional, polite and took the time to listen to my concerns.
After that, she gave me a set of exercises, which I had to do every day if I wanted to see some results which I did. Twenty minutes of exercises to erase a life of misery is very little to commit to in my opinion.
A week and a half later, I could sleep again. Not a perfect night but a decent one.
After that, my shoulder went just better and better and four months later, it was back to 90% of it’s capacity so, I could say that it was back to normal which is amazing for a frozen shoulder. Usually, you have to wait between one to two years to have your shoulder back to normal.
I can’t say thank you enough to Maryann and I highly recommend her to anyone who is suffering with any kind of discomfort or joint problems. Thank you Maryann!
Marcus Filly, (12th Fittest – Reebok CrossFit Games 2016)
From time to time throughout the course of my athletic career, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting some very gifted and inspiring educators. In most cases, fate brought these people into my life. Not through active searching, but through the law of attraction, I have found my way into their lives, and them into my life.
Recently Maryann Berry came into my life. I didn’t know it at the time but have grown to appreciate just what a special encounter it was.
At 32 years old I have spent the better part of the last 20 years playing competitive sports. I have competed on the world wide stage in sport, trained at times 30 hours a week, and I have put myself through tremendous physical stress in order to be the best I can be in my chosen sports.
Inevitably, that much training and competing left me with my share of injuries. I have noticed over the past several years that my body has developed some imbalances. Certain ways I used to move just don’t feel the same anymore. In addition I have developed chronic pains that I used to not have. I knew there was a connection, but despite my best efforts to try and do something to self-correct, I was left feeling imbalanced and in pain.
Enter Maryann to my life. She introduced me to a method and practice of understanding my body that would go on to frame much of the way I look at my own movement. She started to educate me and provide me with the tools I needed to really understand my imbalances, work towards correcting them, and to be mindful of these positional changes throughout my training and day to day life.
Maryann is an educator, not just a therapist to help unlock my pain. What she has taught me will carry over to so many parts of my life and will provide me with a new awareness that can and will help me navigate my body as I age and change life habits. Her patience and encouragement have gone a long way to keep me committed to the process and help me solidify these practices into my life.
If you have chronic pain or are looking for a way to better understand how your body moves and how you can align yourself to perform more optimally, then I highly recommend you contact Maryann and start your journey with her.
I have had very poor posture with extreme kyphosis since childhood. I am 53 years old and have had chronic back pain for at least 20 years, possibly longer.
After experiencing a bad bout with piriformis syndrome in 2015 I began going to a chiropractor. That didn’t bring the results I wanted so I began to search online. I read about Pete Egoscue’s books and bought all three. I liked what I read and began doing some of the e-cises. After a short time I felt I needed guidance from a therapist and contacted Maryann. My sessions were done via Facetime as I am about 3000 miles from where she lives!
Maryann is passionate about her work and has been my biggest cheerleader. She wouldn’t let me give up. She always follows up with a text, email or phone call when my menu of e-cises changes. If I have a concern she is available to answer my questions.
When I have had to travel she has devised new menus for me to do to help alleviate my pain as sitting for long periods of time really increases my pain. I never felt like I was bothering her when I contacted her outside our normal session time. She always went above and beyond the call to help me. She truly cares about people and works diligently to see them out of pain. She not only teaches you how to do the e-cises but also teaches you the why behind them.
You will feel as if you have been in an anatomy class after each session. You will learn many things such as bones do what muscles tell them and that your body constantly devises compensations for your particular situation resulting in your healing being similar to removing layers of an onion.
You will experience a level of pain relief and healing only to realize that was just the outer layer of the onion and there are many more to go. This is not a quick fix solution for your pain. It requires consistency and hard work, but the results will far outweigh the cost of time and effort. Everyone is different and no one can really predict how long it will take to experience complete pain relief.
Speaking of cost, Maryann makes her sessions affordable. She has great programs available for her clients as I truly believe she is more concerned about your health than her pocketbook.
A wonderful thing about this program is you can do it anywhere! I have done it in hotel rooms, at rest areas while traveling and in relatives homes. You can do it without a gym membership or costly equipment. Each e-cise has modifications. If you can’t do one a certain way Maryann can adapt it for you. It isn’t about forcing a movement or pushing yourself to do 50 reps of something. It’s all about proper form even if you only can do 5 reps.
You will learn to listen to your body. YOUR input is as important to the process as is Maryann’s input. YOUR commitment level will greatly determine your success.
I have been doing Posture Alignment Therapy for 6 months, very consistently. I have probably missed less than 5 days doing my daily e-cises. I have experienced pain relief in my thoracic back which is where my greatest pain was located. One of my greatest joys since starting the program was the day I took a walk and my back didn’t scream at me the entire time I was walking! I can now walk a bit without constant pain.
I am not yet pain free, but I don’t expect decades of misalignment to be fixed in a short time. I believe in the method and will be a lifetime user of the e-cises. Pain relief isn’t the only thing I have experienced since beginning this program. I have greater extension in my back and if I am having a high-level pain day I have learned which e-cises to do to bring about relief.
I have learned that I have great say so in my level of healing. I have come to believe I can fight the pain with relatively simple, daily e-cises that will improve my quality of life. My body is probably stronger now in my 50’s than it was in my younger years. I know that I must keep moving, it is paramount to my health. I have determined I won’t give up in this fight against chronic back pain and I believe what I have learned through this program is the greatest tool I have in the fight.
My name is Shelley Coletti and I am a proud Canadian gym owner, my gym is my lab and playground. I am 58 years old, happily married with 4 children and 2 dogs. I was born with hip dysplasia. By the time I was 40 I was told I needed a hip replacement. At 50 I had another one. During physiotherapy I kept complaining that my knee hurt. They didn’t acknowledge it so I quit and did my own rehab.
Over 3 years ago I was unable to walk and my orthopedic surgeon placed me on a list to have my knee replaced. I booked the surgery but went home with a goal in mind. Find alternative help. I came across the Egoscue Method and from there Realign Therapy. I absolutely connected with Maryann’s method of teaching. She is excellent. Her advice was to read Pete Egoscue’s book (Pain Free). I did one knee menu for approximately a month. The first time I did the Supine Groin Stretch, it took me over an hour to feel like it worked. I would have been discouraged but Maryann and Pete’s book warned this could happen. I now only spend 5 to 7 minutes on each leg. That is completely amazing.
I started feeling better within a week and throughout the month I just kept watching Maryann and reading the book over and over again. I looked into one-on-one online training but found it too expensive with 4 kids and all in university and post grad.
Hence Maryann announced a more affordable program beginning in December of last year (The Posture Workout). I was so excited, I was the first person to sign up. It turned out to be better than I ever imagined. Maryann treats us as individuals and is always helpful. The entire program from the start has been professional, honest, and sometimes very emotional as Maryann is so real about her feelings.
My biggest obstacle was to commit every day. Within a month I was up 1 hour earlier. My business opens at 6:30am. With encouragement of this group and the realistic, honest advice from Maryann I had to give it a try. I get up, I do it and sometimes I redo it or go back to my original program in the evening. Everyone gets excited anticipating our next menu. There have been challenges and setbacks along the way. However, Maryann is always there with her extra helping of encouragement and with our extra live videos.
I got called for my surgery last January and cancelled it. Someone else is probably waiting for and asked to postpone it. This past September I went for my annual checkup and my orthopedic surgeon was amazed. We saw only a slight improvement in the knee, however, there was improvement, my posture was excellent and no pain in my knee. Needless to say, I was smiling and strong. He dismissed the idea of a surgical procedure at this time and encouraged I keep up with my program.
I still get referred pain from 40 years of walking with a limp, playing sports with bad posture. My body took a beating. I am in the business of fitness but often find myself helping my clients with their posture because every ache and pain is usually a result of bad posture. There are times when they have acute injuries but most of them have bad posture.
There is no special equipment that I need. I take my menu with me wherever I go. I practice it every single day. I also don’t take pain medication. After being in and out of the hospital all my life I tried to stay away from pain medication. Thus far I have not had to use any.
This group is the back bone to my health and sanity. I am stronger because of it. I look forward to celebrating many more years with this group. It works only if you are committed and your health is worth the lifelong commitment.
I suffer from a condition called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) which causes the spine to fuse naturally. There is no medical cure and this can only be controlled by exercises and posture techniques.
I have had AS for over 20 years and via regular chiropractic care and controlling my eating habits I was able to maintain it with some control.
However, in March of 2016 I had a severe attack and my neck and shoulders were in extreme pain. I would go to my chiropractor twice a week with no relief, and I was taking anti-inflammatory tablets (4 each day) with little relief. As I speculated on my life and what I could do I googled for treatment of neck and shoulder pain.
It was then that I came across your article and videos on the topic, and later I went to your website. I tried the exercises that you had posted and they seemed to help. So I finally contacted you and I was very skeptical as to how the Skype sessions would work since we were both in different states. You also insisted I read the book by Pete Egoscue on Pain Free Living via Motion and I ordered it right away.
I am glad you did because one of the important aspects of regaining your health is believing in yourself and your ability to restore yourself, instead of listening to anyone else about there not being a cure.
Since then I have had 2 additional sessions with you. The last one was where I had severe pain in my right shoulder and back and the exercises you showed me helped control the pain immediately (in less than a week).
The exercises are simple and can be done at home without any special equipment. I also have now scaled back my chiropractor visits to a maximum of 2 times a month, and at times, once a month.
I know I have a long way to go to correct my posture, and reversing the AS may seem very difficult, but each day is a blessing and I cannot begin to thank you enough for your patience and thoughtful approach to helping me out. You have been a true life saver for me as I did not know what I could have done without the exercises you recommended.
I have tried physical therapy in the past to no avail and your sessions have been significantly superior.
Thank you once again Maryann, truly appreciate what you do and the service you offer others.
I’m not sure I can do the necessity of The Posture Workout justice. As an active, healthy and fit 58 year old female, who worked out on a daily basis, I wasn’t convinced I needed a posture workout. After all, how could working on your posture be a workout ? Needless to say, after just one week, I was convinced that I wouldn’t be effectively working out without first doing my posture exercises. Challenging, effective, performance enhancing and life changing!
After doing The Posture Workout everyday for almost 3 weeks, I’ve already noticed changes in my standing posture. My shoulders now feel as if they naturally stack over my hips and I feel more upright overall. The Posture Workout has also been a great way for me to start the morning thinking about my posture and being aware of my body positions throughout the day. I’m excited to see more changes in the months to come!
I travel frequently for work and pleasure. I am often on a plane or car for 5+ hours. I love to travel and don’t mind being on the road at all. Typically, by the last leg of my travels I am feeling a sharp pain in my lower back. I will need to get up, move, readjust, stretch and find any way to move and relieve the pressure.
My last trip was coming home from Toronto (5.5+ hrs in a plane). I did not even realize until I got home that I wasn’t twitchy, I did not have to get up and move around, I had a full flight PAIN FREE! This is HUGE!
The simplicity of this routine was easy to do in my hotel room, living room and anywhere on the go. If a week of Egoscue practice makes travel pain free, I can only imagine how good my body will feel living freely the rest of my life. Thank you Maryann!!
I had been working with a Chiropractor for about the last year or a little more, suffering from chronic leg pain, hip pain and suddenly recently contracted a neck and shoulder pain which I attributed to ‘stress’. I don’t know how long Maryann has been trying to get me to check out Realign, but I know its been quite a while. Finally, I ‘relented’ when I was not getting the relief I need with the chiropractor. Now I think, “SILLY ME!” I worked with Maryann one time and then started doing the exercises which took no more than 20 minutes. Day 1 after doing the exercises at home I had no knee pain. Day 2 after dancing for two hours, no pain… no more restless legs, no more leg cramps… all gone. After Day 3 I was scared not to do the exercises as I was scared the pain would come back… but they have not.
So after three weeks of doing the exercises, I go back to the chiropractor who told me the rotation in my hip was less pronounced and my leg strength was 100%. Go Figure! So if you are like me! Hard headed and suffering… STOP IT. Maryann and Realign does help! Be Pain free! Like ME!
I feel so fortunate to have had the pleasure of working with Maryann. I have been suffering with a nagging pain in my lower back that radiates it over into my right hip. During my private Realign consult she addressed several issues in my posture and misalignment in my pelvis that was adversely affecting most of my load bearing joints. She created a customized menu of exercises for me to do on a daily basis in the time that I had allowed with my busy schedule that are already starting to make a difference. Through troubleshooting and test /retest she picked specific exercises that had immediate results in improving my posture and movement patterns. I look forward to continuing to utilize this program in my mobility routine as well as the results it will yield. Maryann is awesome and truly cares about helping everyone she meets live pain free! I can’t wait for her to visit again!
I had this crazy idea to start training for a half-marathon. During my training I started to develop this constant cramp in my right foot, which no matter how much I stretched it, would not go away. In addition, I had this intense, dull pain in my left shoulder. My shoulder was constantly throbbing, making it hard to concentrate on work and even hard to sleep comfortably. After months of just bearing the pain I went to see Maryann knowing how many others she had helped. After just a couple days I started to feel so much better! After a couple of weeks my pain was virtually nonexistent. My foot doesn’t bother me anymore and whenever my shoulder starts to bother me I just start doing my exercises again to take care of it. NO pills needed! I know I can go to Maryann for any pain and she will make magic happen. Thank you Maryann for all your help!
I commenced Maryann Berry’s Posture Workout routine about 2-3 weeks ago and have been doing the first lot of exercises almost every day as directed. I find the routine easy to work through and taking only around 15 minutes, it’s quick enough to fit into my daily schedule before work.
My main reason for signing up to The Posture Workout is that over time a previous leg injury had caught up with me and my lifestyle was being impacted in a major way. This year alone, I have spent a thousands of dollars seeing physios and chiropractors to get some relief and rehabilitation from the pain and limitation that my old leg injury was causing me and yes, after each visit I would have relief and go away with exercises to do, but with no seemingly permanent improvement.
I have noticed since doing the first lot of exercises set out in The Posture Workout, plus some of the ones that are shown in the bonus videos on a regular basis, that my upper body has more extension and I am walking probably the best I have in about 12 months. I still have a way to go for full rehabilitation but based on the results that I have achieved so far from The Posture Workout routine, I would say that these exercises have given me a more positive result than any other remedial treatment I received in the past 12 months. For this reason, I would have no hesitation in recommending this workout to anyone, regardless of your occupation, fitness levels or lifestyle and I believe everyone can benefit from this wonderful, quick and easy to understand exercise routine.
I am a mother of two small children and have suffered with back and hip pain for 4 years. The onset was with the birth of my 4 year old. I have been to many specialists and spent thousands of dollars trying to find a solution to my pain and discomfort. Unfortunately, I never found relief or even an accurate diagnosis for my constant pain—my whole life was altered. I couldn’t travel, workout, walk lightly, or even sit on the couch without suffering.
Luckily, I was introduced to Maryann by my sister and started the process of egoscue. It was a slow process, but I have finally turned a corner and have less pain. I do my daily stretches and am able to finally work out again. For the first time in four years, I feel like myself again.
Maryann took the time to assess my medical situation and devise a plan that was tailored to my own unique situation. I felt that for the first time in years, a medical professional finally listened to me. In the past, doctors, therapists, and even chiropractors treated me as a number—they never paid attention to what I had to say, but not Maryann. She has gone above and beyond to listen to me and to reach out to me outside of our regular scheduled appointments.
The unique benefit of seeing Maryann was that I was sent home with tools to maintain my pain, as opposed to seeing someone to get adjusted. I especially appreciate Maryann checking in on me and being so involved. Her dedication and her desire to help me, has meant the world.
I went to Maryann because I had been having severe pain starting in my right hip, down my leg, to my foot. I had been to my doctor a few times, who diagnosed it as Iliotibial Band Syndrome, and he had told me that I should give up walking (my favorite form of exercise) and take Ibuprofen each day to alleviate the pain. Very dissatisfied with that, I made an appointment to see Maryann to see if she could help.
My initial consultation with Maryann was wonderful. She clearly explained her plan for me for the next 8 weeks – so I signed up then and there and started my treatment that day. And I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Working with Maryann, I looked forward to my weekly sessions, as she is very personable, extremely knowledgeable and quite caring. Maryann would work with me each session, carefully explaining the exercises I needed to do that week at home; she then clearly demonstrated each one and took the time to ensure I was doing them correctly. Later that day, I always received an email from her, with directions and pictures on how to do each exercise. As well, she was very diligent in weekly follow-up phone calls to see how I was doing and if I had any questions.
I am very appreciative of Maryann’s work with me and her great manner. I’m not young or fit by any means, but Maryann never made me feel anything but positive and capable. As well, she took an interest in me as a person and always made me feel better about myself. Much thanks to Maryann, I can now say that I am pain-free when I’m walking, and I continue with the wonderful exercise program she had laid out for me. No matter what business or practice she goes into, I am sure Maryann will be an asset to any organization; and her intelligence, common sense, work ethic and wonderful demeanor will bring life to any company.
I am 69 years old. I’ve been coming to Maryann for 2 months. I’ve had shoulder pain for 20-25 years. The range of motion of my shoulders was severely lacking. Turning my head was limited and it was forward, the head that is. Low back pain has always been an issue. Bending over to pick something off the floor always caused pain. If all this isn’t enough, I always walked on the outside of my feet.
Other than the pain, from one shoulder or the other, I was unaware of how badly my body was out of alignment. I finally started working out at a fitness studio not far from where I lived. It was there I found that I really couldn’t do all the exercises because of the lack of motion in my shoulders. I couldn’t reach either arm straight over my head, thereby, causing pain to my shoulders.
After 2 months of Maryann’s Realign Therapy, the pain is gone. That’s huge for my quality of life. That doesn’t mean I’m totally fixed. However, the range of motion in my shoulders has increased tremendously. My forward head is returning to its’ rightful place on my shoulders. That same head now turns more easily from side to side. That’s good news for the other drivers. I am not waking with low back pain any longer. Also walking more evenly on my feet.
I now look forward to picking things off the floor, from behind couches. It sounds crazy, but I was never able to do this without pain for a couple of decades. Get this, I am now able to actually look forward to workouts. Whereas, before, they were something I just had to do.
The beauty of Maryann’s Realign Therapy is that the more you work at it, the more you keep getting better and better.
I love to run. It makes me feel happy and it allows me to relieve my stress. I was a die-hard runner for years, but one day out of nowhere my left knee hurt. It hurt to walk down stairs, it hurt to kneel, and it even hurt after sitting. I saw my internist, and I was diagnosed with “runner’s knee.” He prescribed a break from running and physical therapy. I did everything as recommended, and most knee pain was relieved, but I still could not run. I was so sad.
I consulted sports medicine doctors and orthopedic surgeons. Everyone prescribed the same types of exercises, but I still could not run. Eventually, a few told me that my running days were over. I was really depressed. I bought an elliptical and stuck to that. Sometimes I would try to run again; but after only a short distance, the pain always returned. Then a friend recommended that I check out Posture Alignment Therapy. I figured that I would attend the first meeting, but I was skeptical so I did not get my hopes up.
When I first went to see Maryann I was in a lot of pain. I’ve been in a lot of pain for a very long time. I told Maryann that my back dominated my life………..and it did. I have scoliosis and have had multiple surgeries, including a lower back laminectomy due to degenerated and ruptured discs.
I’ve tried every treatment under the sun over the last 40 years and have never had lasting relief from my back pain. A friend suggested I see Maryann and look into Posture Alignment Therapy. I’d never heard of it and was very skeptical. But I’d tried everything from physical therapy to acupuncture to cranial sacral therapy and scores of other things, so why not?
Posture Alignment Therapy requires that you take full responsibility for your own health, and commit to working everyday, for the rest of your life, to improve your physical condition, become pain free and restore your natural vitality and strength. That was a tall order for me. Discipline is not my strong suit. I’m a sprinter, not a long distance runner.
It’s been a struggle for me over these last 6 months, working the program every day, but I knew I had to do it. And it paid off! After about 3 months into the program, one day I got up in the morning and did not have any pain. It took me a while to come to that realization. I was about to take my daily NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) when I realized that I did not feel any pain!
Since then, I’ve done really well, except for those times when I allow my back to be over worked, such as when I traveled a lot or moved from one home to another.
Posture Alignment Therapy is not a quick fix. It can be tedious, repetitive and boring, but it works. Just like any other discipline: learning to play the piano, golf, meditation, ballet or anything else, it takes daily practice and commitment.
I highly recommend Posture Alignment Therapy and Maryann, who has been through terrible pain herself and recovered her physical strength and agility by working this program.
Being a patient of rheumatoid arthritis for 15 years, chronic inflammation had resulted in degeneration of my joints, particularly the weight-bearing lower limbs. The resultant effect was pain and limitation of movement which I believed was completely due to the damaged joints.
While other joints (hands, shoulders) were also affected, they did not affect my day-to- day activities as much. I was told that knee and hip replacements were indicated, but I was reluctant to go through with them and continued daily pain killers, on which I had become dependent. Being a long term slow process, I hadn’t realized the effects of my compromised condition, till much later when I was having trouble sleeping due to the pain. Unfortunately, the constant pain only led to further limitation of movement.
As expected, years of limited movement had caused muscle weakness (which I realized much later), altered posture and gait with extremely limited range of motion in my lower limbs. However, when pain became really severe and intolerable (even with the daily pain killers), I started visiting a physiotherapist and this went on for 3 years. Although there was some initial improvement, it didn’t seem to benefit me very much in the long term. In fact, I believe I was progressively getting worse after the initial improvement.
At this point, I began browsing the internet for alternative exercises that I could do. While majority of websites had exercises catering to able-bodied individuals, there were very few that catered to people like me with extreme limitations in movement. I found Maryann on one such website called ‘breaking muscle’ and what caught my eye was the fact that the exercises she prescribed were simple and feasible to do especially for a person with my limitations.
I tried some of them on my own, but I didn’t get very far. For example, doing the supine progressive groin stretch which seemed so simple, was next to impossible for me to do. Finally, I got an appointment with Maryann over Skype, not knowing what to expect. Being on the other end of the globe, 15 hours apart, fixing a suitable time for the appointment was a challenge, but Maryann was very accommodating.
Maryann took time to understand my situation at first, got a detailed history of my medical issues and was very professional. Her positivity made a big difference because I wasn’t expecting much and was rather sceptical. During our first session, she insisted that I read one of Pete Egoscue’s book for further understanding and that is how I was convinced that movement is key to getting rid of chronic pain.
Her friendly and caring personality makes her so approachable and easy to talk to. She also made me do the ecises in front of her, to confirm if I am getting them right. While I was still doubtful about the effectiveness of these ecises considering both my knee and hip joints had evidence of severe degeneration, I have been committed because I can feel the improvement every day.
So far, I have had about 3 sessions with Maryann, and I do the ecises every day. If I skip a day or two, I can feel the discomfort. Maryann is always keen to know my progress and is always ready to clarify any doubts I have. I have been doing the ecises for about 6 months now and there has been a huge difference. My pain scores have lowered significantly, my gait has become more normal, my posture has improved and I’m moving about easily.
But the most exciting fact is that after a long time, I feel nearer to normal, something I had given up on. I’ve still got a long way to go, but I am convinced that the right posture is key to reducing pain. In fact, I find myself observing the posture of people I come across! I’m looking forward to the day I can be totally pain free.
December 10, 2017. Walking home from dinner, I felt a sharp pain in my lower back. The weather had turned suddenly cold, and I tensed as I walked faster to get the car. But the pain in my back was keeping me from standing up straight, and the ride home brought shooting pains in my low back and down my legs.
What happened? Had I been sitting funny at dinner? Perhaps I stretched in a strange way after my workout that morning?
It wasn’t unusual for me to feel minor aches and pains, usually stiffness after a workout or upon waking. But nothing like this.
I managed to get myself to bed that night, but as I lay there, finally free of the intense, shooting pain in my back, I realized that my T-shirt was twisted around my waist. I just wanted to slide over and straighten it out, but that proved excruciating. I made several attempts, then finally gave up, sleeping with the T-shirt bunched in my back because at least the pain stopped when I didn’t move.
An MRI would later reveal that I had two pinched nerves in my back. The orthopedist wrote me a prescription for prednisone and said it would likely get better on its own, but I could try acupuncture or physical therapy if it didn’t resolve itself within a week or two.
“What caused this?” I asked.
“Gravity,” he said, laughing. “Really, it happens to just about everyone eventually. You’re lucky. Most people come to me with back issues in their 30s or early 40s.”
At 52, I did not feel lucky. I felt old.
When it didn’t get better in two weeks or two months, I went back to the orthopedist and got another prescription for prednisone. That relieved some of the pain, but I was still having difficulty sitting, standing, and walking. The doctor said if it didn’t get better in another few weeks, he could give me a shot or perhaps perform surgery, but neither was guaranteed to work.
Depressed, I wondered if this would be my life from now on. Would I be able to tie my shoes again without pain? Sit up in a chair? Stand for more than five minutes to take a shower?
The next five months were a rollercoaster of hope and disappointment, as I tried one remedy after another. Acupuncture, physical therapy, red light therapy, hypnosis, omega 3 vitamins, turmeric, prescription anti-inflammatories, another steroid, yoga, the hot tub, a new office chair, a new mattress, there was no end to my quest for the perfect solution. Each time, I hoped that this — THIS — would be the last one, the cure.
It’s not that any of these solutions was bad. Some offered relief for hours at a time, but then, inevitably, the pain would return. Searing pain behind my knee and down the side of my calf.. And I’d find myself disappointed, frustrated, and feeling foolish for once again being hopeful, once again shelling out hundreds or thousands of dollars, and once again thinking that this might be the cure.
Days became a game of “let’s see how long I can go without taking Tylenol.” I struggled to cook — something I’ve always enjoyed — but most days gave up after 10 minutes. Attending social events was out of the question. Too much standing and chatting.
By May, I began to consider the shot and the surgery. But not only was there a chance neither solution would work, they were also costly, had potentially life-threatening side effects, and if I went the surgery route, I’d have to take time off to recuperate.
I needed to find another way. I came across a mention of the Egoscue method on a health website, and I got a referral for an Egoscue therapist nearby. She took my health history, took pictures of me, and gave me a menu of exercises. She went through the exercises with me quickly, and when I asked questions about the method and the cost, she got annoyed. I figured she was either used to a very high-end clientele or this Egoscue method was some type of snake oil.
After the first appointment, my back felt better, but by the next day, the pain returned. I thought I was on another cycle of hope and disappointment.
But the Egoscue exercises were my last hope before surgery. And something told me that it wasn’t the method that was the problem. Perhaps I just didn’t mesh well with this therapist. I did another internet search and came across Maryann’s website.
Right away, I knew she could help me. First, she made it clear that this was not a miracle, that my problem was a “bit of a bear to solve,” as she put it, but that it could be done. She said it would take time and concerted effort. I told her I was willing to do the exercises every day — and I was. Pain is a great motivator.
I asked her if I would really be pain free, and she was careful not to promise too much too soon. She said I would, but that I’d have to work at it. I’d have to do the exercises every day in the order she instructed, and I’d have to give it time. I agreed, then I promptly asked her again if it would work. Having been down so many roads that led nowhere, I was suspicious and anxious, like a woman who had been cheated on and didn’t know who to trust. I was afraid of sinking more money into something that didn’t work (I was still paying off a $1,300 medical bill when I called her). I was afraid of being too hopeful. I was afraid it wouldn’t work.
But it did.
The first thing I noticed about Maryann was how clear, detailed and deliberate she was. She wanted to educate me about the process. She suggested that I buy the book and read it to understand the theory behind Egoscue. I did.
And when she gave me exercises, she walked me through each one, taking the time to ensure my body was lined up properly before we even started. She talked me through each exercise, corrected my alignment before we even started, reassured me that I was feeling the right things, and supported me every step of the way.
Her videos are exceptional, too. Not only does she demonstrate the proper way to do the exercises, but she shows you all the ways you might be doing them wrong. This has been enormously helpful for me, as these exercises absolutely require that you do them exactly as they are designed. If your feet are two inches too wide or you’re sitting up from your shoulders, the exercises won’t work and you could end up with even more pain.
I asked Maryann a ton of questions. Should I be doing yoga? How would this affect my swimming? Would I be able to hike again?
She explained that it wasn’t the exercises I was choosing, it was “the body I was bringing to those exercises.” This made sense to me. After all, I know hikers in their 60s who have no problem, and I know swimmers in their 30s with shoulder issues. It isn’t gravity, and it isn’t inevitable. If your body is overcompensating for incorrect posture, you’re going to feel pain doing anything — even just standing.
When I seemed to be only somewhat better the first week, but still experiencing pain in my leg at times, I asked Maryann more questions. Why am I still feeling pain there? Why am I feeling it in other parts of my body? Will this ever go away?!
She asked if the new pain was soreness or pain. I said it was more like soreness after a tough workout. Then she patiently explained that the intense pain I was still experiencing at times in my leg should gradually diminish, and the new soreness I was experiencing in other parts of my body was because I was using muscles I hadn’t used in a long, long time. I needed to strengthen those.
That proved to be true. The leg pain is almost entirely gone (it still shows up if I spend several hours standing), and the pain in my quads and inner thighs lessened in a day or two, as I strengthened those areas.
Maryann is fabulous about following up. After our first session, she asked if it was ok to check back with me in a week. I said yes, and she texted me. She also called (after I said it was ok) and continues to follow up regularly.
She also gives me smaller goals. For example, I find the air bench exercise quite difficult, and she explained that it’s crucial that I have my low back flat against the wall, not that I hold the position for 2 minutes initially. This helped me to gradually work up to where I am now (1 minute, 30 seconds – ha!), and I can literally feel the difference in my legs because of it. Today, when I walk, I can tell that I am using different muscles.
It has been a little over three weeks now, and I am about 90 to 95% recovered. I can stand for an hour or longer to cook dinner. I swim and do a regular gym workout. I can walk for several miles, and I hope to get strong enough to start strength training with weights, something I’ve never been able to do without pain — no matter how lined up I was.
I am so grateful to Maryann. I feel like she’s given me my life back. Most of all, she’s given me hope.