Before I started working with Matt I’d lived with chronic, constant but variable neck and shoulder pain for several years. I’d been out for a leisurely stroll with my dog when I turned my head slightly to one side and something in my neck went suddenly and catastrophically wrong. I went to a chiropractor my husband had seen for some time and he was able to fix the immediate problem and gradually, over a course of several months, reduce the frequency with which my neck pain would become totally debilitating. Besides chiropractic adjustments, I also began doing stretching exercises meant to loose up muscles that had over-tightened due to repetitive strain (read: working on the computer, in my job as a web designer). But chiropractic care and stretching alone was never able to bring the level of pain, soreness and stiffness down to what I considered an acceptable level, and I was still prone to the sudden onset of severe pain, locked joints, and muscles spasms.
I spent one year trying Vinyasa yoga before deciding that yoga actually left me worse off than before. I flirted, albeit briefly, with massage and acupuncture. After several years of simply living with more or less constant pain and soreness, I decided to look into Rolfing and it was at this point that I came across Upright Health. In this context, what I had expected was a lot of deep tissue massage, with some stretches and maybe a few exercise pointers. What I ended up with was the exact opposite: a lot of weight training, some stretching, and a little bit of deep tissue work. And it really works! Matt’s hypothesis was that my neck pain was at least partly caused by attempts to compensate for weakness in my shoulders, and we started a schedule of weight and resistance training to increase strength in my back and shoulders (and everywhere else just for good measure. I warn you, no matter what you come in for, your glutes are going to get a workout).
It was about seven months ago that I first came to Upright Health. I’ve had only one serious crick in my neck since we began, and that was during just our second session (again, a simple turn of the head was all it took). After only a few weeks of some very light but consistent exercises, I noticed a big difference in the level of stiffness and soreness in my neck. Since then I’ve greatly increased my overall strength as evidenced both by the improvement in pain levels and the fact that I’m lifting several times the weight I started out with. The average level of pain in my neck and shoulders is greatly reduced, and the frequency of flare ups is way down. After just a couple of months spent working with Matt, my husband noted that “it must be making a big difference, I haven’t heard you complain about your neck in weeks!” Also, I can open my own pickle jars now.
I am not a health nut, and I don’t like to exercise. But Matt is so engaging and entertaining that I do look forward to our weekly sessions and enjoy the time we spend on them. You’ve got to like a guy who can hear the phrase “The two sweetest words in the English language!” and immediately come up with, “De-fault!” (it’s from a Simpsons episode). Any man who, given the chance to take one DVD to Europe with him, chooses a collection of Sealab 2020, is okay in my book.
His enthusiasm and belief that *you* can get stronger are infectious and almost make you forget that he’s making you do so, so many push-ups, and his empathy for those of us who are starting out not-so-strong is tremendous. I would strongly recommend Upright Health to anyone who’s perhaps been a bit too sedentary and has suffered chronic pain as a result. I would also recommend Matt to anyone who just wants to strengthen and maintain themselves in the absence of any pain at all.