Who wants to walk with a cane?

Do you know someone who wants to be dependent on a cane for walking? Neither do I. Since October of 2010, I’ve worked with three women who had become dependent upon a walking stick due to severe chronic pain.  These women all have inspiring stories, as they all shared the desire and will to beat their pain and get back to living their lives.

“Florence” is one of these women. As a nurse, she needs to be on her feet, moving about all day. Unfortunately, over the course of 2010, she felt her left hip go from feeling a little funny to being completely seized up. By year’s end, she could no longer walk from one room to the next without a cane. Nor could she sit in a boat and go sculling. Nor could she go for a hike in the hills.

Pain had taken away her ability to work AND play.

When she came for her initial consultation at the end of March of 2011, she was adamant about getting better. The pain was forcing her to sleep in awkward positions, waking her up in the middle of the night, and things were still getting worse.

She had three very specific goals. 1) Stop walking with a cane, 2) Get back to sculling, and 3) be able to hike again.

Since 1) was a great place to start, I asked her how soon she thought would be reasonable to be off the cane.

“In 2 months, I would want to see some kind of improvement,” she told me.

I had her do a very simple posture-restoring exercise during the consultation that gently allowed muscles in her left hip to relax more than they’d been allowed to in the last year.  It was painful for the muscles in her leg and hip to readjust to the new position, but when she got up off the floor, she found that her hip and leg were feeling noticeably better.

The very next day, she forgot to bring her cane to a staff meeting.

A few days later, after her first session of Rolfing, she freed herself entirely from her dependence on the cane.

Goal #1 – check!

In her first photo on March 30, you can see how her body had hunched forward to compensate for the issues in her hips.  In the April 13 picture, you can see just how quickly her body has responded to a dedicated effort to restoring proper alignment.

This weekend, a mere three weeks since she started at Upright Health, you can see her out on the waters of San Diego and see what effect restoring proper alignment can have on someone’s sense of joy in life!


About the Author

Matt Hsu is a trainer and orthopedic massage therapist. He fought a long battle with chronic pain all over his body and won. He blends the principles he learned in his journey, empirical observations with clients, and relevant research to help others get their lives back.