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Be Your Own Physical Therapist

Updated on October 20, 2015
SamboRambo profile image

Sam has been a foreign war soldier, a writer of books and articles, an illustrator and a graphic artist. He also reads and plays the piano.

Instead of paying money for a physical therapist, or if you don’t like the way a chiropractor jerks your neck as if being hung,* there are some alternate ways you can adjust the areas in your body that cause you pain and discomfort.

I injured my back many years ago, and went to a doctor for it. He gave me a brace to wear. Some months later I went to another doctor, and he told me to “throw away the girdle.” He said my body was depending on it too much and that it needed to develop its own strength. He gave me a list of exercises to do, which I followed faithfully after that, and which helped me. Then, I accidentally did another quick twist of certain parts of my body, and was hurting again, my arm going numb and getting weaker.

I tried a chiropractor, and she did things to me that made me wonder if she had just had an argument with her husband. Later, I happened to be talking about this problem to my cousin. He was a physical therapist, and I was asking for his help. He announced that he was going back to school, and wasn’t going to be practicing for a while. So he gave me some pointers, and more exercises.

The main thing he taught me, was that I should try to make the joints in my body do some clicking, thumping and snapping. When joints made those noises, this meant they were out of adjustment, and I should keep doing the wiggling or turning or pushing that causes the clicking until the pain goes away. When the clicking stops, this means the joints and bones have been properly adjusted.

Here are some exercises that could help you find the parts that need adjusting. Before each exercise, do some deep breathing exercises to help your muscles to relax, and do each exercise ten times:

Lie on your back and raise and lower your legs - straightened out - one at a time. Variation 1: Lift your knee first, then raise your lower leg, then lower your straightened leg slowly. Variation 2: Raise you knee, lean your leg 45 degrees to the side, and try the same movements as above.

Lie on your side and pull your free leg toward your chin, bending your knee. Pull it in with your arm, then release. Variation: Push your leg outward, then bring it back to its original position.

Stand with your back to the wall. Without moving your feet, turn your upper torso to the wall and do a push-up with your hands or fingers. Turn the opposite direction and do another.

Loop a rope around a doorknob or a sturdy clothes-hanger bar. Let one hand pull back while the other is stretched - shoulder too - toward the the door or closet. Variation: Hang pulleys from the door or a rafter and do the same motions.

Rotate the shoulder in circles around the shoulder joint - first forward, then backwards.

Close your eyes and rotate your face (head) in circles - first clockwise, then counterclockwise. (For me, this almost always produces crackling and harsh rasping noises, like there was sand in there. But it feels better afterward.)

Get on your hands and knees. Raise your head while lowering your back. Then lower your head while arching your back. Variation: Pull one knee up under your chest, then push your foot as far back as you can get it, then rest it for a second. Switch to the other knee and do the same motions.

Lie on your stomach. Tuck your elbows partly under your chest, then rotate them backward while relaxing your legs and back muscles. This will stretch the spine in the small of your back.

Sit on the corner of a bed, and clasp your hands behind you. Then raise your arms.

If I’ve left anything out, I’m sure you can figure out the rest. The point is, keep moving different areas in different ways until you find the clicking or thumping. Once I found all my clicks and thumps, I ceased doing the others, as they weren’t needed.

Let me know of any success stories, new moves, or if I gave you bad advice (I thrive on criticism).

* I know that Chiropractors are competent, licensed professionals, and their treatments are all well within safety standards, but this doesn’t help me to relax when I hear the bones clacking in my neck.


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 

      3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Interesting ideas, Sambo. Thanks for sharing. Luckily, I don't have to worry about going back to physical therapy, since my back pain issue have been resolved and minimized.

    • SamboRambo profile imageAUTHOR

      Samuel E. Richardson 

      6 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      I appreciate that feedback.

      Some of the "clacking" is sometimes just a feeling, with no sound. When that happens, I can feel my leg, back, or arm (bones?) move in response to it. And I can achieve that "adjustment" up to 30 times in a row. I thought the release of fluid (or gas?) in a joint happens usually once per hour or so. At least, that's the case with my fingers.

      Sometimes, when I lift my shoulder, I hear a grating sound. When the grating goes away I feel better. Is that fluid also?

    • profile image

      Larry Grimes 

      6 years ago

      I'm not a Chiropractor, but I've known many and I've been treated by many.

      That is not your bones, "clacking." That is the popping of synovial fluid "popping" out of one joint into another, just like popping your chewing gum in your mouth. There is NO bone on bone contact.


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