Story 6: A Post-surgical Lesson

This picture of John was taken prior to surgery for a herniated disc. Notice that his head is positioned forward of his torso and his knees are locked, causing his back musculature and the structures of his spine to do excessive work to maintain his upright posture. Since the muscles cannot relax, spasm and pain result; the bony structures become increasingly compressed and gradually wear down. As a result the discs and ligaments and finally the nerve roots are compromised. John's case is a good illustration of how our habitual alignment affects the health of the spine and all its structures. A healthy head-neck-spine relationship prevents the wear and tear that may have contributed to John's herniated disc.


John was 4 days post lumbar laminectomy. He was walking with great difficulty and felt the need for some help. His wife is a longtime student of the AT and suggested a lesson (something she had suggested many times before his surgery). We started with the head-neck-spine relationship and the concept of " primary control". John was tipped forward and out of balance initially. Here you see him after just a few minutes of "hands-on" instruction, upright and more easeful.


The lesson progressed to walking. Notice that I am maintaining John's head direction with my gentle hands-on skills as he walks for the first time in full upright balance. He came in with walking sticks to support his forward tilt but now is using them minimally as he finds his new balance and coordination. Notice his new found confidence. He was surprised and a bit amused at the speed with which he adapted his walking skill. We both laughed!

A 45-minute first lesson resulted in what you see to the right. John is maintaining his own head-neck-spine relationship and obviously quite pleased with the results.

Post surgical lessons are an adjunct to or can be used instead of other forms of rehabilitation. John is an exquisite example of the effective application of the AT to back pain of any kind.