In 1998, I was on a sailboat in San Francisco Bay and put myself in a careless position that herniated L4/L5. The pain was severe and rehabilitation took almost a year before I could again walk normally. During the past two decades, I’ve babied my back and my activities taking care not to put myself in a situation that would trigger a recurrence of the discomfort.
Two years ago, I was helping a friend with a project at his ranch, and when we were finished a sharp pain in my back told me that I overdid it. For the following 10 or 12 months, all of my activities were accompanied by discomfort and/or pain, sometimes to the point where I could not walk more than 10 feet before needing to sit down. I went to a few different chiropractors to no avail. I went to a masseuse in Santa Margarita who made me feel good, but the comfort only lasted 10 minutes. I went to a local prominent orthopedist who ordered an MRI and advised of my spinal stenosis, arthritis, and aging back. He said I was not a good candidate for surgery – which I didn’t want to do anyway – and offered to give me a pain shot, which worked for two weeks. And, I went into a brief period of depression where it seemed that I never would walk normally – without pain – or play with my grandkids.
My wife had previously experienced some shoulder difficulty and after completing traditional physical therapy, the therapist recommended that my wife see Kelly Reed Daulton. My wife insisted that I go see Kelly. My first impressions of Kelly and Gyrotonics were skeptical, but after two or three sessions, it became quite obvious that Kelly wasn’t just a “physical therapist” and that her Gyrotonic equipment weren’t just nice pieces of wood sculpture. Kelly’s in depth understanding of both the body and the mind – and how the two interact – began to capture my attention and earn my respect. It became quite clear to me that Kelly was a very knowledgeable super-star in the art and science of her specialty.
At first, I was visiting her once a week and the first two months or so were interesting with some progress. Each session, Kelly would ask about the results of my last visit, and she listened intensely to my responses and took notes. She then tuned each session to help me build a strong body again. After several months of progress, I changed to two days per week where I began to notice greater improvement. I could stand longer in one place without pain, I could walk further without pain, and while I hate the expression, I began to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Kelly recognized my progress as well, and I don’t know if she thought my interest was waning, but one day she said to me, “I know you feel you are progressing, but in order to achieve success with your body, you need to stay with Gyrotonics for an extended period.” I had a few chiropractors say something similar to that, but I knew deep inside from repeated visits to their office that their comment was a super sales pitch. But Kelly’s comment struck me differently; I knew that she cared, I knew she was right, and I knew we were making progress. That was six or seven months ago.
The other day, I was doing some projects, going back and forth between our barn and our house, and I walked over to help a neighbor whose tractor was stuck in the mud. When I got back to my house, I said to my wife, “That’s weird. I just spent the whole day on my feet, walking about doing this and that, and there’s no pain. I’m walking normally!” She smiled and said, “I know. I’ve been watching you!”