Yoga, Symptoms and Tethered Cord Syndrome

A Facebook post I read shared a blog by Carol Horton, PhD, who sounds like a really interesting person to me. In her blog the following statement was included:

“I feel shitty if I don’t practice regularly. Physically, I get stiff and achy. Emotionally, I become more blocked, weighted down, and reactive. Mentally, I feel claustrophobic – increasingly trapped in the narrowing confines of my own thoughts.

“I’m not as in touch with my intuition. I don’t appreciate the sunlight and shadows as much. In a holistic, rather than simply visual sense, I can’t see as clearly.”

Her experience is common and not normal. Stiff and achy along with the other symptoms she described are not how the human body feels when things are normalized in one’s body.

Six plus years ago, after 16 years of working with people in my chiropractic practice, I came across a researcher who figured out what “everybody” seems to be missing when it comes to how bodies work and what goes wrong with them. I have been using his protocol with patients for six years and teaching the protocol for the past four years. Time and again I come across people who do yoga, teach yoga, do stretching, teach stretching and who need a constant “fix” (quotation marks because nothing is really being fixed) of stretching or yoga to feel okay. This is not “working” for these people. It’s like taking a painkiller every time they feel uncomfortable. The drug doesn’t fix the problem. Sadly, neither does yoga.

What happens (and I demonstrate this with every patient visit) is bones get pulled into positions that the body cannot self-correct – meaning that the body (every physical body) cannot return the bone(s) to their normal relationships with the other bones (because the body has no muscles able to move the bones in the directions needed.) This leads to all sorts of pulling on muscles and other tissues. The muscles then “get tired” of being pulled on so they ache, hurt or some other symptom shows up. After a while, along comes a stretch which forces the muscles to relax TEMPORARILY. This stretch feels good and feels like it “worked.”  The yoga evoked a stretch response (causing muscular relaxation) and more likely than not shifted more bones in directions the body cannot self-correct but which compensate for the previous arrangement which was uncomfortable.

Compensations are not corrections. As compensations add up and more bones get pulled in ways the body cannot self-correct problems compound year in and year out. The results are different for each person in terms of location and symptoms though in general people feel funky, achy and feel like they need more frequent stretching and yoga and whatever seems to give them relief. 

This is not working. This is surviving. There’s a big difference. 

All of the pulling of bones into places where a body cannot self-correct their position leads to Tethered Cord Syndrome. Unfortunately, Tethered Cord Syndrome is complicated and is not corrected by yoga (any more than the bones out of place in directions the body cannot self-correct from are corrected by yoga, which is to say not at all.) Tethered Cord Syndrome is compounded by yoga. The symptoms of Tethered Cord Syndrome are synonymous with those we think of as aging. From Symptomatic protocols for adult tethered cord syndrome by Shokei Yamada, et al, symptoms include and are not limited to: Pain in the back and legs, pain aggravation by postural changes, often by flexion and extension of the spine…sitting legs crossed in a Buddha pose, bending over to the sink (like dish-washing, or tooth-brushing), holding a baby (or equivalent weight) at the waist level, lying supine (on one’s back), sitting in the chair with slouching position worse than sitting straight (>90%), subtle non-myotomal adn non-dermatomal motor and sensory changes and urinary dysfunction, a gradual onset of aches and pains.’

Sadly, I see this happening to people who truly want solutions, I am able to demonstrate the effectiveness of what I’ve learned and, yet, many people are so fixated on what they think they know that they don’t look into this bigger picture. Their mindset is fixed rather than growth oriented.

I’m writing this for people who care about their well-being, who have a growth mindset and want to learn and move through their problems rather than re-living a Groundhog’s Day of dealing with the same physical scenario day and week in and out and who just might be open to these important ideas that can reshape their lives for the better.

Yours in Health,

Dirk Farrell, DC



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