Size Doesn’t Always Matter – Good night, Sir Knight

I had a challenge the other day. Not so much related to PT as it was to sizing up danger.

Admittedly, it wasn’t offered in appearance as danger, just a friend sharing an opportunity she had stumbled upon. She hadn’t gotten three sentences out until I was thinking back to a website ( I found recently when another friend approached me. Seems like these things come in waves.

It was one of those mlm opportunities that friends cast upon friends from time to time. I guess it creates a buzz for a while among circles of relationships and then dies back down when things don’t pan out the way they want.

I was prepared this time. I told her about the legend of the Blue Knight.

For years upon years the village folk told of an ogre in a lagoon outside the town. Many brave men had left in pursuit of that ogre, but none had returned. With every failed champion the gory strength of the ogre grew stronger and stronger. In fact, no one in the village could even recall anyone they personally knew who had gone to kill the terrible ogre. Every one simply stayed away from the ogre and his pit.

The Blue Knight was always up for a challenge and this seemed to be the very one he had been searching for.

Receiving directions from the village, he made his way to the edge of the lagoon. Indeed, there was the access to the pit, just as narrow as described. So small, in truth, it required him to remove his suit of armor and even a portion of his clothing in order to enter therein.

He carefully tucked his dagger into his belt and slowly crawled and nestled his way into the damp, cool pit.

As his vision adjusted to the darkness, he could make out in the distance a heap of bones and along side the various pieces of weaponry no doubt carried there by his fellow champions in arms, having given their lives in the pursuit of this ogre.

There, just a foot from a second mound was the figure of something as small as a rodent. Watching carefully, the Blue Knight made his way in the direction of the figure. As he came upon the little opponent, the Knight clutched his dagger ever tighter, anticipating the lunge toward the thing as quickly as it came within reach.

To the Knight’s surprise and with a little relief, the ogre scampered into a small hole right at the foot of the second mound, just as the Knight approached.

Yet, in almost a second’s passing, the Knight stopped short of the small entrance. Right there, lying in full view as if waiting only for the company of the Knight’s grasp, were clumps of gold like huge cauliflower heads and bulbs of diamonds like large onions. They glistened in the low light of the pit, almost seizing every ray of light to reveal their brilliance alone.

The Blue Knight, in that instance realized, if he were to take back just one bit of this treasure there would be several townsfolk who would join him in his return. Then, the ogre would be cast away, the treasure would be shared and the Blue Knight would be both rich and legendary.

Yet, without any pocket, without any bag, how was he to take even a small example of the treasure back for proof? He would need proof in order to overcome the ridiculous fear this small ogre had amassed over the years and years of having the stories told.

Simple, the Blue Knight thought, I’ll take one of the smaller diamonds in my mouth, use both hands to retreat and make haste to come back with the villagers.

Admittedly, even one of the smaller diamonds was quite large, but he found one that could fit well in his mouth and he started for the exit.

Clutching the diamond to the roof of his mouth with his tongue, he used both hands and feet to clear the entry for exit.

Farther and farther he crawled, upward toward the entrance, dirt rolling past his body and down into the pit.

With all the hard work to get out, the Blue Knight found himself exhausted. He took in a large, wide open mouth gulp of air and in that instance the diamond slipped from his tongue and lodged in his throat cutting off the air to his lungs.

The poor Knight choked on the diamond, lost his breath, and rolled backward right upon the heap of bones he’d seen as he entered the pit.

Turns out it was not the danger of the ogre in the pit, near as much as the greed of the Knight, and each of those who had gone before.

My friend understood when I declined her offer to join the multi-level marketing business she was trying to bring my way.

Is The Physical Body The Choice of The One Inside The Body?

Now, I admit, I wasn’t looking for it hen it came. It was a sincere question asked by a close friend, when in therapy recently.

Is the physical body the choice of the one inside the body?

I don’t know about you, but when I got here in my birthday suit, I was a complete package. My body and I have always been very close. I mean look, I’m a PT. That’s PHYSICAL Therapist.

So, I can appreciate that my friend felt she was asking a practitioner of the physical realm. I’m going to be a little more transparent with you than I would be if we were face to face.  (That’s sort of a physical attribute as well, the idea of physical distance can introduce a level of safety, can it not? False safety nonetheless.)

I can be accused of being an anaphrodite. It’s OK, it means a person that has no sexual desire or only a very slight one. Frankly, I have found it to be a professional advantage. When in the throws of manipulation or adjustments to bodies, it is nice to never deal with anatomical stimulation effects like erections and what not.

That is said to let you know that I have studied this matter of physical identity for some time. I wondered if nature had played some sick trick on me. If I had been affected in some way and what my sense of identity was if I had none to little sexual desire.

I concluded, media and media stimulated conversations are so rebounding in reference, preference, and orientation to sexual identity, that one is pushed to identify male and female by their sexual behaviors primarily, if not entirely.

I answered my friend this way, “If sex was not your measure, how would your question change?”

She didn’t have an answer.

So I concluded, “If your question can not change when you don’t consider sexual organs or sexual interaction, then you have already answered your own question. Now, how is that working for you?”

Wax On, Waxahachie Off

There’s a real town in Texas called Waxahachie…I’m not kidding.

Dallas Stucco Construction employee and PT client Johnny “Big Boy” Stephens is a longtime resident of Waxahachie, Texas.

They say it’s an Indian term which translates a Muskogee Indian dialect into an English… wax creek…or, cow tail creek…or wax picking place…or…you guessed it, nobody knows because everyone who says they know don’t agree on what they know.

Turns out there is an Alabama-Georgia creek with the same name…Waxahachie. The full story gets so boring that I can’t keep my mind on it, but here it is if you want it Waxahatchie.

The “wax on, wax off” comments from Karate Kid 1 is just unavoidable.  But, we use it a lot on physical therapy routines, just to get the range of motion.

Why not find some kind of historical story just to make the mundane more enjoyable. I admit, it’s a stretch (no PT pun intended) at times to come up with something while trying to work with clients. Yet, the effort always pays off in the delight and interest of the patients who are engaged.





It Hurts Right Here!

I had an uncle when I was about 5 years old that taught me, “how the horse ate the cabbage.”

What a real jerk! He was on my father’s side of the family and they are all jerks! So, as they say back home, “He came by it honestly.” (That mans, h’s not putting on airs or being something he’s not…he’s real, honest to goodness, jerk)

Reaching over, he grabbed my little kneel with his big enormous hand and like only a plumber can do, clamped down like a vise grip and squeezed my bones till I could feel them pop. The lousy jerk! And then he laughed as I screamed out like only a little kid can do, “That hurts! Stop!” He just laughed all the more.

I understand when someone says to me, “It hurts right here.” I’ve been long time experienced in the matter.

That’s why I’m the last to push my thumb into the very spot and ask, “Does it hurt when I do this?” They’ve already told you it hurts, why bring the pain?

I think of my uncle every time. Maybe he did a good thing after all. I know my clients have benefited from that jerk (have I said he was a JERK?)

I always encourage clients to describe the movement, the occasion, the specifics about what first caused them to notice the pain.

Pain came relocate due to strain. The body truly is an amazing mechanism of connection. Bone, muscle, tissue, nerves, psychosomatic impulses…at times it’s like trying to discover the source of a water leak on the ceiling that invariably is traced to a rafter or beam quite a distance from the ceiling leak detected.

The body can be exactly like that, only much more complex.

It hurts right here is only an exposed symptom of what can be a complex remedy. The full motion of a regular exercise can bring adjustment when no direct connection can be clearly determined.

A central nerve can be inflamed due to an allergic reaction to something you ate yesterday and you don’t sense the impact physically until tomorrow and there’s no sensible connection between the two.

You could have had a jerk of an uncle that so traumatized your knee joint that every time you sympathetically hear someone say, “It hurts right here” that a twinge of pain is associated to your own body that you could swear that jerk had just squeezed your knee where the horse ate the cabbage!

Touch Your Toes

A new release has simplified an age old question, “how much exercise is needed to lower the risk of heart attack?”

This new rule of thumb?  “Take your height in inches, divide by 2, if this measures your waistline, then you are at the lowest percentile for cardio disease.”


Although that’s a great suggestion, and will undoubtedly assist you in touching your toes, it doesn’t at all assure you of avoiding a heart attack.

Where do they get these guys?

The factors for susceptibility to heart attach are numerous and multiple in their evaluation of your over all health and healthy (unhealthy) practices.

Don’t fall for these kinds of “rules of thumb.” You can take them as occasional goals to attain… but keep them in the right perspective.

As a goal, half your height as a waist size is really good!

So, how do you do that.

Keeping touching your toes… don’t stop until you do… keep doing it. How’s that for sage advice?


Sleep, sleep….sleep

So, how do you sleep?

I have a friend who always answer, “Like a baby. I sleep a while, I cry a while. I go to pee a while.”

It’s always amazing to me the variety of routines my clients have with regard to getting to sleep each evening.

One always goes to sleep with the TV on…knowing she is affected by the flickering lumins stimulating her closed eyelids.

Another always is asleep within the third commercial break of her night time sitcom.

But what I’m talking about is, can you require yourself to sleep anytime you so desire…for a quick power nap of 15 minutes or for a night time rest?

Try this:

1. Get in a place you can be assured others will not approach you (that can and is quite often in public for me). It’s a matter of choosing where to sit. If convenient, where to lay down.

2. Begin at your toes…clinch them until you can say, “My toes are clinched” and feel the truth of the statement as a genuine certainty.

3. Now, with the same assurance, relax the toes entirely until you can say with equal certainty, “Toes relax” and they are relaxed.

Think about this a moment. Don’t proceed until you have disciplined yourself to know with certainty your toes were clinched, but now they are relaxed.

4. Simply say, “Go to sleep, toes” and know that they do so.

Now, do steps 2, 3, and 4 with each primary limb: toes, feet, mid-leg, leg, waist, torso, chest, fingers, hand, forearm, upper arm, shoulders, neck, face, head.

5. Goodnight.



Phil…the fill up man.

I have a patient who always calls me, “Phil, the fill up man.”

He tries to keep a rosy outlook on things, but he is dying. He’s a young 40ish in a body more likely for a 89 year old.

His range of motion is more like a bedridden invalid with rheumatoid arthritis in all joints.

He has an amazing disposition. He’s a Christian.

I don’t mean one of those, I go to church on Sunday and have nothing to show for it all week long kind of Christians.

He really prays. I mean he really talks with God and God really talks with him. He really reads his bible. He really wants to know if God is pleased with what he does on a daily basis. It makes a difference to him if God approves of his actions and his attitudes.

He is “others” focused. You ask, “Ready to do those stretches today?” and he says, “How are you doing?” He doesn’t take a moment’s thought about his own condition. He never stays focused on his ailments. He center his attention on the treatment focus for the moment, but he is always reaching out.

He told me once, “Phil, you ever noticed about life that much of who we are and how we are is expressed in our hands?”

He said, “You couldn’t do what you do without your trained hands. But, think of a baby coming into the world. That little one comes into the world with his hands grasping out…always kicking with the feet and grasping with the hands.

God makes us “takers” when we are young. We are so dependent upon taking from others. Our survival depends on it.

As we get older, just like you did, we learn to extend a hand to help others. We fill our hands with the needs of others.

That’s why I call you Phil, the the fill up man.”

Now, when I die, I’ve asked my people to make sure my hands aren’t folded together across my chest in the usual way. I want them palms up, open and laying more across my stomach. I want everyone to know, I’ve given everything I could and I go to my Father with open, not grasping hands. I’ve nothing left to hold..I’ve given it all away.”

What a guy!

Have You Ever Played Badminton?

Poona is a game played in India and you could swear it is India’s tennis. As early as the last quarter of the 19th Century His Majesty’s soldiers brought it back to England.

The Duke of Beaufort held a party and introduced the past-time as recreational diversion. Voila, the game played at Badminton, the country estate of the Beaufort, took on a life of its own.  And so soon the game played at Badminton became the game of badminton.

The shuttlecock (lightweight object) batted back and forth over the mid-net, was originally constructed of goose feathers. Thankfully, that has resulted in most people referring to them today as “birds” (though most are made of plastic and or rubber, now).

Records indicate that a legally constructed ‘bird’ has never been batted more than 80 feet!

Here’s the point, it’s not the impact with the ‘bird’ that causes the more common injuries in badminton. It is the over extension of the upper limbs or the repetitive strain injuries (rsi) from not making full contact between the racket and the ‘bird.’

So, we tend to see in the PT world, rotator cuff tendonitiis, tennis elbow, and wrist injuries. It carries to the lower body with ankle sprains and jumper’s knee.

All in all, it tends to happen to those not accustomed to the sport because they over lead and over power the game.

Here’s what’s interesting, its the absence of contact that produces the most strains, but the impact with the ‘bird.’

Do you know where we see similar injuries today? Virtual game involving full body motions…great exercise, but nobody, I mean, no body, wants to disclose to friends or family that the reason for a series of 10 PT sessions is due to having been playing a virtual, non contact, game.

Centuries old, no matter what the game might be called.


Let’s Get Physical, Physical

Physical Phil here! (I know, it’s cheesy, but it was what was on my mind and at the end of my fingers.)

When I think of all the hours required to get through the PT school, I can’t help but want to make lots of money every time I get with a client. It’s a sense of “Hey, let’s get the pay for all the days I had to grind it out to get here.”


The truth is, that’s what I’m thinking, but that’s not what I’m saying out loud and it certainly not what I’m experiencing in the checkbook or the billfold.

My debit card has less card and more debit.

What I like about PT is the truth that is in the experience. You don’t merely talk with the client, you actually engage in a truth exchange with the client.

It’s a matter of, “does that hurt?” and not a matter of “do you think it might hurt?” We PTs know the truth of what we say and do, and so do our patients.

They are less of a client and more of a patient where I come from. I truly want to witness the positive result of my efforts in the here and now.

I can’t satisfy my desires of the past in the present. I can’t even recall what they are most of the time. The money thing is more attached to a memory than a part of what I do in the present.

I think back on what I could have charged, but in the present moment, I just want to make a difference regardless of how I get paid. (sometimes, if I get paid).

I’m just going to keep it physical…and that will keep it real. How many other occupations can say that?




I Phil You, man!

Phil is an interesting name for a physical therapist.

I doubt that my parents considered my future occupation or career choice when naming me, but it has come in handy (get it, handy?)

How’s Phil feeling today….that’s a common question with a LOL kind of intent.

Mostly with my hands, that’s a quick response at least 12 times a day.

Physical Therapy is just about as intimate an act of care as there can be. Of course, the medical professionals become very intimate with their patients, but there seems to always be an instrument or device or medical assistant in the mix. Not so with PT.

It is a powerful feeling to realize that with the mere use of hands and position and thrust, a PT can bring comfort and healing to another person.

Admittedly, he machines o care we are provided today can be great assistors to what we do, but nothing replaces the PT feel for the patient.

I feel and I Phil, that’s who I am, what I am privileged to do, and how I interact with you.

It as become more than a name and more than a phrase. It has come to describe the best of who I am and the greatest act of relationship I can have with another person.

What’ your name, how does it relate to who you are, and what you?


I, for one, am very grateful for the natural match by name and occupation.

I do know some unfortunate matches, however:

Dr. Payne

Dr. Cash

Les Profitt

Sparky Flint

True Price

Real people I know, and their occupations are all PT.