New Technique Promises Faster Pain Relief from Fibromyalgia and More

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Repository / Joy Newcomb

Orthopedic pain emanating from bone and muscle is addressed in a variety of ways by a panorama of physicians, chiropractors, physical therapists and neuromuscular massage therapists. Now a physical therapist in California is training health professionals in a new pain relief treatment that features faster results. Local physical therapist Thomas M. Krupar has completed coursework qualifying him to teach John Iams’ primal reflex release technique.

Krupar says the difference between it and traditional therapy is the rapidity of its results. Speedy results dovetail with Krupar’s admitted impatience. “People come to me to feel better as soon as possible,” he said. “They don’t expect to have to be treated for a long time and neither do I.” In fact, it was a patient who first alerted the 16-year physical therapist to the technique. She read about it in a California newspaper. Krupar traveled to San Diego and then Florida for training. He joins about 50 other certified practitioners in the country.

In the simplest terms, Krupar explained, the technique “works like WD40. It makes things happen quicker.” The practitioner looks for primal reflexes that influence muscles. The pair of major reflexes at the forefront of the treatment are the withdrawal reflex and the startle reflex. They are, Iams explained, “two reflexes that are hard-wired into our nervous system and present at birth and both are tested early in life.” Those reflexes are protective but Iams believes they should not influence movement. When they do, pain may result. Though many compare or confuse the technique with chiropractic treatment or massage, it is neither, he stressed. The chiropractor’s goal, Iams said, is to identify the vertebrae out of alignment. Just as in chiropractic, there are many types of massage treatments, he continued. Massage, though, generally focuses on relaxing muscles and relieving trigger points.

Patients say there is little discomfort in Krupar’s treatments. Krupar himself said the most discomfort, if any, is experienced as he makes an initial evaluation of the patient, touching possible pain locations. Sandy Rogers, a Krupar patient, has experienced relief from headache pain. Another, Caroline Baird, said, “I had very wonderful results after three sessions. It was the first time I’d ever had a (lower) back ache. With the progress I’m making, I don’t expect to need many more.”

Krupar’s first treatment, working through bone and muscle to reach sensitive neurological sites, often results in a 50 percent improvement, he said. “It does not happen all the time but that is what I shoot for. I would say the range is four to 10 visits,” he said. Though patients previously needed physician referrals to see a physical therapist, a new law recently changed that. Now they have direct access to physical therapists and need not be referred.

Krupar said he has seen improvement and pain relief in all the cases he has treated, including fibromyalgia, back and shoulder pain, as well as headaches and athletic injuries. While the treatment cannot eliminate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis, it can lessen it, he added.

OHIO BECOMES 39TH STATE TO PASS DIRECT ACCESS LEGISLATION Patients in Ohio who need physical therapy services now can go directly to a physical therapist, thanks to legislation that became law Feb. 3 this year. The new law gives patients direct access to physical therapy without a physician referral. Ohio is the 39th state to pass the law. Source: The American Physical Therapy Association

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