Web sources

I suffered for 21 years until I found ‘Bob and Brad’

Living in New York, I have seen many physical therapists, chiropractors and acupuncturists. But two funny Midwesterners I found on the internet have given me the most helpful advice in two decades.

Bob Schrupp and Brad Heineck are physical therapists known simply as “Bob and Brad,” and they post pain relief videos on YouTube to over 4 million subscribers. They have hundreds of thousands of followers on social media, but I was able to meet them in person after they offered to film some demos for me.

My co-producer and I drove an hour through the cornfields and wind farms of Minnesota to find their unmarked studio in the town of Winona.

Upon entering we found two chatty guys who were immediately endearing. Schrupp started posting videos 10 years ago when he ran his own practice and wanted to give patients exercises to do at home.

“I remember being very surprised because I had written a blog at one point, and there was no reading,” Schrupp said of his foray onto the web. “And so, I put a video on YouTube, and in one day it had about 10 views, and I thought it was amazing!”

Joining them is Heineck, who worked for Schrupp, and their friendship makes them stars on a platform full of “pain experts.” They can shoot a video in 10 minutes in one take without a script. Each video begins with a quirky ’80s-style jingle that claims, “Bob and Brad are the most famous physical therapists on the internet,” after which Heineck quickly quantifies, “Only in our opinion, of course.

They say their goal is to help relieve suffering. In 2016, Americans spent more money (about $134.5 billion) on lower back and neck pain than on 154 other conditions, including diabetes, hypertension and dementia, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“A lot of people don’t have insurance or are in an area where they can’t see a doctor or a therapist,” Heineck said. “And they may just need a little bit of information that will point them in the right direction.”

If you live with chronic pain, this activity could provide relief

Both are asked about lower back pain and sciatica most often, followed by shoulder and knee pain, but I enjoyed the video which helps take the strain off the hands for the tired texter. For our visit, they filmed a video on sleeping positions for people with reduced mobility and then went straight to my chronic upper back pain.

Over ten years ago I was diagnosed with kyphosis, a curvature of the upper part of the spine. Lest you think I’m an amateur, I have shoulder massagers, massage balls, ice creams, and heated wraps for hundreds of dollars. I have my own Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit, and even got a wrap that mimics someone massaging your shoulders. (It’s not the same thing.)

The advice I wish I had learned a long time ago

First, Schrupp and Heineck asked me to lean back as far as possible, and they quickly noticed that the muscles along my upper spine weren’t flexing or moving – they were poles of cement. In the video above, they demonstrate how to use a rubbery sphere called a back pod to loosen those trigger points. I had long leaned against small, hard sports balls to do the same thing, but sustained pressure from a larger surface area released the tension without adding pain. For me, the pain always led to fatigue the next day.

Then came another demonstration, along with advice that helped me the most: “One of the things we’re famous for is that we don’t want you to do the exercise once a day”, Schrupp said. “Thinking you’re going to make a big change by doing something once a day is unlikely. You’re more likely to make a change if you can do it eight times a day or nine times a day and doing that is part of it. of your habits.”

Hodge keeps a rubber band for pulling and stretching near his desk.  She says she wishes there was more room in the office to stretch out.

Schrupp said the idea wasn’t original, and he was quick to point out how he talks to other experts, turning those conversations into a podcast.

I had first seen this trick in action when I saw Schrupp doing chin tucks in a car with a sock rolled up behind his head. He worked on his posture throughout the day.

I had been in physical therapy for years, but figured I had to do all the exercises as soon as I woke up, which of course I often skipped. But doing a few things here and there throughout the day is more doable, Schrupp and Heineck said, and releases more tension.

Back from Minnesota

I realize that the painfully bad posture I’ve built up over decades won’t go away in a few months. But these moments of relief give me hope. Moving occasionally reminds the body of what it’s naturally supposed to do, while getting the blood flowing and the muscles warming up. I knew I was onto something when I heard CNN’s Brianna Keilar, who lives with fibromyalgia, offer the same advice.

Visits to my physical therapist are always essential, and Schrupp and Heineck agree. It took me a while to find a good therapist. Mine gave me exercises I had never tried before and pointed out that I had been doing the previous ones with my shoulders too high for too long. I’m not sure I could have gotten this idea from the internet.

But when I leave the therapy office, I have my Reddit channels, my yoga routines, and “Bob and Brad” right at my fingertips.

“I think a lot of our followers, our subscribers, are people who are active and looking for an education,” Heineck said. “And when you have control over your body in terms of pain control, it’s very powerful.”