Tami Peavy, MPT

Tami has over 15 years of experience in physical rehabilitation of adults with pain, injuries, disease, aging disorders and postural deformities. Featured on NBCs Today Show , Tami discusses how falls can be prevented. She specializes in Neurological and Orthopedic Rehabilitation, Balance and Posture Disorders, Fall prevention, Muscle Strengthening, Gait Disorders, Sciatica, Vertigo, COPD, Pulmonary Rehabilitation, Workman’s Comp Injuries. Restoring function, relieving pain, increasing mobility and independence.

Are you shrinking?

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Aug 212018

Seems everyone is complaining that they are losing height these days. It’s very common to hear someone say “ I used to be 5’10” but now I’m 5’8”. How does this happen in life? Is it preventable? The answer is ‘yes’.

Shrinking, or height loss is due primarily to one thing, postural aging and decline. We all begin life with 2 wonderful curves; one in our neck and the other in our lower back. Each curve becomes a shock absorber to lessen the impact of walking, running and other upright activities.  These curves give us the perfect alignment and balance to our bodies.

As you age, gravity and the everyday repetitive movements in life, pulls your head and body downward and forwards. Neck Hump progression thumb

Without constant active strengthening of your postural muscles (neck, shoulders and glutes), you give gravity permission to keep pulling you forward every minute of the day. Eventually, you get stuck in these postures and begin to loose your spinal curves completely. Sadly, while posture is the thing that ages you most quickly, it’s the thing you most ignore.

One of main reasons this happens is because you spend so much time looking downward and keeping your head too far forward in all your daily activities; such as looking down at your phones, leaning forward in driving in the car, bending over a desk while working on a computer, and many many other times throughout the day.

Consider that your head weighs about 10 pounds. Did you know that for every inch you let your chin drop and your head drift forward you DOUBLE the weight of your head in pressure on your neck and back.  Neck and Back

So, you are most likely carrying around an extra 20 to 30 pounds every day! This extra weight compresses the front part of all your vertebrae.

Soon your vertebrae begin to wear down creating lost height. Its common to experience neck and shoulder pain. You might end up getting injections in your neck/shoulders to relieve this pain, which is not advised by me. You also might get an MRI which shows issues like “loss of disc height”, ‘narrowing of the foramen”, or “disc degeneration”.  These problems compress nerves and send shooting pain down your neck, shoulders and arms. vertabrae

You also become at increased risk for osteoporosis, arthritis. As the body follows the head, this weight compresses your chest and lung cavities and results in reduced oxygen exchange to your brain and body.

You can fight this shrinking and aging process by taking an active role in fighting gravity with proper body positioning.  For instance, keep your chin up and level throughout your day instead of looking down so much of the time. This is particularly important when you use your cell phone or computer. For correct placement of your screens, lift the bottom of your cell phone or computer screen to be level with your chin as you hold your head in neutral with your chin level. Keep your shoulders back and avoid letting them fall forward into a rounded position.

Most importantly, you should strengthen your postural and glute muscles, activating them daily against gravity. Remember, gravity works on you every day of your life. It’s up to you in determining how much damage it will do on your body. In the meantime, keep your chin up! Click here to watch my free video on strengthening your postural muscles to avoid shrinking.

How Your Mobile Technology Can be a Pain in the Neck

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Jun 242018

We are all guilty of curling up in our bed, or on our couch, with our laptops, tablets or smart phones to answer a few emails, do a quick search or log into our social media accounts. Then before we know it, a couple of hours have passed by and we are still hovering over our screens. Inevitably we have been sitting or curled up with rounded-shoulders in that classic head forward position. When we go to move, our neck and shoulders feel stiff or painful.shoulder pain

The weight of our head and rounded shoulders puts pressure on the nerves traveling from the neck across the front of the shoulders. Its easy to for nerves to get pinched in this position and we then feel pain shooting from our neck into the shoulder and down the arm.

This happens to us because of the head and body positions we fall into viewing our portable media devices in bed or on the couch. Our head is like a bowling ball, weighing about 10-12 pounds. For every inch it is tiled forward, we add 10 pounds to that head weight.

skeletalThis can easily can put up to 40 pounds of extra pressure on our cervical spine, nerves and shoulders.
This extra weight of the head strains the muscles in the back of the neck. It also causes the muscles in the front part of the chest (the pecs) to become tight, pulling the shoulders even further into a forward rounded position.

All this leads to pain, numbness, muscles spasms and even headaches. The sad thing is that we’ve done this to ourselves.neck pain

Good body and head positioning is key to making sure technology doesn’t age us before our time, or give us a life of chronic pain. This video suggests one position of support and comfort at home you can use with your laptop or tablets that won’t result in pain.

The platform suggested here can be used in a position lying down, or reclining. Each of which supports the weight of your head while viewing. You can find this platform very inexpensively on-line, or at IKEA for just $3.99. A small price to pay to keep you pain-free. View this video here.

Get a Better Brain For The Holidays

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Apr 202018

The holidays can add stress in many ways. That stress leads to fatigue and in turn to a feeling of brain fog. You might experience difficulty concentrating or even frequent headaches. These symptoms can be the result of

Decreased Blood Circulation
Shallow Breathing

Dehydration: Water makes up about 70-80% of the human brain and helps create neurotransmitters and hormones. Water provides the electrical energy you need for brain functions like memory and thought processing. Dehydration causes the brain to slow down and can add to feelings of depression, anger and disruptions in sleep. Dehydration has also been linked to dementia, Alzheimers and exacerbates the symptoms of Parkinsons. Studies show that if you are only 1% dehydrated, you can experience a 5% decline in cognitive function. If you can drink “half your body weight in ounces” each day you can keep a healthy and active brain. And if you can begin your morning by drinking at least drink 10-12 ounces when you wake up in the mornings, you can start your day with a super-charged brain.

Circulation: How often do we find yourself sitting for hours behind a computer, in a car or at a desk? This means your body is not moving. Neuroscience research has shown that 90% of your brains nutrition comes frobetter-brain-functionm spinal movement. So movement literally feeds your brain. Setting your phone to remind you to get out of your chair and move around frequently throughout your day could give you that creative brain spark you are missing.

Shallow breathing: When we are stressed or intently concentrating on something, we unconsciously begin to breathe at a shallow rate. This means we are not filling up our entire lung capacity. We are not taking in the full oxygen we need, and not expelling the carbon dioxide we do not need. Less oxygen exchange means fatigue for both our brain and our body. Your brain becomes foggy and struggles to stay focused; your body feels like it wants to take a nap.

One effective way to brain fog and physical fatigue is the use of “Balloon Therapy”. This promotes deep abdominal breathing for full oxygen exchange and releases endorphins, our body’s natural painkillers and emotional elevators. Its an excellent way to rejuvenate yourself throughout the day.

Using “Balloon Therapy” correctly can:

• Stabilize or lower blood pressure.
• Decrease depression and anxiety
• Improve mental concentration
• Improve mental productivity and learning
• Improve decision making
• Increase Metabolism

Finally, “Balloon Therapy” can improve your metabolism and fight weight gain and obesity. So between drinking more water, moving your body more frequently and practicing balloon therapy, you can have a super-charged brain full of energy and creativity.

Click the link for to watch PT4U’s video called “2 Minutes 2 Better Brain Function” and get your brain and body jump-started out of that brain fog.

VIDEO: Breathing and Weight Loss

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Dec 262017

Life can be stressful. When it is, we respond by becoming ‘shallow breathers’

taking short shallow breaths without filling up the entire lung and chest cavity. We

breathe using just a portion of our full lung capacity. We do this unconsciously in

response to stress or even intense concentration. Unfortunately, as a result we

reduce our vital lung capacity and the amount of oxygen that is available to our

system, including our brain. This can cause headaches, impaired alertness and

fatigue. When the brain does not receive enough oxygen, all basic functions are

affected including concentration and memory.



Don’t Let Back Pain Stop You From Your Next Passage

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Oct 152017

New entrepreneurs seem to get better with age. In fact, founders of startup companies by people over 50 is more than double those 25 years old, according to a survey by the Kauffman Foundation. But with that trend comes many long hours behind a desk looking at a computer or down at a cell phone.

It’s easy to get caught up in the drive to create your own business and forget to put the same attention to your body. The consequences of these long hours of sitting take its toll not only on your body, but your brain as well.


Brain stimulated by movement

Neuroscience research has shown that 90% of your brain’s stimulation and nutrition comes from spinal movement. That is why after hours of sitting in your office chair, you begin to feel tired and the ”brain fog” sets in. It becomes difficult to concentrate and your eyelids feel heavy. Your brain needs the circulation that comes from moving your body. That movement feeds your brain’s creativity.

Computer aches and pains

Long hours in front of the computer cause aches and pains in the back and promote poor posture. Prolonged sitting creates weakness in the key muscles that are needed to keep a strong back and a healthy posture.

Most everyone will experience back pain at least once during their lives. But for many people, it is not just once, but multiple times over a lifetime.

Physical therapy can help

Back pain is the most common reason people go to physical therapy. While there are many remedies that claim to cure back pain, few are permanent solutions. This is because most advertised remedies are passive solutions like a shot, a pill or back brace; rather than an active treatment that corrects the problem long-term.

Taking an active role in finding relief from back pain and preventing it from returning, means strengthening the most important muscle in your body for balance and alignment: your gluteus maximus (also known as glutes).

The glutes are the largest muscles in your body. They connect the top of your body to the lower part and hold it in an upright position. When your back begins to hurt, it is a signal telling you that you have weakness in your glutes. Your lower back muscles are straining to do the job of your glutes, hold you upright and strong. Your glutes create overall muscle balance in your body to give your body support and proper alignment.

Believe it or not, your glutes will determine how well you will age. It is the muscle that holds the key to your balance, your posture and freedom from back pain and sciatica.

Traditional therapy and personal training is based on the idea that doing squats is the best way to strengthen your glutes, but that exercise is really so wrong for anyone over the age of 30 because it puts strain on the lower back and knees and actually weakens the glutes long-term.

The exercises that worked for us when we were in our 30s can turn out to be detrimental to our bodies after age 45. The most effective, long lasting therapy for better backs is to learn movement patterns that you use throughout the day. Gravity is doing its job of pulling us forward and we must counteract that force with strong muscles and posture with specific movement patterns.

In the meantime, use these three important tips to create a better desk and office environment and fight that gravitational pull into a painful posture:

Position your computer display correctly

Elevate your computer display so that the bottom of the screen is level with your chin when you hold your head up in a neutral position. Use risers, or books or anything you can find to bring your viewing angle up.

Therapy ball

Consider using a therapy ball at your desk instead of a chair at least 50% of the time. This creates a mobile sitting platform that makes you use your postural muscles. It also means more spinal movement to stimulate that much needed circulation to your brain.

Stand up and stretch

Set an alarm that reminds you to stand up and reach your arms behind your back. Clasping your hands together behind your back will stretch out your tight pectorals or chest muscles that are pulling your shoulders forward.

Your back craves movement to feed your body and brain. It’s one craving you can give into without any guilt!

Exercises That Age You

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Aug 092017

As a therapist I see many types of injuries that are associated with regular exercise classes which incorporate movements that are unusually stressful to a joint.

In this series, PT4U identifies several exercises that age you faster than you realize. They can age you by promoting instability, arthritis, tendinitis, bursitis and chronic pain in your joints.

Shoulder Anatomy

The shoulder is the most flexible or movable joint in the body. It allows for a wide range of motion, such as reaching up, out and across and even rotating it behind the body. All these motions are important for every day activates of life. However, with this flexibility comes instability. So the shoulder is the most flexible, yet the most unstable joint in the body.

Three small bones that make up the shoulder. These bones are the upper arm bone (the humerus), the shoulder blade (the scapula) and the collarbone (the clavicle). This complex, yet fragile group of bones are held together by muscles, ligaments and tendons. This intricate joint is simply not designed for excessive and prolonged weight bearing. Repetitive and stressful activities combined with weight bearing can cause muscles to get strained and ligaments to be stretched, as well as pressure on sensitive soft tissues, like a bursa, leading to bursitis, all resulting in a painful and unstable shoulder.

The Single Arm Plank

The popular single arm plank exercise is often included in a variety of exercise classes, especially Pilates. Participants assume a sidelying position with one arm either bent at the elbow, or fully extended.

Often times class leaders instruct the participants to extend the opposite arm and even rotate their bodies, often repeatedly. So the shoulder is then rotating within the fragile capsule with the full weight of the body, compressing soft tissues and straining at where the muscles insert on the bones. This can be a leading cause of rotator cuff injuries.


How Injury Occurs

With the arm extended, and the elbow locked in place the full weight of the body is now on the shoulder complex. This weight jams the head of the humerus into the joint causing pressure on the bursa inside the joint. The bursa is a fluid filled bubble that normally acts as a shock absorber in the shoulder complex almost like a cushion. Compression on this bursa over time creates the syndrome called ‘impingement’ and can lead to bursitis. Impingement syndrome creates pain that radiates down the side of the arm, often at times all the way down to the elbow.

Repetitive jamming of the head of the humerus into the shoulder complex and the bursa will lead to swelling of the bursa as it responds with inflammation. Once this syndrome begins, it can easily last for 4-6 weeks and prevent you from doing the simplest of activities of daily life.

Overall, the shoulder is just not designed to support the full weight of the body in a rotated outward position. Continuous use of this exercise position sets you up for impingement syndrome, bursitis, as well as arthritis in that joint later in life, aging you prematurely. The double arm plank is not any better even though it distributes the weight more evenly. The pressure occurs smashing the bursa and soft tissue, the damage will still be done and pain will eventually result.

So next time you are in an exercise class that instructs you to perform a plank, simply choose another exercise to do while everyone else is working on their shoulder instability. Be smart about what exercise positions you choose to put your body into. Your body will thank you.

Your Aching Knees

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Jun 302017

At some time in your life you may have experienced knee pain. Maybe you played high impact sports in your life? Or you are a weekend warrior? Maybe you have had a knee injury or surgery? Or do you just feel stiffness in your knees when you wake up in the morning? Knee pain can change your life by limiting the activities you participate in on a daily basis. Pain in the knees can also lead to putting on excess weight by keeping you less active.

You may have been taught knee exercises over the years in training, sports or therapy. Or you might have looked up ‘knee exercises’ on YouTube and found a host of exercises by various credentialed and non-credentialed experts. But in my opinion, there is always something missing in all those knee exercises which is critical to not only relief from knee pain, but in keeping your knees strong for life.

In my practice, the patients that have the most success in being freed from knee pain and returning to their activities of daily living are those that strengthen not only their quads, but follow my program to strengthen their glutes as well. You might ask, “why the glutes? Is it because they are connected to the hamstrings?”. My answer would be no.

The glutes have a major function, which is to keep your body in an upright position. As the ‘hinge’ muscle, it connects the upper part of your body to the lower part. This muscle is activated in the simplest tasks in life: getting out of bed, getting up from a chair, walking up stairs and getting out of a car. Bottom line, so to speak, your glutes will determine how you age in life

The function of the glutes in knee pain is simply this: when you have weak glutes, your body leans forward as you stand or walk, changing your center of gravity. Every inch forward you lean, increases the weight of your head by 10 pounds. This means you can easily be walking around with an additional 30 pounds or more of force. This force increases the stress on your knees, literally changing the way you walk by putting your knees in more hyper-extension with each step. The result is poor articulation of the knee joint in motion, and subsequently, knee pain.

With strong glutes, your body is held up in alignment and there are no abnormal forces working on the knee as you stand or walk. The knee can articulate in a normal range of motion without added weight from a leaning forward body. But please don’t attempt to get stronger glutes by rushing out to do squats. Not only do squats not functionally strengthen the glutes, it’s a terrible exercise for your knees and your back. The squat would make my list of ‘Exercises That Age You” for sure.

The best and most functional exercises to strengthen your glutes can be found on my “Better Back” DVD, click here, because strong glutes are the answer to back pain also. By combining the glute exercises on the “Better Back” dvd, with the  “Wall Slides” exercise (see below) you can keep your Glutes and your Quads strong and relieve knee pain and pressure. Wall Slides should be performed as follows:

  1. Stand with your back to the wall about 1-1.5 foot away from the wall
  2. Position your feet turned slightly out at a 45 degree angle
  3. Lean back against the wall with your head, shoulders and arms against the wall, keeping your palms faced outward
  4. Bend your knees and lower your body down against the wall slowly for a count of 3, as if you are sitting to about 45 degrees
  5. Slowly begin to straighten your knees raising your body up against the wall for a count of 3
  6. Repeat this 10 times. Then walk around and repeat again for 10 times.

(The image below has the man sitting much too low at a 90 degree angle. You should begin by lowering only to a 45 degree angle)



You will want to perform Wall Slides against a smooth surface like your refrigerator or a door.

How to Reduce Stress in Your Body

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Apr 062017

We all have stress in our lives. Whether it comes from work, family or the challenges of life, stress not only effects the well-being of our mind, but the well-being of our body. How many times have you put off taking a walk, or participated in any exercise because you feel drained from the effects of stress in your life? You just don’t have the energy. This in turn has a domino effect in that lack of exercise increases your weight, decreases your muscle tone and sets you up for a multitude of health risks including high blood pressure, joint pain and a host of other medical problems you did not envision for your life, including depression.

Stress begins emotionally and then becomes physiological as it makes us fatigued and lethargic mainly because of its effect on one simple act of everyday life. The act of breathing. When you are stressed, or even when you are concentrating hard on something, you subconsciously become a shallow breather. As a shallow breather you do not fill up your entire lung capacity, but rather only the top portion of the lungs. This type of breathing promotes anxiety and tires out the brain and body due to lack of optimum oxygen exchange. Mental and physical fatigue are created by this poor exchange and also compromise your immune system, making you more susceptible to illness. And if your oxygen exchange is compromised your brain has trouble with focus and memory.

21266037 - irritated businesswoman pulling her hair while sitting in office

This is why I developed the Balloon Therapy method, to help you improve this exchange, reducing stress and providing your brain and body with the most vital food it needs, oxygen. Balloon Therapy can be used anywhere, at any time. It centers your mind immediately as you focus on the physiological changes that come from breathing deeply.

So, you might ask “why do I need a balloon? Why can’t I just breathe deeply?”. Because the act of breathing into a balloon creates negative pressure by the resistance inside the balloon. This negative pressure inflates the lower part of your lung in the distal aveoli and forces out the ‘dead air’ in your lungs. While deep breathing is a good habit, it cannot guarantee that this dead space is fully inflated because there is no resistance.

Balloon Therapy is a quick and simple way to relieve stress, calm your nerves and help your brain function at a more optimum level. Begin by picking up a bag of 12″ balloons. I suggest that you keep a balloon out where you can see it and use it regularly. You will be amazed at the effects. Just click this link and watch the 2-minute instructional video about what type of balloon to use and how to best perform the 3 steps in Balloon Therapy. I guarantee you will be better equipped to handle stress the next time it comes along.

How Your Posture Affects Your Brain

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Feb 242017

You may be aware of the health risks of bad posture such as height loss, arthritis, disc bulging and herniations in the spine, just to name a few. So the health benefits of good posture to your body should be clear. But are you aware of the benefits to your brain from having good posture? Your body’s posture can actually change your thinking and effect your life both psychologically and socially.

One of my favorite Ted Talk speakers is social psychologist and Associate Professor at Harvard Business School, Amy Cuddy. In one of her experiments she looked at how body posture can shape who you are, how you view and feel about yourself as well as how others view you which can determine the opportunities you have in life. In this study, levels of testosterone (indicating authority and power) and cortisol (an indication of stress) were evaluated based on body posture and position. Subjects held body positions in either ‘high power’ or ‘low power’ postures. An example of a high power position would be a body held upright and aligned. An example of a low power position would be rounded shoulders with forward head and down. Subjects held these positions for a total of 2 minutes.


High power position subjects experienced an increase of 20% in their testosterone levels: directly correlating to confidence and power. Low power position subjects experienced a 10% decrease in testosterone levels. When it came to stress, cortisol levels, the subjects with high power positions had a 25% decrease in stress level, while the subjects in the lower power position had an increase of 15% in their stress level.

Neutral observers who evaluated the subjects were heavily influenced by the subject’s body posture. High power postures rated high in the areas of confidence, authenticity, passion, enthusiasm and being seen as captivating. Low power postures were rated as being nervous, uncomfortable, uncertain and even fearful.

Inside the subject’s brain, their behavior was significantly effected by their posture. In the high power position group 86% demonstrated higher risk tolerance, meaning they were willing to face challenges and gamble. Whereas, only 60% of the lower power position group was willing to accept higher risk challenges.

Remember, these subjects held these body posture positions for only 2 minutes and experienced significant changes their body’s chemical make-up and their behavior. Only 2 minutes determined how others evaluated their confidence and capabilities. So imagine if you were able to keep good posture everyday. How much change would that bring about in your life?

Having good posture is not just about remembering to stand up straight. Its about keeping strength in the key posture muscles so that you don’t have to remember; because it becomes a way of life. This goes way beyond the “core” muscles. Your posture and ‘how’ you age is determined by your muscles of extension in your glutes, back, shoulders and neck. You can begin to learn the techniques that keep your extensor muscles strong throughout your life in my “Better Back” DVD or download. In 10 minutes a day for 5 days you can learn and perform all the movement patterns that keep your body in the perfect posture so you can be in the power position all your life. Imagine what a difference that can make in your life.

Sciatica Pain and Relief

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Feb 222017
23117022 - sciatica

Your story might begin like this: One day you feel some pain in your lower back. You ignore it and attribute it to something you did earlier in the week, or earlier in your life. And then one day the pain moves and travels down and across your buttocks. Another week or month go by and the pain has now traveled down the back of your thigh, or even as far down as behind your knee. It wakes you up at night. It kills you when you go from sitting to standing and the pain prevents you from even walking or doing your favorite activities. Welcome to your Sciaticia Syndrome. Unfortunately, with sciatica, the longer your ignore it, the worse it becomes.

To understand how to find relief from this syndrome, you must acknowledge its causes. The primary cause of this syndrome is two-fold: first is too many hours of sitting and second is the weakness in the most important muscle that supports your back and posture: your gluteus muscles, or your buttocks. The weakness occurs as a, result of all your sitting activities progressively over time. People most susceptible to sciatica can be found sitting for prolonged hours at their desk in front of a computer, or in their car commuting for hours.Even those who are physically active and work-out will not be ale to overcome the debilitating effects of sitting. An hour of exercise at the end of the day can’t make up for many hours of sitting each day.

Being in a bent, seated position for hours each day creates excessive pressure on the front part of the vertebrae in your lower spine. This  pressure compresses the disk between the vertebrae which over time can begin to bulge out the back. When a disk bulges out, it hits a nerve. In the case of sciatica this nerve root is typically located at L4 and L5. The sciatic nerve travels out of your spine and down your legs. You can feel pain from pressure on this this nerve anywhere along that path. The more you sit, the weaker you become and the further down that path the pain will travel.The first step to finding sciatica relief is to correct your bad habits immediately so that the pain does not travel further. This means changing body positioning for good. Less sitting and more movement. The second step is to begin to perform therapeutic exercise movements and integrate them into your every day activities. I have combined a unique program to teach you these movements on my “Better Back DVD” specifically to help you relieve sciatica pain and keep it out of your life forever.