My experience with the Pettibon System and Dr. Morningstar

Most of my articles are focused on Scoliosis – and, this one is, too – sort of.  But, in the Scoliosis Family Adventures family, I am the only one without Scoliosis, and this article is about ME.  Well, mostly about me.  I also want to talk about Dr. Morningstar and the work we’ve done together to take care of some issues in my neck area that have plagued me most of my life.  When I was about 10, I started having headaches daily.  We could not figure out what was the cause, but I spent many days home from school due to the pain.  I was popping pills every day.  One day, my Mom took me to her chiropractor and, after one adjustment, the headaches were gone.  We had to keep them up periodically, but, for the most part, they were gone.  It was then that we knew that it was my long neck, out of whack from playing the violin from age 4, that would need extra attention as life went on. 

Fast forward many years into my adult life and neck issues still plagued me.  I really find value in traditional Chiropractic care, but no solution gave me any long-term structural changes.  My neck would stay in alignment only for short periods of time, only to need frequent adjustments.  It was when I was researching for help for my children’s Scoliosis when I found Dr. Morningstar at the Natural Wellness and Pain Relief Centers of Michigan (see my side bar for a link to their site)  or click here:  He is a Chiropractor, but I always tell people he’s one-of-a-kind.  I don’t even remember the last time I’ve been adjusted (or that my kids have been adjusted) there because he only adjusts when it’s needed – for the most part, he focuses on long-term changes to the skeletal system.  He uses a system of weighted exercises (called the Pettibon system) plus many of his own inventions, that patients use to re-train their bodies into correct postural alignment.  I was skeptical, of course, but figured we had nothing to lose.

Now, as an Engineer, I know that it’s difficult to prove a theory.  Tests require multiple test subjects and the variables have to be severely limited to be able to pinpoint an exact result from a specific treatment.  Unfortunately, with my kids’ spines being how they are, it’s been difficult to say what in our litany of treatments has been what has been keeping those curves at bay.  I really feel it’s a combination of a masterfully-made brace (by Luke Stikeleather at Orthotic Solutions), muscle building treatments we do at home, and our work with Dr. Morningstar. 

However, what I want to share with you today is my x-ray results on my neck and spine, both before and after working with Dr. Morningstar.   I’ve inserted 4 photos below.  The first two focus on my neck.  A person’s neck should not be straight when looking from the side view.  The head should rest above the shoulders and the neck should have a nice forward bend.  The straight line from the head to the shoulders should continue to the pelvis (so, the lower spine should also have a little forward curve).  The first photo shows my neck before and after a couple years of daily weighted treatments.  You can see the drastic improvement in how my neck is aligned.  I did not purposefully put it in this position for the x-ray.  Both times, I sat in a natural position.  The results are amazing.  I still get occasional neck pain and very infrequent headaches, but I find that it coincides with periods of time when I have neglected to wear my Pettibon weights or when I’ve done something like practice violin for a while without stretching or sleep on it funny.  Otherwise, my posture has changed drastically over the course of my work with Dr. Morningstar.  The next two photos focus on my lumbar – you can see that before my side view was the opposite it should be – I was somehow tipped way back (probably the weight of my head falling forward messed up all the way down my spine).  The second photo shows a much more aligned me.  I’m still working on that tiny little forward curve, but am pretty happy with this progress.

Now, the nice thing about sharing my results is that I am one of those test cases where nothing else was at work that would have changed my spine.  Sure, I do yoga and exercises, but I’ve been doing yoga for over a decade – way before my work with Dr. Morningstar.  Nothing else in this aspect of my life changed – just using his treatments.  I know that I am only one case and that one case cannot prove the worth of any treatment, but I can personally attest that this treatment is very much worth trying.  The time commitment is minimal (we live about 1 hour and 15 minutes from his office, so we only go once a month – most of the work is done at home).  I could also go on and on about Dr. Morningstar’s ingenious ideas about Scoliosis, his invention of the Tornado suit (which holds wonderful promise for the future of non-surgical Scoliosis treatments), his dedication to helping all people, but specifically those with Scoliosis.  I could talk about his wonderful staff (we love you, Miss Kat!), and how I feel that throughout his career, some of his out-of-the-box thinking about Scoliosis will revolutionize the metrics used to measure curves and predict success of treatments.  I could talk about all that and more, but, like I said, this article is about ME!  Even if you don’t live near Dr. Morningstar, please contact him – he is working with Doctors all over the country to bring similar solutions to more and more people.  He may be able to recommend someone in your area that can help you or your loved one – with any and all postural difficulties.


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