How to Improve Spinal Health and Getting Feedback on the Back Trac from Dr. Neal Stumpf

Eileen Durfee: Hello listeners. My name is Eileen Durfee from Creatrix Solutions and I'm here with a special guest today, Dr. Neal Stumpf. And I met him years ago when he was working, with Dr. Scherger. Now I talk a lot about Dr. Scherger and the things he's done for me with spinal fitness. And I invited Neal to talk a little bit about his experience with Dr. Scherger. And now he is, uh, a chiropractor. When I met him, I think he was a student and learning under Dr. Scherger, and Dr. Scherger passed away in 2016. And one of my passions is to teach people about spinal fitness because of all my back pain and history that I've been through. So, without further ado, I'd like you to meet, uh, Dr. Neal Stumpf. He can tell a little bit about himself to you.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. I got interested in chiropractic after I met with Dr. Scherger. Yeah, I had gone through some of his treatment plan at the time and it was interesting, yeah, the way he kind of had an engineered model of how the spine and body should work and the forces that were based on the body. Yeah. So that was pretty interesting at the time. Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Yeah. I met him in 1978, you know, the summer of '76, I grew nine inches in three months. I was in constant pain before a car ran me over when I was in a parking lot. And then, you know, I could just hardly breathe. Couldn't lift my arms. I'd been to, you know, neurologists and all this other stuff. And an old chiropractor named Leon Hirsch said, oh, you've gotta go see Dr. Scherger.

He can rehabilitate you with exercises. That was before he came up with the Power Cushion. Um, but he would have you stand up and do a pelvic tilt and he had you do some rotations and then lay over, especially rolled towels so that your muscles could relax. And so, lo and behold, you know, I got restored function, got out of pain and you know, we became friends for years until he moved from Pasco down to where you're at when you met him.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm. Yep. Yep.

Eileen Durfee: You know, I know that he worked with the Olympic team in Colorado and then with Ron O'Neal from the New England Patriots and Smitty from York Barbell trying to figure out about this shape. Why did it give you, you know, the advantage? So, can you tell us a little about your experience with Dr. Scherger? Were you involved in that at all? Or were you, uh, later? Cause I know he worked with the, the state of Washington and got, uh, the National Strength and Conditioning Association peer review approved. So, he offered continuing education credits for professionals. So, tell us where you kind of interjected in that timeline.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. So, I came in most, for the most part, it was a little bit more afterwards when he was kind of, uh, more retired and slowing down a little bit. But, um, what we were working on at the time was kind of, uh, improvement of his, uh, I suppose, lecture materials as far as making more accessible. So, for a lot of what we've been, we were doing was to work on, um, kind of a lecture presentation that could be given a little more easily there. Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: And by that time, he had already developed a Power Cushion and the Power Equipment, I think. So that was already in use at that time.

Eileen Durfee: Yeah. It's a strange concept actually. Well, I mean, it makes a lot of sense now that I've really studied it and experienced it.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm.

Eileen Durfee: But for even common chiropractors, they're not really trained in spinal, spinal biomechanics and how to give somebody that S shape curve.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. It's not, it's not quite as understood, uh, throughout the industry, I think. Whether it's the chiropractors or the, or the physical therapist either.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Now, I just gave a demonstration because I've got the new Power Cushion. It, it has a slanted edge for your forearms to rest on. It's got a textured bottom. The groove goes down further so a shorter person can still get where the spinous will float and catch those transverse process and where the neck piece will attach onto instead of having to balance a towel on top of it. And there's this guy that he is a prior athlete. He had two torn hamstrings and a quad muscle, and the guy could just barely bend over, you know. So, I did the evaluation that Dr. Scherger came up with, you know, to fill your hamstrings, to bend over, you know, to jump, to, you know, turn your head, put your arms up, you know, all that kind of stuff.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm

Eileen Durfee: And every single person before this guy, I'd always get 2, 4, 6, one guy, 11 inches of reach just in one set of exercises. I mean, that's like three, that's like five to 10 reps of the sit up, the pelvic tilt and the neck flexion and we're getting that. This guy, of course I didn't put weight on him at the time.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm

Eileen Durfee: So then afterwards, what just came in the mail was my force applicators that just clamp onto an ordinary barbell. So, we had him try that. And when we got the force on him on the sit up, he gained like three inches when he bent over. He was just like, amazed. So, this leverage where you're putting force on top of the body and then your muscles, the pulling, the direction of pull with the muscles like Dr. Scherger used to talk about, does something special to the bones. Can you maybe explain that because I know you wrote the lecture materials of trying to have people understand this concept.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. A lot of it is, I suppose it helps to reflexively relax the muscles when they're in the proper position, as it takes strain off the body, overall. Yeah. So, when your body doesn't have quite the correct S shape curvature, the curves aren't quite as deep as they ought to be. There, in addition to the stiffness you have just from being in that position, you'll have the muscles that are kind of contracting in order to maintain stability in that area. For instance, they keep the body from falling over, you know, keep your posture upright. But, when they're contracted like this, you're losing, you're losing your ability to move as well, because they, they've got to maintain that position rather than contributing to active movement.

Eileen Durfee: So, I was reading in some of the materials about how, you know, because you can't change the muscle attachments to bones.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: So, when they aren't in that shape, like you said, they're contracting, but like when you go, your stride length, for instance, can't be as long. It'll land, you know, your leg will land prematurely and then about the fast muscle twitch recruitment. So, you, you, you know, you're not gonna jump as high. You're not gonna run as fast. Uh, you know, so if you can explain a little bit more about that to us?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. So, about those, the muscle contribution to the area. Yeah, basically, when Dr. Scherger had the idea and then from his engineering that the, there are groups of muscles that should be doing the postural work. And these are the longer - the shorter twitch muscles that do the long-term contractions. Whereas the fast twitch muscles should be reserved for the active movement, but he found that when the posture was too head forward, too straight without these S, without these curvatures that the, the fast twitch muscles would convert over into the slower twitch and so this is the problem for you since you don't have them available for active movement. And it resulted in less sports performance, for instance. That was his, that was kind of his metric there that he was using a lot of the time was the, you know, basically this in the performance. This is the football performance and such, how hard people can hit, how long they could stay in the game. Things like this, their endurance and such.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Now, he also talked about this teeter-totter effect. I mean, to justify mathematically, why is the S shape posture? I mean, I bought a full-size mannequin and tried, you know, a skeleton and tried to bend it into correct posture. And it's impossible. None of the spinal, you know, models help their, display ideal curvature. So, it is like so unknown.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Well, yeah, they don't really take that into account with the models there.

Eileen Durfee: You know, I know when you worked with him, part of the passive home maintenance that he would have people do would be to take a bath towel and roll it in, you know, to fold it in half and then roll it in so there was a space in between there, so that.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Spinous could be in there, but the edges of the transverse process would be supported so that you'd lay down and, you know, the muscles could relax then. So, can you explain about that twisting and how that really therapeutically worked for people?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: In regards to the towel rolls?

Eileen Durfee: Yeah. And, and letting that spinous float and for just the-

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah, the, the concern was that. So, I suppose you could do some of these towel roll exercises without that, that center, uh, that center spot, which, most of the chiropractors would be doing that, but, if you don't have that center spot in there, the spinous will lay right onto it. And there's concern that it would cause a rotation into the, the neck or the back, whichever you're doing at the time. But as well as uneven pressure on it. So having the, having that little, I guess the, the soft spot, the edge in there that will let the spinous rest. And then, you know, you have the joint supported by the pillars of the neck and the back.

Eileen Durfee: Right. So, one of the things that Dr. Scherger always talked about is, having a neck cushion with the groove to attach to the Power Cushion. And he gave me like he had these wooden things with like a groove so that you could have the vertebrae float.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: So, what I did is, I made these cushions that are the soft kind of squishy, but, but they're a lot firmer than a towel, but so, the spinous can float here.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: And so, I started doing - I actually used my 3D printer and printed molds, and then I poured foam ones for prototypes initially. So, I tried all these different diameters and just the, the general population I found like you needed to go from two and three quarters up to the three and three quarters and then go in half inch increments in between, and then have the, you know, the different densities. And the difference that I noticed in these rolls from the towels. And I don't know. I sent you some, you know, cushions to try. I don't know if you've done the back twist and laid over them yet, but –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: No, we've been lying on them. They’re, you know, they work well. Yeah, they hold up - they hold together better than the towels did. They were, always had the issue of unrolling basically.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Yeah.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Always been the part, I guess.

Eileen Durfee: I mean, I used to use rubber bands on the ends and everything.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: But after I find, you know, after I get the set that I'm really comfortable with, then I'll like go up a diameter or up a density. But when I'm lying there, I literally hear my bones move and –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: … I went and did a demo with Dr. Adam Evans. He's a chiropractor here that I go to. He does some Pettibon moves as well as which is, you know what I like. So, he's just, he just came back. You know, he had his whole family on these things, and all their bones are moving, just lying there and relaxing. He's just totally blown away, you know, with the equipment, you know, to encourage that curvature.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm.

Eileen Durfee: And so now, about the, the pelvic tilt and the guides, you know, that you wrote and explained. I know that the, the pelvic tilt is more segmental posture correction. Can you explain that to us?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: So, the pelvic tilt, we were, we were doing that after the sit up exercises on the Power Cushion and the, the point of that was to set the, set the last vertebrae, as well as the pelvis into alignment there. You know, when Dr. Scherger, when I was working with Dr. Scherger, he was telling me more that the, the sit up exercise is real good for the back, but potentially while doing that exercise, he was concerned that the pelvis would slip out of alignment with the rest of the back. And this would help too, and when you do the pelvic tilt after with the weight, it helps to set it back against the, the spine there.

Eileen Durfee: You know, when I'm exercising, I feel best when I do the sit up first. I, I didn't know the order in which we were supposed to be doing that. So, and for the reason.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: So that's great. I know he would have people do the neck flexion, you know, just with their hands. Years ago, he used to have an old catcher's mask. That catcher's mask would, you know, when you put pressure on, it would be flattening your nose and it was so uncomfortable.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm.

Eileen Durfee: And so, you know, I came up with the neck shaper, which has got these cushion pads. He had something similar to this –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: … that attached on the weight stack machine. So, I basically took his distance in shape of where your chin and your forehead pad is. So, I'd still have the mathematical, you know, distance. So that way, we could do it standing up, you know, and I put it as a one-inch bar so you can put, you know, weights on here, but this actually clips on an ordinary barbell. And, and so this, you know, with forward head posture, you know, when my little exercise monitor says, drink water and get up and move around and I've been at my desk and I just whip out some of these to reverse that gravity, you know?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yep.

Eileen Durfee: And I know Dr. Scherger taught doing this also standing up and you could see how your, your low back curve would actually increase. So, I don't know if you want to talk about the muscles or what it's actually doing when you do the neck flexion?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Well, I suppose more with the, once you've got your neck in the - when you get the flexion exercise, once you've got your neck in the reverse portion where it's, you pulled it back that, it basically gives you the maximum neck curvature that you'll have at the time there. So that when you're in that position, if you feel your neck, you should feel that, although you're working, your neck muscles in the back are actually relaxed. And this is again, because they're, you know, they're not having to work in that position, which they normally shouldn't be, postural muscles necessarily. They should be there for a movement. But additionally, when you're, when you're in that position, if you, if you look at your back muscles, you'll find that they, they should be relaxed as well. If you're able to kind of get your center of gravity back far enough to, to where they, those movement muscles can relax. And these will be the paraspinals right next to the spine and the back and the neck as well. But, but yes. So that's, that was one of the big demonstrated changes that you could have is, when you're standing up and doing this especially, you can put the hands on the back. You'll feel it totally relax. And often this will cut back on back pain because they're the, they’re the muscles that contribute so much to that. Yeah. So those paraspinal support muscles, yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Well, you know, for years, I had such rounded shoulders and, you know, being so tall and everything, it's like, you know, it's like, put your shoulders back. You know, after I really started, you know, I've known about this for how many years, but how dedicated have I been to these exercises? You know, not so dedicated, but so now that I've really been working on all of my exercises, my spinal fitness exercises, I've noticed that if I feel like I'm slumping or anything, just going like that to get my head over my pelvis so it's more centered. My shoulders automatically go back and then my, you know, back muscles, you know, relax.

So, it's really a whole different, you know, mentality for posture. Have you seen a lot of these functional patterns where they're taking people with scoliosis and, you know, just these different forward head postures, but they're getting them more to neutral. They're not like training them to get the S shape curve, but they are reducing pain. And I know-

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Yeah.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Within the chiropractic practice, I suppose the much of the, much of the field has gone towards, just kind of improving motion, which will reduce pain. This is helpful. I mean, to just get the motion going, but, they, they somewhat drifted away from improving posture and position, and there's not quite as much a focus on that as there used to be in the past.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. So, it's, and I suppose to some degree, this is that there hasn't really been the tools available. Dr. Scherger hasn’t really spent a lot of time in, you know, investing in that to have the Power Cushion and the, even in that, in the neck towels. So, yeah, there's, without these kinds of tools available, it's actually fairly difficult to improve posture. I mean, like for instance, you can adjust the neck. It'll, it’ll move and it'll, if you can get it to hold that, it'll help out some, but it's, it's difficult to, you know, when people go back to doing their, in their daily lives doing their computer work in the phones and such now, it's, it's difficult to get it to stick. Whereas, you know, if you can give them something to take home, even the towel roll, but, but you know, the better form the rolls that we have now, you can get it to stick a lot better. You see much more of an impact over time.

Eileen Durfee: Right. You know, so now, it's like getting people back to the same thing that Dr. Scherger had, you know because he's worked on this. He had the Power Cushion in, what? The late eighties, early nineties?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. The New England Patriots?

Eileen Durfee: You know, the New England Patriots had it. And then, trainers went from there to the New York Giants, the Jets, the Dallas Cowboys, but it's like, they didn't want their competition having the best widget that would give them, you know, any advantage over them. And so, it was just kind of like, you know, Dr. Scherger was more of a mad scientist. You know, he just loved, you know, the math, improving all of that. But it just never really took off. Now -

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: What about the people at the National Strength and Conditioning Association? Are there any of those people around who really understood Dr. Scherger's science? Do you know of any of the guys there that –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: I haven't been so much in touch with them. We've talked a little bit with some of the Olympics, Olympic team there as well, and they used it, but my understanding was, they had trouble getting the, the higher ups to kind of really invest much more in this. So, they kind of used it on their own personal basis for their own teams, but not necessarily, it didn't get necessarily throughout the whole Olympics, Olympic as –

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Organization.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: You know, it, it was always hard to push and there were, I guess, everywhere, there are kind of agendas that, you know, it’d be hard to get the people to change. Even the military, I think he had trouble with them too. Like he, he would have, I guess he had members of special forces come through and such, you know, he had marines and everyone else, but they wouldn't, they'd get better and then won't tell anybody, because they couldn't report that they had an injury, otherwise, they'd be taken off.

Eileen Durfee: Oh, wow. Okay.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. So, they would just, they would just keep themselves in shape, but they couldn't necessarily report this to anyone else in the command structure.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Well, I know he also talked a lot about astronauts because of the lack of gravity and being able to use this equipment, cuz you always see the astronauts when they're getting ready to fly away. You know, you see the pod land in the ocean, but you never see the astronaut. Because they're like carrying off in stretchers because they have no posture.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. That was interesting. Yeah. So, NASA actually, NASA brought this up a little bit. When we were looking around, they actually had some articles in their research into this. There, it turns out without gravity, you, you do lose the, the curvatures fairly quickly, you know, without the force of gravity on the body. And of course, it's a double-edged sword. I mean, you know, you, you need the, you need the curvatures because of gravity, but, you know, you, you wear out over time as well.

Eileen Durfee: So yeah. I've really noticed a difference. I try to do my exercises like at least three days a week. Now, what would you say would be the ideal routine for someone who's kind of like an ordinary worker that you know, is basically letting gravity beat on him because of, you know, working at a desk or doing repetitive motions or stuff like that. What kind of program would you put someone on that you know, would come to see you?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Well, if they were willing to invest in it, you know, I’d have them do it a little more, maybe perhaps every day to start with.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: But people have trouble doing exercise. If you can, you know. Yeah, people have trouble keeping up with these exercise programs. The interesting thing with this was though, it worked really quick. You wouldn't have to have people on it, like, that frequently to get the, the impacts there. I mean, despite them going back to the phones and back to work again. Even, even once a week would, you'd still see improvements with it.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: But if you could get somebody that was in better health and you know, was interested in really getting quick results, you could have them do it every day and get them, doing it, quite a ways along with that.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Now, from everything I've read, Dr. Scherger would say, start with 5 to 10 reps. If that was causing strain, don't do more. And then, you know, he, he mentioned, somewhere I read about working, you know, 3 to 5 times a week over the course of 8 to 12 weeks, building up to 100 reps potentially of like a sit up or a pelvic tilt.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. He did, he did get a little more aggressive with that one on the later years though, because you know, it was more. Of course, he was researching and he had to be a little careful at first, but then, you know, he did develop it. He said that when he saw, there, there weren't really a lot of problems that came with this. You know, there weren't a lot of reactions, like some other, other modalities may have. So -

Eileen Durfee: So, what was his last recommendation? To do these, you know, daily, And-

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah, and he, he went basically every day with this. He could do it more than once a day. I mean, for sit-ups and such there, it's, the way the Power Cushion is designed, it's, it's the idealized posture of the body. So there really isn't, you wouldn't really overdo it necessarily. I mean, you could lie on the Power Cushion as well and get benefit from that too. You know, so there, it, it won't put an excess curve in your body. It's, it’s just, it's the correct curvature that it should have been, you know for, you know, for an average person. When you're trying to initially adopt that after having, you know, a fairly flat neck and back though, you do want, you want to go as much as your kind of body will allow and typically for older patients, that would, you wouldn't be able to do quite as much, for instance, a weight, which was the bigger thing was, you know, when, when you add weight to the body, you can't add quite as much initially. And then, you need a little longer time to, to kind of let the body adapt to it. But younger patients, you know, maybe someone who's in the high school, high school, college, you know, you, you can go very aggressive with this.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: And they'll get sore, but you know, you can go fairly aggressive and, and get, and get the quick results.

Eileen Durfee: Right. I've had people like arch over the Power Cushion, and it's almost like you have to put a neck collar on them because they can't lay back, you know, with the weight of their head. And so, it's just, I guess, starting someone where they're at and then slowly, you know, progressing from there.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: But yeah. I remember he is telling me, he had a, it was a comparison. He had a patient in, I think their nineties that was - it took about a year, but the improvement they had was, they were, they were basically able to walk up and down their stairs where they couldn't have previously. And, you know, they were much more stable and they didn't have the falls that they had in the past, which is very good. But then when I did, when I went through this program, I was able to get, basically it took about, I think I was able to triple my strength in about a month. I was fairly young at the time, so -

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: But yeah, we went, we went up to the whole 100 pounds with the Pelvic tilt after that. So, then, we, yeah, even the sit up too. So, it can be quick, depending on, you know, how flexible somebody is and how adaptable they are to the exercises.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Well, yeah, he had, I had his first prototype robotic, the electric one, that had the really short range. That's what I had in the 1980s. I got that from him.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm.

Eileen Durfee: And so, I used it until the motor burnt out. I think I lost the motor in the late nineties. And then I was without anything. Then I was like filling up like Naugahyde vinyl. I was so in sacks and filling it with like sand. So, then I could put it on my chest and I could do, you know, the exercises that way to get, you know, to get some resistance.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm.

Eileen Durfee: And I had the blue power cushion and the black power cushion. So, I had the hard, you know, and the medium one. And so, I've, you know, held onto those, you know, and used those intermittently. and it's just, it's just made a big difference. And so, going from somebody who's been in chronic pain, you know, where other people would say, you can't recover from that, you know, to using his program. And now I'm 60 years old. And I mean, I don't have any pain in my body, even though I still go to the chiropractor like a couple times a week, not a week, a month and, you know, get adjusted cuz like, if you look at x-rays of me, I don't have worn up bone edges. My discs are all good. You know, it's just cuz of the years of chiropractic and, you know, being some, you know, I guess in recent years, I've been more consistent with these exercises, but, yeah, it's just the S shape curve is just so important. Cuz I actually became a practitioner for hair analysis.

So, you know, looking at the adrenal and the thyroid gland for energy production and really, everything's about energy at the cell level. And we get right down to think about it. What is robbing your body of the most energy? It's the structure. It's all these tight muscles. Everyone's like drinking down coffee and waking up fatigued. It's the number one complaint. And so, if we, we can get people the S shape posture, I think there's gonna be a lot of health problems that are gonna improve. You know, of course you being a chiropractor, you could tell us all day long about the nerves being pinched and you know, all that, how that translates into health issues.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Mm-hmm. Yep. Yep.

Eileen Durfee: Well, is there anything else that you think we should tell, you know, the listeners about for their, you know, to encourage them to start this program?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: I suppose we haven't gone over too much on the, some of the benefits of adopting the S shape curvature. I mean, we've talked about the performance, but the, maybe why that performance, what the performance derives from? So, some of this. I suppose the, the basic point of it all is to minimize the force on the body, adopting this S shape curvature. So that's, that's the big reason, right is, it allows the muscles to relax because they got less to handle. It allows less, less wear and tear on the spine because they got less weight to take up, you know, less force in total. And I suppose if you're, you're talking to the, maybe the average person, what short – sort of back shape they think they – they say, you want to have a straight back, but you know, kind of what, what does that really mean? You know, if you're talking about literally straight. From Dr. Scherger's work, we know that that puts more weight on the spine, more force on the spine.

Basically, being the reason is that your, your back is in the back. It's not right in the center of your body. Since your spine is in the back, if it's literally straight, then you've gotta use much more muscle effort to keep yourself upright. And this, this translates into having more, you know, more wear on the spine, more force there. So, the, you know, over time, the joints wear out quicker. The muscles just can't handle it and they give up. You know, we get the pain as well, they let you know that way. But you can't handle it. And so, you can reduce this weight by applying curvatures of the spine, the correct curvatures. You know, having the, I guess the, the back. The back curvature of the neck and the low back, and then the, you know kyphotic curve of the mid back there, which would be the other way. And in doing this, it, it basically, moves the center of gravity forward until it's kind of right in the middle of the body.

So, and when it's balanced that way, there's, there's much less effort needed to maintain it, maintain that shape. You know, so the, the postural muscles, these slower muscles can, can just work to maintain that. And you have the, the fast twitch muscles are just reserved for your activities. You know, so, so that. That kind of gives, gives a lot of the strength there.

Eileen Durfee: One of the things that I noticed from studying all of his literature was that, when you have the S shape force, I mean, the S shape curves, the shear force kind of goes to where it pushes bone on bone, the facet bones –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Which they take up a lot of the, they take up a lot of the, a lot of the shear force there, which is created from having, from having that posture. Basically, in the S shape curve, yeah, suppose there's a, there's a way it gets, instead of being compressed as if it were fully straight, like we talked about earlier. It gets applied to the, the muscles and ligaments, and then those facet joints in the back, the, in the bones as well. Yeah, so they will, they'll prevent, prevent it from sliding back posteriorly, and then the ligaments will prevent it from going forward. But, there's, some people have some concern that having it that way, there's too much force on the facets. They, they, you know, meant some people get the spondees, I guess, but, when you have the idealized back curvatures that it's, it's still minimized in the force on the facets, even compared to, you know, having a, having a forward posture, you know, support on the back, you know.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: These spondees aren't quite as much of a concern if you’ve got these curvatures as they would be otherwise, despite the, you know, the weight on them.

Eileen Durfee: And then, when you lose the curvature, it's like the direction of shear goes the opposite way.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. It will go forward instead of backend of the bones. And in that case, you, you don't have the bone support, you got the ligament support instead, and they, they'll stretch over time. They'll get weak and they'll stretch more than they should. And this, this leads to, well, typically, ligament injury, but it can also lead to the whole joint injury and arthritis building with, you know, excess movement in that direction where the, the joint movement isn't kept tight.

Eileen Durfee: Right. So, yeah. And you know, these exercises where they're creating posterior shear, it's like, it's so much easier for the vertebrae to actually get dislocated or like the ligaments, like the, the discs. They're like acting as a ligament, right in the spine? So –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: … that they can, they could become herniated actually. Much easier when you don't have the S-shaped curve.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah, that was an interesting part is that it's, without looking at the joints, you'd suppose that the weight and difference might not be so much, but it's actually quite a bit. It's multiplied quite a bit over when, when you start losing these curvatures that absorb the, the force of everything. And I don't have it in front of me right now, but I think it was, even as much as triple as much weight.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Yeah. There's a lot of information that, that you did in those PowerPoint slides. And I've been working to rewrite some of those, you know, because of copyright issues and being able to share this knowledge with other people. The thing that I love to do though, is to demonstrate with people because they might not understand all this science, but you can get 'em hooked on wanting to do the exercises because the results are so immediate.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: You know, obviously if you just only do 10 reps of each once, yeah, you might get three inches of mobility or up to 11 inches of reach increase and feel like you're taller and lighter, you know. So, doing it once isn't gonna, you know, establish those curves.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. I mean, you got to make it a habit, otherwise it doesn't stick. But what, what, like, what you found is that, you do it once and you do get quite a benefit because its, it aligns things for it to be the most efficient. So, you, I mean, even if you just adopt the posture without doing the exercise, you'll still get benefit from it because that, that positioning reduces the forces on the body and it kind of maximizes how much you can apply as well. Like we talked about pulling your neck back, how it relaxes everything right away, because then it just doesn't have to work. So, it doesn't.

Eileen Durfee: Right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: And so, so immediately, you'll get the benefit.

Eileen Durfee: Right. So, it's just getting the body to feel comfortable in that position.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah, because, someone who hasn't done these exercises, they, you know, someone who's not, who's fairly flexible, they can adopt the position, but, they gotta work a little too hard to keep it. When you put the position into the body and the spine there, then it doesn't have to work as hard and you'll feel much more comfortable with it. And you, you know, you won't give it up so easy.

Eileen Durfee: Right. So, this equipment is really critical. And so now that I've got a power cushion, you know, prototypes ready, I'll be sending you some more stuff so that you can check them out and try them, and the goal is to start teaching professionals, demonstrating, you know, getting the word out there. Maybe, maybe this is the time where people will accept it, you know, and use it. Cuz I think that our physical education systems of how we're training our children, the exercises that we're having them do, we're, we're actually limiting their ability to get this S shape curve. And-

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah, there's been the, well, I guess with the advances in technology, it's kind of gone the other way a little bit. These phones have been pretty bad on the bodies.

Eileen Durfee: Oh yeah. They're all like, oh man!

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. More so than, more so than the computers and books or even -

Eileen Durfee: Right, right. Well, do you have a website or you're part of a clinic in Oregon? Do you want to give your information for the listeners? Maybe there's some listeners there locally that, that if they needed a chiropractor, they come see you?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. So currently, we're working with Accident & Wellness Chiropractic. So, I've been them - with them for a few years, so far. Focused primarily on auto accidents, but we do healthcare as well.

Eileen Durfee: Right. And, what area are you in?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: In the Southeast Portland. I think so.

Eileen Durfee: Okay. All right.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: It’s right over there.

Eileen Durfee: Well, thank you so much for joining me today to talk about some of these things and, I look forward to getting your input on some of the new equipment.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: It's a big step up from some of the previous equipment we've had. I think, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s much more usable just in general. I mean, there's things that work out with it, but yeah, it's, it's much nicer having it, and not flattened out either.

Eileen Durfee: So, what did you think about the Back Trac?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: It's a, it is different. It's good. Yeah, it's, it really helps to set the ribs in place. It's been a problem because the, the, the easiest way to do it at home has been with a foam roller, which, it's very, it is very similar to a foam roller, but you can't do, you can't do both sides at the same time with a standard foam roller.

Eileen Durfee: Oh yeah. For adjusting ribs.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. And it’s, it’s, it's easy, yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Well, when I was in San Francisco, I was on a motorized bicycle and I was talking to my phone, not paying attention. And I was where it said, no bicycles allowed, but there were people like right behind me coming up on me. And so, I had to stop really fast and I put my foot down, but there was this big well there, so my foot didn't land on anything, and I slammed right into the guardrail right on my rib, my right rib. Of course, I'd been to the chiropractor, did craniosacral therapy, and I still could barely like put my hand like here without wincing pain. And then my prototype came on my Back Trac. Of course, the hard one killed me. I couldn't even lay over it. I was so injured. So, I got on the orange one that was softer. And I rolled on that. By day two, it put all my ribs in and I had no pain at all whatsoever. And it's just like, I fell in love with this thing. This is like pretty amazing. So, when do you think the best time, cuz we talked about doing the sit up, pelvic tilt, then the neck flexion. When would you do this one?

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Well, for someone who doesn't have an injury, I mean you could do it with the whole set. I mean it's, it's, yeah, you could do, you could do it after the, after the sit up would be a good time to do that. So, if you wanna do those three in order, the sit up, the Back Trac and then the pelvic tilt.

Eileen Durfee: Okay.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: You know, it would be a good order.

Eileen Durfee: Well, thank you so much for your wisdom. And, we'll have to, when I am down that area, I'll have to come down and see you. But like I said, I'll be getting you a new Power Cushion with the neck attachment to it real soon.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Well, thanks. The new one looks, looks a lot more, a lot more put together than some of the previous ones.

Eileen Durfee: Yeah. And it's, the surface is smooth too, so you can clean it.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Because some of the other ones that there was a lot of bubbles in the foam –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: … when they fixed it and, and then the surface texture wasn't, you know, ideal.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: I mean, it was, it was, it was about the best at the time, but it's been a few years, it's gotten better.

Eileen Durfee: Right. Well, those were poured with what they call a mold that has a backing that had like a silicone liner.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: So, with the silicone liners, they only produce so many parts and then you throw 'em away. Or if they're sitting on the shelf, there's only so long before that material deteriorates. So, what I did with these products is, I paid all the extra money and had 'em cut out all the molds out of aluminium. So, they're forever molds. We never have to replace 'em and then it produces this really nice, smooth, you know, consistent surface. And for the - I don't know if you noticed or not, but for the, the cushions that have the groove in them. Ordinarily, you could have just snapped those in half because of that shape. But inside these little holes right here, there's a wooden dowel. So, nobody can break 'em in half. So, these are gonna hold –

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah. Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: These are gonna hold up and be just fine. I suppose, they don't have a UV protectant on them, so you couldn't just like leave them outdoors in the rain and the sun and you know, and all that.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Or ordinary use indoors. They'll, they'll really hold up. And now, I've had some like a 6'8" Major League Baseball pitcher and because of the weight of his body, cuz he is a big guy, the, the blue ones didn't work for him because they would, they would still squish. They were soft enough with all that weight to squish. So, we find with the, with the bigger people, especially the athletes, this hard works really well for them or the medium.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yeah.

Eileen Durfee: Yeah. So, all right. Well, thank you so much for coming on.

Dr. Neal Stumpf: Yep. Yep.

Eileen Durfee: And we will talk again soon.