Walking tall

20 July 2014
Written by Nick Curry
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Guest writer, Postural Patterning therapist Nik Curry shares his healing journey & path to discovering the link between postural patterns & chronic problems


I grew up in Wanganui and after sixth form went to teachers' college. I had a great time, but never wanted to teach and went to Australia. When I came back my father gave me the hard word about doing something with my life and eventually I went to Physio School, mostly because it was in Auckland, a long way from Wellington and warmer than Otago.

I went back to Australia and started to work for real. A neuro. rehab. Hospital first then into a private practice where I was supposed to know everything about whatever was wrong with people and how to fix it. Not a clue. They say you really learn on the job and I really did, I had to.

I learned an important lesson at this time. I noticed that most people got better anyway, despite my meager efforts. I call it the 80/20 rule. It means that 80% of people get better if you don’t do anything wrong and wait long enough. Sometimes, running out of cover seemed quite curative.

This, as much as anything made me want to be better. I went to courses, talked to everyone I worked with, read every book I could find – no internet then and I practised, became a partner in a practice, worked hard and got sick. At 28 I got Acute Lymphblastic Leukaemia. I was very sick by the time I got to a doctor. Enough knowledge to make me dangerous kept me self-diagnosing and self- treating for far too long and almost killed me.

In one day I was unemployed, told to put my affairs in order and asked “By the way, do you want to have kids? Better make a donation, here’s a jar”.

The next few years were tumultuous. Chemotherapy, radiotherapy, waiting and waiting - for blood counts to come up, for test results, for funding, for my life to come back. I held on to one thing. When they’d told me what disease I had, in the crowded outpatient waiting room at Royal Melbourne I’d only asked one question. 

“Do people recover from this?”

The answer was a very dubious and qualified yes. I didn’t want to know any more, that was enough. I knew then that I wasn’t going to die from this disease - it wasn’t hope, it wasn’t a vision or a revelation, it was a knowing, one I didn’t want to question, just believe.

I had an autologous bone marrow transplant, one using my cleaned-up marrow. They gave me chemo and radiotherapy, waited till I recovered, harvested my marrow, gave my remaining marrow a lethal dose of more chemo and radiotherapy and then put my clean bone marrow back.

I recovered got a good remission, went back to work. Worked hard, went back to my life for two fun years and then relapsed.

“It happens” they said. I started the journey again. I needed a donor and, as none of my family matched and there wasn’t an Australia Bone Marrow Registry, we had to look overseas. I found a donor in Santa Fe - Danny had an Irish father and an Albanian mother, perfect match, a modest unassuming saviour.

It went well, I recovered. Some of the drugs affected the blood supply to the balls of my hip joints and they crumbled. Within a few months I found myself on crutches with two artificial hips, very different. And other things were different as well. New hips, new blood type, new immune system, new wife and new outlook on life. I went back to work but I couldn’t get my new hips to work properly, I wanted to be in the 80% that got better, not the 20%.

I learned about my hips. I watched and learned about the way people moved and how little they knew about their bodies. I realised how little I knew about my own body. I started looking at what was behind the problems people were having, the causes of the symptoms. My walking got better doing unlikely, counter-intuitive things than they ever had with the conventional ideas I’d been taught and had taught others. 

As my colleagues got into more complicated and specialised treatments, I turned the telescope around and got focused. I found a way to work that seemed so obvious and so different at the same time. Posture. Everyone knows about posture, every therapist makes notes about posture, we all want better posture, but no-one seemed to know how to do it.

Most people try to have better posture at some stage, but give up.

I became fascinated and loved it. I loved seeing chronic conditions, long-term problems disappear when people stopped continually aggravating them. There are two kinds of problems – ordinary and extraordinary. 

We get treatment for extraordinary problems. If we fall or break a bone, strain a muscle or have a joint replacement we get some help. We understand this process – injury/event, treatment, recovery.

But we ignore ordinary problems. The aches and pains that just turn up, the limited movements, the bad back, the bad knee or shoulder, the sore neck. We just accept these problems after a few attempts to get some help that don’t have any lasting benefit. We make up and believe stories about them, it’s because I fell off my bike, had a car crash, am overweight, am getting old.

We don’t look for the cause of the problems because the cause is the ordinary way you live your life. The ordinary way you unconsciously use your body. It’s so hard to see this for yourself, especially when you don’t know that you should look, or what to look for, or what it means. It took me twenty years to work myself out.

I’m better at it now. I’ve been working with the patterns of how people use their bodies for all of those twenty years. I’ve got it down to a system that makes the process as simple as possible, Postural Patterning. 

I do intervention sessions with people, not treatments. Just 2 or 3 times, looking at how people are using there bodies, then working out how to resolve that pattern into a more balanced one and resolving the pain and problems. 

It’s a process. It takes a while, months, but the changes are immediate. People don’t need to keep coming for sessions but they do need to keep progressing so there are weekly classes that they can attend whenever they need to. They do the work, I get to help.

Let me ask you a question: “Who taught you how to stand or walk”? 
Probably no-one. That’s what I do. 

  • Check out Postural Patterning on facebook and at www.nikcurry.com
  • To talk about your situation or to book a session try This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 027 2737 007)




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