Category Archives: Peggy Boyd-Blog

Sciatica Pain- How to get relief! Part 1

Helping those suffering from a pinched sciatic nerveWhen I was in massage school, we were taught that sciatica (shooting nerve pain that travels down the back of the leg) was most often caused by a tight hip rotator muscle called the piraformis ( a muscle in the gluteal region of the lower limb).  The piraformis connects our tailbone (or sacrum) to the top of our femur (or leg bone) and when contracted or when the muscle constricts, pulls the leg and knee to the side away from the body, opening the hip. Since this muscle crosses over the sciatic nerve, if it is overly contracted then it can pinch the nerve and cause pain. If someone came in complaining of sciatica pain, we would release their piraformis during the session using several techniques including structural bodywork and cranial rebalancing.

In these sessions, the piraformis release “hurts good” at the time of the session but the clients often don’t receive lasting benefits from this release. A tight piraformis does not live on its own; it often a symptom of an imbalanced structure. Though we can get the piraformis to release and let go, this is not done within a session where all the muscles of the hips contributing to a pattern are also released so the body can find a new way to balance more efficiently. If the muscles don’t release then the body will often return back to the starting pattern and sciatica pain returns. Addressing pain as a symptom of structural issues is our objective at Surgical Alternative. We utilize SET Bodywork and CranioStructural techniques to release the muscles and rebalance the body.

This became very clear to once, we started to study structural approaches to pain rehabilitation. The piraformis, we discovered, is certainly not the only culprit to sciatica pain. Determining how to most effectively address this issue depends on adequate evaluation of the body’s structure. This is way we first visually assess the structure by observing the client standing so their weight-bearing structure emerges. Almost every client we have seen reporting a painful condition presents an imbalance in the pelvis with one side rotating forward and one rotating backward.

Although massage has been around for hundreds of years we are still discovering the power the body and mind having in the healing process.  We have seen and lived this process with many of our clients, that is why we feel very fortunate and excited to do what we love to do, help others that are suffering from herniated discs, bulging discs, peripheral nerve damage, degenerative disk disease, nerve entrapments, sciatic nerve issues and many more symptoms that people think they either have to have surgery for or are told they just have to deal with the pain.  At we can help!  Check back for Part II

Child’s sleep disorder keeps parents at wits end

baby-picAs a therapist in for over 15 years I have seen my share of interesting cases. A more interesting case, was when a father came in for therapy, seeming more tired than usual.  He told me how since birth, his child woke up on a nightly basis frantically screaming, until a parent came to comfort him back to sleep. Both he and his wife would take shifts of who would sleep and who would do the comforting. He also told me how this had severely limited their lives because the child was usually acting out what he had done earlier that day.  Too much day time excitement and stimulation made the nights much worse. The father gave the example of taking their child to the beach or attending family/friend functions as not being an option for them.  A very interesting detail about this was that the child was never aware that they were doing this.  They only had the awareness of being tired every morning.  I explained to the father how I thought the child could benefit from a cranial decompression and other cranial work that would release pressure on the cranium but also help bring it into balance. I asked the father to bring in the son to experience a cranial work session. Both parents agreed to bring the child in for therapy. The child enjoyed the therapy, was quite inquisitive, and fell asleep during the session.  When the family came for the second appointment the parents told me that 2 days before their 2nd appointment the child slept through the night, for the first time! The parents had grown accustomed to taking shifts for the past 7 years anticipating his waking, but he never did. By the 3rd appointment the parents were happy to report that the son had not woken up again since 2 days before his 2nd appointment.  This nightly disturbance that had taken over their lives, was no longer limiting and governing their lives! No longer waking up tired has allowed this child to become more emotionally balanced, more focused at school, and more themselves! The parents were surprised at all the changes and were grateful for how this has changed all their lives! There are many types of alternative therapy that can help change what people think they have to live with. Check into it and you may be surprised. I’d love to hear any stories you may have.

Herniated Discs- Cause/Treatment?

Herniated discs can cause painMany patients complaining about back pain, leg pain, or other weakness of the lower extremity muscles can be diagnosed with herniated discs. Herniated discs occurs when the cushion that sits between the spinal vertebra is moved outside its normal position. The pain caused by a herniated disc occurs because the spinal nerves are very close to the edge of spinal discs. As the spinal disc becomes less elastic, it can rupture. When the disc ruptures, a portion of the spinal disc pushes outside its normal boundary causing herniated discs. When a herniated disc bulges the spinal cords, nerves can become pinched. Normally there is a little extra space around the spinal cord and spinal nerves, but when the herniated disc is pushed out of place, these structures compress. When herniated discs rupture it begins to pinch the nerves. Herniated discs can be caused suddenly by such things as a fall or an accident, or can occur over time with repetitive strain put on the spine.  Herniated discs occur when the space for the nerves is further diminished, and irritation of the nerve results. Common symptoms of a herniated disc include:

  • Pressure on the nerve can cause abnormal sensations, commonly experienced as electric shock pains. When the compression occurs in the cervical (neck) region, the shocks go down your arms, when the compression is in the lumbar (low back) region, the shocks go down your legs.
  • Patients often have abnormal sensations such as tingling, numbness, or pins and needles. These symptoms may be experienced in the same region as painful electric shock sensations.
  • Because of the nerve irritation, signals from the brain may be interrupted causing muscle weakness. Nerve irritation can also be tested by examining reflexes.

All of these symptoms are due to the irritation of the nerve from the herniated discs. All of these symptoms can be caused by a herniated discs pressing against the nerves.

While some herniated discs may require surgery, very often they can be treated through non-surgical means. The cranial and structural bodywork we perform at Surgical Alternative has been effective at treating herniated discs. Our goals is to help some of those people that suffer from these and many other painful conditions.   For more information or to read other testimonials and blogs Check US OUT!

Scoliosis! A painful but treatable condition

Scoliosis-Painful-but-treatableWe see clients suffer from all kinds of pain and our passion keeps us working and training on alternative techniques that we can integrate to help my clients. One of my clients had been suffering for a while and this is their story.

“I was diagnosed almost 3 years ago with Scoliosis. This gave me some relief knowing what was causing all my pain. My knees hurt, my neck would sometimes lock and my lower back was in constant pain. I had to roll out of bed as I could not sit straight up in the mornings. According to the orthopedic doctor, the outlook was not bright. They wanted to put me on pain medication, a body brace and possible surgery. None of this was me. I have always lived a healthy lifestyle and I had no intentions of changing, but what could I do? I started to do some research on the internet on alternatives to help with my Scoliosis, with no real success. One day, by chance, I was speaking to a co-worker concerning my plight and she said, “My daughter is now practicing massage. Let me ask her if she knows anything that could help you”. Her daughter recommended I call Surgical Alternative. That was one of the best phones call I ever made. Peggy, a senior therapist changed my life for the best. I have been going to Surgical Alternative for two and a half years now and thanks to her, I am back to doing all that I used to do, and more importantly, without Pain! If you have Scoliosis, this is where you need to be! No drugs, no body brace, no surgery. Peggy and Surgical Alternative gave me my active life back and I am forever in her debt. “

We feel very fortunate and excited to do what we love to do, help others return to a normal pain free life. We have been dealing with clients in severe pain in Tampa Bay, for over 15 years, that are suffering from herniated discs, bulging discs, hiatal hernias, degenerative disk disease,  nerve entrapment, sciatic nerve issues and many more symptoms that people think they either have to have surgery for or are told they just have to deal with the pain. If you know someone who is living in pain we can help at

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