Pain | Disability Fitness Therapy

Christina Nixon

Watch and be inspired by Christina’s will to relearn motion after losing her ability to control muscle movement. When I met Christina, she could not even control her core muscles to sit up. 

She agreed to try a CorrectiveFitness program that focused on strengthening and rehabbing her whole body all at once, instead of the traditional programs. We began training on progressive, functional goals, ie. sitting up, soldier crawling, crawling on her hands and knees, then kneeling.

Her brain immediately began to forge new neural pathways to her muscles and she began to move with perfect body alignment as she battled against the resistance of gravity.

It was astonishing to see her moving so efficiently instead of torquing and tensing compensatory muscle groups to try to avoid pain from injured body parts. As a matter of fact, she felt no pain because she was moving in a relaxed and aligned manner.

May God continue to bless you and your family, Christina. You are always in my heart. May you continue to heal. You have the heart of a lion.

CDC: Exercise Could Help Disabled People, But Too Few Are Active

Experts say, lack of workouts increases the risk of chronic diseases

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter
TUESDAY, May 6, 2014 (HealthDay News)

Half of the 21 million Americans who have a disability don’t exercise, and that lack of exercise is jeopardizing their health, federal officials reported Tuesday.

Among these 11 million inactive adults are people who have difficulty walking or climbing stairs, have problems hearing or seeing, or have trouble concentrating, remembering or making decisions, officials said.

Many of these disabled adults are able to exercise, but don’t do so regularly or at all, Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a news conference.

“We are very concerned about this, because working-age adults with disabilities who get no aerobic physical activity are 50 percent more likely to have cancer, diabetes, stroke or heart disease than those who get the recommended amount of physical activity,” Arias said.

“We know that regular aerobic physical activity increases heart and lung function, improves daily living activities and independence, decreases the chance of developing chronic diseases and also improves mental health,” Arias said. “If doctors and health professionals recommend aerobic physical activity to adults with disabilities, then adults with disabilities are 82 percent more likely to be physically active,” she added.

Speaking at the news conference, Dianna Carroll, an epidemiologist in CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, said, “We don’t know if disability leads to inactivity and chronic disease, or if inactivity and chronic disease lead to disability.”

What’s clear, she said, is that exercise has the potential to prevent chronic disease, improve the health of someone with a chronic disease and help reduce the risk of additional chronic diseases.

But, 47 percent of adults with disabilities who are able to do aerobic physical activity don’t do so. An additional 22 percent aren’t active enough. Yet, only 44 percent of these adults who saw a doctor in the past year left with a recommendation to exercise, Carroll said.

According to Carroll, 57 percent of adults with limited mobility, 40 percent of adults with memory and thinking problems, 36 percent of those with serious vision problems and 33 percent of those with serious hearing difficulties get no aerobic exercise.

That’s in contrast to the 26 percent of adults who don’t have a disability and get no exercise, she added.

Carroll noted that government guidelines for Americans recommend that all adults, including those with disabilities, get at least 150 minutes — 2.5 hours — of moderate aerobic physical activity each week.

If some people with disabilities can’t reach this goal, they should do the best they can. The key is to avoid inactivity, Carroll said. “Some activity is better than none,” she said.

People should start slowly, and exercise for at least 10 minutes each time. They should gradually increase their activity to reach the goal of at least 2.5 hours a week of moderate exercise, Carroll said.

Activities can include walking, swimming and biking. Even rolling yourself in a wheelchair is exercise, she said.

People with disabilities can encounter barriers that deter them from exercising. These include physical barriers such as no curb-cuts on sidewalks, no ramps into gyms, and parks and trails that aren’t safe or easy to navigate, Carroll said.

She also said psychological barriers play a role. These include lack of support from family and friends or feeling self-conscious about using a gym and asking for help.

People with disabilities need to develop the confidence and the belief in their ability to do aerobic exercise as a way of improving their health, Arias said.

Samantha Heller, a senior clinical nutritionist and exercise physiologist at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said, “For some people with disabilities, the idea of movement and exercise is daunting and they do not know how or where to begin.”

Health professionals can take a proactive approach with their patients with disabilities by referring them for physical or occupational therapy, she said.

“Physical and occupational therapy are terrific places for people with disabilities to kick-start their exercise programs. Patients, too, can be proactive in their own health care and demand referrals for physical or occupational therapy,” Heller said.

Jenny Hall

Jenny just wanted to be as active today as she was before her stroke… 

Well, she overachieved!  Now, she’s more active than before her stroke.


After a 30-minute phone conversation with Stavros, I was looking forward to our first work out, but I had no idea my outlook would change, my self-esteem would increase and my abilities would skyrocket.

With inspiration, experience, and humor, and attention to my needs, Stavros has taken my mobility to a new level… challenges are welcomed and barriers are broken down.

As a paraplegic, I have spent my life hearing about all my limitations. Stavros had shown me that my abilities far surpass any clinic diagnosis.

Stavros’ philosophy on body movement and healing is on point. I am reaching levels of ambulance that I thought impossible. 

My energy is high, my eating is clean, my enthusiasm is at its peak and I know this is just the beginning…

Dr. Sam Tambyraja,
Dr. of Psychiatry at Cleveland Clinic

Hi Stavros,

Thanks for keeping in touch. Shom and I were discussing that this is my fourth summer since diagnosis with IPF (idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). It is noteworthy that it is also the most physically active one since diagnosis. She thinks it is because I have a better mental attitude, ” you are not checking your o2 level so much”. She thinks you have made me challenge myself more physically with a more “can do mental attitude”. I concur.   I am doing the interval training fairly regularly, mostly on the treadmill. I am maintaining my weight, with about 10 lbs to go. 

We have a daily glass of the horrible looking drink you introduced us to. Shom notes that it is tasty and filling. On a negative note she refuses to learn how to make it.

Thanks a lot for turning things around for me.

Dr. Sam Tambyraja


Hi, Stavros,

You’ve made quite a difference in Sam to the point that we go for long periods of time forgetting that he has a terminal illness. Kudos to you!


We seldom know why life sometimes deals us the disability card. But for the people I’ve worked with, most now see it as a blessing in disguise.  I know I did.  And I hope to change your paradigm.