Howard Knudsen has been providing provo physical therapy in a professional setting since 1998, and integrates several modalities for a unique treatment that is individualized to each client's needs. He provides therapeutic treatments by appointment in his Provo, Utah office: 801-310-0851.

A Provo Physical Therapy Clinic


Jan 2011 Newsletter

Advanced Spine And Pain Solutions

Howard KnudsenFrom: Dr. Howard Knudsen
A Provo Physical Therapy Clinic Owner
Saturday, January 31, 2011 at 10:19 PM


"Breath is LIFE"




A Free Newsletter for the Friends and Patients of:
Dr. Howard Knudsen

pain relief


Thank you for reading the first installment of my newsletter.

When I set out on a quest to find the "perfect strategy" to relieve my patients' pain I found a cure for my persistent back pain. I hope you can, too!


pain relief Photo of the Month: North Rim of the Grand Canyon

pain relief Thought of the Day: Riding Waves

pain relief Health & Wellness Tip: Breath Is LIFE!

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January Photo

Photo of the Month for January 2011

north rim

Photograph taken while camping at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. I woke up early before sunrise to take this photo.

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Thought of the Day

For your health!


"We are all riding waves from ripples in the pond of life! So throw gratitude rocks... gems of enthusiasm... boulders of strength... zen stones of balance ... pearls of wisdom... diamonds of abundance... and rubies of health and healing."

Howard A. Knudsen

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Health and Wellness Tip

Breath is LIFE!

conscious breathing exercises

Short Summary: Lung capacity determines your health and how long you will live. Most people with persistent pain do not breath properly and do not exchange enough oxygen and carbon dioxide to cleanse the blood. We have the tools to check your status. Dr. Knudsen will teach you how to increase your lung capacity to improve your health and your ability to self-heal.

You've probably heard the saying: "Breath is Life!"

Is this really true?

Well, the research is in... and the answer is undeniably... YES!

Andrew Weil, MD"The simplest and most powerful technique for protecting your health is absolutely free -- and literally right under your nose."

(From Breathing: The Master Key to Self-Healing by Andrew Weil, MD)

Oxygen is the most basic requirement for human life. If your brain goes without it for five minutes you die.

Yet how often do you pay attention to your breathing?

lungsUnless you practice yoga or have respiratory problems (like asthma or emphesema), then I bet it is probably RARE for you to consciously change your breath pattern or observe how you breathe.

The fact is, an astonishing number of physical ailments and chronic diseases are rooted in poor breathing and oxygen deficits.

Even chronic pain conditions, like fibromyalgia, back pain, neck pain, headaches, and muscle pain are strongly associated with breathing problems and lack of oxygen.

persistent pain

Why are physical ailments and chronic diseases rooted in poor breathing and oxygen deficits?

A massive study (of over 5000 male subject spanning 30 years) shows that lung capacity determines longevity.

Al Sears, MD says:

"It's a little-known fact that your lungs determine whether you live or die. Doctors involved in the Framingham Heart Study discovered that lung health predicts how long a person will live -- even before developing a serious disease."

The doctors learned that they could predict how long you will live by measuring how well you breathe with a simple test.

The study also concluded that lung capacity declined at the rate of 9% to 27% per decade, or about one to three percent per year after age 25.

Why does this matter?

The lungs cleanse your blood, and blood chemistry determines the health of your cells... your nerves... your muscles... your fascia... your organs... your whole body.

Biologist Dr. Bruce H. Lipton says that your cells can only be as healthy as the environment in which they reside.

Since your cells are bathed in blood, your blood chemistry (the environment of your cells) determines the health of your cells.

An incredible finding by Lipton! He reports that he was able to remove unhealthy cells from a person with a disease and place the cells in a petri dish. When he created a healthy environment in the petri dish those diseased cells became healthy.

He suggests that the unhealthy environment of the body (bad blood chemistry) caused the cells to stay unhealthy, never healing like they normally would.

How do we "clean-up" your blood chemistry so your body heals?

To cure our bodies of tissue toxicity we need to detox, we need to remove the poisons from our bodies and oxygenate the cells.

There are three main objectives to work on:

1. Conscious breathing (Doing breathwork or exercising your lungs will improve your blood chemistry; respiration takes in more oxygen and eliminates carbon dioxide; it also causes a change in brain activity to decrease stress-hormone release).

2. Improve blood circulation (Stimulate remodeling of hardened soft tissue with manual therapy tools; moving to promote return of blood to heart; learn to relax "tensing" muscles.)

3. Change brain activity (neural network pattern-breaking to change state to a "relaxation" -- instead of "stress" -- response which allows your organs to go into a healing mode to work on cleansing your blood and healing your cells).

In what specific ways are breathing problems associated with back pain?

There is a growing body of evidence that shows that if you have a breathing problem, then there is a higher chance you will also experience back pain. In fact, it's a much higher chance than if you are over-weight or because of your physical activity level.

Why is there an association?

Dr. Paul Hodges, PT, PhD, has proposed that the association between back pain and poor breathing is because we share the same muscles for two different responsibilities. Muscles of respiration (diaphragm and transversus abdominis) are also simultaneously used to control the posture of your torso.

Another well known reason for the association is that insufficient-oxygen delivery (anoxia) to any muscle causes pain.

Myositis syndrome can be treated with manual therapy tools and techniques.

When anoxia persists your muscles become unhealthy and myositis syndrome may develop.

In myositis syndrome the nerves, muscles, and fascia get inflammed and extremely pain-sensitive. Another part of this syndrome is that your body lays down more fibrous tissue as a response to insufficient oxygen levels.

There are two reasons that our bodies remodel this way.

First, fibrous tissue consumes less oxygen than muscle. Second, fibrous tissue is used to stitch up and scar down an injured area.

Unfortunately, excessive fibrosis within and around the muscles just causes more problems with oxygen delivery to the cells.

astym instrumentsThis is why I use ASTYM, guasha, and Chinese suction cups to break up excess fibrous tissue that clogs up the capillary blood vessels. These modalities increase delivery of oxygen and nutrients and promote removal of cellular waste and congestion.

astym gua sha

Dr. Knudsen's insight from using rehabilitative ultrasound imaging for back pain.

What I've uncovered with ultrasound imaging is that most people with back pain consistently breathe wrong. Many of the patients I scan with ultrasound habitually "brace" with their abdominal and back muscles, even when lying down to rest.

This muscle-bracing inhibits a normal relaxed breathing pattern (expanding out and recoiling back the lower ribcage along with diaphragm movement).

What results is shallow, tense breathing in the upper chest wall, while breathing is severely restricted in the mid to lower lungs. This means less oxygen to the cells and more accumulation of waste... because the lungs are not as efficient in filtering and detoxifying the blood.

transversus ultrasound

With ultrasound imaging biofeedback, I can show you how to breath properly to promote relaxation and break the cycle of habitually bracing with back and abdominal muscles. For many, this has led to pain relief.

relaxation breathing

Just to make it clear... because many of my patients have been trained to habitually brace with the back and abdominal muscles... bracing causes insufficient oxygen levels in two ways:

1. Restricted air flow into the mid to lower lungs because the lower ribs cannot expand against tight muscles.

2. Continuous muscle tensing restricts blood flow in the torso muscles and anoxia causes pain.

Stress and inflammation

There is another way that breathing problems are associated with back pain and other persistant pain conditions.

Do you hold your breath during stress events?

When something is identified as a "threat" the primitive brain triggers the pain response alarms, your breath changes, typically to shallow breathing, hyperventilation or holding your breath.

If you want to calm the stress and pain, consciously change your breathing to a relaxed pattern.

It will increase oxygen delivery to cells and organs in your body and remove carbon dioxide.

You will learn to eliminate stress-hormones and also decrease episodes of stress.

Your body and brain connection will improve and so will your health and ability to self-heal.

And, there is good evidence that your inflammation response to stressful events will decrease and likewise so will your pain sensitivity.

Inflammation is triggered when the lining of your blood vessels is irritated or injured. It's a major cause of chronic disease. Bad blood chemistry irritates or weakens the lining of the blood vessels which makes you have an inflammatory response to stressful encounters.

Inflammation appears to be a key risk factor for many chronic diseases, so practicing "synchronized-moving-and-breathing" while maintaining inner-body-awareness might be a great way to stay healthy.

What has been largely overlooked by most health care providers is the fact that lung capacity can be maintained or increased.

A new study from Ohio State University showed that practicing conscious moving and breathing activities will reduce the inflammatory response to real stress, like doing hard math problems in their heads with their feet in cold water.

I have asked numerous patients with breathing problems what kind of pulmonary (lung) rehabilitation they have done. The typical response is: "I was told there is nothing that can be done..."

My answer is that there surely is something that can be done. In fact, your health and reclaiming your body's natural ability to heal your chronic pain condition depends on it.

Opera teachers know that breathing volume can be increased. Yet activities such as singing and sports do not necessarily lead to optimal breathing.

Unlike all the other involuntary functions of the body, breathing becomes voluntary as soon as you make a conscious effort to breathe differently.

We offer a variety of techniques and moving and breathing activities that help restore natural, healthy breathing patterns.

This was part of my "perfect strategy" to cure my chronic back pain. I can teach you how... Let's see if it will work for you, too!

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Free photo for past and present patients

Patients: These are the photos, they will be printed on canvas and placed on stretcher boards (ready to hang on your wall). These freebies will be 20 inches on the longest side.

Choose from photos below and give us a call:


Holy Ghost at Canyonlands
holy ghost

Lower Antelop Canyon Warrior

Subway at Zion

Sundance Aspen Sunset
sundance aspens

Sundance Aspen Leaves

Sundance Leaves

Path To Watch Tower at Canyonlands

Giant Redwoods at Muirwoods


Cabo Sunset
Cabo Sunset

If you want an additional photo, call for pricing.


Thank You!

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