Inventor and Designer of Postural Control Insoles
Bonnie Boots - I would now be in a wheel chair if it wasn't for Dr Rothbart's therapy!
"Dear Professor Rothbart,
I can’t believe I’ve reached the end of my therapy with you! I had so many questions and doubts when I started Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy that I wasn’t really sure this day would come–right up until it did.
I was going to send you a testimonial. But then, I thought it might be helpful for people visiting your web site to read an article about my experience with your therapy. It may help someone answer the question, “What would it be like for me?”
Here, then, is my admittedly lengthy testimonial. Really, at seven pages, it’s almost a novella! Feel free to publish it, or any part of it, in any way you wish.
With a thankful heart,
It’s been three years since I stood in the parking lot of an orthopedic surgeon’s office, my hands shaking so bad I couldn’t get my car key in the lock. Leaning against the door, sobbing, I begged God to let me die. People coming and going in the parking lot scurried past me like I was crazy.
I was. Crazy with pain and fear.
I’d just been told–for the eighth time, by the eighth specialist–that at age 58, I needed joint replacement for both knees, both hips and both major toes. Even then, they’d all assured me, I’d still be dependent on a wheelchair because the damage to my spine could not be corrected.
They gave me no hope whatsoever of getting better, assuring me, instead, that I would inevitably get worse. “The best we can hope for is to slow down the progression,” one surgeon told me flatly. “You need to accept the fact that you have end-stage osteoarthritis. Your condition is permanent, irreversible, crippling.”
I’d lived with pain most of my life. As a child, I was told the frequent joint pain I suffered was caused by one leg being shorter then the other, curving my spine and forcing my entire skeleton out of alignment. As I grew, so did the pain. Though the pain limited me in some ways ( I couldn’t, for example, wear high heels, something that deeply saddened my 20-year old self) I had a reasonably active life.
Then in 1989, an auto accident amplified everything. My pain became chronic, and partially disabling. It took two years of extreme therapy and a ton of money to get me back on my feet. Although from that moment on I was never free from pain, I was able to return to work and carry on a somewhat normal, albeit limited life.
But in 2004, my pain began to escalate, month by month, until by 2009, my mobility was so limited I rarely left the house. To walk, I put tubular “patella bands” above and below both knees, then wrapped my knees with Ace elastic bandages and supported myself with a cane. That was the only way I could stand and walk for a few minutes at a time.
Even when my knees could hold me for a few minutes, the pain in my feet, my back, my neck, shoulders and hands was so severe that I was never fully functional.
For the last few years, my husband had taken over many of the household tasks that had once been mine. This allowed me to save what energy I had for my work, but even this was coming to an end.
As an award-winning writer, I was in high demand, but over the last year I’d stopped accepting all but the smallest jobs. Anything that demanded more than a few hours in a single week was more than I could deliver.
Faced with an income dwindling to zero, I spoke with an attorney to discuss filing for Social Security Disability. The papers lay on my desk for weeks. I couldn’t bring myself to sign them, and thus officially admit that my condition was hopeless.
That’s when I went on a whirlwind tour of doctors. I live in a large metropolitan area with vast medical resources. I searched out the most acclaimed specialists in arthritis, in pain management, in podiatry, in surgery. One by one, they told me to abandon hope. I very nearly did.
But then a phone call changed everything.
A gentleman identifying himself as Professor Rothbart said he wanted to thank me for the review I’d written of his book, Forever Free From Chronic Pain. He told me his wife’s mother lived in my city, and his wife was coming to visit her in a few months. Could she take me out to lunch as a way of saying, “Thanks for the great book review”?
Stunned, I said yes. When the call ended, I went to find my copy of Professor Rothbart’s book. And then I started worrying about meeting his wife.
I’d been working from home for the last few years, shielding my ongoing decay behind the monitor of a computer. I used a wild variety of excuses to explain why I only communicated by phone and email, even with my neighbors.
Meeting someone for lunch meant I had to put up a good front for at least a couple of hours. I’d have to get myself dressed, drive to the restaurant, walk in, carry on a coherent conversation and walk out–all without revealing what bad shape I was really in.
I worried for weeks. When the day came, I put every ounce of energy I had into “looking normal.” And I was inwardly complimenting myself on doing a damn good job of it when Professor Rothbart’s wife shattered my illusion by asking me why I was in pain.
I told her a little of my background, making light of my situation and stressing how in control I was.
She listened with tremendous sympathy–and a knowing look. “I was a chronic pain patient,” she said. “I know what you’re going through.”
At the end of the meal, as we prepared to leave, my hostess said,” Bonnie, my husband is a true genius. I’ve seen him save so many people that had been told there was no hope. I really wish you’d make an appointment with him and see if he could help you.”
Then she hugged me. “Please say you will.”
I had to say yes. But I wasn’t really hopeful. I’d re-read Forever Free From Chronic Pain several times. I knew he only treated people who had a Rothbarts Foot or a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. I’d read his description of symptoms and I didn’t see them in myself.
But I’d said yes, so I followed through, made an appointment, and mailed a disc with the dozens of x-rays, scans and medical reports all those specialist had made.
When I finally had my phone consultation with Professor Rothbart, he told me he’d studied the scans and x-rays, but hadn’t read the medical reports. “I don’t care what conclusions other doctors have come to,” he said. “I prefer to reply on my own findings.”
He explained what his findings were and said,” I can help you. It’s not going to be fast. Some people can be adjusted in a matter of weeks or months. But you have a very complicated problem. You’re not going to be an easy patient for me. I can’t cure you 100%. But I can conservatively say that after therapy, your pain will be reduced as much as 80%, possibly more. You may never be totally free from pain, but you will
not be in a wheelchair. I can assure you of that.”
I wanted to feel like jumping for joy. But all I felt was skepticism. I’d been through all sorts of therapy over the years, tried everything but surgery, spent a fortune on everything and anything that promised pain relief, from TENS units to biofeedback to physical therapy to chiropractic. Each time I’d been told, “I can fix you.”
And each time I’d been disappointed.
On the other hand, I was not willing or able to accept the idea that I was doomed to live the rest of my life sitting in a wheelchair being crushed by pain. I absolutely believe that the body has a miraculous power to heal itself. I’d witnessed miracle cures, and I believed one was possible for me.
So when Professor Rothbart said the focus of his therapy was to assist my body so it could heal itself, he broke through my skepticism. I agreed to be treated with Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy, and I made a commitment to follow it through to the end, no matter what that might be.
In brief, my therapy with Professor Rothbart involved my sending him a pair of shoes and a set of photos showing my posture. After detailed analysis of my posture, he made a pair of prescription insoles to fit the shoes and sent them back to me. I’d then take another set of photos so he could see how the insoles affected my posture. During the two years of my therapy, I had three different prescriptions for insoles.
Throughout, Professor Rothbart closely monitored my condition through my weekly written report and phone consultations. Each time we spoke, he repeatedly assured me that my body absolutely knew how to heal itself. All he was doing, he explained, was providing the circumstances that would allow it to do so.
He never wavered from his assurance that a wheelchair was not in my future, and I clung to that promise. I’d never had a doctor actually cheering me on to heal, and I believe that Professor Rothbart’s constant and absolute conviction that my chronic pain could be eliminated was vitally important to my continuing improvement.
My first month of therapy was difficult but do-able. Because of the pain in my feet, I hadn’t worn shoes in several years. When I was forced to leave the house, I depended on a dilapidated pair of loose-fitting sandals. Now, I had to force my feet into tightly-laced tennis shoes. Initially, I found the prospect terrifying, but once I got started, it wasn’t as painful as I’d imagined.
I started by keeping the shoes on for one hour as I sat in a chair. By increasing the time I wore the shoes each day, sometimes only by minutes, I worked up to wearing them for eight hours a day. It took me one month to reach that 8-hour goal.
At first, the insoles caused me to experience brief periods of being dizzy and out of balance. Professor Rothbart explained that my brain was learning a new way of sensing how to balance my body. This lasted only a few days, and reoccurred for a short time with each new prescription.
By the end of the first month of therapy, my pain was slightly reduced. This didn’t seem like a miracle, especially when Professor Rothbart’s book contained numerous stories of people who were completely out of pain almost as soon as they put on their first pair of prescription insoles.
When I raised questions about this, Professor Rothbart reminded me of our first conversation, when he’d told me I wasn’t his average patient; was in fact, one of the most difficult patients he’d taken on. He told me it would take time. I promised to persevere, no matter what.
Month by month, I got a little bit better, and then a little more, and then a little more. I started being able to help around the house. The hours I was able to work began to increase. Inch by inch, I returned to life.
Nearly two years from the day I started, my therapy is at an end, and I can honestly say that my chronic pain was not reduced by 80%. It was reduced by 100%. My feet no longer cause me agony. My knees don’t scream when I stand up or walk. My back doesn’t keep me from sleeping at night. My bones don’t ache like they’re in cold water. My thinking is clear and focused–no more brain fog.
Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy Ended My Struggle With Chronic Pain
Do I still experience pain? Yes, but it is not the bone-grinding chronic pain I lived with for so many years. It is the normal pain anyone would experience if they strained a muscle or sat too long in an uncomfortable chair.
Did I get my miracle? Absolutely.
But something I didn’t anticipate at the beginning of therapy was how hard I would have to work to achieve that miracle.
The therapy itself sounded very passive. All I had to do was wear shoes with prescription insoles. But to achieve that 100% reduction in chronic pain, I had to take a very active part in my recovery.
A lifetime of chronic pain had taken a toll. My muscles were in terrible shape. I had almost no core muscle strength. Some muscles were atrophied from lack of use. When I did use my muscles, I was assailed by trigger point pain so severe it often left me in tears.
In addition, my skeleton was burdened by my being eighty pounds overweight.
Until the auto accident, I’d been pencil thin. After the accident, eating was one of the few activities I could use to soothe or entertain myself. And because my mobility was so limited, few calories burned off.
On top of that extra weight I piled an even greater weight of emotional pain. As I progressed through Rothbart’s therapy, I realized I would also need to work on clearing away my emotional baggage.
And then there were the pain storms. Pain storms is the term Professor Rothbart coined to describe a period of intense, all-over pain that can come on suddenly during the therapy. I had three pain storms during therapy. Each was intense, lasting two or three days. They were bad, but bearable.
Perhaps the hardest challenge was simply staying with the therapy. There were patches where progress seemed slow, and toward the end there was a month when I felt I’d backslid so far all my efforts may have been wasted.
Each time something slowed my progress, Professor Rothbart suggested solutions I might consider, pointed me to resources and assured me that it was all part of the healing process. And when I felt discouraged and might have been tempted to say, “Enough. I’m better than I was. I’ll settle for that,” the Professor passionately encouraged me to persevere. I’m so glad my trust in him made me listen, because what actually happened when my body finally made that last subtle shift and all pain disappeared was an actual miracle.
The bottom line is this– I had to earn my miracle by being responsible for my own health. I had to follow through with the therapy to the end. In addition, I had to follow through on the suggestions and resources that were pointed out to me, and clean up the parts of my life that did not contribute to health. I work on that diligently, every day, with good nutrition, emotional clearing techniques, with tai chi, qigong and other techniques that work on both the physical level and the energy level. I have a long way to go to rebuild my body’s strength, but it’s work I do with a new joy in movement now that I’m no longer crippled by pain.
Now that I have reached the end of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy. I will not need another prescription for insoles, but I will continue to wear my prescription insoles for the rest of my life.
Professor Rothbart tells me that at the end of therapy, some patients need to wear the insoles for an hour a week just to remind the brain of its’ new posture, while some need to wear the insoles all the time. But as I haven’t been his typical patient, both Professor Rothbart and I will have to wait and see what happens to me now that chronic pain is gone.
Many people have asked me about the cost of my therapy. Was it expensive?
If I compare the cost of Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy to all the money I have spent on other therapies over my life, I have to say that Rothbart’s therapy was the single best value I ever got for my money.
For many years of my life, most of my income went to pay for pain relief. With most forms of physical therapy, including three years of weekly chiropractic adjustments, I’d get just enough relief to get through a week of work so I could pay for the next week’s therapy. It was an endless merry-go-round, with no way off.
Professor Rothbart took me off that merry-go-round.
I was in therapy with him for two years. He told me he’s never before had a patient in therapy that long, so my cost was obviously greater than most. But now it’s over. My crippling chronic pain is gone. I do not need ongoing “pain management.” I don’t need to be adjusted week after week, year after year. I do not need to take prescriptions for a lifetime. I do not need costly joint replacement surgery that even the surgeons admitted would not bring me back to a functional life.
I’m back to work. I’m back to having a life worth living. And for the first time in my life, I can expect a future without chronic pain. Was Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy expensive?
I began this story by telling about the day I stood in the parking lot outside a doctor’s office, crying in pain and fear. That day, I seriously considered suicide. It was not the first time that never-ending chronic pain drove me to that extreme thought. I dare say everyone that lives with chronic, intractable pain considers suicide at some time.
The surgeon I saw that day had not the slightest sympathy for me. He was cold, even callous. He spent a total of eight minutes with me, during which time he pushed me hard to make an appointment for the first knee replacement.
When I told him I wasn’t ready to make that decision, he grabbed my big toe at a spot where arthritic bones were fused together and bent it down, hard. Searing pain cut through me.
“That hurts, doesn’t it?” he sneered, glaring at me. “It’s not going to get better. It will get worse. Now, are you going to schedule surgery or not?”
I was too shocked to speak. He made a sound of disgust, walked toward the door and said over his shoulder, “When you’re ready to face reality, call my office for an appointment.”
He was certainly the worst of the specialists I saw, but in fact, even the best doctors I saw were perfunctory. One never looked me in the eyes during my entire appointment. If I’d had a cabbage growing from my forehead, he’d have missed it. My time with these doctors seldom exceeded 15 minutes, barely adequate to discuss something like the flu, let alone a truly serious condition.
Worse yet, their deeply-held belief that my body was inherently flawed and irreversibly damaged left me feeling demoralized and powerless.
In contrast, Professor Rothbart gave me all the time I needed. His compassion was palpable. His unwavering conviction that the human body is naturally gifted with the ability to heal was inspiring. His assurance that I would heal, just as his previous patients had, gave me hope and courage. Even though my connection to him was though long-distance phone calls, Professor Rothbart gave me more personal time and attention than I’d ever received in any face-to-face office visit.
Professor /Dr. Brian A. Rothbart is a rare breed of doctor. He stepped away from the well-trod path of standard American medicine where the dictum is “either drown it in drugs or slice it out,” and asked the bigger question: what is the source of chronic pain and how can it be cured?
His breakthrough discoveries point to an entirely new way of treating pain. Rather than insulting the body’s integrity with drugs and surgery, Rothbart’s therapy is respectful and supportive of the body’s natural ability to heal itself. I believe that some day, in the future, all doctors will think as Professor Rothbart does now.
Somewhere along the way, American doctors seem to have forgotten that healing was the point of their profession. They focused on treating symptoms rather than pursuing cures. They fell under the spell of profit-driven corporations that saw more value in managing pain than in curing it.
It is to Professor Rothbart’s great credit that he’s had the courage to step outside the medical status quo, to ask the big questions, to do the original research, and to follow the data, even when the data has lead to doors that other doctors, fearful of losing the good living drugs and surgery provide, didn’t want opened.
Professor Rothbart is a remarkable doctor, and I am profoundly grateful to him for helping my body heal.
If you’ve been suffering with chronic pain for years, if you’ve been to all sorts of doctors, tried all sorts of therapies and found nothing that helps, then you owe it to yourself and to those that love you to find out if Professor Rothbart can help you bring about your own miracle."
St Petersburg, Florida
Hi there, I’m Linda, Professor Rothbart’s assistant and wife. I’ve never written a patient testimonial of my experiences using Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy, but in celebration of our new book, The Foot’s Connection To Chronic Pain, I thought it would be helpful for you to hear my personal story of triumph over chronic foot, knee, back and neck pain.
I was born with a PreClinical Clubfoot Deformity. It took about 45 years of needless suffering to find out that I had this inherited, abnormal foot structure and that there is a way to effectively treat it.
It’s ‘funny’, as I’m writing this; it’s a great effort for me to remember all I went through in having this problem. It really is true that no longer having chronic pain is like having given birth to a baby – once it’s over, you don’t remember how painful it was.
So in saying this, I find myself to be in the same situation as our former patients who have completed Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy. They, too, have trouble remembering what unbearable suffering they were experiencing before starting therapy. For this reason, the following are just some highlights from my life living with chronic pain.
Living With Chronic Pain–Before Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy
Due to my abnormal foot structure, I started having foot pain in my early teens and had surgery to remove a painful spur from my left big toe. But my real pain started in my neck and entire back about the age of 18. I attributed it to having a more than ample bosom! But after a breast reduction, my neck and back pain persisted. And got worse. Then my knees joined along.
Those who know me know that I’m not ‘big on pain’. There’s so much goodness to experience in life and I saw no reason to submit to being disabled. But in spite of taking very good care of my body–eating organic food, exercising, etc. etc.–my pain got worse.
So I started on my loooooong trek of trying to find someone who could help me. I won’t even bother to write down the lengthy list of practitioners of numerous modalities whose help I sought. You’ve most likely been down the same road. I can joke about it now, but the reality was that while others took yearly vacations and bought new cars, I spent my money on healthcare practitioners and a myriad of gadgets trying to get out of pain.
Those who don’t suffer with chronic pain have no clue what it’s like to wake up and go to bed in misery. It affected every aspect of my life. My family came to the conclusion that I just had a ‘different’ body and that there was no cure. But this didn’t stop me. I was the one who was suffering and it was my responsibility to find relief if I wanted more than a semblance of a life.
Then a strange coincidence happened. Being a dancer much of my life (I danced over my pain) I happened to meet an intelligent and kind gentleman at a ballroom dance center. It was Professor Rothbart! Many years earlier, he had been a teacher of ballroom dance (supporting himself while going through podiatric training) and had continued his love of dancing throughout the years.
Well, the rest (as they say) is ‘history’. And here I am – many years after having completed Rothbart Proprioceptive Therapy – writing to tell you that I got rid of my chronic pain. And if you have an abnormal foot structure, so can you.
With warmest regards,