Retrain & Realign Your Body Out of Pain
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Retrain & Realign Your Body Out of Pain

Kimberly Delvecchio

My name is Kimberly DelVecchio and I am a licensed physical therapist and creator of Do-It-Yourself PT. I have been practicing physical therapy for 27 years and launched my own physical therapy practice, Integrative Physical Therapy (IPT) in 2000. IPT continues to thrive and be successful based on the exercises I offer in this program combined with advanced manual therapy.

My own personal story of overcoming pain and injury gave birth to IPT & DIYPT…

I was a physical therapist and 23 years old when I bent over to pick up a tissue and herniated my first two low back discs. Initially, the compression on my nerves (from the disc herniations coupled with swelling, back spasms and a spinal deformity) was so severe that I could not even walk for three days. Additionally, due to previous sports and a fall off of a roof, I also had quite a bit of arthritis. The doctor said, my MRI looked like an 80-year old’s spine.

The bad news: Initially, I did everything “wrong” causing prolonged pain and a very slow recovery. The good news: I did everything “wrong” and I learned what not to do, so that my patients did not have to make the same mistakes.

A forever student of life and health, I have been able to learn what really works. 26 years later I am able to run, exercise, hike, sail and work as a manual physical therapist.

My initial recovery took more than 2 years. So, let me give you some highlights on what not to do. The program I teach my patients now is what really gave me my life back.

First, despite being well intentioned, the physical therapist I saw 26 years ago, insisted on McKenzie extension exercises to address my disc herniations. This made my pain and spasms much worse due to other conditions I later discovered that I had. Though I finally refused to continue with that PT program, I made the mistake of avoiding extension movements for years thinking they were the enemy. So, I lost my joint mobility and created tissue shortening that took me many more years to correct.

What Back Pain Taught Me:

Lesson 1: Do not do exercises that make things worse or increase pain.

Lesson 2: Be careful not to take something that is painful at one time, and turn it into something you avoid forever. This ultimately can make things worse.

My second “mistake” was I lived on Advil to complete my daily tasks and get back to work. I also did this for years, which hopefully you know is not good for your liver or kidneys and is definitely not the Solution!

Lesson 3: Advil is not a long-term solution.

My third mistake was I used a back brace so I could get back to work and treat patients. Wrong again!!!! My core just became weaker and I was totally dependent on the brace to do anything. I rushed to return to work and would be in so much pain after work that I couldn’t do my own strengthening. So ultimately, I delayed my rehab and healing because of a lack of patience and a need for a quick fix.

Lesson 4: Do not become dependent on a back brace.

Lesson 5: There is no quick fix for back injuries.

Speaking of quick fix… the doctor of course first prescribed painkillers, anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxers. The traditional cocktail treatment. I find the problem with this is the muscle relaxers took away the very muscle bracing I needed to be upright and doing things. (Though I do recommend them initially at night to support sleep). Also, the pain killers made me constipated which of course makes back pain even worse. FYI: constipation in general can cause low back pain and it definitely makes a low back injury worse.

Lesson 6: Be careful of medications and their unwanted side effects.

Let me also add by the end of year two of constant back pain, I went to a Neurosurgeon thinking maybe surgery would help me. Thank god for this particular surgeon. He looked at my MRI and X-rays and agreed that my spine was a mess but he did not recommend surgery now or ever. He even told me there will be plenty of surgeons who will say they can help and he told me it was his opinion that I should never have surgery, that it could make it worse. He said, “you are physical therapist so find a way to help yourself.”

Lesson 7: Surgeons do surgery. Exhaust all non-invasive options before going to a Surgeon. Do extensive research before choosing your Specialist. Try to avoid surgery!

So, thanks to my unrelenting pain, I became a zealot studying the body and taking extensive continuing education courses and trainings to find solutions. Having found a way out of my own pain, I continue to seek advanced knowledge and trainings to this day.

Over the years, I even studied alternative healing techniques, mind-body therapies and Eastern medicine. One of the things that helped me the most was cultivating a meditation practice. I know the word meditation may seem overwhelming or weird to some. However, I have included meditation instructions and videos on proper breathing in my DIYPT programs because of their power to heal.

My continued studies were also in manual therapy trainings. IPT offers many different techniques like Myofascial release, craniosacral therapy, osteopathic techniques, Active Release Technique, Strain-Counterstrain, visceral manipulation and more that has greatly helped both myself and my patients. I strongly advise that you find a good manual therapist or Osteopath to support you. Like meditation, to me, good manual therapy is essential.

However, I also found for myself that manual therapy alone is not enough! (Trust me I tried. I mean who doesn’t want to just lie on a table and be cured). Good manual therapy won’t last without the RIGHT corrective exercises.

Do-it-yourself PT programs are my synthesis of the best of many great techniques, exercises and information which has helped me, thousands of others and I believe can help you. DIYPT is not to be considered as physical therapy. It is an online educational program only that includes directions on performing exercises. I recommend that you always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care professional, including a physical therapist in your area with questions you may have regarding your medical condition or well-being. You certainly should always consult your physician or qualified health care practitioner before embarking on a new exercise, diet, or fitness program… including these programs.

However, I am here to tell you, don’t give up! No matter how new you are to pain or how long you have been dealing with it; there is always ways to improve your body, well-being and to live with less pain.

I believe magic lies in learning about how your body works and why specific therapeutic exercises help. These programs contain a lot of education including some anatomy and provides you with the reasons behind each exercise. I do this to convince you to stick with this program. Because I have learned, “Patience paves the way to a gratifying recovery.”

I wish only the best for you! May you find peace, ease of movement and a way back to doing the things you love!



Kimberly DelVecchio


Physical Therapist, Creator & Owner of IPT & DIYPT

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