Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D.: Healing Back Pain with Yoga

By Michelle Alford on September 28, 2010 in Heroes
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h03Mary Pullig Schatz, M.D., has been practicing medicine for over forty years. She received her bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and her medical degree from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

Dr. Schatz has published numerous articles and run workshops for back and neck care basics. She is the author of Back Care BasicsRelaxation Basics, and the creator/producer of YogaMD ComputerRx iPhone app.

Dr. Schatz’s childhood experiences with her father encouraged her to become a doctor.Dr. Schatz’s father entered med school when she was in first grade. “He would show me the amazing glass-front cases of specimen jars,” Dr. Schatz reminisces. “He drew mazes for me to solve with a pencil, but instead of straight lines, the maze would be in the form of coils of intestines! Later, when he was a country doctor in Clinton, LA, he would take me on house calls, and one of my summer jobs was to help him in his office.”

Dr. Schatz’s own back problems led her to combine medicine and yoga. Early in her career, she began to have neck and back pain due to long hours spent working at the microscope. A friend suggested that she try B.K.S. Iyengar’s book Light on Yoga. “I tried to do some of the poses and realized that even though I was very stiff and could not do very much, my back seemed a bit better after trying yoga for a few weeks. When I began to take yoga classes, I realized that much of my back pain was related to my poor posture and the rest was due to physical inactivity. Over time, my posture improved so much that I gained 1½ inches in height!”

Read the full interview at Back1