San Gabriel Plaza
3900 Eubank NE
Suite 9B
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87111

Dr. Janet Travell. Understanding the life and practice of this outstanding 20th century physician can help you, the patient, appreciate why professionally trained myofascial trigger point therapists (like Lucy Garcia at Trigger Point Therapy ABQ) continue to utilize Dr. Travell’s leading edge protocols and techniques to treat and alleviate musculoskeletal pain in the 21st century.

Janet Travell was born in 1901 and raised in New York City. Following her childhood goal of becoming a physician like her father, she graduated from Wellesley College in 1922, then Cornell University School of Medicine in 1926. Not long after, she entered medical practice with her father, where both began developing an interest in treating muscle pain. But it was not until the late 1930s, while studying arterial conditions as a Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Fellow at Beth Israel Hospital, that Dr. Travell began developing new anesthetic treatments for severe back muscle spasms.
Then, in 1955, Dr. Travell received a phone call from a neurosurgeon. His patient, a young U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, had undergone a series of back surgeries to treat severe injuries sustained in World War II. And recovery was not going well. The Senator’s name was John Kennedy. In subsequent months, Janet Travell isolated the trigger points in Kennedy’s lumbar muscles and injected them with low dosages of procaine, a local anesthetic. She also discovered that one of the Senator’s legs was shorter than the other, and prescribed orthopedic shoes to correct the condition (which was contributing to his back problems). Travell’s leading edge protocols gave Senator Kennedy what his advisor and friend Ted Sorenson later wrote in his book, KENNEDY, “new hope for a life free from crutches if not from backache.”

In 1960 John Fitzgerald Kennedy was elected President. He appointed Janet Travell to the position of Personal Physician to the President--the first woman ever to occupy this post. It was here that Dr. Travell convinced President Kennedy to utilize a rocking chair to mitigate his chronic back pain. Not long after, the President appeared in what would become his most iconic photograph in the Oval Office, and suddenly rocking chairs began popping up in homes and offices all over the country.

Dr. Travell continued her service under Lyndon B. Johnson after President Kennedy’s death until 1965. She continued teaching, writing and speaking until her death in 1997, authoring over 100 articles and co-authoring her well-known textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction. The Trigger Point Manual, with Dr. David G. Simons.

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San Gabriel Plaza

3900 Eubank NE
Suite 9B
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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