Janet Eliza (Davidson) Travell and John Willard Travell welcomed their daughter Janet G. Travell into the world in 1901. Travell’s decision to follow in her father’s footsteps and become a doctor was heavily influenced by his success in his chosen field. When Janet met investment advisor John William Gordon Powell in New York City in June 1929, the two tied the knot. Virginia and Janet were their two daughters. At 95, Travell died from heart troubles. She is best known for her work exploring trigger points as a source of referred pain in the musculoskeletal system and as President John F. Kennedy’s personal physician. Dr. Travell is widely regarded as the creator of dry needling and other techniques for relieving myofascial pain. Wellesley College was the first step in her career, followed by medical school at Cornell University in New York. After receiving his medical degree in 1926, Travell served as an ambulance surgeon for the New York City Police Department for two years while he completed his residency at New York Hospital. Travell studied the effects of digitalis on patients with lobar pneumonia as a research fellow at Bellevue Hospital following her residency. After finishing her fellowship, Travell went back to Cornell University to teach in the Department of Pharmacology and eventually become an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Pharmacology. She was a cardiologist at Cornell and a consultant at Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital at the same time. In 1939, Travell began studying arterial disease as part of a Josiah Macy, Jr. Fellowship at New York’s Beth Israel Hospital. During that time, she developed an interest in skeletal muscle pain that would come to shape the rest of her professional life. Her studies led to innovative anesthetic approaches for relieving patients’ discomfort caused by painful back muscle spasms. Local procaine injections and vapocoolant sprays were two of Travell’s methods for reducing discomfort. Nowadays, sprays are still commonly used in sports medicine. Due in part to her expertise and good reputation in treating skeletal muscle pain she became the first female doctor to the President. The personal orthopedic surgeon for John F. Kennedy sought out Travell for advice on treating his chronic back pain. During his life, Kennedy endured excruciating pain, which may have been the result of several invasive surgeries on his back that were necessary to address some injuries sustained during World War II. After Kennedy’s victory in the 1960 presidential election, he named her his official physician. As a form of treatment for back pain, she advocated rocking in a chair and ottoman, which became increasingly popular after photographs of President Nixon rocking in his chair went viral.  After John F. Kennedy was killed, she continued her role as President’s personal physician under Lyndon Johnson. She stayed on until after Johnson was re-elected in 1964, but she left the White House the following year. After this she still remained active and even in her final years, Travell was still contributing to the medical community through publishing articles, lecturing, and attending conferences.
The Pain Release Visionary – Janet Travel
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The Pain Release Visionary – Janet Travel
Janet Eliza (Davidson) Travell and John Willard Travell welcomed their daughter Janet G. Travell into the world in 1901. Travell’s decision to follow in her