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Whiplash Injury

mathesl
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02/05/2012 - 10:30am
Whiplash Injury

 

Are your methods suitable for pain stemming from a whiplash injury? I have extremely tight neck and shoulder muscles from a car accident a few years ago, causing neck pain and more recently  jaw and facial nerve pain. When muscles are chronically rigid, should I still try (gently) doing the stretching exercises? I'm afraid of causing more spasm, but i've tried everything else with no luck....massage, acupuncture, heat etc. The area is just EXTREMELY sensitive and very hyper-reactive.

Thanks much,

Lauren

LaurenFromTX
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02/28/2011 - 8:52pm

Hi Lauren, I'm Lauren also.  Until an instructor chimes in, I would recommend starting with Esther's Shoulder Rolls, not going as far back as shown in the book, but starting out rolling the shoulders back a little, so that the stretch feels good, and progessing further back later on, when your neck and shoulder muscles are more relaxed and a little lengthened. This should help open up the front of your shoulder area.

Check out Clair Davies' "Trigger Point Therapy Workbook."  Your library might have a copy.  The SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscles in the neck cause all sorts of facial problems when they are very tight, including the jaw and facial pain you are describing.  The pecs, traps and scalenes, when very tight, also can cause neck, shoulder, and arm pain.  Davies shows how to massage these muscles yourself, gently, to get them to relax somewhat.  Massaging may not cure the cause of the problem, but will relax the muscles and reduce the pain. 

Ultimately, it's a forward-head posture that makes trouble for the SCM muscles, and learning to antevert your pelvis and place your shoulders back using the shoulder roll should help.  I had lots of problems with my shoulders and neck also, and I'm finding that keeping the pelvis anteverted is really helping my shoulders and neck (and hips).

Hopefully, an instructor will respond with specific suggestions from Esther's method that you should focus on.

mathesl
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Hi Lauren : ) Thank you so much for responding & sharing your knowledge. It's funny you mention the trigger point manual because I actually picked it up last year, but began realizing over time that there still had to be something "off." No matter how many times I'd release my muscles, they would gradually return to spasm. I think The Gokhale Method combined with Trigger Point Therapy may be a winning combination. My SCM muscles are definately tight, along with all the others you mentioned. I have noticed improvement already just by lengthening the back of my neck slightly during the day, & agree with you that a forward-head posture is really a key thing to fix. It's great to hear you have had success and less discomfort!

LaurenFromTX
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Lauren, I find the same thing, that no matter how many times I would release a problem muscle, the next day it would go back to being just as tight.  I think that it's something I'm doing wrong with my movement and/or posture--if a muscle gets really tight, there's a reason why, and releasing it will provide some relief, but the real cause of the problem is still there.  I use a number of different things, professional massage, self trigger-point massage and myofacial release (with foam rollers and balls), stretching, and of course, Esther's posture work, and slowly but surely, I'm seeing real improvement.  I'm glad you're seeing some improvement in yourself.  Remember, it took a lifetime of bad habits and compensations to get into pain, and even if it seems to take a long time to fix it, it really doesn't take nearly as long to fix it as it did to get there in the first place.

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