Whiplash

"The neck is meant to be supported by the skeleton, in standing and sitting. If you start trying to hold the head with muscles, these muscles will quickly become overworked, go into spasm, and nerves may be affected.  It can be a very real cause of pain.” -SH


Whiplash and the Feldenkrais® Method

Feldenkrais® often will give relief from chronic neck pain due to whiplash, when the pain continues long after the injury should have healed. It is also a wonderful adjunct to any traditional form of treatment, including physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic. Feldenkrais® deals with learning - so the question is, how could it help whiplash? Whiplash is not exactly something you learn.

But hold on. Are you sure about that? When you have pain and difficulty in moving, you certainly are not using your neck, shoulders, chest in your normal way. You are trying to protect yourself from further pain. This pattern of holding becomes a learned behavior, which has been intimately linked with pain, discomfort and fear.

So once the neck has "healed" from a medical standpoint -- the torn tendons have healed, the muscles are no longer in spasm, etc -- if this learned behavior continues, what do you think often happens? The pain, discomfort, and fear that are an integral part of this learned behavior come along for the ride, so to speak.


Exactly what does all this mean? 

The neck is meant to be supported by the skeleton, in standing and sitting. If you start trying to hold the head with muscles, these muscles will quickly become overworked, go into spasm, nerves may be affected.  It can be a very real cause of pain. Tight muscles on the back of the neck overheat the low brain, contributing to auto-immune disease. What’s Really Wrong with You is a book by a Dr. Griner, and fully explains this.

Often the "holding" of the head involves muscles all the way down to the pelvis. The whole posture, the gait in walking, every movement, in fact, becomes compromised. The skeleton, in normal functional posture and weight bearing, will effectively transfer forces of standing, walking, sitting from the feet to the top of the head. If muscles attempt to do this work, fatigue, pain, discomfort is the certain result.

As well, a whiplash will violently pull the nerves from below, as the head is “whipped”. This is like pulling the brain out by the roots. What do you think the body does to prevent this? The muscles at the base of the neck, especially the sub-occipitals, go into violent and often prolonged spasm (super-tight).

So then the person learns to move – or not move – the head and neck even while those muscles are fully holding tight all the time. It becomes more effortful to move the head, to turn the head of look up or down. And the mobility at C1 and C2 is pretty frozen, so the neck will be overworking from C-3 to C-6. To restore movement to C1 and C2, takes a patient and skillful intervention, such as is found in Feldenkrais® FI or ATM. 

© Copyright 2015 Steve Hamlin  www.mybodycanlearn.com