Although Cassie’s case was extremely common as far as what was wrong with her (FASCIAL ADHESIONS caused by SEVERE TRAUMA had caused unbearable neck pain, back pain, shoulder pain, and headaches), the mechanism of her injury was anything but. At age 11, she had been invited to be part of an elite cheer-squad, made up of similarly-aged girls from around her region of California, when disaster struck.
In cheerleading, the “flyer” is launched skyward by the rest of the cheer-team, who are known as “bases” — oftentimes ten, twelve or even fifteen feet skyward. Unfortunately for Cassie, during a pre-competition warm-ups, the other bases (girls who all happened to hail from the same home-squad) thought it would be funny to throw the flyer as high as they could, all step back, and let Cassie try and catch her all by herself. Cassie, caught her alright. With her neck, head and shoulder.
Although there were no immediately-visible signs of injury — blood, guts or broken bones — the consequences of Cassie’s injury were devastating. Living in California at the time, Cassie’s mom did what any good mother would do — take her to the doctor. And another doctor. And another doctor. And another and another and another. They saw the top specialists in California. And then Oregon. And then Washington. After myriads of TESTS and EXAMINATIONS, Cassie was told the same thing by all of them — there is nothing we can do to help other than medicate you and maybe send you to another round of therapy (IT NEVER HELPED).
Those of you who’ve lived through similar (maybe you’re still living it), could’ve easily filled in the blanks in this part of Cassie’s story. After all, change the names, the dates, the times, the places, the mechanisms of injury; and at their heart they are mostly the same. In other words, her story may very well be your story. But her story did not end there. Unfortunately for her, things would get worse. Much worse. Cassie’s nightmare was just getting started.
Cassie’s pain and dysfunction had gotten so bad that she was put into pain management. Diagnosed erroneously with RSD (Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), which is today known as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) — you can search it on my site — she was going through life in such a severely medicated state that she has no recollection of her 8th grade graduation. For years, Cassie was barely making it; existing, but certainly not living. Fortunately, the tide was about to turn.
Shortly after moving to a small town about an hour from me, Cassie got a call from her mom (still in California) telling her about someone in Mountain View that utilizes a totally different approach and might be able to help her. It was at least worth a trip for a consult.
The first time I saw Cassie I immediately realized just how bad her situation was. She was not like many young ladies her age who have CERVICAL RANGES OF MOTION THAT CAN EASILY FOOL YOU — a certain degree of restriction even though their necks fall within what is considered “normal” ranges. It was like she was made of stone.
Her neck did not move properly in any sense of the word, NEITHER SECTIONALLY NOR SEGMENTALLY. She had severe, microscopic damage to her fascia (fascial adhesions) that was destroying every aspect of her life. Despite living in this “PERFECT STORM,” she had never been accurately diagnosed examining her, nor effectively treated by those attempting to address her problem(s).
The fascial adhesions were causing BRUTAL HEADACHES, which some doctors classified as MIGRAINES. She felt perpetually exhausted but couldn’t sleep. It hurt just to sit down or rest. But then again, activity or exertion were not any better. Even the simplest activities of daily living could be excruciating. Those of you who have floated in a similar boat realize what was happening to her; SHE HAD ACTUALLY BECOME HER PAIN. The cold hard reality was that CHRONIC PAIN, caused by her invisible fascial adhesions, was consuming her and draining her life away like the thieving bastard it is.
Cassie responded to my treatment like most other patients with comparable problems — her results were both immediate and significant (HERE). She could turn her head again without feeling “TETHERED” by previously-unaddressed fascial adhesions. Her perpetual headache went away; instantly. And she could finally breathe normally again.
Thanks to finally having the part of her spine that controls nerve impulse to her lungs freed up (her OCCIPUT / ATLAS AREA where the medulla oblongata lives, and her MID & UPPER THORACIC SPINE that actually houses the nerves that run to her lungs) as well as getting her ribs moving again so that she could actually expand her thoracic cage, Cassie was, for the first time in years, able to breathe freely and deeply (HERE is how that works).
Fascial Adhesions Solved!
Listen as Cassie describes her first treatment in my clinic. Just remember that this is a person who had not only lived on the medical merry-go-round for a large part of her life, but had received MANY CHIROPRACTIC ADJUSTMENTS from a large and diverse number of chiropractors. Many. Diverse.
I live to see these sorts of results. Why? Because I actually understand where many of my patients have been and what they continue to grind through on a day-by-day-by-day basis. You see, before God’s providence and grace brought me together with an individual who not only recognized what was going on biomechanically in my foot, but understood exactly what was needed to fix it (THANKS SHAWN — I LOVE YOU MAN), I was Cassie.
For the better part of a decade I was miserable, many times barely able to make it through a day before collapsing into a heap once I was finished with patients. I was unable to even contemplate something as mundane as playing basketball in the driveway with my young son, knowing I would pay for it for days. As ridiculous as it now sounds, I had actually talked to my wife about finding someone (maybe in Mexico) to take off my foot, because a peg-leg sounded better than what I was going through.
That’s right; I was ready to have my foot amputated if someone could have convinced me it would get me out of pain. Fortunately no one tried to convince me to go that far — I still have my foot. The harsh reality, though, is that like many in similar situations, I would have been an easy mark. It can be hard to come to grips with, but CHRONIC PAIN CAN MAKE DESPERATE PEOPLE GULLIBLE — a particularly sobering thought in our modern age of “CORPORATE” MEDICINE.
Coping with daily pain was a harsh lesson for me to learn, but a lesson nonetheless. Although I was not forced to learn to suffer like my FATHER-IN-LAW (severe post-polio syndrome), I gained a deep respect, understanding, and empathy for what millions upon millions of people battle through every day of their lives — many of them having lived on the MEDICAL MERRY-GO-ROUND for decades. Without that experience, I would have never really grasped the concept of chronic pain. How could I? It’s impossible to truly understand pain — real pain — without experiencing it first-hand.
What do now when I am personally dealing with something hard or painful? I first go to the Bible. And then I go back and re-read Jon Morrow’s story.
I first learned about Jon when I was searching for blogging tips. I dished out my email address for the privilege of a receiving a (free) PDF from Jon’s company concerning “power words” — words to use when writing or speaking that can make your message more emotional and potent. Great list as I remember (not sure where it is these days), but the next day I received an unexpected gut check.
Shortly after having complained about something trivial — like practically everything we complain about, something stupid and meaningless — I got my first of an ongoing series of daily emails from Jon, introducing himself in about three sentences and providing a link to his bio. The title? SEVEN LIFE LESSONS FROM A GUY WHO CAN’T MOVE ANYTHING BUT HIS FACE. Naturally, I clicked and started reading…..
It’s not a joke. The only parts of my body I can move are my eyes and lips. My hands, feet, arms, and legs, are almost totally paralyzed, managing the occasional twitch and nothing more. And yet… I have an amazing life. Using speech recognition technology, I’ve written articles read by more than 5 million people. I’ve also built several online magazines that have, shockingly, made me a millionaire. “This can’t be real,” you say. “You did all this, and you can’t freaking move?” Hard to believe, I know, but it’s true. I do it all from home, sitting in my wheelchair, speaking into a microphone. I’ve traveled a good bit too. I’ve lived in San Diego, Miami, Austin, and even Mazatlan, Mexico. Here’s a photo of me living the good life south of the border: I look totally miserable, don’t I? Poor baby (he’s smiling by the pool).
If you are reading this blog post after another desperate Google search at 2:00 am, it’s not because you don’t know what pain, suffering, discouragement and hopelessness are. I would never as much as attempt to insinuate such a thing. On the other hand it’s likely — almost a certainty — that you have been dealt better cards than Jon. Why do I bring this up in a post about a gal who found relief from her fascial adhesions and related pain quickly and simply here in Mountain View? I bring it up for three reasons.
First, some of you need to wake up to the fact that your problem is not as hopeless as you have been led to believe. Many of you have been EITHER CARELESSLY / INDIFFERENTLY MISLED — OR POSSIBLY EVEN FOOLED OR PURPOSELY DECEIVED. In other words, there is a complete (or at least significant) solution to your problem. It’s just a matter of finding it. Secondly, some problems, like Jon’s, are not so easy to solve. In fact, some of you are dealing with problems may never be truly ‘solved’. For some of you, finding the best ways to address / manage your problem is the only ‘solution’ you may ever find. Third; never quit searching!
For those in difficult situations, it would be easy to sit around waiting (hoping) to die. All of us, no matter how bad or good our situation (never forget that situations can change overnight), can benefit from Jon’s article — one of the most kick-ass life lessons I’ve ever been smacked upside the head with in my 54 years. Among the many points addressed by Jon, one topic will resonate with every single one of my readers —- his ongoing struggle with chronic pain. In the short chapter, Pain is Power, Jon says this….
At some point or another, life punches everyone in the face. The punch may be hard, or it may be soft, but it’s definitely coming, and your success or failure is largely determined by the answer to a single question: how well can you take the punch? Do you roll around on the ground, weeping and moaning? Do you rock back on your heels but then keep going? Or have you been punched so many times already you don’t even notice? Personally, I’m a living example of the last one. If you want to know what it’s like to live with a severe disability, just imagine that every morning six big guys sneak into your room and beat the hell out of you. Most days, the beating isn’t so bad, and you can limp through your day. Every now and again though, they keep punching and kicking you until you’re bleeding and broken, lose consciousness, and wake up in the hospital breathing through a tube. That’s the best way I know to describe my life. Since the day I was born, muscular dystrophy has given me a daily beating.
The point of Jon’s message is not to garner your sympathy or pity — something he loathes. The point is to motivate you to get off your ass, get your head back in the game, and to start fighting back. Fighting back with with a determination and fury that only comes when the fire deep inside of you is re-ignited!
And yes; I get it. It can be unsettling when you finally come to the realization that no one can do it for you. You’ll have to do it yourself. But fortunately you are not on your own. You are not alone in this battle — especially in our modern age of internet message boards and online support groups. If Jon can turn life’s circumstances on their proverbial heads, so can you.
Here is a guy, confined to a wheelchair, who cannot move any part of his body but his eyes and lips —- and he wants to empower you. That is exactly what empowerment is. It’s exactly what it sounds like. Someone giving part of themselves to make you more powerful. Giving of themselves so that you can make it through another day. Or better yet, start the process of taking your life back. Or maybe finish the process that you shelved because it was [insert adjective of choice here] _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (painful, difficult, costly, time-consuming, frightening, intimidating, embarrassing, etc, etc).
Although I certainly have not said it as powerfully or elegantly as Jon, my life experience with suffering humanity (not to mention my minuscule degree of personal suffering) continues to drive me. I still strive to do everything I can to give something back —- to EMPOWER MY PATIENTS to overcome whatever sort of adversity or hardship that life has thrown at them. Pain included.
Part of this “empowerment” includes convincing you to finally sit down and create a written plan for your life. I call the beginning of this plan your EXIT STRATEGY. It’s one thing to say you are going to leave the old you behind and do whatever it takes to make your life better, but it’s another thing to actually do it. You have to already know what you are going to do in certain situations, before they arise. You can’t do that without a blueprint and preparation. And yes, you will have to be willing to step outside the box (as you will see when you read Jon Morrow’s article, he lives outside the box!).
And while I don’t for one minute promote it as a cure-all, HERE is a simple, generic health protocol that will at least, for the majority of you, start you back on your journey of re-claiming your health. Your life. Might you need some specific attention from someone well-versed in FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE or ADDRESSING ANY FASCIAL ADHESIONS YOU MIGHT HAVE? Certainly. But hopefully the mountains of free information (this post included) will help you get started!