I said a while back that I’d be posting about the long process of healing, and finally I’ve gotten to post #1.
Over the many years of struggling with issues in my muscles I’ve found far more help from alternative health practitioners than from western medicine. In fact, my experience is that — with the possible exception of sports medicine specialists (no personal encounters there) — doctors trained in western medicine tend to know almost nothing about muscles.
If you’re in an accident of any type, from car accident to a fall in your living room to cracking your head on the corner of a cupboard, etc., your muscles are affected. You tighten up in the area(s) of impact. If the pain goes on for a few days you hold that tight pattern. By the time the pain goes you’re automatically holding that pattern.
Once the pattern is in one area, it starts tugging at muscles nearby, pulling them into tight, off-kilter patterns, which in turn pull at another. Over the course of a few years you may have uncomfortably tight patterns all over your body and you may be feeling the most pain in some area(s) other than ground zero, where it all began.
The average doctor, after checking for broken bones and things that need to be stitched, does NOTHING about muscles. They behave as if the muscles experience no impact and will have no ongoing affect on your health and comfort.
Even with things like sprains, where they at least take an x-ray or two, you should know they don’t routinely x-ray all angles so many things are overlooked.
- when I was in a car accident some years ago I smashed my ankle. The ER took pictures from two angles and my doctor saw no need to follow up with anything more. Ongoing troubles with balance and falling over the years led to discovering one of the ligaments was torn away in that accident, not noted in the two x-rays they took at the time, and short of a surgery that would be elective, there was nothing that could be done to fix it. Some research revealed that it’s routine to x-ray only one or two angles at the ER or general practitioner level; if you have a problem that can’t be seen from those angles, too bad for you…
- When I fell on the ice while racing to the el in Chicago and landed on my hand/wrist, I wound up at the ER to make sure nothing was broken. They took x-rays from one angle, said it was fine and sent me on my way. I had ongoing issues for years and found out later a specialist would have taken shots from more angles, probably finding out what really had been injured.. Using the hand portion of my exercises (see below) has largely ended the problem.
- Some years later I twisted my other ankle. I went to the HMO and was told I just had a sprain. One x-ray. Six weeks later my ankle was more swollen and black and blue than it had been to begin with. When I went back the doctor yelled at me for bothering him with something trivial, saying it looked fine. My acupuncturist/naprapath was upset because she could see by looking something was wrong. She sent me to a podiatrist (which insurance didn’t cover) who took x-rays from several angles and found the torn ligament the HMO doc missed. Because I’d walked around on it for so long, it took three months in a cast to heal it.
I’ve heard similar stories from others — even when western medicine bothers to take a look, they don’t bother to look at enough angles to know what’s actually going on. If you can insist on getting sent to a specialist, you may be given a more thorough examination. They won’t, however, help you deal with the ongoing muscle issues that arise because of the injury. Any time you sprain or twist something, you might want to consider pushing for a specialist and find out if your insurance will cover some therapeutic massage to help keep patterns from settling in.
When I first started struggling with all this, western medicine thought fibromyalgia didn’t exist. If you had fatigue or muscle issues they directed you to a shrink. Now that they acknowledge fibromyalgia, they give drugs that mask symptoms but do nothing to deal with the underlying problem.
The long slow process of getting my muscles to the most-of-the-way good condition they’re in has evolved through myofascial massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, St. John’s neuromuscular therapy, Craniosacral, Bodypatterning and more. I practiced yoga and sporadically used Robert Masters’ Psychophysical method (off-shoot of Feldenkrais) until I developed sets of exercises combining movements from the Psychophysical series with yoga that have helped immensely (and have cleared years-long patterns for some of my students).
Not one iota of getting better has had anything to do with a single western doctor. Some of the intertwining patterns would not have been there had it not been for the ignorance of doctors about not only how to heal muscles but even the fact that they need to be healed. If you’ve hurt your muscles or have ongoing tight patterns, you have to advocate for yourself or you’ll not find help.
Trust me when I tell you I KNOW it’s expensive to get alternative therapies but for your long-term health — which is so much more affected by muscles than you probably realize — I highly recommend that you figure out a way. I’ve often been able to trade for appointments and I know lots of practitioners who will trade for massage or classes or home cooked meals or art work…. The Universe will help you find a way if you truly want to be healed.