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lbb
05-28-2009, 01:56 PM
Hey, another aikido injury thread! Well, not exactly. I'm looking for information for complementary medicine methods that people have used for neck problems...what you used, what was the condition it was treating, how well it worked for you. I've been having some non-aikido-caused neck pain that keeps flaring up from time to time, and I'm thinking of looking for a solution. I'm a big fan of acupuncture, which is great for pain and muscle knots, but won't address anything structural. I've also had craniosacral therapy for a neck problem, which was excellent stuff -- I may try it again for this problem. Anybody got any other fave therapies?

David Orange
05-28-2009, 02:06 PM
Anybody got any other fave therapies?

Feldenkrais.

David

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2009, 02:31 PM
If you have herniated discs in your neck, the best thing is ... not having herniated discs in your neck! :D

Seriously though, I've been through the medipak (steriods), different types of Icy hot topical stuff (there was one from a chiro that helped for a while, I'll try to find the name of it), ice packs vs heat (the burlap sack with rice microwaved still helps, occationally ice helps), pt exercises to improve posture (they help, but you have to be carefull, not all places are good), and my last resort, shots in my neck. I think it was a combo of steriods and other stuff. And I really don't like steroids.

Those work wonders...but I was told not to get them more than 3 times a year. It's been over a year and a half since the last one. They are a little scary (bright metal shiny things are NOT supposed to go in your neck), but they really made a difference. At one point, I pretty much went into a private office at work and pretty much broke down, the pain was so bad. That's when I got the shot the first time...I just couldn't take the pain anymore, and I'd had it for years without even knowing what it was.

My finance finally had to get her cervical spine reinforced with titanium. Yikes. I'm avoiding that one...I have the feeling ukemi is going to be right out the window if I do that. I don't have any weakness though, and she was losing strength in her left hand, so she had to do something. She has done much better after the surgery.

I hope you find a solution...

Best,
Ron

thisisnotreal
05-28-2009, 02:42 PM
you could try looking up some physiotherapy exercises for the Deep Neck Flexors (DNF).
Strengthening these could help fix things from the inside out.
Good Luck.

David Orange
05-28-2009, 03:10 PM
My finance finally had to get her cervical spine reinforced with titanium. Yikes. I'm avoiding that one...I have the feeling ukemi is going to be right out the window if I do that.

You might look into Feldenkrais, yourself, Ron. I don't know if it would be good for your fiance, if she has a titanium rod in her neck, but before you even consider surgery, you ought to at least visit a Feldenkrais practitioner and let the do an "FI" on you. At least once.

I think you'll be amazed.

David

Ron Tisdale
05-28-2009, 03:16 PM
Oh, surgery for me would be an absolute last resort. And even then only if I was loosing strength due to the nerve compression (not just pain). I may look into the Feldkrais regardless.

Part of my problem is I spend too much time typing on a computer. Some of that strain of standing up, bending over a laptop in a dark closet is gone now, but I still sit at a desk typing way too much.

Best,
Ron

Janet Rosen
05-28-2009, 06:24 PM
Feldenkreis works for many folks (I'm not a responder to it however), craniosacral too (it has helped me but the effects are very short term) - chiropractors work for many folks but all they ever did for me was relocate my pain from one part of the neck to another. If I were looking for something long term it would be Rolfing probably.

David Orange
05-28-2009, 07:32 PM
Oh, surgery for me would be an absolute last resort. And even then only if I was loosing strength due to the nerve compression (not just pain). I may look into the Feldkrais regardless.

Part of my problem is I spend too much time typing on a computer. Some of that strain of standing up, bending over a laptop in a dark closet is gone now, but I still sit at a desk typing way too much.

Best,
Ron

Computer use is big. And Feldenkrais addresses that very well. Things like where your monitor and mouse are are very important. You want to pay attention to anywhere you're using more effort than necessary. For instance, if you're in a position and you notice that you're feeling a little stiff, that's the time you reevaluate how you're sitting, how you're using the mouse, the position of your keyboard, position of the monitor and how you use your neck to see the monitor. But for most people, we notice a little discomfort and we just ignore it in favor of getting the job finished. "Just a little bit longer...." and when we get up, we can hardly turn our necks.

I recommend that you start with getting "functional integration" (FI)treatment and see how that makes you feel. You can get a series of those and get great improvement.

Then you might try Awareness Through Movement (ATM) classes where the instructor tells you what to do and you attempt to do it. The thing is, they put you into unusual positions then tell you to do something from there. There's only one way you can do it and until you feel that right way of doing it, you just can't do it. You realize that you're not really able to feel what you're doing with that part of your body and when you feel that, suddenly, you get a lot more mobility.

The "third" kind of Feldenkrais treatment is not mentioned by the Feldenkrais groups. Moshe Feldenkrais only mentioned ATM and FI. But if you get enough FI and ATM and read a lot of Moshe Feldenkrais' writings, you get to where you can do the work on yourself, just lying down.

In internal martial arts terms, it's a bit like "standing practice" while lying down.

Hope you find a good practitioner. Should be one in your area.

David

David Orange
05-28-2009, 07:40 PM
Feldenkreis works for many folks (I'm not a responder to it however), craniosacral too (it has helped me but the effects are very short term) - chiropractors work for many folks but all they ever did for me was relocate my pain from one part of the neck to another. If I were looking for something long term it would be Rolfing probably.

I had the whole course of Rolfing in Tokyo over several months. It was okay, but it depends on your remembering "how" to stand according to the shape they tell you to stand in. The problem is, as soon as your direct attention lapses, you tend to revert to your habitual way of standing, sitting, moving, etc.

The thing about Feldenkrais is that it is not interested in the outer shape for its own sake. They don't tell you to stand this way or that way, but aim to help you "feel" what you're doing. Pain is generally because we are doing things in a different way than our bodies naturally want to do them. And if we can "feel" what our bodies naturally want to do, and work in accord with that, even chronic pain often disappears overnight.

People develop habitual ways of moving and doing things. Feldenkrais helps you to find other ways of moving. Then you can choose to do those things or to stick with habitual ways. Most people quickly choose the new way because it feels better than their habitual way of doing things.

I've had some horrible experiences with chiropractors and I will never let another one try to pop my neck.

I have a good friend from childhood who is a physical wreck today with progressive deterioration of his whole spine, restless leg and shooting pains through his whole body. He blames all this on a treatment he got from a chiropractor. He'd been to one doctor for a long time and went to this new guy and he said when that guy popped his neck, he knew right away that something was wrong. It's been sharp, rough and downhill for him ever since.

Still, each person finds some things that work for them and others that don't.

David

thisisnotreal
05-29-2009, 12:14 AM
Hi David,
I was wondering if you could comment:
What does Feldenkrais do, and how would you describe it as helpful?

Have you ever heard the phrase that the 'classical greeks were not influenced by the classical greeks?' ;) Well, I was thinking that Feldenkrais didn't use the Feldenkrais method? What do you think it was he was driving at?
I really know nothing at all about the method, except that the man generated many thousands of 'Awareness through Movement' sequences. Is there a body-philosophy-of-movement that can be...summarized?
Best,
Josh

Pauliina Lievonen
05-29-2009, 05:31 AM
The problem is, as soon as your direct attention lapses, you tend to revert to your habitual way of standing, sitting, moving, etc.The key here is attention.

This of course is the reason that a lot of people find that cranio-sacral work, or massage, or whatever treatment they have had, will help in the short term but long term the problems return.

If that happens you might start to suspect that there is a habitual pattern of movement underlying the problem, and that unless you adress that habit, you'll never get permanent improvement.

The way to adress a habit is by changing the way you pay attention to it. If you just go "oh no, I'm slumping again" (or insert any habit you have) and reactively pull yourself upright again, you always keep fighting yourself.

The longer I've been working as an Alexander technique teacher the clearer it becomes to me that it's not about posture or movement or relaxation, it's about clarity of thinking and quality of attention. That will lead to a more relaxed posture and movement.

http://www.alexandertech.org/
http://www.ati-net.com/index.php
http://www.alexandertechnique.com/

In case I managed to make anyone curious. :D

kvaak
Pauliina

Marc Abrams
05-29-2009, 07:52 AM
I have found that Chinese medicine (acupuncture, bone-setting,....) works the best for me for skeletal and connective tissue issues. I am fortunate to have some outstanding people nearby. I use Tom Bisio at the 5th street acupuncture clinic in NYC. He is not only a top Chinese martial artist, but excellent Chinese medicine person. He goes to China several times a year, teaches and writes on these subjects. He treats a lot of the martial artists in the NYC area.

Marc Abrams

David Orange
05-29-2009, 11:37 AM
Hi David,
I was wondering if you could comment:
What does Feldenkrais do, and how would you describe it as helpful?

I guess you'd have to say it helps you to explore the connection between your mind and your body. By making very small movements and feeling what happens, you can place your attention on smaller and smaller areas of the body until you get to the point where the very thought of action interacts with the nervous system and you can recognize where you are giving imperfect instructions to yourself.

As Pauliina said, habitual movement is the biggest problem and it's good to look at where habit begins and how it perpetuates itself. It has to do with the self-image and how it forms and how it affects the body. Feldenkrais believed that a lot of adult pain and neuroses arise from insecurity in childhood, especially related to learning to walk. Many parents, for instance, want to rush their children to walk. They get upset when the child continues to crawl instead of walking and this communicates anxiety to the child. He then pushes himself to stand and walk before the natural crawling phase has allowed his musculature and nerves to develop properly. He manages to stand, but he uses an unnatural arrangement of the muscles to do it. Still, the parents are so happy to see him stand and toddle that he associates this unnatural pattern of bodily tensions (and some strain) with being "a good boy," being "smart," and so on, and he grows up with an incorrect use of the hips, back muscles, shoulders, neck and head. So when he leaves that pattern of tensions, he feels uneasy and "wrong," even if he begins to move in a better way. He feels that he's being "bad". So he sticks with the awkward way of doing things. It becomes ingrained with his self-image and doing things any other way makes him feel like he's not "being himself."

Feldenkrais likes to start you with something simple, like turning your head to the left and right. The question is, "how far can you turn your head to each side before you feel some discomfort or tension kick in?" Then the thing is to not go past that point. Then the teacher asks you go turn the head only 1/4" to the right, bring it back to center, then turn 1/4" to the left, then back to center. You do that thirty times, paying very close attention to what you feel as the instructor asks, "Can you do that more smoothly? Can you do it slower? Can you do it so that it feels more comfortable? Can you do it with less effort?"

After 30 reps of this, people generally realize that, even in making a 1/4" movement, they are using more muscles than necessary. The mere recognition is usually enough for them to shed a great deal of tension instantly and they feel a rush of relaxation and pleasure when they move with only the effort necessary.

Now, if you're using too much muscle and effort in a 1/4" movement, doesn't it make sense that you're using WAY too much effort in anything that calls for whole-body usage? But by releasing excess tension at the level of 1/4" movement, you can learn to recognize that much tension in any part of your body. Finally, you can learn to releas all excess tension and move with what Feldenkrais called the Five Qualities of Good Movement. He said that Good Movement is:

1. Comfortable
2. Smooth
3. Of minimal exertion
4. Stoppable
5. Reversible

So an Awareness Through Movement exercise is rather like a martial arts class, where the teacher stands in front of a bunch of people who are lying on the ground doing what he says. The ATM session puts you in various awkward positions and asks you to perform a certain movement. Most people find the movement very difficult to do until they suddenly recognize where they're not activating the right muscles or where they're holding an unrelated muscle too tight. When they can "feel" that, they can let go of the excess tension or activate the slack muscle, and suddenly the impossible movement becomes very easy. ATMs are also progressive, starting from a very simple movement and combining it with a next and next movement, each new element requiring that same kind of recognition of internal effort until you're doing some fairly long, elaborate and unusual dynamic movement smoothly, with very little effort, with great comfort and the ability to stop the movement at any point or reverse it exactly from the way you did it.

As you pointed out, he created many, many of these sequences and if you do maybe 100 of them you can reach so many previously inaccessible regions of your body that your movement becomes very easy and free and most non-diseased pains will simply vanish, to be replaced by a real pleasure in movement. At that point, you can easily do anything you have learned to do physically and it is invariably far more effective than the way you were doing it before. This can also release a lot of mental and spiritual tension because until then you were working without truly feeling your own needs and comfort. You were enduring a certain amount of pain because "no pain, no gain," or because we are taught that we have to "sacrifice" in life. But by dropping the painful way of doing things, usually, we become far more effective in action and far more comfortable/happy in our own bodies.

Have you ever heard the phrase that the 'classical greeks were not influenced by the classical greeks?' ;) Well, I was thinking that Feldenkrais didn't use the Feldenkrais method? What do you think it was he was driving at?

This is true, but he developed the Method by using its elements. He had a knee injury from youthful soccer practices and another knee injury from an automobile accident, I believe. These were made worse by time he spent aboard British Navy ships during WWII when he was working with the anti-submarine units. He went to a doctor about his knees and the doctor told him that surgery would give him a 50/50 chance of either recovery or a permanently stiff knees. He had been doing judo for probably about 20 years at that time, beginning with his first lesson when he was choked unconscious by Jigoro Kano in Paris. Kano sent some top instructors to train him and when he was facing knee surgery he applied his knowledge of mechanics to studying the body through judo movements, especially those for ground work. People would see him lying on the floor doing these strange movements alone and would ask him what he was doing. He would guide them through some simple sequences he had developed and they were invariably amazed at the changes they experienced in their own movement. He began to get many requests to teach others and gradually, through that teaching and his own explorations, he deveolped his Method. So, no, he didn't use the Method to create the method. He used judo, his knowledge of mechanics and extensive studies of nervous system function along with his wife's pediatric knowledge of human development from infancy. The result was a broad system of movement study through awareness applied to fundamental movement.

I really know nothing at all about the method, except that the man generated many thousands of 'Awareness through Movement' sequences. Is there a body-philosophy-of-movement that can be...summarized?

I hope the above shed some light on that question.

Cheers.

David

David Orange
05-29-2009, 11:40 AM
The longer I've been working as an Alexander technique teacher the clearer it becomes to me that it's not about posture or movement or relaxation, it's about clarity of thinking and quality of attention. That will lead to a more relaxed posture and movement.

That's very similar to the aims of Feldenkrais. I think he and Alexander were contemporaries. There were tons of movement systems developed in those days. I think Gurdjief was doing something along those lines around the same time.

But, yes, awareness and attention within are considered far more important than trying to impose a "right" way of moving from the outside. Feldenkrais believed that proper relation of the mind and body will naturally produce the correct posture and modes of movement for a human being.

Best to you.

David

lbb
05-29-2009, 11:46 AM
Thanks for the information, y'all. I do have an excellent acupuncturist and herb guy available, but I don't think he does the structural stuff. I'm not so much interested in chiropractic, simply because with everyone I know who does, a chiropractic visit seems to lead to nothing but more chiropractic visits. I'm not interested in therapists who want to use me to fund their kid's college education -- I'd like to address a problem, not set up a weekly appointment for the rest of my life.

thisisnotreal
05-29-2009, 11:48 AM
Hi David -
It is a very good answer. Thank you kindly.
Best,
Josh

thisisnotreal
05-29-2009, 11:57 AM
Mary, If you are willing to attempt to do chiro again; check into NUCCA chiropractors. They specialize in cervical and cervical effects on the body. I have never been, but was something interesting I stumbled upon and have heard good things.

For what it's worth I think learning how far you can safely push self-management is worth considering. For instance triggerpoints in neck (omohyoid), scalenes, trapezius, etc can cause the system to pull (/push itself)apart.
Check out the funky picture of the pirate ship model of the body THE INNER UNIT (http://www.coachr.org/innerunit.htm)

Nothing prevents you from exploring the types of extraneous movement minimization that David describes....Look for asymmetries in the body....hypertonicity in specific muscles...etc.

Exploring soft tissue treatment is, in my experience, critical. Popping the bones back into alignment is one thing, and important no argument...but over time; the key is to balance the entire structure. When it is balanced, then go into power. Like...PT based DeepNeckFlexor work. With kaizen...a little effort over time,..and constant improvement is the norm, not the exception.

Although;if you are in chronic pain; this can do damage...and is not very useful. Be so careful.
When the brain lights up with blinding white pain...there is nothing to do but rest, align, Ice, and wait. But if a little pain...well...in my experience this is just about the most valuable feedback you can get...it leads you to find what the next step is.

I hope it gets better.
Best,
Josh