A UNIQUE WHIPLASH TESTIMONIAL
(VIDEO AT BOTTOM OF PAGE)
"Formerly known as a somatoform disorder, a somatic symptom disorder is a mental disorder characterized by physical symptoms that suggest physical illness or injury – symptoms that cannot be explained fully by a general medical condition... In people who have a somatic symptom disorder, medical test results are either normal or do not explain the person's symptoms, and history and physical examination do not indicate the presence of a medical condition that could cause them. Patients with this disorder often become worried about their health because doctors are unable to find a cause for their symptoms. This may cause severe distress." Wikipedia's definition of a Somatic Symptom Disorder
Here's an interesting WHIPLASH case for you. Not quite four years ago Amber was REAR-ENDED while leaving work. Although she had some initial pain, she didn't think much of it at the time (she went to her chiro) and went on with her life. That us, until she started living a nightmare.
Although Amber never really had bunches of NECK PAIN with her injury, she had a nagging restriction that prevented her from looking over her shoulders while driving or backing up. But the real problem was her shoulders themselves. For three years Amber struggles with a case of RADICULAR PARESTHESIA (abnormal sensations in her upper extremities) that manifested itself as severe / chronic itching of her shoulders and upper arms. How bad was this itching? If you get a chance, ask her husband.
The problem got so bad that she could barely leave the house --- she could not go anywhere because of the constant "itch attacks". She would sometimes scratch herself until she bled, and has the scars to prove it. Dermatologists and Neurologists proved ineffective for treating her problem; or for that matter, even diagnosing it.
In fact, as those of you who have been through similar scenarios might imagine, she was told her health issue was due to DEPRESSION and then put on the "proper" DRUGS --- a scenario here in America which is, unfortunately, more common than it's not. She would leave these doctor visits feeling both marginalized and ridiculed. The problem was, due to the fact that every single aspect of her life was being controlled by her itching and pain, she was developing Anxiety and Depression. Listen to what the same journal I quoted from at the top of the page has to say about this phenomenon.
"The increased load of symptoms of anxiety and depression found among individuals reporting a whiplash injury, is in line with previous studies. Two explanations have been given for the increased level of anxiety and depression seen in chronic whiplash: It has been considered a psychological response to the injury, like in post-traumatic stress disorder, or as a response to physical pain resulting from the injury. Recent findings do, however, suggest reverse causality, namely that: anxiety and depression at baseline increases the risk of reporting whiplash at follow-up. This debate of cause or effect in the association between whiplash and anxiety/depression does have consequences for whether anxiety/depression is to be regarded a mediating, confounding or even moderating factor in this association."
In other words, there are two explanations for the Anxiety and Depression seen after a Whiplash accident. I have written about this phenomenon extensively on this site because it is absurdly common. Either the pain and dysfunction of the Whiplash causes the Depression, or the Depression causes the pain seen after a Whiplash. Not only is the first scenario the logical one, it is by far the most common. However, because there no tests that image FASCIA --- the most COMMONLY INJURED TISSUE in a Whiplash Accident --- patients are blown off as hypochondriacs or malingerers (or looking for a pot of gold at the end of an attorney's rainbow). At first it's angering --- insulting --- to be told that your problem is essentially in your head. But as symptoms worsen for no perceptible reason, patients begin to wonder.
There were nights that Amber did not sleep --- at all. And there were only certain kinds of clothes she could wear, because most shirts or blouses made her itch continually. This "somatic" problem was consuming her. It was wearing her down physically, mentally, and emotionally. Because her itching and pain continued to progress, Amber was worried sick about what the future would bring. Shortly after Labor Day 2015, her husband convinced her that she needed to come and see if my unique approach could help her. That was 4 months ago. The video was shot yesterday. It's the only two days I've ever seen Amber. 90% better in a single treatment --- not bad considering what she had already been through.
For those of you who are interested in the mechanics of this process, just remember that it's all about the NERVE SYSTEM. Irritate a nerve and you can wreak havoc on whatever that nerve controls. Oh, and lest you forget, the Fascia acts as a SECOND NERVOUS SYSTEM. Thankfully Amber does not have to deal with the confusion, criticism and condescension of the medical community any more.
The problem is, Amber is not alone. Change the names, dates, times, places, and modes of injury, and I see these sorts of problems all day long, every day (HERE). How big a deal are these "Myofascial Injuries"? Listen to what Claire Davies, author of the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook has to say in her piece called Whiplash Injury (for the record, Amber's issue was more on the Scar Tissue side of things as opposed to TRIGGER POINTS).
"All of these seemingly unrelated symptoms can actually have a very simple, though often quite unsuspected, connection. They can be caused by myofascial trigger points (tiny contraction knots) in strained, overworked, or traumatized muscles of the head, face, jaws, and neck. This comes from decades of clinical research by Medical Doctors Janet Travell and David Simons, authors of the widely acclaimed medical textbook, Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: The Trigger Point Manual. Whiplash Injury Any of these diverse symptoms can begin after a whiplash accident, a fall, or an athletic injury that violently overstretches or over contracts the scalene and sternocleidomastoid (SCM) muscles of the front and sides of the neck. Trigger points that are created by these incidents can exist undetected for years, the unknown and unaddressed source of disheartening chronic pain and disability."
What do we learn from this? We learn that SCAR TISSUE and Trigger Points can be a nightmare. We see that this sort of injury can also cause FACE OR SKULL PAIN. We find out that THE SCM MUSCLE is the muscle chiefly affected in Whiplash (HERE). And we see that Scar Tissue can cause symptoms which are "seemingly unrelated" to the original injury ("Organic" Injury).
If you have ever felt the hopelessness, fear, and shame that comes from being accused of having a "somatic" problem that is "all in your head," take a moment to forward this post to someone that could benefit, or like us on FACEBOOK.