Many people have seen posts about the things I have been doing in order to heal, but it sounds like a good amount do not know from what. I’ve decided to answer that question today… On the 4 year anniversary of the incident.
4 years ago
I was a dancer, a runner, a yogi. I enjoyed being active through multiple activities including trying kickboxing and self-defense classes. Anything to get out and work off the energy that would build up during the average workday in an office.
One night, during dance class, I was practicing a routine. One of the moves was a single shoulder stand. Some might know what a shoulder stand is, but I’ve added this image for reference.
Unfortunately, that night I pushed myself too hard. I pushed my body upright, but the momentum was too great… and all my weight came off my shoulder and into my neck.
I can still hear the snap of each vertebra as I collapsed. My body twisted, trying to maintain some semblance of control, but it was much too late. I crashed upside down and onto my other shoulder. The room was dark while I blinked. I did not cry or scream. I just kept thinking, “oh, God, oh, God, oh, God,” until my vision returned in a gradual haze of spots.
Physically, I felt crumpled and caved in. Mentally, I let myself down. Emotionally, I was in a state of shock and fear. Spiritually, I prayed for God to take it away, make it okay, make me okay… yet I was left alone in a state of partial paralysis. I could move my legs and one arm. Everything else was in agonizing immobility.
My neck would not turn or tilt. My back would not give. My shoulder could not move.
I remember laying there and telling my body to move, to work, to function the way it used to, but nothing moved. My body could not flinch yet the pain of even telling these parts to move caused shockwaves of pain to radiate through my spine and into my skull.
Each step was legendary. Not for where she was heading, but because she was brave enough to keep walking.
This is the injury I have been working to mend. My nervous system is rerouted, some vertebras are spun around and tilted out of place, and my muscles remain clenched in an effort to protect me further. My chiropractor and MFR therapist have called it “fight mode”. I have seen 2 physical therapists, 4 chiropractors, 3 massage therapists, and now a myofascial release therapist.
The First Two Years
It should have been easy to fix in the beginning. I should have been placed in knowledgeable and caring hands, but it seemed they only cared until they didn’t. The first physical therapist got my muscles moving again through e-stim (electrical stimulation). I had movement in my neck and back and arm once more. This was great. He handed me a sheet of exercises to work through and I took them happily, ready to build up that strength and get back into the world.
A few weeks of this proved it was not going to be that simple. A short while later, he dismissed me as a patient. I saw multiple doctors explaining the searing pain I still had sitting at a desk, lying down, standing up, walking, lifting, doing ANYTHING really. So they sent me to another physical therapist.
She worked with me through numerous exercises, but again, my body would only go so far and give so much. She said I wasn’t trying hard enough. I told her the pain was not your typical workout pain. This was something else. This was something not right with my body. Again, they dismissed me, and again, I saw more doctors who said they could do nothing but send me to another therapist.
I could function, but not properly and not without searing pain.
Day to day
My days were filled with pain and depression. I was unhappy with the ins and outs of my days when I was unable to live to my fullest potential. There was only so much I could do a day. Only so much pain I could take.
I made a friend during that time and moved to be closer to them so that I could have some happiness in my life while all my other friends had moved or started families.
I was apprehensive at first. Everything had snapped through my neck and spine and I did not want someone causing more issues by doing the same thing. But it was exactly what I needed. The first chiropractor said I needed manual manipulation, so he twisted me and turned me and popped my bones every other day for a few months. While the pain would ease for a time, I had little to no energy. It was difficult to even get the day to day work done for my boss because the chiropractic work would knock me to my knees.
The second chiropractor was one I saw for a few months while visiting family in Wisconsin for the holidays. During one of the visits, he manually adjusted my neck. For the next few days, splitting pain ran through my skull any time I was upright – sitting or standing. Even my vision would burst with stars. I called after a few days and they rushed me in. My head was no longer sitting on my neck properly. They adjusted it and things went back to normal. From that moment on, I never allowed any chiropractor to do manual manipulation again.
Three years after the injury I began seeing a third chiropractor. He was a huge help in getting me to distribute my weight more evenly on my legs. It felt like I was standing lopsided, but I was really straighter than I had in a few years.
All the work on my spine, muscles, and nervous system messed with me hard, and this was the point where I moved back to Wisconsin for help with all of this.
Where I am now
It’s been a journey four years in the making. I prayed that I would have been better by now, or that I would have been active and running at the very least. Most of my money has gone toward these medical bills and my time soaked up with pain and healing.
Currently, I am still seeing a chiropractor once every two weeks who has been the biggest help for me out of all of them. I am also seeing a myofascial release therapist to get my body out of fight mode.
Every day I see this weakness and greet this pain and see memories of before this all happened; of actively partaking in all the things that I love. I grit my teeth and pressed forward. I will continue to do so every day until I resolve this pain and my energy has returned.