Tag: neck pain

What is Visceral Manipulation?

For many years I have been bothered by neck pain and horrible headaches. I was finally so fed up with my symptoms that I went to see my chiropractor and massage practitioners for one year. Every visit left me feeling better, but the relief didn’t last for long. My pain was so deep that I felt like no one could reach the source. Around that time, my friend shared with me her experience with a type of osteopathic bodywork called Visceral Manipulation. After just one treatment, I was amazed at how much better I felt. I had an increased range of motion in my neck and the neck strain I had felt for years was released. I also noticed my headaches didn’t come back for a very long time.

Visceral Manipulation is a very gentle hands-on technique to help restore functional and structural balance in your entire body and greatly help to release chronic irritation and strain in your body. It encourages your body’s natural self-healing mechanisms. At the time of the treatment, a series of careful assessments locate where to work, how to work, and what order to work in.

Treatment is usually with the patient’s clothes on. Assessments will be done while standing and treatments on a massage table. The practitioner is able to work with different depths of your body: muscles, bones, ligaments, joints, restrictions on tissues wrapping around the spinal cord and brain, tensions within nerves and blood vessels, and organs and their supporting membranes.

Visceral Manipulation was developed by French Osteopath Jean-Pierre Barral. He was originally trained as a physical therapist and earned his diploma in osteopathic medicine from the European School of Osteopathy in England in 1974. His exploration of relationship between visceral and spine led to the development of Visceral Manipulation. He began teaching Visceral Manipulation in the Unites States in 1985 and now teaches all in many countries. He wrote a book for the general public, Understanding the Messages of Your Body, which discusses the link between our organs and our emotions.

You may experience pain so deep in your body that it feels like no one can reach it. Car accidents, sports injuries, old surgeries or other physical and emotional trauma can cause strain on your body. If you are struggling with chronic pain, it may be well worth it to try this modality.

I was so amazed at the work I received, I committed to take a 12 month training (150 class hours) of Visceral Manipulation. And I just completed it in December, 2014.


Misa Shimizu, LMP

Pain in the neck? Relief may lie in how you move.

By Peggy Protz, Feldenkrais® Practitioner

Neck pain really can be a pain in the neck. Especially if the pain affects your ability to move easily and comfortably. Ask anyone who has experienced a whiplash, a pinched nerve, or a bad tension headache. Pain caused by these conditions will often restrict the natural, free movement of the head, creating an experience of life that is limiting. A real pain in the neck!

The pain can easily spiral downward into more discomfort. As you try to keep your head still to avoid pain, muscles in the neck, shoulders, and upper back begin to tighten up. This is understandable, as your body intelligently wants to protect you from further injury. The increased muscle tension, however, can actually cause more discomfort. One way to disrupt this cycle is to begin moving in a gentle way.

Try this experiment…   Sit on the edge of a chair that has a firm, flat surface. Have your feet flat on the floor about hip width apart and your thighs parallel to the floor. Rest your hands comfortably on your thighs. Gently turn your head a little to the right and to the left, keeping the movement in a range that is easy and not painful. Observe how far you turn by taking note of what you see in the room around you.

Next, keeping your head in the center, slowly look downward, lowering your chin to your chest. Allow your chest to sink, relax your shoulders, and think that you are bending your whole back backwards, creating a “C” shape from the top of your head to your tailbone. This position may feel like slouching.

Now reverse the movement. Slowly lift your chin off your chest, looking straight ahead as you straighten your back. Push your chest forward and gently pull your shoulders back. Think that the top of your head is being pulled upward toward the ceiling, causing you to sit taller on your seat.

Repeat the motion: lowering your head as you bend your back, lifting your head as you straighten your back. See if you can feel the pressure of your hips rolling back and forth on the chair; leaning back on your tail bone, then forward on your sit bones.

Begin to coordinate your breathing with the movement. Exhale as you look down, relaxing the chest. Inhale as you lift your head, expanding the chest. Allow your whole body to relax into the motion.

After you’ve done the exercise five or six times, stop and rest with your eyes closed, noticing the feeling in your shoulders, back, and neck. Open your eyes and turn your head again, like you did at the start. See if it feels easier or if you can turn a little further. Notice if you see more of the room around you.

This is an exercise I often share with my students and is something you can do anytime to relieve tension. The back and forth movement or your spine sort of “resets” your nervous system, allowing your body to relax and learn a new way moving, without you having to think about it. With gentle practice, the better way becomes the natural way, and perhaps that pain in the neck won’t have to be such a pain in the neck!

For more guidance on how to reduce neck and shoulder pain, join Peggy for the “Pain Free Neck and Shoulders” Feldenkrais workshop, Saturday February 7, 2 – 4:30pm in the Mind Body Studio

What do Snap, Crackle and Pop Have to do with Your Health?

Have you ever wondered what that sound is when your neck or knee or any part of your body pop’s and cracks? I know I have! Here is a brief explanation of what could be happening in your body when is makes some unexpected or rather common sounds of the popping nature.

Gases are making an escape!
Because the inside of the joint is primarily synovial fluid, (think the inside of chewels chewing gum) a wonderful fluid to keep the joint lubricated. It can have a tendency to become full of oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon dioxide. Weird huh? When you stretch the joint capsule via movement it will pop or crack to release the gas build up or bubbles that can occur in a joint.

Tendon or Ligament slippage
Sometimes, (maybe more for some of you due to your own special anatomy….) when you move a joint a tendon/ligament placement will change and it might move over a boney area causing a popping or snapping sound. This is pretty common in ankles, knees and wrists due to the many things that are gliding over one another.

Bumpy spots
Arthritic areas make tons of sound due to the lack of smooth cartilage and lack of fluid in the joints.

Should you be worried when a joint pops, cracks or snaps? I would generally say no. Unless there is pain with the sounds then it’s nothing to be too concerned about. However, if there is pain it would be best to consult your doc to get a better clue about the cause.