By Chris Newton
Charlotte was one of those Fibromyalgia cases that really makes you understand why sufferers find it so hard to convince others of their illness. Her personality type was bubbly and outgoing, with no sign of a lack in energy. But when you read the history of a person like this, you realise that the pain and lack of energy are just being masked by her determination not to let it beat her.
Like many patients that I see, her list of traumas go way back. In this case even as far back as a car accident whilst in a toddler car seat. There were three or four other major incidents and a smattering of minor ones, so we knew from the start that there was plenty of work to do.
As always with our work here at the Fibro Project, the task was to initially assess her nervous system responses. We found Charlotte to be much like the majority of cases that present to us. Her nervous system was in a protection mode we like to call Hyper-Tonicity. This protective state is a bit like how most of us feel on a really cold winters day. Every muscle in the body is tense and it is almost impossible to relax. Hyper-tonicity is just like this because muscles test overly strong and will not fully relax when we challenge the nervous system. All muscles should test strong but when challenged should become weak momentarily. This is a sign of a fully responsive and relaxed nervous system, so when it does not respond this way we see this a sign that it feels under threat.
It took four sessions to completely unlock this tense state in her, at which point she saw a marked improvement in her sleep patterns and daily energy. Usually she would have to nap at lunch time and at around 5pm in order to get through the day. Now she was finding that she would completely skip the lunchtime nap and was only sleeping at 5pm out of habit. It wasn’t long before she dropped this too.
A patient’s energy resources are our primary goal within our work here. If we can restore your energy, you’ll begin to move more and movement reduces pain in everyone. So rather than focus on your pain we focus on your energy – how much you can do each day without becoming exhausted. In Charlottes case, once we has brought her energy up to the point where she didn’t need to nap, she began to notice that the ache in her jaw that she had suffered with for many years had completely gone. We put this down to the fact than many people with Hyper-tonicity suffer from Bruxism – a chronic clenching of the jaw muscles and grinding of the teeth.
For Charlotte, we were able to make significant change in four sessions and used the following 2 sessions to challenge her and look at some of her remaining niggles. Here is what Charlotte thought of the treatment . . .