In 1995 I was stopped at traffic lights in my car when the car behind me failed to stop. I sustained whiplash and concussion as a result of this accident. I had soft tissue damage from C1-C3 and C6-C7.
My left rotator-cuff was torn and pressure from the muscle spasms in my back and shoulders resulted in numbness in my middle to little fingers on my left side.
Ten years post the accident I began a whiplash rehabilitation program when the resultant migraines, loss of movement and quality of life became overwhelming. I slowly began to regain movement and discovered that many of my learned behaviours to protect myself from further injury were causing other debilitating symptoms. I was experiencing extreme visual disturbance (nystagmus, nausea and dizziness) that was affecting my life more than I realised.
After several months of the rehab program my physiotherapist found that I needed something more than her training could offer and thus I was referred to Madeleine Edgar for lessons in the Feldenkrais Method. After the first session I regained almost full movement in my neck, something I had not experienced in more than 10 years. My nystagmus disappeared and I did not experience nausea or dizziness. The numbness in my left arm ceased. My ability to move my neck has not regressed to the former state at any time.
My pain levels have decreased significantly, to the point where medication is rare, rather than at the maximum daily allowance that I was taking prior to commencing Feldenkrais lessons. Until I thought about how I was moving, I did not realise quite how much my body had changed to cater for various injuries, not just my whiplash.
The pain relief and regaining basic movement of all of my body has changed the way I do everything in my daily life now. For 10 years, throughout the majority of my 20’s and early 30’s I struggled with chronic pain. I believed that this was the way I was always going to be. My only regret is that I did not commence rehabilitating my body/mind sooner.
Jennifer Storey, Parkwood, Qld.
27 July 2005
My theory about Jennifers’ response to the Feldenkrais lessons is that the proprioceptors in her spine and other areas of her body were blocked by protective movements from her old injuries, not giving her brain the feedback to stabilise herself, so her eyes were compensating to give her the feedback, hence the nystagmus.
I gave her a first lesson in sidelying to differentiate her spine, shoulders, ribs, pelvis including same and opposite movements of the head and eyes. Many of the muscles which were overworking then released, allowing the proprioceptors to do their job! We were both surprised at how quickly she learnt after such a long time and how her pain decreased immediately and even more after several lessons. She continued playing with ATMs at home. A year later she had her first child!
Madeleine Edgar, Coombabah, Qld