Pain in the Neck... Literally

Barb was an ER nurse with over 30 years of experience. She was a no-nonsense, tough woman full of spunk. I could tell she laid down the law wherever she went. She related her story while locking my eyes with her steely blues, willing me to listen. I liked her immediately.

It was late March and Barb’s recent bout of neck pain had begun in early February. She’d suffered from chronic headaches and neck pain for years, but it would gradually go away with massage or treatment. In this short interval of time, she’d already been to a chiropractor for several visits, massage therapy, taken a strong pain reliever—hydrocodone—and tried trigger point injections, where lidocaine is injected into knots of muscles to make them go away. The volume of treatment she’d received in such a short period of time told me that she was in a lot of pain.

She hated to complain and felt that maybe “this ol’ cowgirl just needed to pony up and tough it out,” as she charmingly phrased it. No, Barb, not if I can help it.

When queried about past injuries, Barb denied ever having had any to speak of. I believed her. She was strong and so full of grit that no injury would dare come near her.

At our initial evaluation, I determined that Barb’s problem came from…

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