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Neck Pain, 14 Years

Being educated as a Physical Therapist I anticipated acquiring the knowledge and skills to treat people with physical disabilities and symptoms. I realized prior to my graduation that was not even close to being the case. I spent the next eight years attending courses. I did a tremendous amount of self-guided study at home. I also organized seven courses at the hospital I was employed at, and brought in experts to teach. My skills did grow and my success with patients increased. My last year at that facility I had 120 patients referred to me by nine different physicians. I was and am persistent in trying to understand and treat this endless population. I could also see the medical obsession with structure and inflammation was misguided and its interventions caused injury to many.

At the same time I was dealing with my own personal crisis. In 1986, I was involved in a 70 MPH motor vehicle accident while I was a YMCA Fitness/Physical Director. I walked away with a sore neck/scapula which resolved quickly. Through the next four years I had no persistent physical pain or problems. I noticed a sore neck with sustained postures, some stiffness on my left side and intermittent spasm; that I now know as the trauma reflex from the accident. But to me the accident was a thing of the past over and forgotten. Thanks to being so physically active with my job it didn't slow me down. I remember though people would comment ‘Why is your head tilted to the side and back?’ I passed it off. I didn't know what they were talking about.

In 1990 in PT graduate school during a research project on neck ROM, my neck got really painful. From 1990 to 1999 I sought treatment without any sustained relief. I consulted an osteopath, orthopedic, neurologist, chiropractor and had physical therapy treatments. Much of it was costly and abusive. I even went out of state to Hartford to a PT clinic specializing in intensive manual treatment for three separate weeks. I called it the one side of the body phenomenon. I saw it in my patients too. What was it? Why is it my left side? Why is my balance off and my weight on my right leg mostly? My despair and anger increased with my pain. In 2000, my brother mailed me Somatics. I immediately recognized its truth. I did the exercises and quickly felt changes and symptom reduction. I owe Thomas Hanna quite a lot.

Todd Olinger
Physical Therapist, 12 Years
United States