The missing link in chronic pain.
Truth be told, I have had a mild scoliosis all my life. I have relied heavily on chiropractic care for over thirty years to relieve my subluxations and occasional aches and pains – especially after long stints on the computer when writing my books.
I have always had a very positive experience with chiropractors. In 2014, when I visited a new chiropractor who specialized in releasing soft tissue, I was not at all prepared for what ensued.
Several weeks after the treatment, I began to experience what I thought was neurological pain or some type of neuropathy. My entire right calf and right foot felt like pins and needles, with strange pulling and occasional pulsating sensations I had never experienced before in my 50 plus years on the planet!
The new chiropractor I saw had used the Graston Technique, a therapy which uses an instrument to assist soft tissue mobilization and treat scar tissue. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand how such a seemingly benign treatment could have resulted in such strange sensations, although I was black and blue for a good two weeks after the treatment, which I was told was “normal.”
Being as alternatively orientated as I am, I found a “chiropractor neurologist” in my area who thoroughly examined my leg and told me that the nerve pain I was experiencing was most likely caused from a Baker’s cyst – which he palpated at the back of my knee. He told me that he frequently treated these Baker cysts with ozone. This was a substance I was intimately familiar with having used it intravenously for detoxification and blood purification.
So, rather than get a second opinion or an X-ray to confirm this new chiropractor’s findings, I happily agreed to have the ozone inserted into the area near my knee to address the cyst which I was told was impinging on the nerve path down the leg. I had such high hopes!
But that was my big mistake.
After the shot, I felt like my knee was exploding – the pain and strange sensations really increased and I felt as if I had a very severe Charley Horse. I was told that that was natural and it would dissipate within a few days.
Well, the pain never dissipated. In fact, it got much worse. After several months, my cortisol levels were through the roof and for the first time ever I had a roll of belly fat.
I started getting used to having a stiff leg with shooting pains all the way up to the thigh. But, according to the experts, pain doesn’t move up, it only moves down.
I couldn’t understand why ozone, which is healing in so many instances, could have triggered such a negative response.
As time went on, my whole body began compensating for the pain in my right leg. My left side became stiff and my hyper-mobile joints felt like they were becoming arthritic.
Apparently, pain can do this to you.
Eventually, I started a course of physical therapy and tried stem cells, acupuncture, spinal decompression, pulse EMF treatment, ultrasound, electrophoresis, anodyne lights (infrared), cold laser, low powered hot laser, and electrostimulation therapy. I even doubled up on natural anti-inflammatories like curcumin, boswellia, Omega 3s and Omega 7s, as well as essential oils and homeopathics designed to relieve pain. They, however, did absolutely nothing to alleviate my pain.
Last summer, I ventured to Los Angeles where I underwent two weeks of specialized laser therapy with unique lasers from France and Italy that were not found in any other clinic in the country. The treatments were not only exceedingly expensive, but they did not help either.
After consulting with a myriad of health practitioners, from the most highly-trained chiropractors, to physical therapists, to conventional pain doctors, to anesthesiologists and massage therapists, I decided to take my health into my own hands, as I have done so many times before.
I underwent a battery of tests, including a complete ultrasound and MRI of my entire leg, knees and lower back. None of the results showed any issue that could have explained my escalating pain, which over months had increased to a burning and tightening sensation.
I was told I would simply have to learn to live with the pain. That, of course, was totally unacceptable.
Taking The Mystery Out of Chronic Pain
As luck would have it, after telling a close friend of mine about my mysterious pains, she offhandedly mentioned a clinic called Clear Passage. This clinic specialized in my type of intractable pain and had groundbreaking success in all types of physical conditions. I finally called the Clear Passage headquarters in Gainesville, Florida and after several in-depth conversations, I traveled to Florida in the hopes of obtaining some modicum of relief and figuring out the true cause of my condition – which nobody in the traditional or alternative medical worlds could explain.
I wasn’t disappointed.
Within two days of the most comprehensive assessment I have ever undergone, I discovered that my pain was due to severely restricted fascia and hidden macro and micro adhesions. The therapists at Clear Passage explained that my structural impairments were most likely due to early car accidents, sprained ankles, poor posture, years of computer use, and falls that I had undergone throughout my life. The ozone shot apparently created a whole layer of “frozen” tissue – probably from the trauma of the ozone gas being shot into the side of my leg. It was about eight inches long, they said!!
During my time at Clear Passage, I was cared for in one of the most healing environments in all of my 30 plus years of work in the healing arts. During my treatment, I learned so much about the “missing link” in chronic pain therapy that I just had to share it with you.
The simple truth is that the body records every type of physical (and emotional) trauma even long after we have forgotten. Whenever we experience a surgery (even dental surgery), an accident, an injury, infection or inflammation, the body creates internal scars called adhesions as the first step in the healing process. Composed of tiny strands of collagen like the strands of a nylon rope, adhesions are basically internal scars.
As they form, small but powerful fibers rush in and lay down over injured tissues to help isolate the tissues that have been injured. After the body heals, these internal bonds remain within us, a permanent by-product of our earlier healing event. Soon our bodies have healed and we go about our lives. What we don’t realize is that adhesions which have been measured with a tensile strength at close to 2,000 pounds per square inch remain in the body after healing – for a lifetime. Over time, they can form one upon another, acting like a straightjacket in the areas of the body where they formed.
Later in life, as we start to develop chronic pain, we go to the doctor and ask “Why do I hurt here?” or “Why am I having unusual symptoms or problems?” The physician may send us for a diagnostic test – an MRI, CT scan or ultrasound. “There’s nothing there,” our doctor says. “Certainly there’s nothing I can see. Let’s send you to another specialist.” So we may go from specialist to specialist, looking for answers to mystery pain or dysfunctions that the doctors cannot see. At some point, a doctor may say “it must be in your head; maybe you should consult a psychiatrist.”
The main problem is that being composed of collagen fibers, adhesions do not appear on any diagnostic test. That’s right, they can’t be seen by X rays, MRIs, ultrasounds or CAT scans!
This heart-rending video traces the results of another patient who was struggling from adhesions, and her (eventually successful) quest for relief, and a return to life after chronic pain.
The Invisible Ties That Bind
The therapists at Clear Passage know this problem all too well – they have studied it for decades now. In fact, they have published studies in numerous peer reviewed medical journals that measure results clearing adhesions manually – using just their hands to heal their patients.
“In the beginning, it was so frustrating to me,” says physical therapist Belinda Wurn, clinical director of the Clear Passage network of clinics that stretches from California to England. “There I was in severe, totally debilitating pain and my doctors were telling me there was nothing wrong, or they couldn’t see anything. Finally, someone mentioned the word ‘adhesions’.”
Together with her husband, massage therapist Larry Wurn, she began to study non-surgical methods to decrease adhesions in the late 1980s.
They learned that as far as medicine was concerned, adhesions could only be treated with surgery. The problem was that virtually all surgeries cause more adhesions to form, as the body heals from the adhesions laid down from the damage caused by cutting or burning live tissues. Feeling that there had to be a better way, the Wurns resolved to find or develop a way to treat Belinda’s chronic pain in whatever non-surgical way they could.
They took dozens of advanced physical therapy courses in the U.S. and in medical schools overseas. Over the last 25 plus years, they developed the Clear Passage Approach – as a manual (hands-on) treatment to decrease, and eliminate adhesions.
They learned that the adhesions that formed years or decades ago from earlier surgeries or traumas were not really necessary anymore, but the body has no way to dissolve them. Collagen is so common in the body that adhesions do not show up on diagnostic tests and cannot be dissolved by any bodily mechanism. They found that adhesions can be pulled apart using a very site-specific therapy, like pulling apart the run in a sweater.
You can learn more about the Wurn’s personal story here.
The folks at Clear Passage are pioneers and ultimate professionals. They are not salespeople; they are dedicated healers with their own war stories! If you have unresolved chronic pain, I would wholeheartedly urge you to contact Clear Passage via the links at their website.
After giving the staff a bit of your medical history, you can schedule a completely free telephone consultation. They will help you understand your pain or dysfunction, and give you great information.
If the basic underlying theme of my story sounds all too familiar, think back through your own history. Have you had some sort of a trauma that resulted in your body healing itself in a way that created adhesions? You too can release your internal straightjackets once and for all and learn how to prevent them from reoccurring in the future.
Right now, I am still in recovery. I now stand at my desk – no more sitting for me – and have some gentle stretches to do. I have located some highly trained massage therapists who specialize in myofascial release. I am taking several supplements which address soft tissue injury – like Myo-Plus from Standard Process (available through UNI KEY at (800) 888-4354) and UNI KEY’s Mag-Key.
I take my Epsom salt baths three times per week and use a tennis ball to roll out the remaining kinks in my feet. I do NOT wear my orthotics anymore because I was told my seemingly high arches were really the result of adhesions in my soles which were pulling my feet out of alignment.
I am about 75% better and I am so grateful that I found the Clear Passage folks. I know what it is to lose hope and suffer intractable pain because I have also “been there.”
All I can say now is—- L’Chaim (to Life) and I hope this blog will help you or a loved one.
Wow! Who knew, right? What remarkable information, thank you for posting this….I’m sure I speak for many when I say I have never heard of this, but it sure is good to know and share!
Thanks for sharing your personal experience.
Wow I can think of a few people including myself that might have this happening. Massage therapist are always saying how very dense and tight my fascia is. I have spent thousands trying to get relief. ANd many different modalities.
I suffer from almost daily, since I was 13 and I am 55. Mostly tension type headaches and then weather changes put me under with pressure headaches that cause nausea usually controllable with meds. But they have been known to put me in the emergency room. But all the meds over the years have whacked out my whole system. So I am currently seeing a Functional med Chiropractor who also has specialist of Neurology and many other specialist designations.
I started having the bloat about 6 yrs ago from high stressors in several areas of life, headaches have worsened, low energy, now weak immune system! I used to be able to say I had been sick 2 or 3 times my whole adult and even teen life. Not anymore. I am having 2 or more colds a year. HAve one now and had one a mo nth ago! UGH!
So if getting rid of some of the headaches and shoulder aches would help It would be awesome!
Have you had any surgeries, traumas (car accidents- even fender benders, infections of any of the abdominal or pelvic organs, falls during sports, or slipping and falling), or any inflammatory conditions (Crohn’s, IBS, etc.)? All of these create adhesions- internal scar tissue that tends to bind things together in the abdomen and pelvis.. After the body heals after any of those 4 things, the body lays down adhesions as a normal part of the l healing process. The way the adhesions form is sort of like a spider’s web- they tends to stick to anything/everything in the vicinity- causing many painful and other types of symptoms, and decrease the ability of many of the organs to work at 100% efficiency.
There are 3 layers of fascia (connective tissue). The outer layer is like a body stocking- it helps to maintain our physical shape. The deeper layer of fascia is like a sweater that surrounds and separates everything in the body- if you can picture your body being knit like a sweater. The deepest layer of fascia, called the dura, surrounds and protects the brain and spinal cord. It has strong attachments at the base of the skull, on your 2nd and 3rd cervical vertebrae, and comes down around the spinal cord, through the rest of your vertebrae, attaching to the sacrum and coccyx (tail bone).
We look at the whole body, because any restrictions in the abdominal or pelvic areas can and do affect the rest of the body- due to the fascial connections from the bottom to the top. Adhesions in the pelvis and/or abdomen can, and do affect the neck, head and upper back, since there are direct physical connections between those areas.
If you like, you are welcome to visit our website, http://www.clearpassage.com, and fill out a brief 1-page questionnaire to give me an idea of your life history of surgeries, traumas, infections and inflammatory conditions. We can then set up a free 30-minute phone consultation, and I will let you know if I think that our treatment may be helpful to you.
Have you been seen by a gastroenterologist for the bloat that you are experiencing? It would be interesting to hear your lifetime experiences regarding many rounds of antibiotics, any experiences of food poisoning, etc. to determine if you might have SIBO (small intestinal bacterial infection). It is becoming a more commonly known problem that many people are experiencing- after many rounds of antibiotics, food poisoning, taking PPI’s (proton pump inhibitors (Omeprazole or Prilosec, etc.), etc.
I look forward to hearing from you, and letting you know if I think our work may be helpful to you!
Belinda Wurn, PT
You need to find a NAET therapist .. see http://www.naet.com
Dr Devi runs a Pain Clinic in LA but many trained practitioners around the world. It is an amazing modality which balances the immune system using frequency, acupressure and kinesiology. Great results .. choose to be well again!
This sound like so much what I’m going through. I have varicose veins and had lots of injections. Now my legs are hurting more. I do have some arthritis in my knees I just found out this week. My feet are hurting too.The doctors say this is what happens with age. I’m feeling very discouraged. Thanks for sharing your story. I hope you will continuous to feel better!
Glad you found some help and you are feeling better.
Never heard of this chain of clinics, but as a holistic and sports massage therapist who has been working with an osteopath for 11 years, this is no news to me. I have taken several courses in myofascial release and mainly treat the fascia in my treatments, using various techniques to release adhesions. I also know for a fact that changing thought patterns also affects the fascia!
I haven’t often used the term adhesions with my clients (I have however mentioned “glued spaghetti” a lot). They mostly know they feel better after a treatment, especially after “pulling a muscle” (when I work to realign muscle fibers and prevent big adhesions forming) or when they just book a treatment because they feel “tight” of “stressed” (same thing).
One lady expelled a 10-year-old garbanzo-sized subcutaneous cyst from her lower abdominal area after her second treatment: being a medical professional, she recognized that that was her body healing.
The body is quite remarkable and it will try to heal any chance it gets/you give it.
[ignore doctors who have nothing positive to say]
get some myofascial release, do “lower tummy breathing”, do some tapping (I think of it as “mental fascia release”), follow an anti-inflammatory diet, eat many vegetables, perhaps take supplements like ginger and curcumin/turmeric, have good goals in life and focus on the positive, count your blessings daily and surround yourself with positive people. Best of luck to you!
So glad that so many of you have found this blog helpful. As Cis says, your body can and WILL heal if given the chance. You simply have to release your “stuck” tissues which can often impact nerves, muscles, and other organs. Since there is a network of Clear Passage affiliates around the nation (and in the UK), you might want to check out a location nearest to you. While I needed a sold two weeks of daily therapy (the cumulative results of a long and active life) thanks to my workaholic habits, many will need much, much less. I am going back to Clear Passages in the early summer to get the rest of my body taken care of because although I have found practitioners in my area which specialize in myofascial release and gentle “cupping,” I am not getting the very deep release with the patented Wurm Technique pioneered by the Safe Passage folks.
Hi Anne Louise
Thank you for this story of your journey with pain relief. I am a NAET practitioner in Australia and have had remarkable results with relieving the energetic blockages caused by scar tissue, stress and injury and even surgery.
There are many practitioners in US .. Dr Devi runs her Pain Clinic in LA .. she connects it up to any food intolerances you may have and other deficiencies and/or toxicity in the body. It is amazing work, non-invasive and gives great results.
Have you heard of The Melt Method by Sue Hitzmann? I bought her book, DVD’s and soft roller which has really helped me to release what she calls “stuck stress” out of the fascia. It’s helped me eliminate tightness and pain.
Hi Faythe: I am not personally familiar with this method, but it sounds great! So glad it helped you so much. I will also look into this as the whole issue of “stuck” fascia is unchartered territory for me in so many ways.
Hi, this is such great information. Wondering if could use some essential oils & have husband do some massages to release?
Also, I take Armour thyroid 90 Mg for several yrs now but it is getting so pricey & my primary care wants me to see an endocrine Dr. to see if there is anything my insurance would cover to save money. Not sure if I want to go or what test they may do. Most friends are on synthroid but that did not help me – needed T3. I just know any little changes & hair falls out. I’m 69 & I just want what would be best. Can anyone get off of thyroid hormones?
Thank you, Sheila
Hi Sheila. Thank you for your post. I tried a myriad of essential oils but my adhesions were so deep, they did not help. My current massage therapist is using a combination of lemongrass, cypress and geranium.
With regard to your question about getting off of thyroid hormone, I would recommend a TMA which will provide you with a mineral ratio that can correlate with thyroid activity and help you support your thyroid for total health. Good Luck!
Interesting conversation.. what is a TMA? Many definitions online, but none that seem to apply to this conversation. Thanks.
Thank you so much for posting this article on chronic pain. As someone who has been dealing with chronic pain from spine abnormalities complicated by many spine injuries and aging for over 30 years, your article clarified for me why some of us never fully recover. Twelve years ago when my mom took me to a “healer”, he told me I had a lot of internal scar tissue. We discussed since I had keloid scars externally from an abdominal operation, that I probably also had them internally. Reading your article I now understand he was talking about adhesions. I thank you for creating an awareness of adhesions which might explain why so many people continue to struggle with mobility and lifting issues long past their original injury. I have followed your writings for over 20 years. Thank you so much for sharing this blog.
Thank you so much for your post. Based upon what I learned at Clear Passage, any type of surgery leaves adhesions in its wake. I hope you can find a local practitioner who is skilled at releasing the fascia. You could also call Clear Passage for a short consult. Hope this will help you on your path to total health and healing.
Ann Louise, as someone who’s explored many, many therapies for chronic pain, and found improvement with myofascial release techniques, my ears really perked up while reading this post. I’m curious, did you fly to Florida so Belinda Wurn, the founder of Clear Passage, could work on you?
Thank you for your post. I flew to Florida especially to meet the Wurns – both Belinda and Larry. Belinda did my initial evaluation and her gifted husband Larry was one of my three terrific therapists. I just can’t rave about the treatment enough, even though I am still in the healing phase. When adhesions are as deeply embedded as mine, having highly skilled hands of healing is critical. Hope you will also look into this or at least have a brief evaluation.
Thanks, Ann Louise for all this information. I am indeed planning to look into experiencing Clear Passage. And thanks so much for all of your posts. They are extraordinarily well researched, informative, and helpful. Best wishes with you continued healing.
Ann Louise — Hope this isn’t a copy of one I tried posting for the first time. Thanks for this info.
What is a TMA? I am finding many definitions online; none seem to apply to this conversation.
Also, do you know if Anodyne therapy is beneficial even though there are considerable EMFs happening from the machine? It seemed to help me with healing from a tooth extraction, but now I’m questioning this after seeing a reading of the EMF’s generated.
Thank you very much!
Dorian, a TMA or Tissue Mineral Analysis uses a sample of hair to determine heavy metal and nutrient mineral levels in the tissues. It provides extremely helpful information. Here’s the link to read more about it: https://www.unikeyhealth.com/tissue-mineral-analysis
With something like Anodyne therapy you need to weigh the benefits with the consequences of the EMF’s the machine generates.
Ann Louise , would this treatment be effective for someone with severe lower back pain? My husband had back surgery 30 years ago for disc herniation which left him as bad or worse than before his surgery,
He has had several sports injuries in his years as a young athlete and I suspect he has a great deal of scar tissue and adhesions. I love for him to have some relief.
ALG would strongly recommend a consultation with the Clear Passage folks!!! It is complimentary so you have nothing to lose.
Ever heard of the Gokhale method? check it out. She has cured scoliosis in a teenager!!
Ann Louise –
I’m sorry you went through this and am very glad that you are better!
In regards to your gaining a roll of fat around you middle for the first time, due to elevated cortisol, did it go away, and if so, how?
Clear passage sounds like an amazing place. I have recently discovered fascia blasting. It is something i can do to myself at home to release my fascia. I too have done melt method foam rolling, which i love, but the fasciablaster breaks up fascia that is much deeper. Thank you for sharing your story.
Thank you Dr. Gittleman and Belinda Wurn for this great information. I will be 66 this year and in the last 6 months have found I have vertigo and tinnitus in both ears, a jaw that is locking, blocked sinuses and have a very very stiff achy body. This article mentioned pain going down and how abdominal scars etc. influence a lot of things. In my life I have had an abortion, a tubal (where they cut through), a hysterectomy with ovaries intact, 2 bladder repairs and my gall bladder removed. Have 3rd vertebrae issues and was dragged by a horse about 50 years ago, which I think is coming back to haunt me now!! Also my SED rate is always high or so they tell me. Does Belinda have clinics in Canada or is there anyone in Canada she would recommend as I am Canadian? I realize you are busy Dr. Gittleman and you may not even see my post as this is an article from 2016 that I just came across, but what would you suggest of your products for me to consider/purchase? It was an amazing article and put things into perspective for me as I have always been very active and reasonably fit until the last 6 months. Have a Happy Easter and thank you for sharing your information and knowledge. BB