Someone requested a more detailed explanation of what my "structural issues" are. Creating a summary is difficult for a few reasons: One is that osteopaths don't tend to be a very talkative bunch. Another is that sometimes one issue doesn't make itself clear until a after a different issue is taken care of. Also many if not all strains are connected in some manner, so since singling out every bone, ligament, tendon, muscle, fascia, etc is impractical, then where does one structural problem end and another begin?
Nevertheless, I will do my best to explain some to give people an idea of what I'm talking about when I refer to them collectively.
- --- The bone(s?) at the base of my skull are slightly crumpled inwards, interfering with everything that goes through that area. My first osteo said she calls this "walnut head", and it's the source of the constant pressure I feel in that area 24/7, at times increasing to become a headache. Her work at opening that up immediately released the pressure, which nearly caused me to fall asleep on the table from the intense relief. But it didn't hold because I didn't continue that area of treatment. Yet.
- --- My sphenoid bone is tilted back to front; my second osteo assigned me the "homework" of pressing on a certain area on the roof of my mouth in a prescribed manner a few times a day. The relief on my sinuses is wonderful! However since it causes pain in the back of my skull I only do it rarely; I expect that will change once I get my "walnut head" issue addressed again (my current osteo is focusing on other issues first).
- --- My upper jaw is (was?) all wonky. In the past couple weeks a gap between my front teeth that I've always had has now closed, after a lot of pressure, and in the past few days my bite has changed enough to make eating a bit of a re-learning experience. Included was a lot of pain in the jawline close to my ears as things moved around. I'm curious to get x-rays someday to prove the remarkable improvement in my teeth aligning, but for now I'm content to just enjoy it.
- --- The bones on the outside of my head are unusually hard due to repeated trauma. I played rough, and it shows. When my osteo first felt my head he turned to my caregiver and noted: "She's - literally - hard-headed". That bones harden with repeated trauma is an accepted fact, and martial artists utilize intentional repeated impact to their bones to make them harder to break. What I hadn't heard of was that it could be reversed if those traumas could be "unlocked' from the bones, as it were, through cranial osteopathy.
- --- The drainage of my eustachian tubes is hindered by structural issues, as indicated by my first osteo. I didn't manage to get the details on exactly how, but it was an important point because I suffered constant ear infections as a child and again during my severe onset, which according to that osteo (who was a former surgeon) could be explained by the problems she was feeling in my anatomy.
- --- Cervical spine is out of alignment. Didn't get details on specific vertebrae because osteo was just scribbling things down quickly as we were already overtime. I had discovered for myself long ago that I couldn't roll my head around like the other gymnasts during warm up or I'd end up tweaking something in my neck, no matter how carefully I eased into it (beginning with slow partial head turns with a stop halfway through and gradually working up). I still cannot do so safely yet.
- --- The fascia throughout my throat often spasms, restricting or even at times completely cutting off airflow and/or swallowing ability. It is usually in response to an inhaled chemical exposure, but can also happen with foods. My first few osteo appointments caused it to spasm in such a way that I could only breathe - barely - if I held my head in one certain direction; any deviation from the awkward posture and airflow was cut to zero. It remained thus for several hours. My first osteo decided I must be having psych issues and recommended counseling to address the problem. I didn't see her again. When the same thing happened with my current osteo, he traced the problem to the base of my ribcage where the fascia in my throat is anchored, and gave instructions over the phone about heat application and pressing on my ribs in a certain manner, which relieved the crisis. And that brings me to...
- --- A rib was poking me in the back every time I tried to take a deep breath. The area would at times spasm, which resulted in about 1-3 days of significant pain where the slightest false move sent me in agony. This began prior to my severe onset. I had a massage therapist, chiropractor, and random people try to help me with it, but found no relief. During osteo treatment it began to slide into place sometimes only to slide out again, but it is finally in its rightful place for good, though I can still feel pain in that area as the surrounding tissues recover.
- --- Lower ribs are/were compacted inwards, and the fascia inbetween them too tight to allow for proper expansion of the ribcage. This kept me from achieving full normal breathing capacity. It has been this way as far back as I can remember, and there were times in the past I actually bruised myself attempting to force that soft area between my ribs in the center of my chest to loosen up, because I could feel that it was interfering with my singing and other performances.
- --- Sternum is too hard, and that entire area is not expanding outwards freely with each breath as it ought to.
This post is already much longer than I anticipated, so I'll try to wrap it up. Issues with my thoracic spine take more elaboration than I should go into here; sufficed to say it's caused extensive problems that I'd never have guessed were related. Abdomen has an artery going through that's off, and the affected nerves in that area appear to have been the mechanism behind my mysterious G.I. episodes sending me to the hospital (click here for a more detailed explanation). My pelvis is/was tilted sideways with the left side higher than the right, and my coccyx (i.e. tailbone) was curved inward too far.
Some of the more trivial things: My left hand has a bone extending down the side of the hand (straight down from the little finger) that keeps popping out of place where it connects a the heel of my hand. I knew this before seeing an osteo, and whenever it gets uncomfortable it's a simple matter to use my other hand to manually pop it back in again with a loud crack. A naturopath trained in Traditional Chinese Medicine mentioned that my left wrist pulse is always weaker than my right, which is normally opposite because the heart is on the left side and due to proximity the pulse in the left should be more robust. I suspect, but have not yet confirmed with my osteo, that this is another structural matter interfering with proper bloodflow. Growing up I was left-handed but always observed that my right hand was stronger, so the strength required for the task determined which hand I used, with my left reserved for precision activities.
The above listing is not a complete rundown of all my structural issues, just several of the most blatant/interesting ones. Hope the read was worth the neurons expended!
Specifics on my structural problems
Blog entry posted by Dainty, Aug 6, 2012.
About the Author
Dainty became ill as a teenager and spent 7 years mostly bedridden from ME/CFS, life-threatening MCS reactions, extreme food allergies/sensitivities, cognitive impairment, fibromyalgia, episodes of temporary paralysis and various unexplained emergencies. The past couple years she has experienced profound improvement from various treatment approaches. With homelessness and PTSD presenting as significant obstacles, she continues to pursue healing full time and find incorrigible opportunities to enjoy life.