There are several factors that can create a “monkey-wrench” in your healing process. You may know of someone who seems to be doing all the right things to heal from a tough musculo-skeletal problem, but it’s slow going. You may even be struggling with this issue yourself.
In approaching someone from a chiropractic and cranio-sacral perspective, we first start simple, working to soften stuckness and tightness and urging symmetry. In many cases, even severe pains will disappear with this approach. But what if the pain persists? Then we look for the monkey-wrench.
Structurally speaking, there are a few main areas that can create imbalance throughout the whole body when they are “off”, even if that area is not in pain itself. The very upper neck, the sacro-iliac joint(s) and the latissiumus dorsi muscle(s) are the top three trouble makers. They must be restored to balance before the rest of the body can relax and regain equilibrium. These areas are just so loaded with nerves that they create a lot of background noise and confusion when the body is trying to heal.
Another structural issue which can be more difficult to identify is what I call the trauma pattern. These include misalignments, and/or stiffness in the bones (think of “bone shock”) that comes only as a result of a brute force. People can live with these trauma patterns for years with no problem (say, from falling off a horse, or having a car wreck, or a ski injury). Then later, some other thing happens that sets the body off-kilter, and then just won’t resolve because the trauma-pattern has become a sticking point to healing. These patterns are usually very easily restored to normal flexibility once properly identified. After all, the body wants to be healthy but sometimes gets blinded in the path of self-healing.
Another trouble-maker is the true short leg. Now, many people will recall hearing a chiropractor speak of a short leg that gets even after treatment. That, however, is not the same kind of short leg. A “true”, or “anatomical” short leg is a boney difference in length. This creates an uneven pelvis (the foundation for the whole spine). That can be a monkey-wrench which in some cases will actually need a heel lift to resolve, (even if the pain is in another part of the body). Heel lifts are not to be toyed with, however, and proper diagnosis is necessary before proceeding with their usage.
Scoliosis, in some people, can also be a monkey-wrench. Scoliosis is a side to side curvature of the spine. It comes on slowly during development and is pretty much a permanent thing. This curvature can be a monkey-wrench to the healing process in two different ways. It almost always goes along with a tight spinal cord (think of a tight bungee cord running through the boney spine). The tight cord is a huge monkey-wrench and the cord must be released in every single scoliosis person by rote, if the treatment is expected to have any lasting results. Then in some folks, the rib cage stiffness is a monkey-wrench too, and the scoliotic curvature needs to be softened. People usually get a little taller with the releases.
In the few folks where pain persists after all of the structural issues are ruled out (or in the event that other factors obviously need attention from the start), then other potential monkey- wrenches must be ruled out. These include: thyroid issues (slow healing, and certain arthridites); digestive problems (can refer pain to sacro-iliac regions); liver/gallbladder stagnation (makes neck stiffness and shoulder pain); money problems (makes low back pain); emotional strain (multiple pain sites)…always: in some of the people some of the time. Each person is a unique creation, in a state of active response to a unique environment and must be assessed and treated as such.