Monday, March 8, 2010


"Julie, it's just not natural for someone to be as knotted up in the shoulder and neck area as you are presenting." And thus confirmed by Dr. McMurry was my body's need for something to give. Literally. Hence, my appointment today with Jane, an Occupational Therapist & MFR (Myofascial Release) Practitioner.

"MFR" what? You may be wondering. Well, here's a super-duper quick overview simiar to the education I received today.

"Fascia is a specialized system of the body which has an appearance similiar to a spider's web or sweater. It's very densely woven and interpenetrates every structure of our body. It is a tough connective tissue which spreads throughout the body in a three-dimensional web from your head to your feet without interruption. [Amazing, huh?] Trauma or inflammation can create a binding down of fascia resulting in excessive pressure on nerves, muscles, blood vessels, osseous structures [huh?] and/or organs. Since all of the standard tests such as x-rays, myelograms, CAT scans, etc., do not show the fascial restrictions, it is thought that an extremely high percentage of people suffering with pains, headaches, and/or lack of motion [me! me! me!] may be having fascial problems, but most go undiagnosed." (As noted in non-referenced photocopy material given by Jane the Occupational Therapist.)

And while all of the above is indeed fascinating my interest lies more in discovering MFR's actual success rate when it comes to alleviating near constant neck & shoulder pain and increasing limited mobility in my life.

Three times I've injected my spine with steroids (well, not me personally, I let a doctor help.)

I've filled numerous prescriptions and swallowed horse-size anti-inflammation pills. (No small feat, mind you.)

While pacing the living room carpet in an effort to ward off intense discomfort at 2:34 AM., I've dialed 1-800 numbers and purchased cheap plastic "ONLY $19.95! Back Savers!"

And I still hurt.

Hence Jane getting personal with my fascia. *smile*

After mandatory forms were properly noted and at the end of a lovely give-and-go conversation regarding my symptoms (a lengthier time period than any of my visits with previous Dr.'s combined!) it was time for Release.

Over the course of 40-minutes or so, Jane applied sustained pressure to various tissue areas of my body. While doing so, she encouraged me to relax and to visualize the tissue restriction (i.e. pain/tightness/pull) sofening like "butter melting." (Stop rolling your eyes, I can see you through the monitor.) She engaged and manipulated the tissue restrictions presented (oh, boy, did they present) by moving gently into them, then gently (there was no barbaric pressure, whew!) elogating or telescoping to facilitate and follow the tissue as it released.

As she did her MFR thing I was struck by a few realities:

1. I do not know how to visualize my body tissue as "melting butter." Picturing butter on a cob of sweet corn? You betcha. But not so much the inner dynamics of my physical make-up. Which led me to the following...

2. I do not naturally follow very well. Again and again, I noticed I wanted to "anticipate" how and where my body would relax. I wanted to be ahead of the game. And when, on occassion, I did "go with it," as soon as I thought, "Hey, I'm going with it," BOOM! back to Tissue Control Girl became I. (I'm pretty sure that's not proper grammar or sentence structure but we're going to let it go.) Good grief, can you say, "Control Freak"?! And then in the midst of stretching fascia and self-loathing the following scripture verse came to mind....

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. ~Psalm 139:13

The densely woven, sweater like tissue was formed, was connected, was "knit together" by the very will and creative hand of God.

Me! A woman who since earliest childhood has always detested biological "Family Tree" projects. For mine more closely resembles a stump.

Father unknown.
Ethnicity unknown.
The attempted grafting of half-brothers and sisters relationships largely unsuccessful.
A stump I tell you, a stump.

But today, in the somewhat sterile and oh, so, humbling (um, standing in ones skivvies before a complete stranger will certainly do that for you) confines of an office suite, God saw me. He tenderly and kindly warmed the soul of this self-confessed, control-freakish, 44-year old woman with the sweater of Divine connectedness.

And for that, I am most thankful this late evening.


  1. Julie- I saw you about 11 years ago at a "Hearts At Home" conference in Rochester Minnesota.
    Just heard you on Family Life Today, and yes, the guilt of being a mother seems to keep on giving. Thanks for your encouragement! I am like many other mommies, just trying to keep up with this thing we call 'Motherhood!'

  2. Beautifully written! So glad you are finally getting some relief. I think it's so easy as a woman to let stresses of life (and guilt as a mom) get to us physically before we even realize it. That's where I'm at now - but my chiropractor is helping me heal physically. Now I just need to get back in His word and allow Him to change my focus as a mom. I just heard you for the first time on the radio today and was so encouraged by you. Thank you!

  3. Julie,
    First time visiting here by way of Mary DeMuth. I loved your comment on her post.

    "Your identity is not found (nor has it ever been)in the finite opinions/observations/critiques
    compliments/praise of mortal dust-particulars commonly referred to as humans/aka women. In HIM we live, move, and have our being."

    I'd love to quote you for a book I'm writing about our identity in Christ.

    After reading this post of yours, I have a question for you. Have you ever tried chiropractic? I know some are scared about it, but I'm married to a chiropractor and work in the office. I have seen amazing healings of just the type of pain you describe. There are nonforce techniques (like my husband uses) that do not twist the neck at all. Check out
    Facial release is great at relieving the tension in the muscles, but the muscles are usually tensed because they are protecting the nerve. By gently moving the vertebae to take pressure off the nerve, chiropractic gets to the root of the problem. I'd be glad to talk to you about - if you're interested. I'm a personal testimony myself about the release of neck/shoulder knotted muscles.