22. How the MyoWorx Concussion Program got me Headache-Free for the First Time in Over Two Years

Terry Moore's MyoWorx Concussion Program treats concussions. But it does so by evaluating and treating the outside of the brain as a way of influencing the inside of it.  This approach has produced astonishing results.  And it's given me my life back.  

Let me explain.

The Evaluation

My first appointment at MyoWorx lasted five hours.  It began with a physiotherapist gathering a detailed history of my story and symptoms.  Along with the extensive paperwork I was asked to fill out, she wanted to hear everything I had to say face to face.  From there, I underwent the most comprehensive physical evaluation I had ever received since suffering my concussion. 

It started with range of motion measurements of every angle of my neck, shoulders, wrists and lumbar spine.  In my neck alone the physiotherapist took exact measurements, in centimeters, of my flexion, extension, lateral flexion and rotation.  Then she tested my grip strength and followed with more strength tests of my torso.  Then I was given a vision test and finished off with a ten-minute walk on the treadmill to monitor how my symptoms reacted under stress. 

The MyoWorx Machine

By the time the evaluation was over I was exhausted.  Luckily, the next part of the appointment involved lying down for a thirty-minute treatment using the MyoWorx machine.  A different therapist brought me into a new room and placed soft, rubbery pads on my shoulder blade, trap, and neck muscles.

                                        Source: MyoWorx.com

                                       Source: MyoWorx.com

The pads were connected by wire to a three by one foot machine with a bunch of buttons on it.  She turned on the machine and soon the rubbery pads were emitting very light electrical frequencies into my muscles.  It felt much like the sensation of a stim machine, which is commonly used to treat muscular issues. 

Except Terry’s MyoWorx machine is very different from your typical stim machine. Terry spent years studying the patterns of these electrical frequencies, and has identified the appropriate course to allow the muscles to loosen most effectively.  The key component is ensuring that the intensities don’t cause the muscles to contract.  Ideally, the levels are set right before the point of muscle contraction.  If the muscles were left to contract, like a normal stim, they would fatigue, tighten and continue to perpetuate the chronic muscle tension cycle pattern.  It is precisely this pattern that Terry’s program works to break. 

At this point, blood flow increases and biochemicals in the muscles are altered in a way that allows them to loosen much more effectively than they otherwise would.  This outcome is critical for the next part of the program: stretching and strengthening. 

The Stretching and Strengthening Program

After thirty minutes on the machine I was sent upstairs to the MyoWorx Concussion Center, a wing of the building devoted specifically to the treatment of concussion patients.  One area of the center held four catty-corner chairs facing a wall that bore a large mirror on two sides, and to the right of that area were two therapy beds, a treadmill, and a few racks of weights and bands.  I was introduced to a third physiotherapist who asked me to sit in one of the chairs facing the mirror wall.  This is when I began my rehab. 

I was taught a variety of comprehensive, pinpointed stretches that targeted the shoulder blades, traps, and all eighteen muscles in the neck.  According to Terry, each of these muscles, when injured or tense, can compromise cranial nerve function and blood flow to the brain, thereby contributing to or producing a variety of concussion-like symptoms – from dizziness to headaches and every symptom in between.

Properly releasing the tension in these areas allows for increased blood flow to the brain and relieves compression on the nerves, which can dramatically decrease concussion symptoms.     

                                                                                                                       Source: MyoWorx.com 

                                                                                                                      Source: MyoWorx.com 

However, in order for the muscles to maintain this normal state of function, they need to be strengthened.  When muscles are tense for two years like mine were, they tend to be very weak and are unable to stay loose for longer than a few seconds.  This is why MyoWorx incorporates a targeted strengthening program aimed at rebuilding endurance in the muscles. 

The muscle strengthening exercises were to be done once a day, while the stretches were done at least twice a day, or in my case, whenever I started experiencing increased symptoms.  After learning the entire program, I was sent back downstairs for my final appointment with Terry Moore himself.

The Consultation

Terry, a Canadian at heart, greeted me cheerily with a thick accent that perfectly complimented the long, white mustache he bore. He was eager to get chatting and after spending more than ninety minutes with me in this consultation, it didn’t take long to realize that Terry is in this business for one reason… to help people.   

Most people like to help others, of course, but I think that tendency turns from a natural instinct to a full-blown, dyer necessity when you’ve suffered long enough yourself without any help.  Terry knows this better than anyone else.  He suffered from concussion issues for twenty-seven years before he took matters upon himself and figured out how to get better himself.  And from there the MyoWorx Concussion Program was formed. 

After looking through my chart and going over the range of motion and strength testing I did earlier in the day, he concluded that I was in pretty bad shape. The lateral flexion, lateral rotation, downward flexion and upward extension in my cervical spine were all extremely limited, particularly on the right side of my neck.  My shoulder flexion and abduction were also very limited, and my lumbar (lower back) flexion was totally locked up.  Additionally, my grip and neck strength testing were not where they should be. 

Terry then explained how these restrictions were contributing to my symptoms:

  • The damage to the right side of my neck, particularly the muscles around the C1-C2 vertebrae and the upper trapezius tendon, were impacting the occipital nerve and causing my headaches.
  • The restriction of the rotational portion of my neck (predominately the sternocleidomastoid muscle) was affecting binocular vision and preventing my eyes from rotating properly.
  • The muscles just under my ear were affecting a nerve that controls the tensor tympani – which is the muscle that pulls on the eardrum and, when too taught, contributes to noise sensitivity. Another muscle at the base of the skull was causing my tinnitus
  • The tension in my trap muscles was compressing on the nerves that fed into my arm, producing the nerve pain in my shoulders and arms and the weakness in my hands. 
  • The tight muscles in my lumbar spine were compressing the nerves that run into my lower body, which was the source of the intense nerve pain in my feet and shins.
  • The vagus nerve, which triggers the anxiety center of the brain, was activated as a result of a tight sternocleidomastoid (SCM) in my neck.  Terry believed this physical activation of anxiety was causing the sporadic chills all over my body and perpetuating the sympathetic overload.  This was keeping me in a constant “fight or flight” state and likely contributed to the abnormal nervous system response that had sent my body into a tailspin (causing the involuntary twitching, swelling and many of the symptoms listed above) after receiving prolotherapy injections a year prior.   

When he explained all of my symptoms in this way, it made total sense to me.  After two years of unfathomable struggles, the big puzzle of my health felt as if it was finally being solved.  And it didn’t end there. 

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve always known that when I suffered my concussion, I also significantly damaged the muscles in my neck.  It wasn’t until this consultation with Terry that I fully understood what happens to muscles when they are injured, and the chronic cycles that can occur when they aren’t rehabilitated properly: 

What I know now:

Damage to any muscle will cause them to tighten and hence weaken. The worst thing you can do when this happens to your muscles is not use them. 

What I did after I got my concussion: 

I laid in bed for months listening to Harry Potter on audiobook as part of the cognitive rest protocol. 

What lying in bed did to my whiplash injury:

Inevitably, it caused my muscles to weaken further and lose their endurance.

This created a cycle that when I used my muscles (anytime I was vertical), they fatigued, further contracted, compressed on my nerves and caused my “concussion” symptoms. 

Why I kept getting worse:

My neck muscles kept tightening and fatiguing the more I used them.  No wonder sitting at a desk twelve hours a day for two months at my job intensified my headaches to the point that I was bed-ridden.  My headaches back then were so severe that no explanation I give here can ever really give them justice. 

And no wonder my biggest trigger of symptoms was always physical activity.  Why? Exercise naturally fatigues your muscles.  As a result, exercise caused my already weak muscles to chronically contract even more, thereby leading to a huge increase in symptoms.  

Why the MyoWorx machine is so critical:

For two years, even if I did so much as stretch, my symptoms flared up because my muscles would immediately zap back into tightness mode.  This is because over time your body and brain begin to perceive chronically tight muscles as normal, and the longer they’re tight the harder it is to break the cycle.  The MyoWorx therapy is a critical part of breaking this pattern and preventing a rebound effect from being as pronounced.

Headache = 0

After explaining everything to me and patiently answering all of my questions, Terry asked how I was feeling and I told him I had a bad headache, like always.  Then he said I wasn’t allowed to leave his office until we got my headache to a zero.  I smirked, and thought he was full of crap.

He began by walking me through some of the stretches I had just learned and he spent some time doing manual therapy on the tender areas of my neck.  After maybe twenty minutes of going back and fourth with this, it happened…. euphoria.

For the first time in over two years, I experienced what it felt like to have literally no headache.  No clutter. No heaviness.  No constriction. No barbed wires.  No gut-wrenching pain. Instead, my head felt light and clear.  Easy and relaxed.  Calm.  It was insanity. 

And the way we got there was annoyingly simple: targeted stretching and strengthening, complimented with the positive benefits of the MyoWorx machine.     

I looked at Terry and I told him that even though this was amazing, it made me really angry that it took me so long to find him and get this experience. 

He replied instantly:

“You can’t change the past, you can only change the future.”