Jude’s Neck Story: Moving Freely and Pain-Free After Seven Years

When Jude first came to Body Gears, it had been seven years since his life-altering bicycle accident. He had been fairly fit prior to the accident, competing in several triathlons, running frequently, and biking 70 to 80 miles a week. Everything changed though when Jude cycled head-on into a tree at about 15 miles an hour. Though he’d had his helmet on, he suffered serious injuries and considers himself lucky to still be alive.

He wound up with two compression-fractured vertebrae in his neck, a severe concussion, and a herniated disc which impinged on one of the nerves running down his left arm, causing it to become immobile for three or four months.

Jude was initially treated for the disc herniation with steroid injections, his head was immobilized to allow his fractured vertebrae to heal, and he had a sling for his non-functioning arm. This was all recounted to him later though as he couldn’t recall anything from the first four months after the accident due to the concussion.

About a year later, Jude had regained about 70 percent of his normal bodily function but experienced continual headaches and pain in his neck and left arm.

Over the course of the next six years, he tried to find some pain relief from the continual neck stiffness. He couldn’t turn his head from left to right, at least not quickly, so crossing the street, riding a bicycle, and driving a car were all very difficult and really unsafe.

“If I ever had my head turned to the side and swallowed, I would get these shooting pains down both sides of my neck. I still, until very recently, was getting that.”

Luckily, Jude’s wife is a pediatric physical therapist and encouraged him to seek therapy. He went to a sports facility for rehab, which helped him regain his arm function, but they were not able to help him with the constant headaches and neck stiffness. Nobody, it seemed, was able to help him with swallowing or turning his head at all.

“I tried physical therapy, acupuncture, massage therapy, probably three different physical therapists, three different chiropractors, four different massage therapists, and with some of them I would have these little breakthroughs, but it would go from 70 percent well to maybe 75 percent well. I really couldn’t get to where I could turn my head well and swallow or without soreness and stiffness in my neck.”

In a twist of fate, a colleague of Jude’s wife recommended Body Gears to her following her elbow surgery and she suggested that Jude make an appointment as well.

Jude saw Dr. Garrett Petry, PT, DPT, CFMT on a regular basis as well as Body Gears Founder April Oury, PT MS, IOC, CFMT, FAAOMPT who treated him on several occasions in conjunction with Garrett.

As a Certified Functional Manual Therapist (CFMT), Garrett utilized the Body Gears treatment approach of Functional Manual Therapy™ to do things like correlate soft tissue and joint restrictions from areas of the body that might be seemingly unrelated, such as the sternum/ribs and fascia of the cranium.

“They are scientifically, systematically peeling the onion of my problem. Between the head and brain and the rest of the body is the neck and I had all kinds of problems because of this accident and another accident, and there are just so many different levels of muscle and tissue and spinal issues. Garrett has literally gone through segment by segment on my neck, muscle group by muscle group, it felt like resetting them in a way.”

Garrett especially focused on all of the different ways Jude’s vertebrae should be able to move and followed a Functional Manual Therapy™ principle of exploring areas that had never been treated by other practitioners, leading to some of their greatest gains.

“I couldn’t have gotten to where I am without all of the help I received, but it is this technique way beyond any other technique that I’ve been through that has produced results that have been way beyond what I expected.”

Jude was given simple exercises to do at home that were neither strenuous nor painful. They worked on the core muscles of his neck and other muscle groups that he hadn’t been using because he was protecting or guarding painful areas from aggravating movements.

“There is nothing wrong with the muscles but you’re afraid to use them and just haven’t used them correctly in so long so they are re-teaching my body how to work effectively again.”

According to Garrett, “Traditionally, most manual physical therapy is performed in a relaxed position while lying on a table, which is great to start, but the patient’s problems are not always exposed while lying down. The Functional Manual Therapy™ approach looks at the immensely complex, interdependent system, which is our body, and puts the pieces together in ways that cannot be done while lying down.”

Body Gears has a culture of advancing its therapists’ clinical reasoning and techniques to develop of some of the highest quality manual physical therapists. With their unique skill sets, they able to help the variety of people who come to them seeking better health.

Today, there is very little Jude can’t do and he doesn’t wake up in pain anymore. He was even able to participate in a Thanksgiving family touch-football game that had him running around, turning, and jumping for the ball. His neck didn’t hurt then and not the next day so now Jude and his wife recommend Body Gears to everyone.

“Fortunately this was covered by insurance but I would have spent money out of my own pocket to feel like this.”

At Body Gears, we believe that freedom of movement is the foundation for a healthy and satisfying life. Click here to schedule your appointment and get back to feeling as good as Jude.

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As always, consult with your Licensed Physical Therapist for individualized advice. For those in Illinois, visit your PT immediately without a prescription or referral.

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