There are several popular self-help books on neck pain.
Among the most popular are two of Robin McKenzie books: “Treat Your Own Neck” and “7 Steps to a Pain-Free Life: How to Rapidly Relieve Back, Neck, and Shoulder Pain” and Rick Olderman’s “Fixing You: Neck Pain & Headaches: Self-Treatment for Healing Neck Pain and Headaches Due to Bulging Disks, Degenerative Disks, and Other Diagnoses.”
So, who needs another book on neck pain?
There is a fundamental difference between these wonderful books and the current book.
Traditional books focus on neck pain in isolation and offer exercises that are meant to help people to reduce neck pain.
This book is different.
For example, based on many research studies we know that poor quality sleep (one of the predisposing factors on the image above) leads to muscle tissue dysfunction (arrow 2), which in turn can lead to neck pain (arrow 3). Muscle tissue dysfunction interferes with good quality sleep and makes you more emotionally reactive and stressed (arrow 6). Many predisposing factors, including poor sleep quality, can increase the risk of serious disorders such as heart disease and cancer (arrow 1). Finally, neck pain can cause anxiety, which in turn can reinforce neck pain (arrows 4 and 5).
As you can see from the image above, in this book, I do not consider neck pain in isolation. Instead, neck pain is part of a much broader process that leads not only to neck pain but also to other disorders.
The model shown on the image explains how this book is different from other neck pain books.
Instead of looking at neck pain as an isolated disorder, in this book, you will learn how to look at the neck pain comprehensively. This comprehensive approach will bring the following benefits:
1. You will understand how to treat neck pain faster.
2. You will understand how to treat neck pain so that it does not come back.
3. You will understand how to heal other concurrent major conditions such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and others.
4. You will understand how to improve the quality of your life by correcting the function of the major bodily systems.
I treat neck pain as a symptom of your major bodily systems being dysfunctional. This symptom informs you that you need to correct the function of your major systems.
Indeed, rarely does neck pain present without other co-morbidities and other disorders. Traditional neck pain books consider neck pain as an isolated problem. But the clinical reality is that for most patients, neck pain is just one of the symptoms. And this book is dedicated to outlining how to overcome major concurrent disorders, instead of focusing on neck pain in isolation.
Relieving neck pain without addressing the factors that cause, create and perpetuate neck pain reduces the likelihood that you will get rid of your neck pain for good.
And even if the treatment brings short term success, in the longer term, the dysfunctional systems of your body are likely to create another series of symptoms and disorders. And this time around, the diseases might be much more serious than the neck pain.
The approach that traditional neck pain books take is similar to what a good car mechanic does. Imagine that you drive down the road and get a flat tire. You go to your mechanic to replace the tire. You get a new tire and drive away as a satisfied customer. But a week later, you get a flat tire once again. And then again and again. You become good friends with the car mechanic as you now see him every week. The mechanic is doing a good job at replacing tires, and every single week you get brand new high-quality tires.
There is at least one question that your mechanic is not concerned about: “Why do you get flat tire so often?”
It could be that once a week you drive down a road full of barely noticeable nails, and maybe, just maybe a better long term solution would involve avoiding driving down that road.
But your car mechanic is not Sherlock Holmes, and he does not get paid to prevent car problems. He gets paid to repair your car, and he is doing a great job.
How would the car mechanic attitude need to change to get him interested in finding out the actual cause of your car’s problems?
He would have to widen his horizons and start thinking about systems involved in you getting a flat tire. He would have to start asking questions extending beyond the car. He would need to look at the entire complicated system within which the phenomenon of flat tire happens: the behavior of the driver, the kind of roads you are driving on, weather conditions and many other factors.
The advantages of the systems thinking approach include faster problem resolution while making sure that it does not come back.
And this is the key point and one of the great benefits of systems thinking, so I will repeat it again.
When a therapist goes beyond trying to alleviate your neck pain and ventures into trying to identify dysfunction of which systems might have led to your neck pain, you get the following benefits:
– The treatment becomes much more successful.
– The reduction in pain comes faster.
This is the approach we take at the Soma System Educational Center for Non-Pharmacological Evidence-Informed Medicine. And this is the approach you will learn about in this book.
Our goal extends beyond reducing your neck pain into correcting function of the major systems, improving the quality of your life and reducing your risk of getting sick with other serious medical conditions. Instead of performing a localized flat tire replacement, we aim to identify and correct function of the systems that caused this problem in the first place.
Why Should You Read This Book?
Over 20 years ago, my father started suffering from severe neck pain and stiffness. His doctors kept prescribing him one medication after another. One year after his initial neck stiffness complaint, he was taking five medications. These medications caused side effects, and he started suffering from insomnia and depression. He spent the rest of his life in suffering.
Around the same time, life became so stressful that I also started suffering from neck pain and stiffness myself.
So, I know what it is like to ignore pain hoping it will go away by itself.
I know what it is like to look up to medical experts, such as physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors, only to realize that your pain is not going anywhere.
Challenges that I have encountered in my life, such as my father’s illness and my own encounter with pain and insomnia have pushed me to use my academic research background to investigate and develop novel methods for overcoming pain.
In the process, I learned that I highly overestimated expertise of the physicians, physical therapists, and chiropractors. For example, research shows that clinical physicians are on average 17 years behind current research.
I learned that it is possible to overcome many conditions without medications and without the side effects they cause.
I learned the tremendous benefit of educating the patient rather than “treating” the patient.
Within the past six years, I have had the privilege of teaching these novel methods for overcoming pain to many private clients as well as to thousands of veterans through a non-profit Healing War Scars I created to provide assistance to veterans in need.
I decided to write this short book to change your mind about neck pain and condense the most essential information neck patient needs. The kind of information you are unlikely to get from your physician.
Here is what you will learn and how you will benefit from reading the book.
1. Reframing neck pain.
First and foremost, I hope this book will change the way you think about neck pain. Instead of looking at neck pain as a nasty ailment that has befallen you, I offer you to take a different perspective. The perspective of neck pain as a gift that will push you to learn and to transform your life by resolving dysfunctional systems that cause, create and perpetuate your neck pain.
Once you learn to resolve these dysfunctions, you will see not only how your neck pain disappears, but also how many other health problems go away, you become healthier and more joyful, and quality of your life increases.
2. The fastest and safest method to reduce your neck pain.
You will learn what creates your pain and what you can do to resolve that pain rapidly.
3. What causes and perpetuates your neck pain.
Based on the latest scientific research, you will learn what factors create and sustain your neck pain. Knowing what these factors are will give you a roadmap on how to overcome your pain.
4. Access to online material.
You will get access to the bonus material that among other things includes:
– information on how to join the 30-day neck pain buster supervised the program,
– self-bodywork and mobility exercises for alleviating neck pain,
– functional health bottleneck test and interactive online educational program,
– additional articles and educational material,
– supplementary images and videos.
5. Cutting-edge scientific research.
Most of the material in the book relies on and cites the latest research. You can either spend weeks searching for and studying research articles, or you can invest several hours of your time into reading this book.
 Morris, Z. S., Wooding, S., and Grant, J. (2011). The answer is 17 years, what is the question: understanding time lags in translational research. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(12), 510-520. DOI: 10.1258/jrsm.2011.110180
Will This Book Help Me If I Have a Specific Neck Disorder: Whiplash, Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy?
About 80–90% of patients complaining of neck pain do not have a clearly identifiable pathology causing pain while about 10–20% of those suffering neck pain have a specific pathology causing neck pain.
This book will be useful for anybody suffering from neck pain irrespective if your physician has told you that you have non-specific or specific neck pain.
While I will not discuss how to work with specific neck pain disorders such as whiplash, cervical radiculopathy or cervical myelopathy this book will still be very much useful to you. I guarantee that the knowledge you get from this book will help you to substantially reduce your pain.
First, identifying the exact cause of your neck pain is very difficult if not impossible due to a vast number of structures that can potentially cause pain. Even if your physician attributed your pain to a specific cause, this might not be 100% true. Even if your pain is caused by a mechanical dysfunction such as nerve compression, in many patients a substantial portion of pain comes from muscle tissues rather than from the compressed nerve. In this book, you will learn about the importance of muscle tissue and how to decrease pain by improving muscle tissue health.
Second, while correcting predisposing and perpetuating factors may not heal your neck pain completely, understanding the comprehensive neck pain model will significantly enhance your ability to reduce your pain. For example, just by improving sleep and scheduling your lifestyle to sync biological clocks will decrease your pain.
 Fernández de las Peñas, C., Cleland, J., and Huijbregts, P. A. (2011). Neck and arm pain syndromes: Evidence-informed screening, diagnosis and management. London: Churchill Livingstone.
 Fernández de las Peñas, C., Cleland, J., and Huijbregts, P. A. (2011). Neck and arm pain syndromes: Evidence-informed screening, diagnosis and management. London: Churchill Livingstone.
As you can imagine, just like any other kind of pain, neck pain can be caused by cancer, infection, autoimmune disorders or spinal cord injury.
Yes, you can die from neck pain, and this is why you always need to see and check in with your physician first.
The good news is that all of the above causes of neck pain are extremely rare.
Does this mean that you should not worry, and you can ignore your neck pain and tension?
For example, a recent research study showed that chronic neck pain could shorten your life.And not only does it shorten your life, but it can also dramatically diminish the quality of your life. Neck pain can cause many other disorders including sleep disturbances.
One day you go to bed, you turn and toss.
You ask yourself: “Why am I not falling asleep?”
What you may not have realized is that neck pain and all the tension you accumulated in other areas of your body can cause insomnia.
Neck pain can also decrease your sleep efficiency.
While it is hard not to notice insomnia, it is much easier and much more common to fail to notice declining sleep efficiency.
Declining sleep efficiency is a serious hidden problem that most people are not even aware of.
Gradually, you wake up more and more tired and sluggish. Once you start suffering from insomnia or poor sleep quality, your entire physiology starts crumbling down.
According to the latest research, insomnia and poor sleep quality:
– Severely undermine your immune system.
– Increase the risk of getting cancer.
– Predispose to Alzheimer’s disease.
– Predispose to diabetes and insulin resistance.
– Put you at risk for heart disease, stroke, and death.
– Promote depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidality.
– Lead to weight gain and obesity.
– Kill diet effectiveness. (When you don’t sleep well, it is much harder to lose weight. And even if you lose weight, you lose more muscle mass.)
– Lead to poor memory, decision making, and learning.
– Make you look old.
This is precisely how many chronic diseases start.
You first experience muscle tension and pain. You ignore them and in the meantime your sleep quality declines. And then a year or two later, you gradually start getting more weight or more depressed. You see a doctor who prescribes you medications that bring with them side effects.
What is even worse is that many people believe all of these medical conditions are just normal signs of aging.
But they are not. You can avoid these chronic conditions.
You can avoid them if you make the first step and learn how to dissolve your neck pain and tension.
You can either:
– Realize how important it is to have a pain-free neck.
– Keep ignoring your neck pain.
By now I hope you realize that the second choice will be detrimental to your health.
So, the worst thing you can do for yourself is to ignore your pain.
No matter how often the public health community, researchers, and physicians warn the public about the dangers of pain, most people will keep ignoring their pains and aches.
There are only about 10% of people who are ready to take action and invest their time into
– getting rid of muscle pain and tension,
– resolving insomnia and improving sleep quality,
– learning how to avoid chronic debilitating diseases.
If you belong to this 10% of more committed, dedicated, goal-oriented people, then this short book is for you.
I would like to emphasize that it is always important to see your physician when you have neck pain as it can be caused by dangerous medical conditions such as:
– autoimmune disorders,
– spinal cord injury.
In these cases, in addition to neck pain, you will have pretty obvious additional symptoms, and your physician should have no problem making the diagnosis.
Thankfully, these causes of neck pain are uncommon.
And most people have chronic neck pain and tension not caused by these serious medical diseases.
So, is your doctor qualified to treat this chronic neck tension and pain of yours?
Shockingly, research shows that in most cases your primary care physician is not qualified to effectively treat your neck pain. One study showed that over 82% of medical graduates “failed to demonstrate basic competency in musculoskeletal medicine.”
The unfortunate reality of modern clinical medicine is that most physicians lack the expertise required to treat most common pains, especially chronic pain cases effectively.
You may think that physical therapists, massage therapists or chiropractors would be better prepared to take care of your neck pain.
The unfortunate reality of our medical system is that many of these professionals are just not trained to work effectively with neck pain.
In real life, it comes down to a chance. If you are lucky enough to end up with a medical professional trained in multiple approaches to treating neck pain, then you have a pretty good chance to at least reduce your neck pain.
However, in real life, a different scenario is much more common.
You come to a physical therapist, and the therapist does only ultrasound or exercise therapy. The therapist knows nothing of myofascial therapy or trigger points. This is especially common among those chiropractors and physical therapists who specialize in working with victims of car accidents.
Or you come to a chiropractor, and the doctor only performs chiropractic adjustment.
It is very challenging to find a well-rounded clinician.
So, what is the best way to resolve your neck pain?
This is precisely what we are going to discuss in this book.
Before we can effectively respond to these questions, we need to find out what predisposes, creates and perpetuates your neck pain.
 Jansson, C., Mittendorfer-Rutz, E., and Alexanderson, K. (2012). Sickness absence because of musculoskeletal diagnoses and risk of all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a nationwide Swedish cohort study. Pain, 153(5), 998-1005. DOI: 10.1016/j.pain.2012.01.028
 Bryant, P. A., Trinder, J., and Curtis, N. (2004). Sick and tired: does sleep have a vital role in the immune system?. Nature Reviews Immunology, 4(6), 457. DOI: 10.1038/nri1369
 Kakizaki, M., Kuriyama, S., Sone, T., Ohmori-Matsuda, K., Hozawa, A., Nakaya, et al. (2008). Sleep duration and the risk of breast cancer: the Ohsaki Cohort Study. British Journal of Cancer, 99(9), 1502-1505. DOI: 10.1038/sj.bjc.6604684
 Shokri-Kojori, E., Wang, G. J., Wiers, C. E., Demiral, S. B., Guo, M., Kim, S. W., et al. (2018). β-Amyloid accumulation in the human brain after one night of sleep deprivation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 115(17), 4483-4488. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1721694115
 Bopparaju, S., and Surani, S. (2010). Sleep and diabetes. International Journal of Endocrinology, 2010. DOI: 10.1155/2010/759509
 Wolk, R., Gami, A. S., Garcia-Touchard, A., and Somers, V. K. (2005). Sleep and cardiovascular disease. Current Problems in Cardiology, 30(12), 625-662. DOI: 10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2005.07.002
 Tsuno, N., Besset, A., and Ritchie, K. (2005). Sleep and depression. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 66(10), 1254-1269. DOI: 10.4088/JCP.v66n1008
 Beccuti, G., and Pannain, S. (2011). Sleep and obesity. Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care, 14(4), 402-412. DOI: 10.1097/MCO.0b013e3283479109
 Fowler, M. J., Sullivan, M. J., and Ekstrand, B. R. (1973). Sleep and memory. Science, 179(4070), 302-304. DOI: 10.1126/science.179.4070.302
 Altemus, M., Rao, B., Dhabhar, F. S., Ding, W., and Granstein, R. D. (2001). Stress-induced changes in skin barrier function in healthy women. Journal of Investigative Dermatology, 117(2), 309-317. DOI: 10.1046/j.1523-1747.2001.01373.x
 Stockard, A. R., and Allen, T. W. (2006). Competence levels in musculoskeletal medicine: comparison of osteopathic and allopathic medical graduates. The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association, 106(6), 350-355.
I. Factors Predisposing, Creating and Perpetuating Pain
What is the difference between “predisposes,” “creates” and “perpetuates”?
Factors that predispose you to neck pain come before your first episode of neck pain. Imagine that you never had neck pain. You have a car accident, and you experience whiplash. Several days later you notice your neck gets painful. Injury sustained during the car accident would be an example of a factor that caused your first neck pain episode.
A similar example involves sleep deprivation. Poor quality sleep or insufficient sleep lowers your pain threshold.[i],[ii] If you habitually deprive yourself of sleep, you gradually increase the likelihood of suffering from muscle pain. So, poor quality or restricted sleep duration are two examples of factors that predispose you to have your first neck pain episode.
There is a different group of factors and mechanisms that create pain and tension. Why is it that you have pain right at this moment?
Are these your muscles that are hurting? Is there something wrong with bones or nerves? What creates this painful sensation?
Finally, there is a category of factors that perpetuate and sustain neck pain and make it worse.
For example, once you have chronic neck pain, you may notice that skipping a night of sleep may worsen your pain intensity. Some of these factors come into play after your first neck pain episode.
Next, we turn to discuss the three categories of these factors in greater depth.
[i] Lautenbacher, S., Kundermann, B., and Krieg, J. C. (2006). Sleep deprivation and pain perception. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 10(5), 357-369. DOI: 10.1016/j.smrv.2005.08.001
[ii] Schrimpf, M., Liegl, G., Boeckle, M., Leitner, A., Geisler, P., and Pieh, C. (2015). The effect of sleep deprivation on pain perception in healthy subjects: a meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine, 16(11), 1313-1320. DOI: 10.1016/j.sleep.2015.07.022
END OF FREE INTRODUCTION
There are 173 more pages in the full version of this book. You can find out about neck pain to break free to live the life of your dreams.
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A Payment will deliver you 11 more chapters of a book, a total of 173 pages.
Is there a print version? For now, we have only the print version.
Who sells this? A SomsSystem.com is a small business in Boston, USA, run by me, Roman Torgovitsky, sole author and publisher.
Will this book help me if I have a specific neck disorder? This book will educate you about a neck pain condition. If you’ve been struggling with neck pain and tension; if you feel tightness when you turn your head; if your neck gets stiff while you work and you can see how neck pain negatively affects your work and lifestyle… If you are tired of ignoring your pain…If you have tried taking painkillers, going to physicians, physical therapists, chiropractors… then you need this book as it will open your eyes to a completely new paradigm of looking at and treating neck pain and tension.
Table of Contents
How Is This Book Different From The Other Neck Pain Books? 5
Why Should You Read This Book? 11
Will This Book Help Me If I Have A Specific Neck Disorder: Whiplash, Cervical Radiculopathy and Myelopathy? 15
Part I. Factors Predisposing, Creating and Perpetuating Pain 25
Chapter 1. Predisposing Factors 28
Chapter 2. What Creates Your Painful Sensation? 30
Chapter 3. What Perpetuates Your Neck Pain? 34
Part II. Comprehensive Treatment of Neck Pain 41
Chapter 4. What is Clinically the Most Appropriate Treatment? 45
Chapter 5. Education versus Medicalization 47
Chapter 6. 7-Steps to Pain Free Neck 49
6.1. Step-1: Healing the Interoceptive System 49
6.1.1. What is the Interoceptive System? 49
6.1.2. Why is the Interoceptive System So Important? 50
6.1.3. Types of Interoceptive Dysfunction 52
Interoceptive Dysfunction is a Whole Body Phenomenon 55
Nervous System Sensitization As a Factor PerpetuatingChronic Pain 56Improving Sleep 59
6.2. Step-2: Healing the Myofascial System 60
6.2.1. Explicit Pain 606.2.2. Hidden Pain and Tight Soft Tissues 61
6.2.3. Emotional Spots 61
6.3. Step-3: Posture and Mobility 64
6.4. Step-4: Healing Nervous and Endocrine Systems 65
6.5. Step-5: Synching Circadian System 69
6.6. Step-6: Healing Sleep System 72
6.7. Step-7: Psychological and Emotional Skills 73
Chapter 7. Myofascial Tissue and Physiology of Pain 74
7.1. Neuro-Myofascial System 74
7.2. Muscle 757.3. Fascia 76
7.3.1. Collagen and Elastin 78
7.3.2. Ground Substance 78
7.3.3. Fibroblasts 82
7.3.4. Myofibroblasts 85
7.4. Nerve Receptors 86
7.4.1. Nervous System and Ground Substance 90
7.5. Changes in the Neuro-Myofascial System: Pain Mechanism 92
7.5.1. Adaptation-1: Chronic Shortening, Elongation andIsometric Contraction 94
7.5.2. Adaptation-2: Building Up the Collagen Matrix,Myofibroblast Contraction and Stiffening of Fascia 96
7.5.3. Adaptation-3: Increase in Viscosity of the GroundSubstance 97
7.5.4. Adaptation-4: Changes in the Ground Substance:Accumulation of Toxic By-Products, Poor Delivery ofNutrients 99
7.5.5. Adaptation-5: Changes in the Ground Substance AffectNerve Receptors 101
7.5.6. Myofascial Tissue Injury 103Part III. Foundational Skills 115
Chapter 8. Interoception: Ocean of Inner Body Sensations 117
8.1. Sensory Awareness: Exteroception, Proprioception andInteroception 121
8.2. Interoception: Discovering the Ocean of Inner BodySensations 128
8.2.1. Interoception and Sense of Existence 129
8.2.2. Interoception and Self 135
8.2.3. Interoception and Needs 138
8.2.4. Emotional Awareness 141
8.2.5. Subjective Sensory Reality 143
8.2.6. Being Here and Now 146
Chapter 9. Rational Thinking and Interoceptive Awareness 147
9.1. Sensory Awareness Plus Rational Thinking 150
9.2. Sensory Awareness Feeds the Mind 151
9.3. Sensory Awareness Against Irrational Thinking 152
9.4. Being Here and Now in Connection 153
9.5. Summary 156
Chapter 10. Interoception and Purposeful Life 156
10.1. Interoception-Driven Behaviour Change 156
10.2. Purposeful and Meaningful Life 160
Chapter 11. Safe Body 162
11.1. Creating Pleasant and Comfortable Inner BodySensations 162
11.2. Safe Body: Best Solution for Physiological Hyperarousal 165
11.3. Safe Body: Self-Worth and Self-Love 166
11.4. Safe Body: Increased Resilience 168
11.5. Safe Body: I Have More Energy, Better Sleep and LessPain! 169
11.6. Safe Body: Improved Body Image 170
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- NOT KNOWING ABOUT THIS 3 FACTORS MAY BE CAUSING YOU TO LOSE OUT ON FULFILLING YOUR DREAMS
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