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My experience with Edgelow protocol

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Old 01-02-2015, 01:29 AM   #1
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Default My experience with Edgelow protocol

Just wanted to post an update on my progress with Edgelow's exercises so far.

I started the exercises two months and saw some major improvements since then. While I cannot yet tell if these improvements will last, I am feeling much better than I did at any time in the last year.
I started feeling better within a couple of days and continue getting a little better each day.
The major improvement is in the pain level: it is down from disabling non-stop pain to occasional annoying discomfort. I went off all medications and was also able to resume some of the things I had to give up earlier. I can now do a little bit of driving, shopping, cooking, hiking, running, even some weight lifting (trying to be very careful with this though).
Cannot go back to work full time yet (working from home for a few hours a day since August).

As you may know, the Edgelow protocol is mostly built around breathing, rib mobilization and some gentle stretching.

My routine each day is:
breathing exercise 4 x 20min
walking 3 x 30 min
relaxation 2 x 40min
stretching (most major muscle groups except arms and pecs which flare me up) 4 x 10 min
plus some trigger point massage and hot showers.

All this adds up to about 5 hours a day. This may sound like a lot, but this leaves me with 10 hours of (mostly) pain free time. Much better than being in pain all day.

Now the hard part is keeping myself motivated. Pain is a very good motivator.
With less pain I need to convince myself to keep going.

Will keep you updated on the further progress.
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Old 03-02-2015, 01:38 PM   #2
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It has been foour months since I started Edgelow and an update is due.

I am doing the exercises diligently every day and continue to improve slowly.
At this point I am down to 3.5 hours of exercise a day (with 5 hours a day I barely had time to eat).
This gives me time to return to some of my old hobbies and I can also read books and work on
the computer a few hours a day. I am also now working in the office two times per week.

For cardio workout I resumed running regularly and am training for a 5K race (don't think I can manage more than 5K).
Arm and upper back strength has improved a lot. Last summer I could barely lift 5lbs. Now I can curl 20lb dumbbels no problem.
Still cannot tolerate arm and pec minor stretches very well, but at least I can do very gentle stretches which
don't flare me up anymore.

As far as the pain goes, I am mostly pain free as long as I don't skip the breathing exercises and
don't spend too much time on the computer, but I have a permanent achy discomfort in my shoulders and arms.
The sore places move around a lot (neck, elbows, wrists, upper back, chest and so on) which I find much easier
to tolerate than non-stop pain in the same place.
If I overdo things or forget to do the breathing, the discomfort quickly goes from annoying to painful.
I then have to take it easy for a couple of days.

The progress seems to be slowing down. Don't know if I am approaching the plateau.
I was hoping to be back to full-time in the office by April, but I clearly will need a lot more time to recover.
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Old 03-16-2015, 10:30 PM   #3
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Had a bit of a flare-up last week: did too much computer typing at work. Was in pain for several days. I think I am over it now.

Ran the 5K race yesterday. Came 8th (out of 500 or so). Not too bad, but not anywhere near my personal best time.
Today I am feeling good, but my left hand is numb. I suppose this means I need to take a break from running. Sigh.
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Old 06-25-2015, 03:53 PM   #4
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An update after eight months.
I am doing OK, continue to improve slowly.
All symptoms in arms (pain and numbness) went away, but still have a lot of achiness in neck and shoulders.
I think neck pain is mostly myofascial and exercises don't seem to do much for it.
Shoulders are diifferent. When I have pain (usually when I overdo it on the computer), it is more intense and disabling. I also have muscle atrophy in the trapezius which I suppose means nerve damage (although not all Drs agree - they can't agree on anything).
Anyway, I still do Edgelow's breathing exercises 3-4 times daily. I think other exercises of his are less helpful so I am gradually replacing them with strengthening exercises (crunches, prone cobras, bridges, weights etc).
I found strengthening to only helpful when the pain is gone. They were only making pain worse when I was in bad pain.

Even though I am feeling much better, I am clearly not ready to go back to work in the office full time
I usually only show up once a week or so for half a day.

Will keep you updated on the progress.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:03 AM   #5
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Is your pain in both shoulders or just one?
Also, do you have any coexisting neck issues eg disc bulges etc.

I am trying Edgelows protocol but hitting a brick wall in that I seem to be activating my scalenes and not the deep neck flexors. Frustrating.
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Old 08-03-2015, 09:56 AM   #6
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My pain is bi-lateral. Right is worse than the left.
I had neck pains and associated headaches for 10-15 years though there is nothing in the neck that shows on tests. No stenosis or herniated disc.
I suppose that all my symptoms can be explained by muscle spasms somewhere in the neck. Depending on which muscles spasm, I get pain in different places.

At this point most of my pain in the shoulders and arms is gone (unless I do too much computer work). However, occipital pain is not. Edgelow does not seem to help with that. Various neck stretches are helping a bit.

I don't think I have a problem with scalenes substituting for the deep neck flexors. My scalene problems are mostly from improper breathing. Training myself to breathe properly unloaded the scalenes and helped the nerves start healing.
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Old 08-03-2015, 04:40 PM   #7
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Thank you. So the breathing exercises stopped the shoulder pain as well? Can you detail which stretches or shoulder exercises you did, or was it the breathing alone? Seems a ton of time commitment, many hours a day!!

In my case, I think my left side deep neck flexors are all messed up, and right are weak. Left worse than right. So right side scalenes are overactive. It seems to be some sort of paradoxical CNS response post whiplash to protect the left side. That right side spasm or the whiplash shut off my shoulder muscles as well. Its a pain to work through all this, and the subtle arts, ie breathing, isolated muscle activation seem to be beyond me.
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Old 08-03-2015, 07:47 PM   #8
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Yes, I was mostly doing just breathing and relaxation exercises and that helped with the shoulder pain plus the neck flexor strengthening with a pressure cuff.
I also stopped almost all computer work.
For stretches I was only doing neck stretches. Basically tilting my head in all possible directions wherever it felt tight (for many hours a day).
Did not do any shoulder exercises because I could not tolerate any.
I think shoulder pain was due to accessory nerve and/or brachial plexus compression. I now have little pain, but some atrophy in the trapezius.

Now that the pain is diminished, I am working on building strength (doing back flys, prone cobras, rubber bands etc). The strength is getting better though there is not much change in the athrophy.
I also do pec and arm stretches now (foam roll, doorframe stretches and the like).
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiker View Post
Yes, I was mostly doing just breathing and relaxation exercises and that helped with the shoulder pain plus the neck flexor strengthening with a pressure cuff.
I also stopped almost all computer work.
For stretches I was only doing neck stretches. Basically tilting my head in all possible directions wherever it felt tight (for many hours a day).
Did not do any shoulder exercises because I could not tolerate any.
I think shoulder pain was due to accessory nerve and/or brachial plexus compression. I now have little pain, but some atrophy in the trapezius.

Now that the pain is diminished, I am working on building strength (doing back flys, prone cobras, rubber bands etc). The strength is getting better though there is not much change in the athrophy.
I also do pec and arm stretches now (foam roll, doorframe stretches and the like).
Does Edgelow have the potential to completely cure people?
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Old 08-03-2015, 11:49 PM   #10
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I don't think it claims that it is a cure.
I see it a way to control bad flare-ups and as a start of a progression to other exercises which will actually correct the underlying problems (like bad posture or scapular instability).
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