An accident gave me a debilitating pain: how I found relief
In my clinic, we had a vibrating table that helped relax the neck and lower back tissues of patients. I decided to give it a try. Sure, it made the pain bearable, but the effects didn’t last long.
My brother is also a chiropractor and he had a water skiing accident about two years before my case. He recommended trying a vibracussor (an instrument for percussing soft tissue and fascia), and we happened to have one buried in a warehouse in the office.
This instrument had a cylinder about the size of a coke can that vibrated. I put it under my right arm, but like the table, it only relieved the pain for a minute or two. I started using it almost all day because it was the only thing that relieved the pain. Then I decided to try to hold him tighter against my body, and then the relief lasted for a few more minutes. But then it will return with a vengeance.
I found that it helped ease the pain through something called accommodation — where your body adjusts to a stimulus (temperature, noise, etc.).
Then I thought that if there was something that didn’t touch my body all the time, but had a really high frequency, maybe it would offer more lasting relief. I ended up creating a prototype based on what I saw in my mind by wrapping a towel around the jigsaw with electrical tape.
I began to put my strange contraption on my body, moving it up and down my arm as it moved up and down quickly. I experimented with it more and more—when the pain started to subside, I used the device on my body again.
I learned that pain travels to the brain to your pain centers at about 55 miles per hour. But when you apply something to your skin—ice, heat, cold, vibration—that information travels to the brain at 265 miles per hour. So what I was doing was blocking that stimulus – the pain signal wasn’t reaching my brain because the sensation from the instrument was getting there faster.
I learned that the trigger didn’t have to be in my neck where my pain was coming from. It could be anywhere on my body—right quad, left arm, shoulder—no matter where I put the thing, it took away the pain, it was such a powerful relief.