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The Epidemic of Forceps Injuries In the Pool of Hurt

Do you have a bad back or neck? A lifetime of poor digestion? Trouble with your hips? Headaches? Have you tried everything? Take this test. Feel above and behind the orbits of your eyes. Is there a groove on each side? If there is you may have a forceps syndrome. If there are no forceps marks, then do this test. Go to your 3rd or 4th rib in the front of your chest. Push deeply as if to snug against the lung underneath, pull upward. If the lung does not move upward then chances are you have the forceps syndrome. Even if you don’t have the forceps marks, you may have the syndrome. It can be caused by many other injuries and infections. Particularly lung problems and falls on the sacrum.

If you did come up positive for either of these tests, then you are part of a shadow epidemic festering in the modern world. With all of our advances in medical science this affliction is a mystery to those it strikes and those trying to help them. The victims range in age from 70’s to 30’s and there are millions of them.

These people live in every city and county across the developed and undeveloped world. They form a pool of hurt. This is a backwater of long standing patients problems; bad backs, bad shoulders, organ pain, joint pain all over; the suffering never goes away. It will improve but then creep back Misery keeps them looking for help. Ears to the ground, when they hear about a chiropractor or massage therapist or pt. who has success on hard cases, they try it. I know because they come to me. I’m on the hurt pool circuit.

For 30 years I’ve studied and toiled in a big practice to learn to help. I specialize in serious injuries, particularly structural. Along this demanding road a funny thing happened. My results got worse. I knew as I evolved in my craft more difficult people would find me. But my days became filled with desperate people whose symptoms I could take the edge off but never heal. I flailed away at this group I didn’t even know was a group. It was discouraging to me but worse for my patients. Hope is painful to watch die.

But in my search for some kind of answer, I noticed common patterns. Often they would come in with a specific complaint. The most common was a painful back, bad shoulder, or spasmed neck. But as one of them told me, when I asked her about the Kona coast walk, “I never did it, too much pain in my body”. They usually described some sort of injury, which began the pain but the nature of that trauma could not explain all the relentless symptoms. One of the odd things about them was a large percentage of lifelong digestive problems. Not all in this pool had these but more than should have. Here is a short list of other symptoms in order of frequency. Lower back, neck, scalenes pain; jaw pain, headaches, hip, inability to breath properly, knee pain, acid reflux, arm numbness, sciatica, slipped disc, cramping in adductors, hemorrhoids, constipation, diarrhea and more. Some people had a number these problems; some had almost all of them.

Several of the worst of these patients knew when their pain started and why. One woman had sneezed seven years ago and not been able to raise her left arm without spasm since. But a look at her face told another story. Her jaw was slightly askew. She was in her early fifties and her father had been in the intelligence service in Costa Rica during her gestation and childhood. Her Mom, pregnant with her at the time, was at a party, talking to the town doctor. He told her ‘come on in tomorrow and we’ll get that baby born’. So that’s what they did; induced the mother and yanked the baby out with forceps. The Doctor had no skill and got her jaw. Instead of the mastoid taking the force it dislocated the jaw. My patient had a lifetime of jaw and cranial problems she knew resulted from this. But she also had vertigo; pain everywhere, her hip, her leg, her neck, swallowing problems, pain down the middle of her back, breathing problems in addition to the truly awful shoulder. Through years of therapy nothing had helped.

Another woman came to see me with a bad shoulder; she also knew it was from forceps birth. She was 50 and had suffered as long as she could remember. She felt frustrated with her life because the pain stripped her of energy; she needed to rest much of the day. She also had widespread pain; her back, her upper sides, her neck, digestive problems. She came from an open family and believed in alternative therapy. For 45 years she had tried everything to no avail. I always recognized the therapists these people mentioned, they were on the hurt pool circuit. But all of us were in over our heads.

What struck me about these two was not how much they were similar to each other. This was understandable, But how much their symptoms resembled my other patients. Some of the clients were not as bad, but some were worse. So I did a little research.

I found some interesting information. Forceps birth became much more common after the Second World War. The birth dunas had advanced their techniques to the point women could give birth with much less pain and danger. Losing patients, the Obstetricians began to search for something to offer of their own. They settled on two techniques, the epidural and full anesthetic. In addition, they induced more babies to make things more timely and convenient. This brought back the patients and saved the profession. But because the mothers were under the influence of drugs, they often could not push properly or at the right time and the doctors had to use forceps. The most common injuries from this process were injured shoulders and damage to the brachial plexus (the nerves from the neck which feed the arm land shoulder). One interesting description of the position of the arm during birth; it twisted like a bellhop asking for a tip behind his back. This proved very useful later on.

I had vaguely known some of this for years and quizzed my clients about forceps births. Most had said no. Their mothers had said no. But with the evidence of similarities with my two definite forceps births, I changed my tactics. Instead of asking the patient, I began to look for signs. Particularly, I looked for a mark on the forehead, above the orbit; I began every single first session feeling for this. What I found astonished me. Two thirds of my patients had the marks. The more difficult individuals with the most widespread pain were the most likely to have the grooves. Even more surprising, it did not matter if they had been born normally, breech, c-section, or induced and c-sectioned; they still had the marks. Several were able to ask their mothers about it and the mothers swore up and down; no forceps. Yet all were under anesthetic or epidural; how could they know? The realization dawned. The doctors had not told them! Using the forceps had become such a common practice they didn’t even bother. And as far as the c-section and breech went, the doctors had a tool to use in tight quarters so they employed it.

This shocked me. Then, as I tried to work out a way to help, I realized why the injuries were so devastating First of all; babies are very soft and full of cartilage. They have not moved in gravity, so they are malleable. When you pull on their heads their bones stretch and the problems go deep. Secondly, the babies were very short, with a third of their length lying in their heads. So the injuries went the whole length of the body; from the top of the head to the thighs. As a result, the remediation needed to extend over the length of the body.

But what about my other clients? The ones who had the similar symptoms, but no marks? It became clear this problem could start lower down. One patient had dropped a barbell on his chest, another grew up in Romania had bad asthma and received a vaccine for it. The syndrome was the same; just the start point was different. The main commonality was it reached the whole length of the chest into the legs.

To describe in technical detail how to help this syndrome would take a book by itself. Just a few notes. This pattern, from the forceps or other types of parallel trauma, is strongly related to the anterior longitudinal ligament and its relationship to the curves of the spine. (This is the ligament that runs the frontal length of the spine). This ligament gets affected when pulled by the forceps and or modified by inflammation. In the fetus, the anterior longitudinal ligament is the first solid thing to form, and much of the body is dynamically formed around it. This ligament is connected structurally to the whole length of the thorax, the neck and into the upper legs. To release it, you must work the bones and fascial tissues between the major curves. Working the whole length of the spine, while at the same time letting go of the fascia in the bones, which are connected to it.

Paradoxically, Bonewhispering, the technique I have developed over the last 15 years, both discovers this problem and is the source of fixing it. It uses a series of leverages, knobs and massage vibration tools to release the forceps injury. Because the patient is my assistant, I am able to use 4 hands and come at the problem beyond the two dimensions normally employed by a 2 handed healer. This arrangement adds the dimension of depth, but also allows the practitioner to work over long reaches of the body. To a large degree, this is why the syndrome has been off the radar. With two hands the normal practitioner cannot extend the healing over a long body reach. If you are planning to fix it with two hands, then your diagnosis will be limited by that vision. In Bonewhispering we can go from the diaphragm, to the sacrum to the top of the femur as one technique. The human body’s doesn’t limit itself to a two dimensional paradigm or a one body section.

In the end this is a story of suffering. If you could spend a few days in my practice and see the devastation the forceps syndrome brings it would break your heart. Everyday the newspaper fuels our anxieties about terrorism. But even ISIS kills and maims people on a small scale compared to this. These patients’ lives are ruined by their problems. The person who can’t swallow, the athlete who cannot tie his shoes. The overall crippling, shifting misery of stenosis of the spine cannot be imagined if you don’t see it. This not just a story of pain, but also of energy, malaise, lack of sleep, awful digestion, plus a host of other ailments. More practitioners need to be trained in recognizing this plague and to help relieve it. The pool of hurt is far larger than it needs to be.

A synopsis of the tests for this syndrome

Groove marks in forehead just behind eye orbits going back to mastoid (hard part of head behind the ear). This is a definitive test, if the head is soft with no marks then no forceps. This does not mean no forceps syndrome, all it means is the syndrome has another origin.

Lung, (usually one or other, once in a while both), is pulled downward. You can test this by taking the top of the lung at about the 3rd rib in the front and pulling upward. Compare it to the other side, if one side doesn’t move upward you have this syndrome.

Psoas muscle at its insertion on upper inside of leg is extremely tight. It often will be sore to the touch.

In tandem with, or separate from the psoas, the transversus abdominus is spasmed at its insertion about 2 inches up the pubic bone toward the hip.

Most people who have this problem prove positive for all these tests. This is why the syndrome has not been described before. By its nature it extends the length of the torso. When people have the syndrome but not the forceps marks it starts at the lungs rather than the head and has different dynamics but similar physical dysfunctions.