I love seeing the benefits that people gain through Neuromuscular Massage and the results this treatment offers in providing effective pain relief. Which is why I am passionate and dedicated in what I do, and my clients agree.
I have succumbed to a navicular stress fracture and have also had plantar fasciitis. More recently I contracted a debilitating mosquito-born virus whilst competing in the Oceania Games in Samoa. Whilst I had medical specialists to help with my recovery from all these setbacks I found Engelina's neuromuscular massage to be of enormous benefit. Whether it be dry-needling, trigger-point or deep tissue massage, Engelina always knew what was best for my body and which time period before my races worked the best. And it wasn’t just the physical treatment, she could identify what nutrients my body was lacking and the reasoning behind my body was the way it is.
Engelina is one of those rare people with an excellent work ethic and passion for what she is doing. She is very knowledgeable about the body, but her best feature is that if she doesn’t know the answer to something, she is tenacious about finding out the answer. This fact makes her good at working with any person of any age. She has incredible people skills and has the ability to make her clients feel comfortable instantly. I owe her so much and am grateful for all her support in ensuring I have achieved all my goals – whether it be international competitions or training time trials on the weekend. I admire Engelina for her great skill and generous spirit. She has played a big part in ensuring I have accomplished all my ambitions in representing Australia. She is totally committed to increasing wellness in the world and I have learned a lot from her.
Concurrent at this time, I had a number of other problems that troubled me, that required hospitalisation and a number of treatments to solve. At the time I arrived at Engelina’s for treatment I was at my wit’s end. I had had 5 years of hell with numerous health problems and family and work stresses firing at me at once. Although each problem was a relatively mild one, the combination of them all at once took its toll on my well being.
Following this whole saga, though, I have come full circle and now feel my neck/shoulder problem has unfortunately come to the fore again. It is chronic with a fluctuating grade of ache/pain all the while feeling relatively weak. I kept thinking that this shouldn’t be like this at my age so I felt I should try to find an answer for this annoying problem. I also wondered if my neck weakness had exacerbated/caused the sleep apnoea. I had lost any sense of how to treat my neck myself by this stage and any increase in activity/exercise always seemed to exacerbate the problem instead of helping. Since the initial vertigo episode, I had been reluctant and extremely anxious about anyone else touching my neck and I found myself constantly holding/supporting my neck with my hands. After discussions with my GP again, I was sent to a neurologist who ordered some tests to rule out any serious pathology or damage to my neck prior to starting some treatment. The only positive results found from the tests were a slight protrusion of my C5 disc, but this was healing/resolving and some osteoarthritis in my right shoulder joint. The neurologist advised me to see Engelina instead of a physiotherapist as her treatment would be more gentle and non invasive and couldn’t possibly harm me in any way. I summoned up the courage and agreed to see her.
My initial appointment with Engelina was a relief in many ways. I was made to feel relaxed and was encouraged to tell my full story from “go to woe” without being rushed out the door. On the flip side, whist I was talking, Engelina could see the battle I was having with my neck. She noted immediately that I was constantly adjusting my neck position to get comfortable. After the discussion, she understood I was very aware of my body (maybe too aware) and that I have a reasonable understanding (albeit “rusty”) of anatomy so she was able to talk to me on a slightly different level.
After “unloading” the story, she explained the chronic “loop” of tension I was in and simply told me I could relax my shoulders and let my neck muscles rest. She did a minimal amount of massage to my lower limbs and back and asked me to practice some very simple and gentle oscillating (nodding type) neck and shoulder movements at home.
This simple regime was surprisingly effective for me and helped relieve some of the discomfort I had, immediately. It also surprised Engelina.
With following treatment since, I have tolerated longer massages and been given very gentle stretches and exercises which have all made my neck feel better and it is slowly getting stronger. I had to suspend treatment for a month whilst I went on annual leave. This holiday was made much more enjoyable as I had now found a simple regime which I knew worked to ease my chronic ache.
Engelina was one of the first people that actually listened first to sort out my symptoms before expertly applying her knowledge and style of treatment to suit and help me.
I also co-treated the problem with 9 acupuncture sessions from the local GP. This provided some relief for 1-2 days but did not address any problems. At this stage, the injury kept re-occurring and getting worse when walked on. The cycle of walk/incident/swelling/rest for 1-2 weeks occurred approximately 3-4 times and placed strain on the left foot, which started to also strain on the outside of the ankle. Both feet continue to get worse and I seek another assessment from my local doctor This resulted in a CCTV bone scan, referral to an orthopedic specialist and in the interim I am advised to stay off the feet, not to do any physiotherapy and support with crutches is required. The crutches transfer more loads onto the left foot as the right foot has worsened. I’m now in lots of pain particularly on the right ankle. It feels as if the base of the foot is slipping away from the ankle and a crowbar is pressed onto my ankle. I then strap both feet and go to hospital for pain relief.
This doesn’t assist and I now crawl and walk on my backside and knees. Any weight appears to worsen the situation. Upon reflection, I’m managing the pain by not using my legs. It’s not a good scenario, but I feel it is my only option. It’s now 4 months since the original injury and I’m permanently off from work. I continue to seek answers and visit a chiropractor many times, receive regular acupuncture, visit a kinesiologist for a few months, try orthotics and receive tests from a rheumatologist, podiatrist and neurologist.
Whilst all disciplines offered something, I was not progressing forward and was in constant pain. A common theme emerging from the disciplines was that I had slipped into a state of neurological sensitisation or a type of sympathetic muscular dystrophy. Basically, I had become over aware of my ankle positioning and joint loading. What were sub-conscious events for most people were awkward, uncomfortable and over-analysed events for me. Yet, from my perspective the pain was the driver and not I. I had to do something, find someone that could help. A good day for me was to get to the letterbox and back. That was an event!
I needed someone that could help me re-connect with my body. In desperation, I looked up the yellow pages phone directory and found Engelina, a Neuromuscular Massage therapist, someone that specialized in re-connecting everything that was misfiring. I started seeing Engelina regularly, one a weekly basis at first. She would admittedly describe me as a ‘basket case.’ With her help, direction, analysis and treatments, I slowly crawled back my life to a point that is normal. I’m back at work, surf and jog for short distances. I’m still working on the ankle and my body, which ended up being an underlying, reason for my pain (diagnosed by Engelina). I currently see Engelina once every 5 weeks. The recovery has not been easy and my attitude was never to give up but what Engelina did was analyse and read the body to determine the core issues. She then awoke my closed down neurons through massage, dry needling and some confidence building exercises. This was the difference between Engelina and the other specialists. Additionally, Engelina would identify her limitations and refer me to other disciplines at the appropriate time of the recovery process. In summary, the difference between Engelina and other disciplines is that she reads the body to make decisions.
I also travel 120kms one way to & from my place of work, travel time depending on traffic can be on average 2hrs one way.
I was involved in two accidents just under a year apart. Both on the way home from work the first in June 2010. I was rear ended at about 60-70kms/hr while I was stationary the impact pushing me three to four meters into the work Ute in front of me. Causing whiplash injury to my neck and jarring my right shoulder, I did not have an airbag. I have been experiencing migraines/ headaches, pain in my neck shoulder and sometimes shooting up my head and down my arm. I had 2-3wks off work and got back to restricted duties pretty quick before the second accident when I aquaplaned on the freeway into a rock wall at approximately 90-100kms/hr impact all to driver’s side, no airbag. I was taken to hospital with a medium head injury and high impact bruising to the whole of my right side, the hospital did an MRI of the brain to ensure no internal bleeding because of the swelling and 6hrs later released me into the care of my housemate who was told to keep me awake for the next 5hrs, any problems call an ambulance or come back but I was to see my GP in the next couple of days to sort out recovery programs.
I've seen quite a few people to date; chiropractor, Engelina, GP, Physio, Orthopaedic Surgeon and Pain Management Physiologist. On the whole they have been understanding and of great help through the entire process. The exercises/stretches given were helpful but focused mainly on point of injury, and I was told to accept I will never be the same (which was already to clear) and to learn to manage the pain.
Engelina has been treating me when I was extremely active and I thought she had magic hands then, treating body and mind. She would have to be one of the main reasons I have stayed so strong through all of this, sometimes arriving to her in tears, she has not only stopped some astonishing pain with her variety of techniques but released things I could no longer feel, given me different stretches and strengthening exercises, looking at things like diet/sleep. She's also been an awesome support network as I don't have many people that understand what I’m going through. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Neuromuscular Massage treatments. It has given me the strength to move forward and the process of how, in a society that still doesn’t fully acknowledge pain.
I went to see two separate physiotherapists as the first didn’t help, and after checking my running style I bought two pairs of orthotics but they increased the pain massively, I just couldn't run on them at all. Then a 3rd one was made but as I was still suffering from what I was told was Plantar Fasciitis, and it was impossible to tell if they were good or not as any running was painful. I had a few sessions again with the physiotherapist and tried to stretch my foot/calves as much as possible of the weeks. From Sep/Oct I didn't run at all anymore, not even short distances.
I heard from a friend that a Neuromuscular Massage might help. That's how I got Engelina's name who lives and works in Terrigal, 75km distance from where I live (and 80 from Sydney CBD). I called her asking if she works in Sydney too but that wasn't the case. So I went back to my podiatrist who said I've been suffering long enough and advised me to get a cortisone injection in my foot. I made an appointment at a clinic and after the injection the pain was completely gone, already before I left the clinic, but didn’t last. It was also suggested to get some acupuncture, or better, electro-acupuncture, which I did. It was quite horrible, and I didn't have the feeling it worked at all. I gave up after the 2nd session, after which the acupuncturist gave me some Chinese herbs and a few large eucalyptus smelling band-aid like pads. Of course they didn't help at all. I called Engelina again, deciding it was time to see what she could do for me and that I just had to invest the time, money, distance in another approach. Apart from the sessions being painful, as expected, my pain did finally go away slowly, and for the first time in over a year getting up in the morning was getting less painful. Engelina's treatments were the first ones in over a year that finally really benefited me. This is because Engelina really listened. The first consultation was spent on just as much time talking as me getting some Neuromuscular Massage. I told her about my sports history and other injury/posture related details. She spent lots of time looking and checking out my posture, the way I stand, the way I sit, etc., which was all a bit off centre due to my 12mm shorter left leg. Obviously she's not just a normal masseur, not even a normal sports masseur, as I could hear by the way she talked and drew conclusions she certainly knows what she's talking about, showing a high level of professionalism. Even during the Neuromuscular Massage we kept talking, Engelina mainly asking questions and her range of knowledge is quite amazing.
I felt the benefits already after the 2nd session and after 5 sessions the pain was gone except for the heel spur (for which I later got a 2nd cortisone injection under Engelina’s advice as she suspected this was the cause of the heel pain beyond the plantar fasciitis). The pain during the Neuromuscular Massage was quite intense but I didn't (and still don't) mind as once you know it helps it actually feels good too. Engelina also gave me a set of exercises and things to do, like stretching, dipping my foot in hot and cold water (i.e. contrast baths), how I should place my feet when sitting, etc., and referred me to a physiotherapist in order to stretch & strengthen my right leg.
So it wasn't just like 'ok, you got Plantar Fasciitis so I give you Neuromuscular Massage on your left foot'; she also wanted to find out where this injury came from, what happened and why, what else needs to be adjusted in my body to prevent it from happening again. This resulted in leg and lower back massage and dry needling in my lower back. When I didn't feel comfortable with needles in my back she put an icepack on it first for a while and then needled the cold-numbed area. I didn't feel the needles at all.
Engelina also advised me to accept the fact that the latest and still new orthotics are too hard and that I better get new ones, softer this time. She knows lots of other specialists so could refer me to podiatrists, physiotherapists, sports clinics etc. All in all, I'm very happy with the way this treatment goes and am carefully optimistic that I can finally start jogging again in a few months.
My entire body was in crippling pain and the fatigue that came with it was over whelming. I felt absolutely hopeless. Being a Community Nurse, I was so use to helping others, now I was the one that needed help. Just doing basic things around the house was near impossible and I found myself becoming more and more depressed at having to rely on my husband & daughter more & more. It also impacted on my social life as I was forever turning down invitations to do things with friends or to go to certain places as I knew my body just wouldn’t cope. After a second visit to the Rheumatologist, I was told in a brief 15 minute appointment that I had Fibromyalgia and left with several prescriptions for medications and very little knowledge on how to deal with the illness. All I did know was it was an illness with no cure and most likely a life time of ongoing chronic pain 7 fatigue.
I read as much as I could about Fibromyalgia and was determined that I did not want to spend the remainder of my life in constant pain and so fatigued that I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do with my family & friends. I even contemplated resigning from my job as a Community Nurse but that was something I really didn’t want to do, and refused to let this illness take that away from me as well. After taking several weeks off, I eventually returned to work, but was taking a cocktail of medications each day to get me thru.
The medications seemed to help a little by masking the pain but they also had side effects; I gained over 15kgs in weight. Over the past 8 years, I tried everything from Physiotherapy, Osteopaths, Remedial Massage, Chiropractor’s and stronger pain medications but nothing was working. I finally came to the conclusion that I would simply have to live with this pain & fatigue forever. Then one day I was leaving my GP after being prescribed yet another pain medication for a Herniated & Bulging Disc in my back and picked up a card from the receptionist desk, it was Engelina’s business card. I felt utterly hopeless at this point and thought I’d give yet another therapist one more chance as I had nothing to lose except more money. My first visit to Engelina was not at all what I was expecting; I spent well over an hour talking and giving her my full medical history. She asked me things that no other Dr, Specialist or Therapist had ever asked me before and gave me hope that she could help minimise my pain & fatigue but due to the length of my illness it would take time. I was a little sceptical at first but thought I had nothing to lose & would give it a go.
My third visit was a huge turning point for me. I woke the next day after having seen Engelina with hardly any pain and finally had hope that I was on the right track. Engelina treated me with several different types of treatment until she found what worked for my body, made suggestions on some changes I needed to make in my home & work life, set a range of exercises for me and suggested some health tonics for me to start taking to cleanse my liver, bowel, blood & Lymphatic system. I took the tonics, continued seeing Engelina fortnightly and eventually started to have the energy to start exercising. After just a few visits with Engelina, my pain was decreasing and my energy levels increasing. Finally something was working. Now after just 5 visits I have minimal pain, have ceased all of my prescription medications, I walk each day before work and have lost 5 kgs. For the first time in years I am excited that I can beat this so called illness of “Fibromyalgia” and look forward to my treatments with Engelina as I know things are only going to keep improving. My family & work colleagues are amazed at how quickly I have responded to Engelina’s treatments and I no longer find myself constantly complaining about my pain or how tired I am. All I can say is a very huge thank you Engelina; you have literally given me back my life.
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