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Whiplash Ecology

Can we build a story of Whiplash that attunes us without trapping us in despair or digression?  Can we trace a reliable path from equilibrium to disruption to recovery?

There's too much complexity for one story... but maybe we can manage it with 3 short vignettes. A Perfect Storm of Dural-Fascial Distress

Forget, for a moment, that you are you.  The ‘person’ with life habits and social contours.  That layer of you is somewhere else, and all you are right now is the original cloth of your body’s creation: A pulsing translucent babushka doll of pressurized balloons, thickly netted with vessels and nerve fibers.

In the womb you stretched your vital midline into tubes, carefully nested them, lined them with interlocking stone. Each cell within you gets food, plumbing, protection, and high-bandwidth connections to the whole. 

Using those connections (free nerve endings and some specialized receptors/effectors), the tubes that are you modify their own structure, metabolism, and protective reflexes over time.But then a sudden force overwhelms this balance – a rippling rupture that splays collagen, frays nerve endings, causes plasma to bloom from open capillaries. 

Disarray is succeeded by splinting and inflammation.  The tubes grab each other tight.  The stones of your spine lock down – a moving castle under siege.  Cascades of chemicals mobilize the cellular alarm – leukocytes clamber out from local vessels, and nerve endings shout to the macrophages and mast cells:  Let the cleanup begin.

If all goes well, and no danger is signaled from elsewhere, the splinting subsides.  The ruptured collagen is absorbed, replaced, reinforced.  The same cells and nerve endings that raised the alarm now disband the forces of protection.  Balance and then resilience gradually return.

What kinds of resourcing would this bone-fascia-nerve-vessel composite ask for?  What constitutes meaningful assessment, and effective treatment?


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