Suzie had been rear-ended twice over the last 10 years, and still had intense neck and shoulder pain. After two rounds of physical therapy, she was anxious about her constant, unrelenting pain. She was hoping that acupuncture could help her.

While we were talking I noticed she kept her shoulders tensed up and pointed this out to her. She was surprised and totally unaware she was doing it. I suggested she check in with her body several times a day to make sure her shoulders were dropped down into a relaxed position. Whether she was at her computer, cooking, walking or watching TV.

After each treatment, she felt very relaxed and reported that her pain would drop from 9 out of 10 down to a 5, but soon her pain and tension levels would climb back up. The following conversation recurred during the next 4 sessions:

“How’s your neck and shoulder pain? Did you keep your shoulders relaxed?”

Sheepishly, “I don’t know. I didn’t really notice if I did or not.”

“Please, Suzie, this is very important for you. If you don’t learn to relax them into their natural position, all the acupuncture in the world won’t help your neck and shoulder pain.”

“I’ll try to remember.”

“Great! Keep trying.”

Finally, Suzie came in grinning from ear to ear. She “confessed” that she had been unnecessarily hiking her shoulders up all the timeand never had even realized it. She was thrilled at how much more relaxed she felt in her upper body. A couple more acupuncture sessions later, and Suzie’s constant pain was gone.