Was Ready to Give Up

I came to see Michele for an accident that resulted in long standing muscle tension and restricted mobility in my neck.  The tightness causes a constant low-grade headache. Lifting anything or reaching for something over my head needs to be done with care, otherwise the tightness just increases.  I grew despondent as housework and even playing with my young son became very difficult.

I was so lucky to discover Michele.  I was referred to her by Amber Davies, co-author of the Trigger Point Therapy Workbook.  Amber spoke very highly of Michele - and I could not agree more!

After several years of moving between different doctors and physical therapists, I was almost ready to give up.  Based on their suggestions - they had tried stabbing it (dry-needling), pounding it (aggressive massage), yanking it (traction), freezing it (ice-packs), burning it (hot-packs), drugging it (muscle relaxants), and strengthening it.  None of it seemed to make a dent.  After a short time, they would all just shrug their shoulders and send me on my way.  Their treatments did not seem to be the right approach, and I could feel something was missing.

Michele was thoughtful and listened very carefully to me describe my situation.  After discussion of my condition and a thorough physical evaluation, Michele suggested that a nervous system component might be a part of the constellation of my complex chronic pain problem.  This made a lot of sense as to why previous approaches just didn't seem to work.  While being completely upfront that this appears to be getting slightly outside the scope of her practice, she immediately got on the phone and called other practitioners who she trusted could help me.  A minute after I left her house, she called me back on the phone and put me in direct contact with one her colleagues!

Thank you Michele, for helping me on my journey to recovery.  I feel I am actually closer to healing, now that I have a better understanding of my condition.  I am grateful to have found someone that is truly invested in seeing her patients get better.  While my neck is currently the most pressing issue to solve, I am definitely coming back to her for other nagging musculoskeletal issues I have.

RT IT Specialist Baltimore, MD

Bad Car Accident While Recovering from Back Surgery

My wife and I both saw Michele for treatment after a bad car accident in 2010. I had had back surgery, and was on the road to recovery the year before, but then the accident set me back quite a bit. Working with Michele was a delightful experience: she made me very comfortable at her home office, listened to my concerns, and came up with an appropriate treatment plan. The myofascial trigger point therapy sessions gave me significant relief from my symptoms in the short-term, and the exercises she taught me have been invaluable to correcting the long-term issues with my back and building my strength to prevent them from recurring. Although it has been 10+ years, I still use the exercises and knowledge she taught me to keep myself healthy. Highly recommend Michele and her services!

TH Librarian Bowie, MD

Pleasantly Surprised and Amazed

I've had Lyme disease for more than a decade. If you are not familiar, its symptoms are very similar to Fibromyalgia, Multiple Sclerosis and Lupus. Prior to contracting Lyme and even since, I've been in several car accidents, in most of which I was rear ended. As you might imagine, prior to discovering Michele's services, I was feeling pretty broken.

When I discovered how beneficial myofascial trigger point therapy could be, I was not seeking any new therapy outside of my chiropractor. I happened to be doing some work at Ms Macomber's house and I was actually in a lot of pain that day, something I'd begrudgingly come to accept as normal for my existence. Not realizing the extent of her skills, I politely asked if she could *try* to get the knot out of my left shoulder. Twenty minutes later I exclaimed, "I've not felt this loose since I was five! How much to fix the rest of me?!"

Over the coming months I came back several times and happily paid her for work that resulted in the longest remission I'd had since my previous major relapse four years earlier. After a subsequent gap in treatment I've since backslid, which only serves to demonstrate for me just how valuable her work has been and will continue to be for my long term care and recovery.

DM Freelance Computer Technician Potomac, Maryland

Transformed my Quality of Life

Several years ago I spent a day hammering in about a hundred fence posts with a big heavy mallet. The continuous violent movement of bending my back as I swung the mallet downwards from above my head caused a lower vertebra to move and damage a nerve, after which I suffered acute and debilitating back pain. The injury left me barely able to sit or walk without pain and sciatica for more than five years. After exhausting all conventional medical approaches to my problem I had pretty much become resigned to a life of limited mobility and constant discomfort which could only be relieved by lying flat on my back.

Through family contacts I heard about Michele Macomber, a myofascial trigger point therapist in the States, and on a subsequent visit to the U.S. made an appointment with her. This was the first time in over five years of treatment that anyone had explained that it was actually my muscles, continuously reacting to the past injury, that were perpetuating the problem. The injury itself had to a large extent healed, so conventional medicine was unable to explain the ongoing symptoms.

Given the sensitive nature of my back I had avoided any kind of stretching exercises for fear of doing further damage, but the initial consultation gave me the confidence to undertake the prescribed stretching regime. Subsequent manipulation and continued exercise enabled me to gradually stretch tendons and muscles which had been locked up tight for years and as such had been vulnerable to all but the slightest exercise.

Although I still have some residual numbness from the original nerve damage, today I am otherwise pain free and fully mobile. It is myofascial trigger point therapy which has led to the dramatic and ongoing improvement in my condition and transformed my quality of life, allowing me to engage in all normal levels of activity again.

JV Landscape Architect Somerset, United Kingdom

I Was Dumbfounded

Ten years ago I injured my back lifting my toddler in a bad way. The next day I could hardly move. I spent two uncomfortable days lying in bed, unable to get up or move without extreme difficulty and pain until thankfully Michele came out to the house to treat me. When she arrived, she applied focused pressure on some trigger points in my back, and within 20 minutes she had me feeling completely normal! I was dumbfounded. Subsequently I kept an appointment I had already made with an orthopedist. He found no sign of disc damage on the X-rays, and then taking no other corrective actions, prescribed pain killers and muscle relaxants. I did not bother filling his prescriptions. They turned out to be unnecessary as I was already feeling so much better from the stretches and movements that Michele had recommended. Myofascial trigger point therapy restored my mobility and enabled me to recover quickly with minimal pain. I strongly recommend consulting a myofascial trigger point therapist to anybody who could potentially benefit as I did.

DWM Structural Engineer Doswell, VA

Touring Musician

Michele treated me after a back injury. I came to her barely able to walk; each treatment brought a noticeable reduction in pain. She was always very clear about what she could fix and what I should be taking to my doctor or chiropractor.

Michele is a caring practitioner who gets results. She’s also a great teacher. She’s helped me gain a greater understanding of how my body works, how it responds to stress, and what I can do to ease muscular tension before it turns into a problem. She’s helped me with chronic tension in my neck and chest and repetitive strain from playing the guitar.

As a touring musician spending hours in a car and lugging heavy
equipment, I have plenty of opportunities to damage my back and arms at the times I can least afford it. I still use the stretches Michele taught me in order to avoid re-injury and keep myself ready to play.

Zoe Mulford Songwriter, folk singer, guitar & banjo picker Manchester, UK

Did What No One Else Could Do

Before I experienced a muscle spasm, I had no idea how painful they were. I heard people say, "I threw out my back" and never before understood what that meant until it happened to me.

As an IT person, I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and I did not realize the implications of slouching. Things began to get very tight in my neck and upper back and I went to massage therapists and even an acupuncturist to help but it did very little to relieve the issue long-term. Then I developed full-blown muscle spasm and spent a week on muscle relaxants. The slightest movement of my head caused agonizing pain, I couldn't even wash my hair in the shower because the lightest touch of my fingers through my hair caused my neck to move and spasm. I could only tolerate the water beating down on my head but even then the act of simply stepping into the shower and out caused debilitating pain.

After a week of the muscle relaxants, I was able to wash my hair but movement was severely limited. I began to cry at random intervals -- say, when drying my hair or driving because the pain felt neverending. After I spent a half hour looking for a parking space that did not require me to turn my head, I abandoned the venture, returned home and began looking for someone who could help me.

I have some preliminary exposure to physical therapy, as I volunteered in a physical therapy clinic while in school so I found a PT and went for 8 weeks. That helped, but the most helpful thing was the 10 minute deep tissue massage the PT gave -- that was the main thing that brought relief. Not the electrical stimulation device or the ultrasound machine. Since I still had tightness, I started looking for a massage therapist. But I didn't want the traditional kind of massage therapist who could help me relax, I wanted someone to target deep tissue. Lots of googling revealed the field of myofascial trigger point therapy and I found someone in Maryland. I would have driven hours to see Michele! She transformed my neck and upper back and also gave me stretches and tools to maintain muscle health. There is absolutely no price I could put on the value of having my life back. I can drive again. Thank you, Michele.

HR IT Specialist Washington, DC

Best. Cancellation. Ever.

Dear Michele,

I would like to cancel our scheduled appointment tomorrow (2/2) at noon as our appointment yesterday along with frequent gentle stretching and warm heat from a heating pad has taken the pain away. I cannot thank you enough for correcting this problem that I have had for about two years. It is really amazing. I also thank you for all your terrific advice about sitting. If the pain returns or I experience any other pain, I will be sure to contact you.

Thank you for everything!

PB Pharmacologist Silver Spring, MD

I Knew We Were Onto Something

Before coming to Michele Macomber for myofascial trigger point therapy I was in tremendous pain, every day relying on medications just to get through. After our very first appointment I knew we were onto something amazing: for just a few hours, I was pain-free! That gave me hope.

Every appointment she listened and tailored my treatment to my needs. Because of my conditions, Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and EDS-induced Fibromyalgia, progress was slow, but there was always progress. Within a few short months, I was able to get to sleep without any medications. Within a few more months and I was able to sleep through the night. For me, my pain will never be gone, but Michele made it manageable and gave me the tools to help myself feel better in between visits. The therapy I have had with her has helped me erase the haze that severe pain and medications cast over my life. I cannot thank her enough; she is fantastic!

RS Stay-At-Home-Mom Felton, DE

Painful and Stubborn Frozen Shoulder

My shoulder pain is improving along with my mobility after just two sessions. Very knowledgeable, helpful advice, and made great use of my time.

CB Elementary School Teacher Silver Spring, MD

Uncovering the Roots of Chronic Pain

I was referred to Michele by Amber Davies, co-author of The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook. Michele has a gift for uncovering and analyzing the roots of your chronic pain so she knows where to treat and how to relieve your pain. Her method is thorough, thoughtful and therapeutic and I highly recommend her. Michele is deeply knowledgeable and highly skilled. I am grateful she is nearby and flexible about finding times that work with my schedule.

AG Bethesda, MD

Hard-Won Relief After Seven Years of Pain

I saw Michele Macomber for about three years for both manual and cold laser treatment of myofascial pain originating in my left leg. Michele is a Myofascial Trigger Point Therapist (MTPT) and a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) who practices in her home. During my first two hour appointment I discussed my case with Michele, and what I thought to be the cause - a possible trigger point caused by an incident years earlier.

Michele asked me to stand up and bend over and try to touch my toes. I was then about six to seven inches short of doing that. She then observed my stance and noted that something was amiss with my left leg, as I was compensating by placing more weight towards my right-side - sort of like a slight limp. Michele then had me get on the massage table and she began to palpate my left leg. She soon determined that I had several trigger points, and now I understood what a trigger point was. She suggested a healing program that involved stretches that I would perform on a daily basis to stretch the areas on the left leg that were super tight, which were of course the cause of the pain. Michele worked bi-weekly on the trigger points on my left leg, some of which were in the lower hamstring area of the leg - “ground zero” for the local pain and the referred pain that seemed to infuse most of upper left leg, left hip, lower left rib cage, and my left foot, which I could barely feel simply because the muscles above it were in pain.

Change was coming! I began to see improvement - less pain and better movement. I continued treatments with Michele, stretching the affected areas at home, adding B vitamins along with self massage with the Tiger Tail tool.

Update from July 2019: Since June 2016 I have been seeing Michele Macomber on a monthly basis to receive treatment for my left leg. Beginning in early 2019 the pain started to really subside and almost vanish for the first time since the original incident in March 2009. I feel very good and completely pain free. I can now touch my toes and stretching has become very easy to do!

Although three years seems a long time to get better, Michele has been the “missing link” that finally worked out the trigger points and the pain. I cannot say enough about her and her work on me. To finally be free of the pain and this issue is wonderful. If you have a myofascial issue and pain, Michele can help you to become free from it and the effects. Her business card says it all: “Muscle Pain is Optional…It’s Time to Get Your Life Back!” I am testifying that I did!

SS U.S. Senate Systems Engineer Silver Spring, MD

Three Years Later, No Issues

Michele Macomber fixed my plantar fasciitis in one appointment with a cold laser treatment. Three years later, no issues!

KO Accountant Washington, DC

Completely Changed the Direction of My Healing

I developed a frozen shoulder over time; it kind of snuck up on me. I eventually figured out that it is a complex problem stemming from improper use and overuse of the body. It can also be complicated by nutritional imbalances of the nutrients that keep muscles and fascia in good condition, and by stress. What isn’t?! Being a healer myself and married to an acupuncturist, I threw acupuncture at my shoulder, and all the tools in my possession including energy work, acupressure, massage, and even meditation (yes, that helped), but nothing I did helped enough. A frozen shoulder is extremely painful and can make your arm and hand completely dysfunctional. As so many of everyday functions, including dressing, driving and typing, become painful, difficult, or impossible, it takes over your consciousness.

I had also tried some physical therapy prior to coming to Michele but I disliked it: it just did not feel like the right answer. Michele was very skilled in explaining the nature of trigger points as well as providing excellent therapy and self-care guidance. She reminded me of a principle that I already knew, and which explained why physical therapy did not work: the body resists (contracts) in response to pain signals; it is a protective mechanism. Therefore, don’t stretch to the pain point because force does not work, and work out trigger points first.

I saw improvement right away and although I did not continue for more than a few sessions, her work and her guidance completely changed the direction of my healing. She is a wonderful healer, very kind and comfortable to be with. I would recommend her to anyone with similar painful and stubborn issues -- and apparently that applies to a lot of us!

PL Qigong teacher and EFT Practitioner Silver Spring, MD

Holiday Treatment Treat

You made me feel like a teenager for the holidays....thanks!

DA Retired College Park, MD

The Physical Therapist Had No Idea What To Do Next

Michele is truly interested in helping her patients. She listens, asks questions, makes suggestions, and works WITH you. The trigger point therapy, along with Michele’s encouragement and advice, were invaluable in healing my frozen shoulder.

It all started with minor pain when carrying my purse over my shoulder. I stopped with the “over-the-shoulder” technique, but the front part of my shoulder bothered me more and more. Diagnosis: Frozen Shoulder. I went to a physical therapist who manipulated my shoulder and gave me strengthening exercises, but the pain continued to increase, and my whole shoulder and upper back stiffened up. The physical therapist didn’t seem to have any ideas about what to do next.

I did some research on the internet and learned about myofascial trigger point therapy. It seemed worth a try, as by this time sleep was difficult, and it was hard to find a comfortable position for my shoulder and arm even while sitting. I found Michele’s website and signed up for a diagnostic session. Michele was very straightforward: it takes time to heal a frozen shoulder, but the trigger point therapy could ease the symptoms and speed up the healing process. I started in on regular appointments right away, first twice a week and then once a week. Even though I had a long commute to Michele’s house – via Metro and on foot – I looked forward to each session because I felt so much better when I left. Michele was able to loosen up my back and shoulder muscles so that I felt more comfortable throughout the day, and slowly but surely I developed a greater range of motion in my shoulder. After about three months of the therapy, my shoulder had improved enough to end the treatments, and in the months since then, my shoulder has completely healed.

DCM Economist Arlington, VA

Given Me Insights My Doctors Have Not

I have been seeing Michele for neck and back pain. She has worked hard to analyze the root of the problem and given me insights that even my doctors have not, as well as treating my pain. I can't wait to see her again! One of these days I'll be pain free and I'll treat myself to one of her "myofascial facelifts" (which I need desperately!)

LS Grandma Silver Spring, MD

Avoided a Ghastly Jaw Surgery

It all started with an unfortunate combination: repetitive use injury plus abrupt trauma. I was a rower, competitively and for fun. After three years of non-stop training, it all ended when my shoulder was accidentally ripped apart. To make my long and painful story brief, I met Michele nine years - including three years of physical therapy and two shoulder surgeries - later, and still in crippling pain.

Michele's treatments are comprehensive of all my ailments, each one tailored to exactly what I need. Aside from my shoulder, these myofascial trigger point therapy sessions helped my TMJD, to which I was told only a ghastly surgery would give me any relief, and a badly sprained ankle that limited how much I could walk. Now our treatments focus on my Ehlers-Danlos, a systemic condition that causes a looseness of ligaments and tendons. The looseness causes the surrounding muscles to cramp, from the effort of holding my joints together, resulting in significant amounts of pain.

Luckily, I have Michele and these treatments. I leave each appointment feeling less pain, and equipped with stretches to help me keep the results going, so that each visit builds upon the last, moving me toward overall health and days without pain. Michele has given me a wonderful gift; she helped me to feel normal again, the first time in nine years I have been able to say that.

I jokingly have told friends that she is one of the few people where the aim of her practice is to never see me again, but that's not really true. Her genuine aim is to help me to not *need* to see her anymore. I think Michele is fantastic, and I am so appreciative that I found her and myofascial trigger point therapy.

What I find remarkable about this type of treatment is how many different types of pain and people it can help. Without reservation, I would recommend it to anyone suffering any type of prolonged pain. If Michele can help me, she can help anyone. You will be amazed, as I was, at how much better life can be without daily pain.

BS Newlywed Elkridge, MD