I have been there done that when it comes to pain running my life, and I want to help others find the same freedom.
It's not a battle that needs to be won.
Now I know we first have to make peace with pain and stop living life like it's a battle. This is why I support busy people to find the opportunity for freedom from persistent pain through being present and mindful.
When I was in grad school, the long hours in the library and studying in less than ideal positions, in addition to stress, took a toll on me. I had headaches nearly everyday for the first two years.
I got a prescription for a muscle relaxant and that helped me...when I took it before going to sleep.
I tried physical therapy and chiropractic and they each helped...but only for hours not days.
I went to yoga...sometimes it helped sometimes it made it worse.
I was frustrated, disappointed, and overwhelmed. I was doing everything I thought I should be doing.
I knew something had to change, I just couldn’t figure out what. Everything I was doing felt like a bandaid.
I moved through my final clinical rotations and board exams and started my first job as a physical therapist. Looking back, I can’t pinpoint exactly when my headaches all but disappeared, but it was somewhere around that time of transition. Like many people, once the pain was gone, I didn’t give it much more thought. Several years down the line in my PT career, I started to get headaches pretty frequently again.
As I know many others do, I just ignored it to the best of my ability - I didn’t have time to deal with pain.
Over those years I also had intermittent right hip pain. Sometimes I knew what to do, but other times I would go crazy trying everything I could think of and seemingly nothing would work. I remember thinking "I am a physical therapist! Why can't I get rid of this pain?"
The intermittent periods of headaches and hip pain came and went for a few years. I would stress to figure out what to do about it when I had pain, then I would forget it and move on when it would (for no reason I could see) go away.
Then I went through a period of significant stress in my life. I started to get more headaches, more hip pain, and even lower back pain. I knew my stress was contributing to my pain.
I continued to try to do the same things for my pain I had been doing for years. I was getting short-term relief at best. All the stress I was under was taking a significant toll on my mental health, and I was "forced" to focus on strategies for improving my mental health.
I realized that as I focused on my mental health, my pain improved too. While I had been reading about the mind body connections for years through my professional work, yoga teaching, and personal interest - I was just now making the connection in my own life.
This is when I realized:
That getting over pain is more than just treatment modalities
That there is an easier, more efficient way
That there is a way that is more than a bandaid
That there is a way that is accessible to everyone even if you have limited resources (time, energy, finances etc.)
After nearly a decade of practice I had recognized there was a disconnect between what I was doing with my clients, and what I now believed they needed.
I decided to further my education about pain and pursued a therapeutic pain specialist certification program. Which helped me expand my knowledge and bridge the gap between the mind body connection in pain. Now what I do, and what I believe my clients need are the same thing.
Many people believe that if they try a little harder they will "win" and conquer their pain, but I believe that with the right strategies for your lifestyle and body you have the ability to live the life you want and feel better doing it.