When I was 20, my chronic low back pain started...
As with many other people I know, it built up gradually to an unbearable point when I sought medical attention. I was working retail and in school at the time, and wasn't able to do very much standing, and sitting was excruciating. Going to the movies was out of the question, since I couldn't sit that long, and I dreaded any extended time in the car. When the pain was really bad, it went down the back of my leg to my ankle. I kept up a bit with fitness, and my back would feel better for a little while after I pushed through the discomfort, but always hurt more an hour or so after working out. I couldn't believe I was in my early 20s, and unable to be comfortable! This is when I came to understand the way chronic pain can create depression and anxiety. I would turn down invitations to go out with my friends, since it would mean I may be too uncomfortable to stay and would have to leave early. When I got into the car, opened a door, or sat down to write, I was in agony. My family used to say they could see it in my eyes when I was having a particularly bad day with my back, but I stopped talking about it, since I knew how it sounded like I was complaining...I just hoped that nobody would ask me how it was doing that day.
The Medical Route
I went to everyone in the medical profession I knew of to get help, but walked away with little more than several prescriptions. I went to an orthopedist who offered physical therapy as a possible help, so I went through a round. The exercises and stretches they gave me didn't help very much at best, at worst, when I was determined to get through them, I would be more uncomfortable for the rest of the day. Next stop, the neurologist. This guy pulled out his script pad before I even walked in the room. He took his 10 minutes with me, did the routine nerve tests, told me I probably had a bulging disc, but 90% of the population did too (truly dismissing my pain and presence in his office), and that he could give me a narcotic to make it feel better. He scheduled me for an MRI...two weeks out. The narcotic didn't work, so within 24 hours he called in a prescription for a high dose of anti-inflammatory. No relief, and my stomach got upset. Within another day he prescribed me a muscle relaxer...aaah, now we were getting somewhere. If you were keeping track, that was three prescriptions in three days to a 20 year old healthy woman!! I was able to be comfortable for several hours, but was dependent on them for relief. I wish I had known then what I know now, I wouldn't have lived through five years of agony.
Results from the MRI: I had a bulging disc. Dr. Neurologist man says, "There's really nothing we can do, it's not bad enough for surgery." I said, "what else would you recommend?" He said, "Physical therapy." Round TWO. Every visit I ran through the PT protocol, and was an attentive patient doing my exercises at home-to no avail. I gave up and came to the realization that I was going to live with this for the rest of my life. Quite the disheartening conclusion for someone hoping to live a long, healthy life! A couple of years later someone suggested a chiropractor...tried two different docs for several visits, but their technique didn't work for me. Then in my mid-twenties I found a chiropractor who worked some of the muscles around my low back and after several months I was feeling better, but still had an incredibly annoying ache in my lower back that would travel down my leg on occasion. Then the magic of my massage therapist friends draws me in. I get three therapeutic, deep tissue massages in the course of a week and a half and my pain as I knew it was gone forever!! (well, 8 years, so far) I was 25. FIVE YEARS!! How can this happen?! How could I have sought out help from so many medical experts with no mention or referral for something that was so amazingly helpful?!
Client turned Practitioner
Since then, I have been a huge advocate for both chiropractic and of course, MASSAGE! A year later I choose to attend massage school. During that year I worked at a chiropractor's office as an assistant. I had just left working in an assisted living facility on the locked ward with seniors with dementia, and worked for a non-profit which provided a respite physical activity program for children with severe disabilities. I had wanted to get hands on experience with the people I wanted to work with through massage. I still love working with them, and have been honored to work with several clients in particular with Parkinsons and Alzheimer's but my gift for working with chronic pain and athletes, and my crazy passion for prenatal work and natural childbirth has brought me down a different path.
How Our Vision and Businesses Began
I met my husband several months after I graduated massage school. Gary and I had been working in the same massage room at the local YMCA. We hadn't met, until our friend said I needed to get a massage from Gary, since he did amazing deep tissue massage. I signed up with him, and we did a professional exchange. I discovered that he was such a nice guy, and there really were great men still out there. Gary and I went on a date a week after that, and ten DAYS later we were engaged. Threw the family for a loop, but then they met him. We were married less than six months later-would've done that sooner, but we figured we could give everyone a moment to get used to the idea. A month after getting married, we visited Colorado and decided one day we had to move here. But our plan was already rolling for our business in Virginia, which we launched a month after our visit to Colorado. In four years we grew it to an award winning, community involved business with ten other massage therapists. We loved our community, our clients, our friends at the clinic and our business, but knew we had to scale our lives down to have our time back with our family.
Time to move to Colorado
Everyone asks us what brought us to Fort Collins. We had that little voice talking to us about Colorado for years, and when we knew we were going to move out of the hustle and bustle of the Washington, DC suburb of Herndon, Va, we knew we would end up near the Front Range. We took a brief trip and visited most of the cities between Denver and Wyoming...Fort Collins was last on the list, because it was further out and we didn't know anyone who lived here! However, when we spent a moment downtown and in some of the parks around Fort Collins, we made the immediate decision. This was in November '05. We put the word out that we were going to sell the business, which had immediate interest from several sources (a wonderful client of ours ended up buying it). We put our house on the market and sold both in perfect time to relocate here at our goal date of December 31st, 2006...New Year, New Home, New Business, New Adventure. In the last six months in Virginia, we worked with a professional production company to produce our Couples Massage DVD, which is for sale at many distributors nationwide. We also launched the beginning of our new websites (this one included).
Moss will never grow under our feet, but we have plenty of time together that we didn't have running our large business back East. We go hiking at least once a week, plan some family adventure almost daily, and we are actually taking time off! We also got a puppy...some things are worth the wait, and the stress that change brings. We like to say that when you hit a wall of frustration, the growth can't be too far behind. Now, when one of us is really agitated with some aspect of our life, whether it's fitness, work, or personal growth, we know that something is getting ready to shift.
We encourage everyone we know to really take a good look at their lives and actively create what they want, instead of waiting for the next step to come along. As Tim McGraw says in his song, "Live like you were dying..." We are now "Rocky Mountain Climbing," all the time, and are so grateful we moved through the tough part to get where we are today.
Remember that JOY is AUTHENTICITY in motion.
Whatever that happens to look like for YOU.
Blessings on your journey...
COUPLES MASSAGE INSTRUCTION VIDEO-NOW AVAILABLE FOR
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-Identify What Factors are Making Your Pain WORSE.
-Learn Precise Stretches that Get to the Source of Your Pain.
-Create Solid Support for Your Back Using Our Simple Methods.
Testimonials from those who have used this natural solution for chronic lower back pain:
"I can't believe I've been making my back pain worse for years, without knowing it! Thank you for sharing the information in the BodyPain Matrix(TM) Program! I now can completely manage my back pain with my stretches and I've stopped sitting in 'bad' ways.I am so glad I finally have an answer after suffering with my low back pain for over 5 years." -Sheryl B.
"I've been dependent on my chiropractor and massage therapist for years. It all helped, but I feel like someone finally showed me what to do, so that I now know how to help myself. I also found out what I was doing every day to make my lower back pain worse! Thank you for sharing these tools with me." Beth F.