How I Found The Root Cause of Chronic Pain
My story is similar to what so many individuals encounter. Chronic pain is poorly understood by many medical professionals, other than masking it with medication, surgery and invasive procedures that contribute further to pain. I had to discover my healing potential over the course of several years. Being a chronic pain survivor is at the core of why I chose to open Healthy Core ten years ago.
I have had headaches and chronic constipation for as long as I can remember. I recall coming home from grade school with headaches and high school with severe menstrual cramps. I learned early on that my headaches were linked to constipation, and I would feel better after a good bowel movement. It felt like a pressure release valve, only I had not yet discovered how to manage my diet and how to consistently release the pressure on my head.
In my teens, I underwent several medical tests and procedures to determine what why I had pelvic pain and recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs). These tests resulted in no answers. After having an exploratory laparoscopy at the age of 18, I was diagnosed me with a spastic colon which is now called irritable bowel syndrome. I went to college and felt better, only because I was able to control what I was eating a little better. However, I continued to drink diet Coke and smoke cigarettes to relieve stress and help me get an urge to move my bowels. I was addicted to sugar and would binge during times of stress, only to come home after finals and get sick when I was home on vacation. I blamed stress and being a high achiever on much of my ailments. After college, I had my first migraine aura when I was on birth control after getting married at age 24. I ceased using it immediately which later I found out might have saved me from an early stroke, since I had an auto-immune disease called phospholipid syndrome that was known to cause miscarriage (I had two of them). This was discovered during a period of infertility in my late 20s. The treatment was Heparin injections into my abdomen twice a day until I conceived and then for the first trimester of pregnancy.
At age 29, I had my first baby and eliminated all dairy from my diet when my son's allergist diagnosed him with a food allergy and I wanted to continue breast feeding. I began reading all labels on food to avoid casein and whey, the milk proteins that were suspected to cause my son to have severe acid reflux. Amazingly, I began to feel better with less brain fog, fatigue and pelvic pain. I lost the 55 pounds and more that I gained leading up to and during the pregnancy. I felt normal for the first time in my life. After discovering that my auto-immune disease was dormant (my anticardiolipin antibodies were normal), I conceived easily although suffered with multiple bladder infections (UTIs) and was forced to take antibiotics multiple times to avoid preterm labor. I had to discontinue taking prenatal vitamins with Iron because of severe constipation. Hormones in pregnancy contributed to slower digestion and joint laxity, furthering my pelvic girdle instability and pain. After the pregnancy, I made more changes in my diet and discovered the Blood Type Diet, thanks to the advice of one of my holistic patients. Learning what was beneficial for my type A blood type and genetics, I stopped eating tomatoes and peppers (night shades known to cause inflammation) and other things that did not agree with me. I also stopped eating processed food and gluten, and "foods" with a long list of ingredients. During this time, I also was tested for food allergies and found out I had allergies to wheat (gluten), soy and peanuts and began to eliminate, instead of just avoid these ingredients.
During my fifth pregnancy (my third baby), I suffered with severe hyperemesis (all day morning sickness) and discovered an intolerance for foods with pesticides and thick skins and why I now stick to mostly organic fruit and vegetables. I was induced at 37 weeks due to oligohydramnios (low levels of amniotic fluid) since I also had another genetic condition called MTHFR, known to cause blood clots and other problems. After suffering with almost daily headaches and sacroiliac (SI) joint pain for almost a year, I sought help from a colleague who was in private practice as no one was able to help me in the large hospital system I was working in. This is when I discovered the value of hands-on treatment and specific attention to all factors contributing to my pain. I continued to have headaches and pelvic pain periodically, until I attended a seminar for visceral mobilization, a form of myofascial release to the deep abdominal and pelvic structures and a few years later, a dry needling seminar. This was a game changer for me. My menstrual cramps almost ceased to exist and my hips and abdomen felt loose and free. I had a sense of well-being and clarity, with more good days than bad. I began to delve more into "pain science" and learned that "pain is the opinion of the brain", only I needed to convince my brain not to keep my muscles in spasms. I discovered the influence of the "gut brain" on the nervous system as science was explaining physiologically what I was experiencing. I started receiving Integrative Dry Needling on a regular basis, especially right before my menstrual cycle and my migraines were eliminated. I also discovered my headaches were due to temporomandibular dysfunction (TMJ) after being evaluated for Invisalign braces. My first cervical vertebrae was rotated and I started making the connection of several childhood concussions and trauma to my pain. If only I had received help at the time, maybe it would not have become so severe. The beauty of this was the discovery that our bodies can heal, regardless of how long ago the problem started. I am able to reverse 30 years of chronic pain and suffering by giving my brain new intel or information through dry needling and other manual therapies to erase muscle memory that my brain has been trying to protect for years. I also maintain a low inflammation diet and avoid triggers or foods that I am allergic and sensitive to. This has given me discipline in other areas of my life and certainly the ability to wear many hats as a wife, mom, physical therapist and business owner.
Healthy Core is more than a private practice clinic, but a movement. At its core or foundation is the experience and understanding of chronic pain. We know that being healthy is a journey and we want to help you discover your true health potential, as we did ours! Choose not to be a victim, but rather become empowered in your health! There is hope for healing! Thank you for reading and sharing this story so that others may be inspired.