Pain is an elusive thing, something that we claim as our own. Is there a way another can know how that pain radiates through the body? The only way for someone to truly know pain is to experience the suffering and all of its debilitating ways themselves. For many years, way too many years, I was overwhelmed with pain, but instead of giving in to it, I thought I could just keep on doing what I loved, and hoped it would go away. I only made things worse, until I discovered bodywork, and how it allowed me to heal my body. And because I have experienced it, I know bodywork can help you.
Here is my story and as you will see, I kept on pushing trying to work through the pain, but until I found the core practice, I did nothing but harm myself further.
It seems not all of life’s paths come easy, and it was no different for me. I was always outside since I was little, running, jumping over obstacles and crawling through the mud. By the time I was fifteen I had developed a severe Scoliosis (an abnormal curving of the spine, looking like the letter “C” or “S” and Kyphosis (condition of the spine known as round back or hunchback). The doctors told me”no more running.” They suggested I try gymnastics, but because of my twisted spine, I couldn’t do it.
I was miserable, as I thought running was my life, and I had nothing left. After high school graduation, I moved to a huge dairy farming community and here for thirteen years I worked with the calves. I lifted them daily, fed and cared for them. I loved every minute of every day. The back pain was still there, but I just kept pushing myself through it. I was trying to accept that this pain would be a part of the rest of my life. But, after thirteen years of heavy farm work, the pain had become unbearable.
The doctors at this time recommended fusing my spine. I was only 30 years old. I couldn’t bear the thought of a life of stiffness. I balked. They suggested one other idea I could try first. There was a rehabilitation center in our community who had excellent back pain specialists working for them. So I went. Here, for six weeks, I did step aerobics, walk, dance, yoga, meditation and massage.
I knew I had found the answer. I quit my job at the dairy and moved to a neighboring town and enrolled in a nursing program. After three years, I graduated as a registered nurse specializing in Geriatrics, and for ten years I worked with the elderly.
During this entire time, I kept up with my exercises, honing it down to what worked for me. The step aerobics fell away as the dance and yoga became my daily therapy. After ten years, I quit nursing to study Dance and Movement Therapy. Upon earning my credentials, I opened my own studio and continued until I moved to Joplin in October of 2009. I had regained my flexibility and vitality through these years and my back is straighter than I ever dreamed possible.
When I arrived in Joplin I was shocked to find the variety of therapies and exercise opportunities were extremely limited. After some searching I found Melissa Crowder’s Kundalini yoga class, and with new friends began walking and still did my dancing alone.
In March 2013, I was ‘lured’ to a twelve day workshop to study John Barnes Myofascial Release Technique, and soon enrolled in Massage School in Fayetteville, Arkansas. In October, 2013, following graduation, I opened my practice here in Joplin.
Still, I gain more flexibility and vitality daily, with stretching, yoga, exercise, dancing and walking. I am living proof – keep moving, this is the key, but move smart!
Put the body in motion and it will heal itself!