"As a very fit and active lifelong athlete, it came as quite a surprise when I 'threw my back out' one morning doing something as innocuous as bending down to put my purse into my desk drawer - like I did every morning when I arrived at the office. After a week in excruciating pain, I went to the orthopedist for an evaluation. He took x-rays, and after reviewing the images told me it was probably muscular, and I should see a physical therapist, which I did. I dutifully performed all of the exercises and stretches as assigned for six months, and while the acute pain did subside, I had chronic back and hip pain on a daily basis.
Feeling frustrated with the lack of progress, I went back to the doctor and this time he ordered an MRI. The images revealed bulging discs (L4 and L5) and the physician's assistant who interpreted the findings told me this is simply what happens when you get to be my age and basically there's nothing to be done (!!!). Not content with that diagnosis, I went back to physical therapy, and this time the exercises and stretches assigned, based on the MRI results, were the exact opposite of what had been advised in the first instance. After 3-4 months of going to PT three times a week, as well as religiously performing my home exercise program, I started to see moderate improvement. The problem was, I was spending 1-2 hours a day doing exercises and stretches and still waking up in pain every morning.
I met Ryan completely by accident at a dinner party, and in the course of our conversation, learned about what he did and became curious about Somatic Education. I went for one session, and what I most remember was learning that this modality addressed the neurological issues, rather than the muscular ones. Ryan taught me two or three exercises that first day, and I was astonished to see the before and after pictures of my posture from just one treatment. The big win, however, was that after two weeks of performing the somatic exercises on my own (which took up all of 5 minutes a day) I was completely free of back and hip pain for the first time in over a year.
I can't express what a difference it makes to once again be free from chronic pain -- it has changed my whole outlook on life and improved my mood dramatically. I am now able to comfortably run 10+ miles, bicycle for several hours and swim over 2500 yards (resume my normal triathlon training regimen) and do so with zero pain. I'm also a much nicer person to be around :) I am so relieved to know that chronic pain is not a sentence for the rest of my life, and I don't have to accept that as part of the 'normal' aging process.
At this point I consider myself on maintenance. I do the exercises once in a while when I feel just a hint of stiffness or constriction coming on, and then get back to life as usual. The exercises are easy to do, and can be performed standing, sitting (even in the car) or lying down. I am so grateful for the freedom I have found again through Somatic Education. I feel like my normal, active, energetic self again." Mira