Tracey was in her mid 30’s when she came for an assessment for her severe pain. She is a Mother of 3 children and had been unable to work for the previous 5 months, having to use sticks some days due to the pain which had become increasingly severe over the previous 12 months. She had seen Doctors and a Specialist, who said the only thing left was to send her to the NHS Pain Management Clinic for spinal injections which would help her cope with the pain.
Tracey came to me for a physical assessment and to assess whether her pain might be stress-induced. We discussed current and past stresses, which included her having to wear a back brace throughout her teenage years.
You can imagine how difficult that would be for any teenager, when most teenagers just want to be like everyone else and fit in. Tracey coped with this by being very positive and making the most of it, but ignoring how she really felt deep down. In fact when asked how she felt, she couldn't really remember this being a difficult time for her. This is quite common, especially if you are brought up to just get on with life or learn that showing your emotions is not right.
I explained the concept to Tracey and how emotions that aren't acknowledged can be triggered at a later date as time goes by and more and more emotions are stuffed down. I explained that this can happen to anyone, no matter how happy they their childhood was, especially if certain personality traits create self induced stress too.
I also posed the question to Tracey that if her scoliosis (curvature of the spine) was responsible for her pain, then why hadn't she had pain since she was a teenager when it developed? She took everything on board and in order to gain some understanding of how she must have felt deep down due to her wearing a back belt, I suggested she journal about it while imagining her eldest daughter going through the same experiences.
Tracey took all this on board and actually progressed very rapidly with her pain and was soon back at work.
She realised that she needed to follow the advice given not only to resolve her pain, but help her deal with future stress and therefore reduce the chance of any recurrence. As a working Mother of three she continues to have periods of stress that she has to deal with, but if occasionally her back begins to ache she recognises it is not the scoliosis that is causing the pain. She therefore works out what is causing her stress and is able to resolve any discomfort within hours.
Tracey has recently climbed the Empire State Building while in New York and regularly goes to yoga classes, both of which she wouldn’t have dreamed of being able to do not long ago.
She recently told Georgie, “I could have never envisaged that I would be able to endure such a long flight never mind conquer my fear of heights! I am feeling really good and am finally on top of the TMS. I am constantly setting myself challenges and managing to deal with any pain along the way.
I have just returned from a weekend of camping, something I would have never dreamed of attempting and had to manage without an airbed as it broke and still got up in the morning pain free. I am currently in training to do the 3 peaks, hopefully we will attempt it in the spring next year to raise funds for charity.”
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