Pain took my attention from everything
I was a grad student studying to become a physical therapist when my pain got really bad. I hurt my back a couple of years before, and it healed, but when I went back to school, it started up again. Then things got really weird. The pain moved: it started with my low right hip, moved to my mid-back, then the pain moved up to my face, head, and jaw… it was crazy.
When my teeth started to hurt, I started to really freak out.
I was constantly preoccupied with my pain. I felt like I wasn’t living my life because I was either in pain or worried that I would be in pain.
I was stuck in a whirlpool; I was in a scared, fearful, painful place that kept feeding itself. When I’d think about the pain, it was like a circuit would start, and I didn’t know how to stop it.
Pain took my attention from everything.
The shift toward better
One day I went out with my friends, and I don't know why it was different - but I was fully engaged and present. For that one night, the pain just wasn’t there. That was a big sign for me that this pain wasn’t a structural issue and that there was something else going on.
I was fortunate to have learned a little bit about neuroplastic pain in some of our classes, and I could get enough distance from my pain to notice how strange it was. I started collecting all this information as evidence, more pieces to put together in my pain puzzle.
I was already spending so much money on physical therapy, dentists, ENTs, and primary care visits trying to figure out what each symptom was - not yet aware that maybe there could be one “primary pain” diagnosis that could explain it all. I did a google search for central sensitization in the off-chance that that might explain my symptoms, and Lin came up. It felt hopeful and was so much more affordable than other options, so I decided to try it.
“My life has changed completely as a result of my work with Lin. I look at it as a shifting point in my life.”
Since I started my program with Lin and working with my coach Jen, it’s not just my pain that’s better - my whole life is better because of it. I feel so supported, and the puzzle pieces keep coming together.
It has been amazing.
I don’t have pain anymore. On the rare occasion that I do notice some, it just passes through - it doesn’t stick. I’ve been practicing meditation more as an attempt to be more present - that’s one of the main things that pain made it really hard to do; I was so distracted all the time.
It is amazing to be able to say, “Hey, I’m having this issue,” and my coach hands me a new care kit and resources for dealing with whatever is going on. It is so helpful.
This approach has caused a huge shift in my professional focus. I’ve decided that I want to pursue this as a career. Knowing that I can do this and help other people find this work is beyond exciting to me.
“The Lin program addressed the pain and the problem causing the pain.”
The Lin program addressed the pain and the problem causing the pain. That’s exciting to me. My pain was very rooted in emotion that I needed to release; the pressure of school was getting to me. It makes me incredibly happy to know that this is a possibility to share with other people.
For anyone on the fence about this, I’d say try it. The key to success with this work is being curious and then being honest enough to figure out how it applies to you.
My life has changed completely as a result of my work with Lin. I look at it as a shifting point in my life. I was going down one path, and now I’m going down a completely different one. I feel like I’m back on track and that I’m headed in the right direction now.
Everyone that I’ve talked to at Lin has been so genuinely great and kind. It feels so different than any other company in the modern world. Everyone I’ve spoken to has “been there,” and they get it. It’s a lovely group of people. It has been totally life-changing.
My Recovery Toolbox
- Favorite science fact: Chronic pain (nociplastic pain) works on entirely different neural circuits than acute pain. And you can actually see that on a functional MRI. That blows my mind.
- Fear-busting thought: I practice an anti-anxiety technique called DARE (Defuse. Allow. Run Toward. Engage).
When I have a fearful moment, I look for it in my body and encourage my body to do more of it in order to break the cycle. It sounds weird, but it’s been super helpful for me. Instead of fighting it, I welcome it, I “dare” it, and it changes.
- What I’ve put into my life in place of pain: Focus and presence. I am much more mindful of the present moment. I’ve been meditating more and making finding moments of gratitude and joy a practice.
- Best recovery advice: In challenging, painful moments when it feels like “there has to be something terribly wrong with my body,” try to remember that there are tons of other moments that have shown you that it will pass. These are all little bits of proof, and you can build on these. Also, remember how far you’ve come.