Tackling Chronic Pain, Trauma, and Emotional Eating

This morning while tackling some of the knots in my legs and back with a foam roller, our dog nuzzled up ON me. I don’t think that’s in the foam roller instructions, Tony!

Many of us dealing with mental illness also deal with chronic pain and unfortunately I am no exception. I hold my anxiety and stress in my muscles and have to work to release the tension and knots. I also have some medical issues that cause chronic back and hip pain.

I was having some success with MFR (myofascial release) treatments after many failed attempts with injections, traditional docs and specialists, PTs and chiropractors. But the MFR was very expensive for very short 30 minute sessions and wasn’t even close to getting to all the knots.

Almost a year ago I started seeing a musculoskeletal specialist and massage therapist, who also has a background in physical therapy studies, personal training and Reiki. In 90 minute sessions we get to the majority of my pain points and knots, with a focus on what’s most critical for me that day. During those sessions over this past year we’ve released current stressors and anxiety and have also attacked many deep rooted knots that bring up various traumas I’ve experienced throughout my life. I’ve experienced so many deep catharses in the past year it’s hard to even express, but we’ve been able to bring up the traumas that come to my mind from a certain knot or pressure point, and then process, forgive and release the trauma. I’ve cried a lot. I’ve released so much that I forgot was even there, being carried around like a burden in my body and mind.

We schedule sessions about once every 2 weeks instead of the twice weekly MFR sessions I was trying to squeeze into my schedule. I’ve also learned a lot more about my posture, breathing and self treatment techniques with a roller, ball and strengthening exercises. Tim provides sessions in person here in PA, as well as virtual sessions. Feel free to reach out to him here if you feel like he might be able to help you.

My chronic pain has been very intense and persistent daily since partway through my second pregnancy 4 years ago. It’s been a major process of finding the right care and gaining extra weight due to not being able to exercise the way I used to and emotional eating to provide pleasure to combat the pain.

To tackle the emotional eating issues, last fall I started the 2b Mindset program with my sister as my coach and that’s been immensely helpful with mindfulness around food and water and smarter, controlled choices vs letting my pain and bipolar control me. I lost 20 pounds and then since the holidays I’ve been maintaining that loss and now feel ready to get back to weight loss mode. This is my sister’s story and info about the program if you have any interest!

Recently in one of my sessions with the musculoskeletal specialist, we realized it was the first time I didn’t need to cry and process something major. I feel like we’ve made so much progress in the last year with both my physical pain management and healing many of my life traumas and emotional pain. My bipolar is still here and still something I have to manage daily, but healing the trauma paths and closed off spaces in my brain has definitely made things easier and I have much more control of me, my actions, who I am and who I want to be.

My full treatment plan includes a therapist, psychiatric nurse practitioner, a local DBSA group and online support group, my very supportive significant other, family and friends with plenty of activities and laughter, healthier eating with lots of water and veggies with 2b Mindset as my guide, exercise, yoga, mindfulness, meditation, my self treatment with the foam roller, ball and stretching along with my bi-weekly sessions with Tim Marsh, the muskuloskeletal specialist. I know it can sound like a lot of work to tame the bipolar (or depression or anxiety or PTSD) beast, but it’s absolutely worth it.

Is there anything else in your tool belt that you use to tame your beast, whether it be a mental illness or chronic pain or something else entirely? Do you have any questions for me? I always love interaction! ❤️

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