Myofascial Release (MFR) Self-treatment

My Personal Experience:

After I returned from my first of three John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) two-week intensives, I started self-treating my myofascial pain using tools such as a Theracaneoccipivot pad*, foam roller, and tennis balls. This has been effective in bringing down spikes in my pain. Two resources I found helpful are the Comprehensive Myofascial Self Treatment workbook by Joyce Patterson and The Trigger Point Manual by Davies and Davies. However, while I diligently self-treated as the therapists taught me, it seems my buried pain was too strong for the self-treatment to fully cure me.


I have also taken breaks from myofascial self-treatment, thinking that maybe I was focusing too much on the physical aspect of my pain (see Stop trying). But even trying not to try for a year or two did not resolve my chronic pain. So I continue to self-treat my pain when it is particularly bad, which usually helps temporarily reduce my pain.


Some people I know, however, have had their pain flare up when they self-treated. Much of the success of any attempt to reduce pain has to do with where you are in the process of healing. If I had tried to use some of these techniques at the very beginning when I was in so much more pain, I don't know that they would have been effective. But after I shed many layers of pain through recognition of the mind-body influence (see Reading about mindbody and JFB-MR treatment), and having highly trained therapists help release my fascia, these self-treatment methods then became extremely helpful.


Some people are lucky enough to self-treat themselves to freedom from pain (including self-treating the mind through reading Sarno and related books). I believe my mindbody has the ability to do so, but I just haven't fully achieved it yet.

_________

*A similar tool that I haven't used but that my physical therapists have recommended and that looks very effective is the CranioCradle. Instead, I continue to rely on the occipivot pad, although I don't need it as much as I used to.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE:  Helps reduce my pain, but not eliminate it completely.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Meditation/Breathing

My Personal Experience:

When my pain continued even after my amazing reduction in pain with John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) treatment, many friends, and even my JFB-MFR therapist, suggested I try meditation. Initially it was hard for me to sit for more than fifteen to twenty minutes without my pain spiking up, so I didn't try formal group meditation. Instead I would listen to guided imagery CD's while lying down at home. This didn't cure me but I hoped that at some subconscious level it was helping me process my negative thoughts and would help me let go of whatever was perpetuating my pain.


I frequently listened to John F. Barnes' Inner Journey CDs and Jan Sadler's CD that comes with her book Pain Relief without Drugs: A Self-Help Guide for Chronic Pain and Trauma. I've spent many months throughout my years of pain listening to an hour of guided imagery day after day, but now I spend more time resting to relieve my pain, and a little time exercising to keep my endorphins flowing. That's just more my style, although I wonder if this is preventing me from facing the remaining issues that are keeping me saddled with pain.


I've also learned to be aware of how I breathe. Not until after two years of pain did a JFB-MFR therapist help me see how I mostly used my chest and not my diaphragm to breathe. This causes greater tension in my upper back, shoulders, and neck compared to diaphragmatic breathing, which is how we breathe when we're born (but we often get out of the habit due to both physical and psychological life stressors). 


After years of greater awareness, bodywork, and meditation, I've noticed my breathing is more diaphragmatic; and when I remember, I try to be mindful of how I breathe. I don't know if this is directly helping my neck, but it certainly can't hurt.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE:  Likely helpful in the long run, but hasn't greatly reduced or eliminated my pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Sleep/Rest

My Personal Experience:

Since experiencing an overall reduction in pain after my John F. Barnes myofascial release two-week intensives (JFB-MFR), I have found that one of the next best pain management approaches for me ​is rest. This includes lying down during the day to relieve pain, but also making sure I get a full night's sleep, or if not, taking a nap during the day.


I didn't realize it at first but my lack of sleep results in increased pain or greater susceptibility to pain flare-ups. Unfortunately, taking naps and lying down often during the day make living a "normal" life of work and play impossible.  


There was a period of time I took over-the-counter sleeping pills (Tylenol's Simply Sleep®) to make sure I got an adequate night's sleep and to reduce my pain. I took the pills over a period of a few months, but then weaned myself off them after intensive myofascial release bodywork (JFB-MFR) more significantly reduced my pain. 

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE: Helps reduce my pain, but not eliminate it completely.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Support

My Personal Experience:

Support from friends, family, or any community is a powerfully important factor in health and well-being. Finding support communities can be invaluable in fostering a positive physical and psychological healing environment.  


For more than two years, I suffered in such pain that I couldn't imagine attending any kind of support group meeting. But once I significantly reduced my pain after my first John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) two-week intensive treatment, I was able to attend a pain support group meeting.


Even though I finally had hope that I could someday be pain-free after the JFB-MFR intensive, my athletic, active life was gone and the prospect of it never coming back was difficult to accept. However, I found the support group meeting to be rather depressing. While I was comforted to know I was not alone, I still wasn't ready to accept my limited life as the "new normal." I didn't go back except for one meeting about hypnosis over a year later, which was after my pain significantly flared up when I was rear-ended in my car in 2009.


Instead of a formal face-to-face support group, I found great solace in the online JFB-MFR chatline comprised of patients and practitioners (now the MFR-Talk Facebook page). People shared their healing journeys with the chatline group and offered great support. 


I also started seeking psychological counseling after I returned from my JFB-MFR intensive (since I had uncovered a past trauma that I hadn't ever addressed). While the counseling was an important factor in working through my trauma, the support from the JFB-MFR chatline was also critical to my surviving some of the worst of the roller coaster ride that I was living through.  


There are many other on-line forums or chatlines that people living in pain consult. Others that I have frequented at different times are:

Just as face-to-face support groups have pros (support, solidarity) and cons (dwelling on the negative and on the fact that you are in pain), so do on-line forums. Hearing about the negative effects pain is having on people's lives may foster feelings of hopelessness. However, a superbly positive aspect of the forums is that you also hear from people who have healed even after years of chronic pain (I have personally experienced this with the JFB-MFR chatline and the TMS forums). Plus, I've developed some wonderful personal relationships with other participants in these forums. 

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE: Very helpful psychologically. 


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Nutrition/Environment

My Personal Experience:

There is no evidence in the literature or in my experience that specific foods or environmental toxins are responsible for chronic myofascial pain. However, as a general rule, eating a well-balanced diet and avoiding environmental toxins is good for your health. I would therefore imagine that reducing stress on the body caused by toxins or poor diet might reduce the chance of exacerbating pain symptoms. 


I have found that eating at relatively frequent intervals (about every few hours) helps to moderate my pain. If I wait too long before eating, somehow my pain flares up. Therefore I avoid letting myself get excessively hungry whenever possible.


A few years into my pain journey, I tried supplementing my diet with Vitamin D [see Other oral medications (& vitamins)]; however, this didn’t reduce my pain. I have since started taking Vitamin D again to supplement my diet because blood work showed my Vitamin D levels were very low. After months of taking them, I still haven’t seen any direct affect on my pain levels (but I continue to take them for general health purposes).


For the first 10 years of my pain journey, I was busy trying many things to resolve my pain, but I hadn't tried to completely change my diet to test its effect on my pain levels. Several people suggested I try an anti-inflammatory diet. However, because chronic myofascial pain is not necessarily a result of chronic inflammation and given that anti-inflammatory drugs didn't reduce my myofascial pain, I wasn't convinced an anti-inflammatory diet would resolve my remaining pain. 


Nonetheless, because an anti-inflammatory diet is a healthy diet, in July 2015, I began to make a concerted effort at eating a high-antioxidant, low-chemical, natural, and low processed-food diet (based on Dr. Weil's anti-inflammatory diet and the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate). My diet wasn't terrible before—I ate my veggies and fruits—but I have made a much greater effort to eat fewer processed foods (especially refined sugar) and I added greater quantities of potent antioxidants such as turmeric, garlic, ginger, and green tea (among many others) to my diet.


To date, I haven't had any discernible change in my physical pain since starting this diet. Interestingly, however, it has resolved my decades-long dust allergy. Thus I will continue to eat a mostly organic, minimally processed, nutrient-rich, low-sugar, vegetable- and fruit-dominated healthy diet while I continue other treatments that address my underlying traumas to help further reduce or eliminate my pain. 

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE: Beneficial to overall health, but hasn't resolved my chronic pain; eating every few hours helps reduce spikes in my pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Posture/Ergonomics

My Personal Experience:

Poor posture can be a sign of a body out of alignment. Over time, poor posture and poor ergonomic conditions can cause tightening of muscles and fascia. Whether or not poor posture and poor ergonomics cause myofascial pain syndrome, they certainly can exacerbate pain symptoms. 


At a minimum, I have found that paying attention to posture and proper ergonomics slightly helps to moderate my symptoms. However, I believe these are likely only small pieces of the puzzle as a cure for deeply embedded, emotion-fed myofascial pain.


I try to work on better posture to reduce stress on my myofascia and trigger points using the concepts in Esther Gokhale's book 8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot. However, I haven't seen any major change in my pain, although admittedly I haven't strictly committed to this. I read the book and went to a free workshop in 2015, and while I am more conscious of my posture, I haven't eliminated my remaining neck pain.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE: Most likely helpful to moderate symptoms; however, I haven't yet seen major improvement.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Therapeutic Writing

My Personal Experience:

My physical therapist suggested I keep a journal when I went to my first John F. Barnes myofascial release therapy (JFB-MFR) intensive in 2007. I had never been one to journal, but since I was going to be away from home for two weeks to focus solely on healing, I bought a notepad. Thus began my six-plus years of feverish writing.


Once I learned about my past trauma during my JFB-MFR intensive, I couldn't stop writing. I felt compelled to pen my story. I had to understand it for myself. I'd lie in my bed or on the couch scrawling page after page of a story that I had hid from myself for decades.


I can't say whether this therapeutic writing directly reduced my pain, but it seems to have played an important part of my physical and psychological healing, which are inextricably linked. I think it was very beneficial for me to purge my feelings and thoughts onto paper as part of my healing process, even if I'm not fully healed yet. As my JFB-MFR therapists like to remind me, healing is a process, not an event.


I'd like to add that writing and sharing my story here on this website did eliminate a layer of my pain. The day after I published this website, I unexpectedly woke up with a little less pain. For six months prior, my pain had been spiked up after enduring the physical and emotional demands of moving to a new state with my husband and teenager. But the simple act of clicking "publish" removed a layer of pain that was in my upper back and neck. I wasn't able to pinpoint the location of the pain until I noticed it had disappeared. I'm thankful for every little layer that melts away. 


Yet I'm still susceptible to spikes and flare-ups of my pain with excess activity and stress. However, actions that allow me let go of tension, such as sharing my story and trying to help others (see also Take meaningful action), do help me reduce my pain.


Finally, in 2018 I viewed videos by Nicole J. Sachs, LCSW, who is a social worker that was trained by Dr. John Sarno (see Reading about mindbody). In her videos she recommends journaling to release buried emotions. She provides specific instructions that have helped her clients. I plan on taking a more serious crack at this. Drafting my memoir and preparing this website have been forms of therapeutic writing, but maybe now I need to resurrect my daily practice of writing down my raw emotional thoughts about the past, the present, and my personality traits to help release my remaining tension and pain, as Ms. Sachs suggests. 


I'll let you know how this goes after I've made a serious effort at journaling again. I also recommend her book published in 2016: The Meaning of Truth: embrace your truth. create your life. 

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE: Probably very helpful; to date, unsure of long-term effect on my pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Relaxation/Hot Tub

My Personal Experience:

Relaxation is helpful for general healing and reduced tension in the muscles and fascia. This in turn can help reduce pain symptoms. 


Fortunately the home I lived in when I first hurt my neck had a hot tub, which I used to help me relax and loosen my fascial tissue. If I had driven to a place that had a hot tub, the extra vertical time and subsequent neck pain associated with driving there and back would have likely reversed any positive benefit. 


The hot tub notwithstanding,  taking time to relax is important for overall health and for calming down my pain symptoms.   


I've also been able to spend much more time relaxing since I stopped working. Giving up my hard-earned career wasn't what I wanted to do, but it's what I finally realized I had to do for my body (see Work-life balance).


In 2016 we moved to a house without a hot tub, so now I lie down or use slow moderate exercise to help relax myself, although I do miss the hot tub.

Rating: (+)

BOTTOM LINE: Helpful to me for temporarily reducing tension and pain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Work-life Balance

My Personal Experience:

For the four years that I worked at my career job in pain, I constantly wondered if not working would cure me. I hated the thought of giving up my successful and enjoyable twenty-two-year career, but I finally had to stop. Stopping allowed me to better manage my pain, but unfortunately, not working didn't cure me. Apparently I still have more “healing” work to do (e.g., processing past trauma) to reach my ultimate goal of greater freedom from pain (see My Journey).


When pain stopped me from being gainfully employed, I felt guilty and ashamed. My company-based short-term disability—which I initially received to recover from surgery—was first extended to “partial” long-term disability because my pain hadn't gone away. Under “partial” long-term disability, I continued to work but at reduced hours. Then after four years of working fewer hours, I went on “full” long-term disability (not working at all) when my body still wasn't healing fully.


A year later the private insurance company that was supplying my disability insurance arbitrarily cut off my benefits, which I ultimately got back with the assistance of a disability lawyer and through much stress and added physical pain. Then the insurance company required I apply for social security disability because it would save them money—whatever the Social Security Administration would pay me would be deducted from what the private insurance company would pay me.


Even though social security disability is essentially taking retirement benefits early because you are unable to work (if you are below the government retirement age), there's a stigma associated with being on disability because of the small proportion of people that take advantage of the system. Many hard-working and appropriately deserving people are ashamed that they cannot work and they are afraid to apply for their benefits. In fact, many people in pain work more than is healthy for their bodies because of this stigma. There are times when pain is so limiting that using benefits that you paid into is necessary.


I've also learned it's hard to judge what disability means. Since my pain levels came down to some degree after the John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) intensives, I now can do things that someone might observe as inconsistent with someone who is disabled and cannot work. I can go on short jogs, for example, and I can do various things occasionally or for short periods of time, but I cannot withstand a daily routine of anything, including commuting and working. And just because you can withstand the pain for a while, it doesn't mean you can indefinitely. 


Plus, incessant pain can affect concentration and cognition, also affecting one's ability to work. I try not to feel guilty for being on disability. I have to override my thoughts that say I should be able to do everything. My body tells me it needs to slow down every day, but my brain still often interferes.


My healing has been a slow process, but I've learned how to respect it and not continue to push my body beyond its limits. I did that for my first forty-four years on this planet, but it turns out that approach no longer worked on a body besieged by pain that was trying to heal old wounds.

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE:  Important when managing symptoms and for allowing time to heal.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Creative Expression

My Personal Experience:

Creative outlets often benefit chronic pain sufferers. Not only has my compulsion to write my story been a form of therapeutic writing, it is also a form of creative expression. As an environmental scientist for over twenty years, I wrote technical prose for work, but creative writing taps into a different part of my brain. Gymnastics had been my form of creative expression in the past, but that stopped in 2005 when I ruptured the disc in my neck and developed chronic myofascial pain.


Some see the benefit of creative expression as a distraction from pain and associated depression, but it also allows people to express feelings they might otherwise be bottled up. Expressing ourselves creatively can help us let go of tension and negative beliefs that may be perpetuating our pain.


There are innumerable ways to exercise your creative side: painting, drawing, singing, writing, dancing, gardening, etc. For someone with chronic pain, however, it is often difficult to pursue some of these activities. I have found that once my pain came down significantly (after my intensive John F. Barnes myofascial release [JFB-MFR] therapy), 


I could write for short spurts of time. I have since added occasional gardening to my repertoire. Planting makes me feel grounded in the earth, and patiently watching the slow growth of new life gives me hope that I can have a renewed life. 


I've also expanded my creativity to the kitchen as I've become more focused on healthy eating recently. I enjoy the challenge of concocting dishes that are full of super nutritious foods that taste good, too—although pain still limits my ability to stand for too long while cooking.


Because my pain limits me, I have to be selective about the creative outlets (and all my daily chores) that I choose at any one time. For example, my compulsion to write my story demanded more time than my neck was comfortable with, so I've had to respect my pain and not push myself too much. 


I do activities for short periods of time and give deference to my healing process (even if it’s a slow one). I hope that keeping my brain engaged via creative expression, along with whatever other treatment modality I'm trying at any given time, will help me heal further. 

Rating: (++/?)

BOTTOM LINE: Probably helpful; still to be determined for me.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Take Meaningful Action

My Personal Experience:

I've read about people who say once they took action and did something meaningful they finally got better (e.g., as described in Miss America by Day: Lessons Learned from Ultimate Betrayals and Unconditional Love by Marilyn Van Derbur, even though her difficulties were more psychological than physical). 


Maybe preparing this website and writing my story is my attempt to take action. Maybe my words will help someone who is suffering. As I mentioned under Therapeutic writing, when I published this website, I experienced some pain reduction.


The long-term effectiveness of taking meaningful action is still to be determined for me. However, I strongly believe that this, along with many of the other things I've done and continue to do, is contributing to my current, not-as-bad-as-they-used-to-be pain levels.  

Rating: (++/?)

BOTTOM LINE: Could be very important; still to be determined for me.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Stop Trying

My Personal Experience:

I tried so many things to heal from my chronic pain, but then read about people who got better when they stopped thinking about their pain all the time. This is easier said than done when your pain is ever-present. But after my pain came down significantly via John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR), there was a point where I consciously decided to stop trying so hard. This doesn't mean I gave up hope. I always remained hopeful that I would get better, but I just stopped trying so darn hard (and putting so much energy into getting better). 


A couple months after my second JFB-MFR intensive, which was in 2009. I had taken a break from MFR and talk therapy. Instead I was diligently doing the MFR self-treatment that the JFB-MFR therapists had taught me. After a few months and no discernible difference in my pain, I decided to stop the self-treatment as well.


I think I was also letting go of other concerns at that time, such as feeling like a useless human being because I wasn't working, and feeling guilty about writing because if I could occasionally write then maybe I should be able to work (although intellectually I knew this wasn't true).


About one or two months later, I started feeling remarkably better. And through six golden weeks of feeling amazingly good, I thought I was close to being rid of my pain. But the pain crept back. I can't explain why, except that sadly it can be the nature of chronic myofascial pain.


I think that if you let go of things like shame, guilt, anger, frustration, denial, etc., you change your focus away from pain and disability and your body can re-calibrate to a non-pain state. Maybe that's what had happened for those six golden weeks. Unfortunately it doesn't always stick. I somehow reverted back to conditioned pain patterns. But I remain hopeful because at least I know my body canfeel much better.  


I used to keep a daily log of my pain levels. My physical medicine and rehabilitation doctor and various physical therapists found my data helpful in understanding my pain. But after almost seven years of charting my pain, I stopped because I thought I might be focusing too much on my pain. This hasn't directly resulted in reduced pain, but maybe in the long term it will help. (After all, it's one of the things Mr. Ozanich did to heal after decades of pain—see his book, The Great Pain Deception).


After my pain came down first with trigger point injections and then with JFB-MFR, I finally didn't think about it all the time. I don't dwell on the pain so much anymore, but this hasn't yet gotten me to that pain-free place that others have achieved. Yes, I'm “better” than I was several years ago, but I'm not fully better, or as good or as functional as I know I can be. Nonetheless, I continue to be hopeful.

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE: Temporarily helpful after my pain came down through acknowledging emotions, but difficult to maintain.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Listen to Your Body

My Personal Experience:

Through my first forty years of life, I pushed through pain. The aches and pains I'd experience were never bad enough to make me stop competing in my beloved sport, or stop striving for excellence in school or in my career. But my body finally had to stop and listen when it screamed at me in no uncertain terms by besieging me with a ruptured disc followed by unrelenting, debilitating, chronic pain.  


Even after I ruptured my disc, had surgery, and was still in terrible pain, I kept pushing on. I continued to work at my career job as much as possible while managing kids, marriage, home, and pain.


Once I finally took the time to get intensive John F. Barnes myofascial release (JFB-MFR) treatment, and I learned there was more behind my pain than just a ruptured disc (i.e., past physical insults and emotional trauma—see My Healing Journey), my pain went down several notches. Essentially, I had to face my pain, not ignore it. 


But in my years of chronic pain that followed, I've also learned that too much focus on the pain can be detrimental (see Stop trying under Self-treatments & personal action in the Treatments tab). Once my pain came down (when I recognized the emotional underpinnings), I was better able to move on and not focus on all the negative aspects of the pain and how my life had changed and how limited I was.    


There's a difference between ignoring the pain and moving on after acknowledging it. If I had continued to ignore it, I wouldn't have started the true therapeutic process of healing wounds from my past that were affecting my musculoskeletal system. And once I understood that my condition is a result of stuck patterns driven by my subconscious mind, I could then move on. And “moving on” isn't “ignoring” what’s behind the pain. It's more like re-focusing and moving forward with life.   


I first acknowledged what might be behind the pain and then faced it head on (since simply acknowledging it didn't clear away the pain). I also try to re-focus on my abilities and goals (as opposed to my disabilities and limitations). Again, this isn't always easy, but it is possible.

Rating: (++)

BOTTOM LINE:  Very important.


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)

Let Go

My Personal Experience:

Letting go means allowing your worries, the past, or whatever keeps your mind and body ill-at-ease to no longer have a hold on you. It means accepting life, not holding grudges, forgiving, and moving on. However, “letting go” isn't always simple and not necessarily something you can just “do.” I wish it were so easy. 


Just saying the words “I let go” doesn't always do the trick. These words somehow must go deep into every cell of our bodies in order to be fully effective for some of us to heal. Many of the approaches I have listed under the Treatments tab help us achieve this ultimate goal of letting go (e.g., talk therapy, emotional freedom technique, eye movement desensitization reprocessing, taking meaningful action, therapeutic writing, meditation, support groups); however, there is no guarantee that our bodies will respond to these either.  


I believe “letting go” is critical and has helped me reduce many layers of pain. But it also is one of the most difficult aspects of healing for me, particularly when it comes to letting go of deeply held, highly engrained emotions. I've acknowledged my fear, anger, and frustration associated with surgery and living for years in chronic pain. However, buried emotions—ones that were so devastating to my childhood mind that I had to keep them out of my conscious memory for decades—are harder to let go of. 


While I feel I have intellectually let go of my past traumas, my body still seems to be holding on to physical pain. But I do believe it is possible for my body to finally let go. It will require re-programming my brain's neuropathways, which have been conditioned and patterned into subconscious automatic reactions as a result of trauma.


In my opinion, “letting go” is an overarching concept that can be applied with any other treatment approach. But unfortunately I don't have a prescription of exactly how to completely let go. Sometimes it just takes time. And there can be layers of letting go. 


The fact that I've let go of some of my past pain and healed enough to have even prepared this website is an amazing feat in itself (even if it has taken years to do). Thus I continue to have hope that I CAN get better—and so should anyone else out there with debilitating chronic myofascial pain—or any form of chronic pain.

Rating: (+++)

BOTTOM LINE:  Critical (but very difficult for some of us).


My Ratings Key:

-----------------------------

(+++) Most effective

(++) Effective

(+) Somewhat effective 

(-) Not effective or hardly effective 

(--) Not effective or partial negative impact 

(---) Not effective and negative impact 

(+/-) Unsure or some positive and some negative impact 

(?) Don't know because I haven't tried at all or enough

------------------------------


Note: Described here is one of the many approaches I've tried or considered trying for healing my chronic myofascial pain.


This content is not intended as and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. (See full Disclaimer.)