TREATMENTS

List of Treatments I've Tried or Considered Trying—Bottom Line Summaries:

My Personal 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

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(Note: click on each one below for more detail)

Surgery (--)

Surgery fixed the neurological deficit from my ruptured disc, but likely triggered my myofascial pain

Soft collar (+)

Only helpful immediately after surgery


ORAL MEDICATIONS:

Painkillers (-)

Hardly worked

Oral steroid dose pack (+)

Temporarily relieved some of the excruciating nerve pain from my ruptured disc

Other oral meds & supplements (--)

Medicines didn't help or had unacceptable side effects; vitamins haven't reduced my pain


INJECTIONS:

TrP (trigger point) injections (+)

Initially helpful but eventually became less effective and had unacceptable side effects 

Dry needling (?)

Haven't tried but might be somewhat similar to TrP injections but without side effects

Facet joint injection (---)

Made my pain temporarily worse

Other injections (prolotherapy) (?)

Haven't tried, but don't expect to


PHYSICAL THERAPIES:

Traditional Physical Therapy (PT) (--)

Strengthening didn't help, sometimes made me worse; TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) had nominal positive effect

Traditional MFR (myofascial release) PT (+)

Didn't provide lasting reduction in my pain

Other manual therapies (IMT, OMT, Rolfing) (?)

Haven't tried

Patches/heating pads (++)

Help to temporarily moderate symptoms, but don't permanently or completely eliminate my pain

Acupuncture (--)

Tried briefly; it aggravated my pain

Chiropractic (?)

Haven't tried, but it scares me 


MIND-BODY APPROACHES:

Reading about mindbody (+++)

Very helpful

JFB (John F. Barnes)-MFR PT (+++) 

Very effective

Somatic experiencing (SE™) (++/?)

Reduced spikes in my physical pain

Other mind-body treatments (?)

Likely very effective if one is ready to treat mind and body


EXERCISE:

Movement practices (+)

Haven't tried extensively, but potentially helpful

Bicycling (+)

Somewhat helpful; psychologically positive

Dance classes (+/-)

Temporarily aggravated my pain to a small degree, but psychologically positive

Yoga (+/-)

Flared up my symptoms, but I don't necessarily discredit it 

Pilates (--)

Greatly flared up my symptoms

Walking/jogging (+) 

Likely helpful; jogging tolerable and helpful only after I embraced the mind-body connection and had already healed significantly; walking more tolerable

Swimming (+/-)

Sometimes slightly flares up my symptoms; good for general health

Kickboxing (+/-)

Flared up my symptoms, but cathartic

Tai Chi (?)

Don't know; haven't tried yet


PSYCHOLOGY-BASED TREATMENTS:

Talk therapy (+)

Helpful in processing the psychologically based causes of my chronic pain, but hasn't eliminated my physical pain

EMDR (eye movement desensitization & reprocessing) (++/?)

Some positive results, but moved and didn't continue

EFT (emotional freedom technique/tapping) (+)

Helped me reduce strong feelings related to past trauma, but didn't permanently reduce my pain

Other psychology-based  (?)

Don't know; probably helpful if psychological issues are behind the pain


SELF-TREATMENTS & PERSONAL ACTION:

MFR self-treatment (+)

Helps reduce my pain, but not eliminate it completely

Meditation/breathing (+)

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

Sleep/rest (++)

Helps reduce my pain, but not eliminate it completely

Support (++)

Very helpful psychologically

Nutrition/environment (+)

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

Posture/ergonomics (+)

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

Therapeutic writing (++)

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

Relaxation/hot tub (+)

Helpful for temporarily reducing tension and pain

Work-life balance (++)

Important when managing symptoms and for allowing time to heal

Creative expression (++/?)

Probably helpful; still to be determined for me

Take meaningful action (++/?)

Could be very important; still to be determined for me

Stop trying (++)

Temporarily very helpful after my pain came down through acknowledging emotions, but difficult to maintain

Listen to your body (++)

Very important

Let go (+++)

Critical (but very difficult for some of us)


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

My Experience with Various Treatments:

After more than two years of trying various treatments while still suffering in great pain, I finally found some lasting relief. It did not, however, come in the form of one simple pill. After the first nine months, I gained some modest relief from trigger point (TrP) injections. But the pain continued for another year and a half before I finally found the three key missing pieces that have helped me the most so far:

  1. Knowledge that my body has the ability to heal itself (which I discovered through much reading and some amazing physical therapists)  
  2. Acceptance and understanding that my body is not independent of my mind and that the two must work together to create a healthy individual  
  3. Realization that facing emotions and past traumas can significantly reduce pain.  

Ultimately, a combination of several treatments has helped me in my quest to live without debilitating or limiting pain. In the list provided on this page, I include various modalities that I have come across in my ten-plus years of healing my trauma- and emotion-fed chronic physical pain. 


Click on each link for a brief description of what I've tried and which modalities have or haven't worked for me.   


As a spoiler, receiving myofascial release therapy developed by John F. Barnes (JFB-MFR) and reading about the mind-body connection (via Dr. John E. Sarno and other authors) have had the greatest positive impact on my healing.


I haven't tried some of the treatments listed mostly because of cost. But it is also because I've gained considerable improvement through mind-body—based JFB-MFR therapy and because I understand that I have to address my traumas and emotions before I can continue to heal.  


In sum, I have found that paying attention to the needs of my mind and body can lead to relief from pain. This approach has worked not only for me but also for many others. ​(See books by Sarno, Ozanich, Barnes, Tavolacci, Velicki, and Brady listed in the mind-body and the personal stories sections within the Resources page).  


A note on the placebo effect: The effectiveness of the treatments that reduce or eliminate pain may indeed be the placebo effect in play. In my opinion, this inherently effective phenomenon is in many cases a good thing, especially if the treatment is non-invasive and inexpensive. 


The book Mind Over Medicine by Dr. Lissa Rankin is a useful resource that looks at the placebo effect in greater detail.