“I have just accepted the fact that I am going to live the rest of my life with this pain”🧡

Posted: January 25, 2023

A Life of Pain Blog Image

Do you find yourself stating these words? Maybe you had an injury at one point and never got it completely solved, and now it’s years later and you feel you have no other option but to surrender to your pain and let it rule your life. Or maybe you have been passed around from one doctor to the next, you’ve had the imaging done, you’ve been in and out of physical therapy, and still no hope.

That’s where I was, at 16 years old. Far too early to be dealing with a lifetime diagnosis of chronic lower body injuries and constant pain, but unsure of where to turn to seek consistent relief. I tried both traditional and non-traditional treatment options, but years later I was left with my hands in the air, hopeless, because all of these treatments that were promised to make me feel better had not. It was when my doctor had the guts to tell me that maybe my pain wasn’t real and it was all just in my head that I officially gave up.

Here’s an overview of where I was at:
  • multiple opinions from orthopedic docs
  • concurrent weekly chiropractic visits
  • visits with high school AT for another opinion
  • X-rays
  • MRI
  • PT for 9 months
  • was forced to quit club volleyball and running if “You want to kneel on the ground and play with your kids by the time I’m 30 then you need to stop performing high impact activities”
  • “you should never run more than a mile because it will cause too big of a setback”
  • daily pain medication
  • constant swelling in knees
  • walked with a limp
  • tried food elimination and added supplements to decrease inflammation
  • wore only shoes with good support to decrease pain from low back and down (they were not cute and it was so dumb)
  • fell asleep with ice packs on my knees 3 years of high school
  • forced discharged from PT with no decrease in pain because insurance would no longer cover appointments as treatment was not providing improvements
  • by the time I started college, I took on the mindset of pain management because nothing seemed to make the pain go completely away, but I was done letting it rule my life

At this point, to protect my mental health, I would run short distances and do bodyweight strength workouts even though my pain still ranged between 2/10 and 7/10.

After 5 consecutive years of pain, I met the clinician who changed my life forever! After three appointments, I went from living in constant pain to... NOTHING!

At the same time that I became pain-free, I also was in college studying to become an athletic trainer. It was my mission to learn all of the skills necessary to not just mask symptoms, but to decrease an individual’s pain no matter what prognosis they had been given. I chose for my patients that I will never give up on them and their road to recovery. Until we have exhausted every treatment option under the sun, I will do whatever it takes to see my patient’s move pain-free.

I would not take back my young diagnosis of chronic injury because it has been foundational to the way that I now practice as an athletic trainer. I have patient’s that come and see me with a story of struggle that may be similar to mine or even worse. They don’t know where else to turn for help and are looking for one last ray of hope- for someone to believe that they can live life with less pain and get back to doing what they love.

I am hopeful for all of my patients! I will show up for them at each and every appointment with an overly excited smile on my face. I will quite literally cheer them on because I know that they can achieve the lifestyle that they long for! I will highlight the moments of progress along the way when there are moments that may appear as a plateau. I will not give up.

Because I did not give up and my clinician showed up for me, I am living a better version of 25 than I had even thought possible at the age of 16. Here’s a little glimpse:
  • 5 years after I began to experience pain, I became introduced to someone who fixed me in 3 visits
  • 3 half marathons and currently training for a full 26.2 miles!
  • no limitations in workouts
  • no ice packs
  • unrestricted diet
  • no pain medication
  • I can wear whatever shoes I want!
  • no more doctors appointments
  • I kneel on the floor pain-free with my youth athletes every day and have absolutely no pain

It takes work and I still have to hold up my end of the deal, but as I tell my youth athletes that I work with “it’s much easier to do 15 minutes of injury prevention work every day that you train, instead of getting sidelined with injury for months on end”.

It is my goal to supply my patients with the resources that they need to take care of their bodies at home and maintain progress. I do love my patients, but I don’t want to see them forever because that means I’m not doing my job right😉

Pain does not get to have the last word. Give your body the care you deserve! I am cheering for you and already waiting with a smile to meet you!

– Rhianna