Why does this happen, we ask the doctor? They give us an explanation we don't understand and then a prescription. The pain is dulled for a time, but the problem is still there.
Is there an alternative?
For me, I sought out manual therapy. Massage was helpful, thought the effects not too lasting. I went to a chiropractor which was helpful in revealing that I had compression in my right sacroiliac joint, but the cracking was uncomfortable for me and, again, my body would eventually shift back to its original compressed state.
I voiced my frustration to my naturopath who said, 'You should get craniosacral therapy from Dr. Sanders upstairs! He will fix you up in one session!"
Sure enough, after one session of this incredible, non-invasive body work, I felt... balanced... and pain free. I didn't want move...ever...for fear of losing this incredible feeling of normalcy. However, the therapist told me to continue living my life as usual, no need to rest or take time off from running or rowing (in contrast to the chiropractor who ordered me to do nothing for two weeks). This was an amazing discovery and I would have received this treatment weekly if I could afford the $150.00 per session price tag.
Cut to that following spring. I am in New York taking certification classes for The MELT Method. I had stumbled across Sue Hitzmann and her pain-management method years prior while at a fitness conference and took the 4-hour lecture workshop purely for the CEC's and then walked out of it blown away. Sue is a manual therapist who specializes in various modalities, one of which was craniosacral. She developed her method as a form of homework for her clients and a way for them to treat themselves in between sessions. Her clients were coming back better and feeling empowered with the ability to treat their own pain. What began as a little experiment for Sue's private clients evolved into a remarkably successful group fitness program.
Until my chronic pain had surfaced, I had more or less forgotten about MELT until the next conference when I saw Sue on the menu of lecturers. After the re-introduction to the method and a look at my own pathetic state of being, I decided that I needed to learn this technique.
Through the certification course, I learned a whole new science, one that examined the communication of the connective tissue in the human form and how that system affects everything from muscles and joint pain to digestion and sleep patterns. I was taught the techniques: The MELT Hand & Foot Treatment, which utilizes little balls for the hands and feet that bring relief, somewhat magically, to the entire body. We learned MELT and MELT Length on the foam roller which added another layer of self-treatment that went beyond the tissues in to the autonomic nervous system. The material was mind blowing and overwhelming.
In between modules, which were spaced a few weeks apart, I would practice MELT with great focus and discipline. Although I was getting relief from the decompression techniques and the diaphragmatic breathing, slowly and sometimes suddenly, other issues began cropping up. Pain from a tail bone injury from childhood came back as if it had just happened the day before. My left middle knuckle which had become inflamed and was treated with a cortisone shot, blew back up after just one MELT Hand Treatment. The compression in my back shifted to the other side.
I was becoming depressed.
When we reconvened, Sue asked if anyone had been doing any of the MELT Maps we had learned and how it was going. I raised my hand and proceeded to speak of my woes, finishing with "I feel worse than before."
"GREAT!" Sue said.
She proceeded to remind us that our tissue has memory and manipulating that tissue will release whatever has been trapped with in them. For me, my tailbone injury had become asymptomatic over a decade and a half and hydrating the tissue around it on a foam roller woke up a long sleeping dragon. The Hand Treatment instantly flushed the cortisone out of my knuckle, proving that cortisone is no permanent solution. The shifting pain was showing that my body was readjusting, attempting to go back to it's ideal state.
"Don't stop... keep going, and note the changes," Sue encouraged.
I obeyed... and continue to do so to this day because I will testify that my tailbone is now a non-issue. My knuckle has calmed down between the treatment and a daily dose of Krill Oil. My back is easily managed by weekly work on the roller and Foot Treatment.
For this I became a Certified MELT Practitioner three years ago. I use what I have learned in treating my own body and now teach others how to do the same.
If you are in pain anywhere in your body and want to learn how to treat it on your own, then you need to MELT. Call or email me to schedule a one-on-session in your home or to inquire about classes. If you have a group you want to gather to MELT with or have a studio where you think MELT would be welcome, let me know. If I am not in your area, there ultimately is an instructor who is.
Of course, you, too, could be like me and embrace The MELT Method by getting certified as well.
Be well, be joyful and be pain-free....
Certified Personal Trainer and MELT Practitioner