Case Study: Arthritis & Back Pain Relief

The Before Picture

Ruth Weston had been in chronic pain since 1994 – a total of 24 years. Her pain had begun after an assault at work which caused her a back injury, and pain in her knees and wrist. Eventually, Ruth had to give up her work as a nurse because of constant back pain.

She’d tried physio, injections, medication – nothing made a real difference. Painkillers like Tramadol damped things down a little, but weren’t any good long term solutions.

“I never knew, when I got up in the morning, how bad the pain would be. Some days, I couldn’t even get up.”

Ruth had been to a pain clinic, however she couldn’t take most medications as she had too many side effects. MRI’s showed her discs had become completely dehydrated, and doctors said there wasn’t much they could do about it. They couldn’t understand why Ruth was in as much pain as she was.

Ruth also has arthritis in her knees. However, surgeons didn’t want to operate when her pain system was so sensitised. The pain and arthritis was very debilitating. Her husband had to help her with everyday tasks, and she’d be told that within 10 years she’d be full time in a wheelchair.

“What I heard time and again was: ‘There’s nothing we can do for you. Go away, take the painkillers, you’re just going to get worse.’”

However, Ruth was determined she wouldn’t end up in a wheelchair. She did in fact own a wheelchair, which she used when the pain was really bad, but otherwise she made herself move around despite the pain.

Getting up stairs was like climbing Everest. Ruth would stand at the bottom and think “How am I going to get up there?” And coming down she could only come down one step at a time, sideways, because her knees would sometimes give way unexpectedly.

Ruth was in a bad place, but trying to do as much as she could. What was particularly hard was when she couldn’t do what she wanted to with her grandkids.

Ruth had been a nurse and was used to looking after everybody else. She had elderly parents who needed care and wasn’t able to look after them with her back pain being so severe.

By the time Ruth found the Life After Pain Program, the lightest touch to her lower back would hurt. The whole area had become super sensitised.

Ruth found Jonathan’s book on kindle. She started reading it and thought “This makes sense. Really.”

So she joined Life After Pain and started working through our program. “I was very slow,and it took a lot of work, but it was working. I could actually move around more easily and walk up and down stairs. I could have a shower without help, I could dress, and I even bought a pair of tie up shoes.”

“I haven’t worn lace up shoes for over 20 years, because my hands were too sore to do laces – until now.”

NeuroMind Techniques

When Ruth joined, we were doing a 30 day NeuroMind challenge with the whole group, She noticed that doing the NeuroMind techniques really helped. And she still does them, 1-2 times a day.

“The moment I first realised it was working was when I was in a fair bit of pain. I was trying different NeuroMind techniques, what really worked for me was a visualisation from the library. I felt my pain dampening down and easing up. This same technique still works very well for me.”

Ruth followed the course very closely and really did the work.

“You have to switch from the ‘fix me’ mentality to taking things into your own hands and doing the work yourself. You can’t be handed a pill to fix this.”

I was curious about where the determination to not end up in a wheelchair came from, and I asked Ruth about this.

“Stubborn Scottish blood. Both my parents were very stubborn – we’re a very stubborn family. My father had health problems and never gave up. I was brought up with the belief you don’t ever give up. If there’s something wrong, you face it and do something about it – don’t just accept what’s given to you.”

Lifestyle Changes

In week 8 of the program, there’s a module on how to look at the larger life patterns. During this time, Ruth did some introspection and began to remove the major stresses in her life, the things that upset her on a regular basis.

“These changes have happened over a long period of time – and solving them also takes time, because your body’s got to relearn, and your brain has to relearn as well and start doing what it needs to do and not misbehaving.”

“I used to take 4-6 tramadol a day – every day. I’m down to one, and only when I really need it. I’ll use NeuroMind techniques instead.”

Another key to getting out of chronic pain is to stop repeating the damaging cycle of Boom and Bust. “I would do things, and work at them, and not stop – even when I was feeling better. I just kept on keeping on.”

Recognising and then eliminating this pattern was another step in Ruth’s journey back to full-bodied living.

The After Picture

“Since completing the course, my daily back pain is virtually non-existent. It comes up from time to time if I overdo things, but then I just go back and treat the triggers, and it settles right back down.”

“The arthritis pain – I still have that, but it’s nowhere near as bad as it was. I’m controlling it, not it controlling me. When it starts to play up, I’ll start doing my NeuroMind techniques, and it will quieten down.

“I can walk further, I’m building up my walking gradually. I haven’t used my scooter for months. I don’t fall down stairs any more. My legs used to go into spasm on stairs, and that doesn’t happen anymore. My daughter lives in the states. I visited her, a 12 hour plane ride – and I was ok.”

While Ruth was visiting her daughter, an incident happened that showed how far she’d come. “My daughter walked in amazed one day, because I was sitting on the floor with my grandchildren. In the past I wouldn’t have been able to get up off the floor, but now I can.”

“I can just get in and out of bed without even thinking about it. People who’ve never had pain wouldn’t think about that sort of thing. But if you’ve been in pain, you’d understand that sometimes getting out of bed can be a real challenge. Not for me anymore though.

“I can touch my toes now too. 20 odd years ago I could do this – before my injury. Until this year, I couldn’t though. And now I can.”

Final words:

“I wish there were more doctors and physios who would understand this way of treating chronic pain. I’m just so grateful for finding Life After Pain. I did a lot of work, but you pointed me in the right direction.”


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