Podcast: Episode 167: Reducing Persistent Pain By Feeling with Trudy Johnson

Persistent pain is overwhelming. It can be tempting to claim "my pain problem is XYZ" when the reality is much more nuanced. Pain in the hip, for example, can also be influenced by tightness in the upper body. It is all connected, and sometimes, it can be hard to identify where it's coming from.

I am pleased to bring on my private 1:1 client, Trudy Johnson, who has experienced various forms of pain over the years, from knee pain and pain from injury to pelvic floor surgery and Morton's neuroma. Initially, when I introduced the idea that “the pain is not the problem” to Trudy, she did not believe me. Today, Trudy shares how learning to listen to her body changed everything, empowered her to work with her body, and begin to eradicate her pain.

In this episode, Trudy and I share pain nuances that you may be able to relate to. We break down Trudy’s experience of working with me and how she was able to learn practices that she could infuse into all areas of her life.

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What You'll Learn from this Episode:

  • Some methods of identifying areas of “stuckness”.
  • The concept of pure movement.
  • How to notice all the ways you physically compensate.
  • Some of the benefits of working one on one.
  • Why bracing can be hard to identify but essential to confront.
  • The organic results of working with me.
  • The power of utilizing the street light system.

Featured on the Show:

  • If you want to dig deeper into this work and would like to explore and connect to your body and being, I recommend you join me for the Therapeutic Yoga Intensive. It runs from Saturday April 15th, 2023 – Thursday April 20th, 2023, 8:30am to 2pm MT. Click here to learn more and sign up. If you have a question about the Therapeutic Yoga Intensive, 1:1 support, or our other programs, email us at [email protected].

Full Episode Transcript:

Male Announcer: You’re listening to From Pain to Possibility with Susi Hately. You will hear Susi’s best ideas on how to reduce or even eradicate your pain and learn how to listen to your body when it whispers so you don’t have to hear it scream. And now here’s your host, Susi Hately.

Susi: Welcome and welcome back. With this episode I am so, so delighted to share a conversation with you that I am having with Trudy Johnson. And Trudy Johnson is a client of mine who really demonstrates what is possible. So today what we’re going to be talking about is her client journey. Her trajectory of healing, of where she was when she first started working with me, where she is now, how much pain she’s reduced and in some cases eradicated, where she’s still working and where her confidence and clarity really lies.

What I’m hoping that you’re going to get from this session today is little nuggets of maybe like where you’re stuck, because she highlights a lot of common, well, it’s just stucknesses. Like those times when you’re on the path and healing and you’re wondering where to go and you know it’s not working and can someone just help me already? And just she keeps going and going and going. And then how she’s really resolved a lot of that and how she has so much more confidence and comfort with choosing what to do next.

And so we’ll have a bit of a riff and a dialogue of all the things, but welcome, Trudy, I’m so glad you’re here.

Trudy: Thank you, Susi. I appreciate you inviting me. It’s pretty exciting for me.

Susi: And so what’s interesting about Trudy and I is as many people know who listen to this podcast, I only work online. We were laughing before we started on because I’m in Calgary, Alberta, across the border, up in Canada. And Trudy is in Mississippi, as far south almost as you could go mainland USA. And we are going by Zoom, we have time change and very different weather. And this is just a great example of exactly what is possible.

So, Trudy, how about you start with sharing just the story up to the point you met me. Like the backstory of what you feel.

Trudy: Yeah, okay. So yeah, I tend to get long winded, so I’ll try and make it short. One of my very earliest memories was of my grandmother rubbing the wintergreen alcohol on my knees because my knees hurt. I’ve never been very athletic growing up or anything like that. My family wasn’t very athletic. We were working people. I have an amazing family, we just weren’t very athletic people. We didn’t run 10K’s and play basketball and football, all of those things.

So I didn’t think much about it, but in adult life I’ve been overweight a little bit here and there and I’d lose a little weight and start working out and that sort of thing. And I would always either – Well, the first couple of times I got pregnant, and then I would hurt myself. One of the very last times that I lost like 45 pounds I ended up with a Morton’s neuroma in my foot and couldn’t walk like I was before.

And I’ve had lots of pelvic floor dysfunction. That’s another one of those things that is becoming more commonplace to talk about. And that’s a really good thing because with the pelvic floor dysfunction and with having a hysterectomy years ago, and then needing another A&P repair, and different things, you know, all of those internal things just pull on my back. And then I’m large chested, and so that also causes some anatomical issues.

So I’ve always kind of been in pain and just not been able to just, I don’t know, feel good in my body. So I had my last A&P repair for my pelvic floor in February of 21. And then in March of 22, which was a year ago, I went to camp with No BS Weight Loss Group, which is a weight loss group but so, so much more.

And at that camp Corrine was also talking about her Don’t Stop Believing race, which is a 5k. And I’m like, you know, I’m ready to do that again. I need to lose some more weight again and that sort of thing. So I signed up for DSB, that’s what she calls it, it’s Don’t Stop Believing, a long backstory there that you can look up.

But the reason I did that is because I knew that somehow, someone in that group would know how to help me work through this Morton’s neuroma, because I did not want to have surgery, and help me walk better. Because since my A&P repair I’ve also had really tightness in my hip and just had a lot of hard time walking.

Regardless, Corinne and her group had Susi there. And Susi was teaching us about – One of the first things I remember her saying was where the pain is, is not the problem. And I’m like, yeah, no, the pain is really in my hip. And that’s the problem because that’s where my surgery is. That’s where my scar tissue is. That’s the first thing I remember saying, but she was talking about the power in the lower glutes and I was actually able to make that call live.

And the way you talked about pure movement and you talked about whenever you’re moving your glutes, you’re moving your hip bone in the socket. And I’m probably going to say things way wrong there, anatomically I am not correct. But still, pure movement. And you talked about compensations. And I’m like, yeah, I compensate a little bit but not much.

But then as I’m trying to do the movements, I’m like, oh my gosh, I’m holding my breath. Yeah. Okay, so I’m doing this. And then wait, wait, I’m doing this. And I was tilting my hips and my pelvic bone. And I’m like, wait, what’s going on here? So I started digging into your podcast and listening to and watching some of the things that you have available on YouTube, and went through a couple of the other things that Corinne had available.

Needless to say, I did not go to Nashville for that race, I had planned to do it virtually. And I didn’t end up doing the 5K because my hip and my back hurt too bad. I have an anterior tilt in the right side of my pelvis and it keeps kind of popping out. I’ve worked with physical therapists to try to help keep it there and strengthen my core and things like that. And some of that worked really well.

And so just a combination of all of the things that have been available, I know I’m very blessed to have and to have been able to take part of. But really understanding and truly being able to listen to my body is like the puzzle pieces that you were able to put together, Susi. You were able to just make it click in my brain. I always say that I can learn something, but I kind of have to go through it again to comprehend. And then again several times, of course, to practice and get pretty good at it.

But at any rate, I think I started working one on one with you last October because I knew by then that in order to do what I needed to do, I needed some one on one attention. And everybody doesn’t need that, but I did because a lot of the things that were in your videos I could kind of do, but I knew I was bracing here. Or one of the big things I’ve learned is my back is not moving that way even though I’ve never thought I had a big issue with my middle back and my ribs and things. I do, or did have, they’re working pretty well now.

But I never thought about that. It was always the focus on my pelvic floor and my knees and my feet. And so one of the first classes I took of yours after your hip course, is it the glutes? Power in the Glutes? Okay, one of the very next courses I took was your Power in the Pits. And whenever you put the tennis balls in your armpits, and I was like moving, kind of getting comfortable with those. I’m like, owe, that shouldn’t hurt in my ribs and stuff. That shouldn’t hurt.

And we started kind of twisting a little bit and my body just didn’t twist that way. And so that helped me realize I have more issues than just my pelvic floor, my knees and my feet because, of course, it’s all connected, yes. And where the pain is, is not the problem. Yes, I know. I know. I know.

But so yeah, now after working with you one on one and you watching me move and me becoming confident that the movements that I’m making are not going to hurt me again, because there for a while I was still kind of scared, you know? I’ve always had pain before and not known what to do to get out of the pain, to alleviate it right then or where to move from next.

And I’ve been all around the medical world and kind of tried to find answers there and things like that. And they’re made to help us when we’re sick, but not necessarily to make us well and to keep us well. That’s not how our medical structure is designed. And I understand that concept but that’s not how I want to live my life. I want to be well and I want to be able to get down on the floor with my grandbabies whenever I’m in my 70s and 80s, and still be able to ride our motorcycle and things like that.

So, working one on one has kind of given me that confidence to know that if I’m having an issue here, I can kind of move my right hip a little bit and it’ll help that right side of my sacrum be where it needs to be. And with physical therapy, I worked with a physical therapist as well, but you helped reinforce the things that the physical therapist taught.

It wasn’t like you tried to work against him or tried to give me lots of extra things so it was just way too much for me to learn. We were walking at a normal pace, not trying to rush to the finish line here. And that helped too.

Susi: Let’s actually take a moment because that’s really, really important.

Trudy: It is.

Susi: Because a lot of times I will get questions from other yoga professionals, or fitness leaders, or massage therapists and they’ll say so and so, this other professional has provided exercises for my client and I think they’re really stupid. What do I do? I think they’re wrong, what do I do? And I don’t actually have that belief.

My belief is that there’s a professional who’s provided exercises and there’s a good reason why they’ve been provided. And the last thing I want to do with my client is to, like you said, add more to it. So then you have your PT exercises over here and then you have your Susi exercises over there. And now you’ve got an hour or two of work to do on your body. And there’s not a lot of people who have a spare hour or two to do work on their body.

So then how best to incorporate the movement dynamic in a way that moves you forward, right? Because in many ways, the PT wasn’t watching you do the movement. So they were being given to you, there were maybe a few times that they were watching it. But I was then able to kind of help you by my ability to watch you, help you feel what was going on so that you could determine if it was working for you or not.

Trudy: Correct.

Susi: Yeah?

Trudy: Yes. And you were able to tell me instead of move my knee or my feet, move the bone in the hip socket. And that connection worked for me. Or with the tennis balls, releasing my upper back and things like that. Some of the exercises the physical therapist gave me, I do believe that that was what he was trying to do. That was his design, was to try to get me to strengthen and move my upper body. But yet, I don’t think he realized exactly how tight I was in my upper body.

Susi: My ability to see then, I was able to help you then feel what was going on so you could apply the exercise more effectively.

Trudy: And you were also able to help me realize that when I was doing the exercises he was giving me, I also needed to pay attention to my pelvic floor and how I had my pelvic floor tilted and move so that I didn’t pop that right side out again and I didn’t pull on it, like cause more pain.

Susi: And I remember two things you said to me, one of them was when we were doing bridge pose.

Trudy: Yes, bridge was amazing.

Susi: Yeah, so what I remember from that scenario was you were tucking in your pelvis and then lifting up. And my offering to you was, okay, how about find where your bum meets your leg. And imagine you can lift from the lower part of your bum. And the reason I was suggesting that is because to lift from your bum or to lift through your glutes or something like that can sometimes be difficult to get one’s head around. Whereas if I can pinpoint like, we know where the bum meets the leg typically. If we lift from there then we have a better shot at actually extending through the hip.

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: And so then all of a sudden you did that. And then you actually said the difference was the first way got into your back.

Trudy: Yes, and into my ribs.

Susi: Interesting, yes. And then the second way, that was all freed up and then you could feel it more in your butt.

Trudy: Right, and it was another compensation pattern that I didn’t even know I had, because I was squeezing my glutes and lifting. And one thing was I wasn’t raising my knees and putting my feet close enough to my bum, my butt, my bottom, whatever. I wasn’t putting my feet close enough. My feet were pushing my upper body forward, like toward my head. And then I was also bracing, like squeezing my glutes, which also made me hold my breath and hold my ribs and everything else.

So I was bracing almost my whole body to try to do a bridge. And so I always hated them. Of course, every physical therapist wanted me to do them and they kept saying, lift from your navel, is the way they kept saying it. And I just couldn’t wrap my mind around why it wasn’t working. But whenever I put my feet close enough to my bottom when I was laying on my back, and you said put my hands close to my bum and lift straight up from my bum to the ceiling, it just went.

And I didn’t hold my breath, and I didn’t squeeze my glutes, they automatically squeezed when I lifted. And so now bridge pose is one of those things that I can go into bridge pose and just almost rest there. And it was one of the things I always hated before.

Susi: Yeah, so this is what’s so interesting, because so often what I see people doing is they almost tense their whole body and then lift.

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: But then that kind of defeats the purpose, right?

Trudy: Completely defeats the purpose, but I didn’t know any different. I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no idea what was going on because I wasn’t able to feel that. I can feel that now. Whenever I lay on the ground now, and there’s times when I’m literally like, I just have to get to the mat. I have to lay down, I have to relax my body and just stretch and breathe and feel for a minute so that I can get up and go again.

And so whenever I get to the mat, in the beginning I was having to use a strap to help support and move my feet. If I lifted them at all I had to have that support. I don’t have to have that anymore. I’m able to do all that. And of course I’ll put a note in, my husband has to come blow me a kiss. So he’s been enjoying me being in a better mood too.

Okay, so whenever I’m on the ground and I’m stretching and I’m moving, and figure four pose has always been really hard for me too. And I’ve always had to use a strap to hold my foot and help move it around to my knee and I don’t have to do that anymore. That’s one of those things that comes quite naturally now. That’s a good one for me.

And walking, I couldn’t walk before more than 15 minutes or so and my hip would be very tight. And I’ve been walking 20 to 30 minutes a day now for the past week or so. And it’s not a lot, but it’s been really cold here. Very unusually cold. So that’s been a really good thing. And I haven’t been in pain, and that’s been a good thing.

Susi: Yeah, that, I think, is a really, really –

Trudy: Walking without pain there.

Susi: There you go. There you go, right. So you could only do 5 to 15 minutes before and you were in pain. Now you’re doing up to 30 minutes and you’re not in pain, right?

Trudy: Correct.

Susi: So that’s actually quite significant, which brings me to the other piece that I wanted to make mention of. The first one was about bridge pose. But the second one is you said, Susi, I’ve worked with other people who have a kinesiology background. And yet the difference is the result is way more organic. So it’s like they were trying to, and I’m not going to get your words exactly right but it really struck me because, again, this is sort of this idea of where the pain is, is not the problem.

We can go chase after symptoms and play Whack-a-Mole or we can really tune into, okay, what’s contributing to why this symptom is even expressing itself? And then when we can start to look at, okay, what’s contributing to it? Not causal because cause is pretty tricky, but when we can see correlations we can see patterns. And you were so great at being able to recognize and then bit by bit be able to better and better articulate what it was that you were experiencing and what it was that you were feeling.

And so can you share about that part of the process for you? Because a lot of people will come into a recovery rehab process, whether it’s with a PT, massage, whomever, and sort of wait for the person to tell them what to do. So then it becomes this to-do list of things to do. Whereas what we’re doing here is decidedly different and I’m asking you to feel and articulate the things that you’re feeling.

So give us some insight into your thinking or what was going on in you while you were going through that part of the process.

Trudy: Okay, so early on with physical therapy and everything it was more squeeze the glutes and lift, or squeeze the glutes, because there’s one they had me on my hands and knees and would tell me to squeeze the glutes and lift an arm kind of thing and brace my core. And so it was two separate movements and I really couldn’t move very much. And it was like everything I could do because I was also kind of holding my breath to try to brace my core, to try to lift my arm, to try to, to try to, to try to, you know, to try to get it all to work.

And then when you watched me do that movement the very first time you were like, okay, think about this, let’s just get on your hands and knees and make sure you’re in your 90 degrees and you’re a neutral spine and just lift your arm and see what your body does. And I realized immediately I was holding my breath. So you’re like, okay, you don’t have to hold your breath. Let’s breathe through it.

And they always kept telling me to breathe through it, but I was so trying to hold my core that I couldn’t. I couldn’t breathe through it. I was trying, and I was getting some shallow breaths, but because I was holding my glutes and holding my core and my stomach and trying to breathe, all of those things at some point they just start playing with your brain. It’s like I can’t do all of these things.

So when I started just simply, okay, my body’s in the right position and lifting my arm, of course I naturally start bracing my core like it’s supposed to. My glutes tighten like they’re supposed to. Whenever I do what they call the donkey kick, I’m kicking the donkey and I’m able to stay stable because I’m not bracing anywhere. I’m not tightening my glutes.

And I’m paying attention, my glutes are tightening on their own. They’re doing what they’re supposed to do. And every now and then they’re not, but I’m like, oh wait, wait, I’ve exhausted that pose right now. I need to stop and move to something else. So once you get too tired, at one point you still want to keep going because you want to do the right number of reps or whatever. But if I move on, then it’s easier to come back later and do it and do it right.

Listening to my body has been something that I’ve never tried to do before. And now I hear my body without having to stop and listen. You know, you talk about it with hunger, and with thirst, and with sleep and rest. But I never thought about it with how I’m moving and what I’m doing, where I’m sitting. I’ve been sitting in the chair for a few minutes, so I just realized that I had kind of slumped down in the chair. And so my back had started hurting a touch.

And it’s one of those things that I would have just sat there before. But I recognized that yellow light, as you call it, and so I was able to move and not move into red. So I’m not going to have to go stretch out later because I sat there without listening to what my body was already trying to tell me. And that’s been huge too, because I will get up and move around when I need to.

And I get my work done a lot faster because I know I’m only going to sit behind the desk for so long and then I’m going to get up and move. And if my work doesn’t get done, then I’m going to have to think about going back later. And I don’t want to do that. I want to get my work done so I can get up and go and do something else.

Susi: Isn’t that interesting. So the efficiency of your movement has made you more efficient generally?

Trudy: Yes, it has. Yes, it has. More efficient at my work, yes, definitely.

Susi: So, so interesting. So there’s a change of relationship with your body. There’s a recognition of what you know you need to support your own fundamentals of movement. Like you know you. You know the relationship to your knees and your feet and your pelvic area, your pelvic floor, your mid-back. You have a better understanding of the landscape that is your body.

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: And I thought a really amazing, amazing example of that was when you – Unfortunately, you had an injury that happened. You actually had a couple of them?

Trudy: I did, yeah.

Susi: Yeah. And each time I would get the Slack message of like “Ugh, err,” it had that sort of feel to it.

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: I think the first one took you a week to overcome and the second one was about 48 hours.

Trudy: Oh yeah.

Susi: The speed at which you could recuperate, I’m wondering about the confidence that that must have brought you for you knowing what you needed to do for yourself.

Trudy: Yeah, that’s not even measurable because whenever I’ve done all of this work, and worked with this physical therapist and I’ve got amazing doctors, and all of those things. But yet, I’m experiencing pain every day.

And so I was making some progress and then I had some issues at physical therapy with, I think, some weight that was just way too heavy and my body just couldn’t hold it. And so it was like right back to square one is how it felt. But I knew how to get on the mat, how to do my pure movements, how to just exercise and, and I don’t want to say strengthen, but yes. I mean, because I am strengthening as well, even though I’m not “lifting weights” yet or anything like that. But my body is stronger.

So whenever the right side of my sacrum pops out of place, I’m more able to get back in place. And that’s one of the great benefits of physical therapy. But yet, I was still having a hard time recognizing and feeling when it was back in place where it was supposed to be.

And so you helped me with that too by doing the wall sits and realizing that my left foot felt a little bit longer. And whenever my right side of my sacrum had kind of popped out, then it felt like it was tugging on my hamstring. And that the spot where my hamstring meets my pelvic bone was also giving me, it was just hurting at that point. So I recognize those things faster.

And then when I hurt myself at physical therapy I was able to go right back to what we were doing and make sure my sacrum was right back where it was supposed to be. And it was two weeks or so the first time. And then the second time I hurt myself I fell. Yes, stepping off of a curb and stuff I fell. And my arms and stuff were sore for a minute. But yes, within 48 hours I was right back to going again.

And then I was also working on the breathing course one time, I was using the back strap and the tennis balls. And I had turned on my side and was using the roller, like the mat to kind of go into my ribs. And I’m like, whoa, that just like completely threw me off. And that’s when I started realizing just how tight my ribs and my upper back were. That’s when it started hitting home for me. Instead of my pelvis and my knees and my feet, it was like, whoa, wait, it goes up higher.

And I knew it whenever I started doing, you know, whenever I was working on the Power in the Pits course. But it hit home whenever I was laying on the mat with my ribs. My ribs were like, oh no, baby, we don’t have you there. And my pelvis just went, whoa, we’re not doing this. So I immediately stopped and started making sure that that right side of my sacrum hadn’t popped back out again. And started doing my, I call them my green light exercises.

Just making sure that I’m stretching and I’m resting, and that I do the bridge pose that I’ve liked so much. It helps me strengthen my core. And just to get back to green, and I mean, I guess maybe not green. That spring green is the one I like to call it. Spring green. You know, it’s not the pretty Kelly green that we all dream of, but it is spring green, which is way better than that dead grass I’ve been dealing with.

So yeah, it happened really quick. Yeah, whenever my body said no, my ribs aren’t going there, it wasn’t two days I was back good again.

Susi: The part that I want to add in here is this connection to the yellow lights and how you’ve really been able to recognize and honor them. And this trajectory of, I’ll use the word processing of, first of all, being able to even notice them. Because in the past you made mention that you would have just pushed through the ones that you would feel during sitting, like most humans do.

Whereas now you see them as this information and you – I love the Kelly green and then the spring green, because spring green has yellow, it has a bit of tinge of yellow in it. And then the dead grass has some yellow in it. I thought you were going to say something like red. But it just goes to show that you’ve been so far from red for so long and you’ve got a much better understanding of the spectrum of your yellows, and even of your yellow/green to green, right?

Trudy: Right.

Susi: And so I think the piece that is really foundational, and this is the next question I have for you, because I think it’s an important one. So I’ll set the context here now, is that you have such a great understanding of your own unique coloring of lights that you’re able to pinpoint, ah, this is too much. Ah, I need to get to my mat. And it’s not coming from this intellectual to-do place like, oh, it’s time to go do my exercises. It’s like I’m feeling.

Trudy: Oh no, it’s feeling.

Susi: It’s feeling clearly that my body is needing this. And so here’s something that I’m curious about what you would you say to people who are listening who have persistent pain or chronic pain, or to the health professionals. Because here’s what’s happening in the world of recovery and rehabilitation, there now is a great understanding, which is superb, that how we interpret symptoms, like anything it occurs up in our brain.

So if we experience something as being not dangerous or not threatening, then the symptom isn’t quite as elevated. When we are experiencing it as threatening or dangerous, then it is highly elevated, right? And so we respond differently and our bodies respond differently when there’s a danger or a threat, obviously, versus when we feel safety and support.

And so what I heard you say in a lot of what you shared is, when you hurt yourself with the PT exercises there was like an oh bleep moment. But you also knew that you had the resource and the ability to get yourself out of it. So the threat of it wasn’t as high. And then when you fell, then again the threat wasn’t as high. There was much more like what I call an internal locus of control. There was much more you knew you had your back.

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: And then when you had the experience working with the felt pad and you were kind of moving around and you were like, whoa, like the yellow light was coming on. And you didn’t have to freak, you just had this, oh, I’m well close to my limit. And you knew what to do. So you ultimately had this supportive state of mind.

So for a lot of people who have been told you interpret your pain in your brain, you interpret it in your mind, so go deal with your mind or your brain. People have been told that. With this experience that you’ve had with really listening to your body, how do you blend those two? Because they certainly are combined. So what would you offer to someone with persistent pain or chronic pain? How would you guide them towards their body?

Trudy: Okay, well, we’re so used to just pushing through and doing whatever you need to do. But you know when you’re sick. Pain is not in your head, it’s in your body. You can tell yourself, no, I’m just imagining that, but you’re not. It’s there. And so you can try to tell yourself, your brain can try to fool your body, but your body knows and your body’s going to have the last word anyway.

You can fool your body for so long, but then your body’s going to stop you and go, wait, no, this is what you have. You’ve got to stop, you’ve got to take care of me. And our body does so many amazing things for us that we definitely don’t give it credit for. But being able to stop and listen and honor what my body needs has been a huge thing. A huge part of my getting well.

And had I not been working with you when I hurt myself at physical therapy, I may not have went back to physical therapy. I might would have just been so upset and so done. Does that make sense? And feel like I’ve just exhausted all of my efforts and it was just stupid and no sense anyway. And this is just the way I was going to live the rest of my life.

But because I knew some of the things to do to get back out of pain, and they worked, because I believed them at first, but they worked. And then from there I had more sense of hope. Does that make sense? And more reassurance and more confidence in being able to take care of myself again and take care of my body.

Because whether you listen or not, your body tells you what it needs. It does. You cannot listen, your brain can focus on other things, but your body is going to tell you what you need. If you don’t listen to it, it’s going to get louder and make it worse. And so eventually you’re going to have to stop and listen to your body.

But I may have stopped the physical therapy, I’m not sure. I’d like to say that I may have because at that point when I very first hurt myself, I really almost felt defeated. And because I’ve been there before and I’ve done a lot of pelvic floor physical therapy and then the insurance is like, oh, we’re not going to pay any more and you owe us this. So I just stopped. And I did my exercises at home some, but they weren’t really helping. So I just felt defeated.

And you kind of feel like you’re crazy sometimes. Your body is sitting here going, hey, this is hurting. But you just feel like, okay, this is it. And it’s almost, I don’t want to say hopeless because that’s not the kind of person I am. I’m going to pick up and go on. But you kind of resign to the fact that you’re going to be in pain the rest of your life at some point. And pelvic floor physical therapy was a good eight months before I found you and started working with you. Maybe I had met you through Corinne and the DSB group and things like that then I was kind of looking into things.

But then this last bout of physical therapy was because I had a tear in my gluteus minimus and where my hamstring meets my pelvic bone is inflamed and I had that anterior tilt in the right side of my sacrum. And we found those through MRI and so they sent me to, is it an osteo? I don’t know, like a physical therapist that works with bones and stuff like that.

Anyway, so this last bout of physical therapy and when I hurt myself then, it was like okay, I’m done with this. But then I’m like, wait, wait, wait, wait. And I was learning a lot from him, too. I was. And he was just trying to help release my upper back, he just wasn’t quite sure how to do it. Does that make sense?

And when I got hurt, that’s kind of what was going on. And then I kind of did it to myself again, wherever I was doing the breathing course and trying to lay on the mat. My ribs just weren’t going to move that way. And so I was working with the spinal strap and things like that and I still felt like I wasn’t going to be able to get my spine supple enough to do what I need to do for my pelvic floor.

So the last week and a half I went to see a chiropractor, who is very gentle, and she uses a lot of different modalities to help release my upper back. And I may not have looked further for help. Does that make sense? So now, one of my next moves after I’m walking every day, which is huge, walking just so much for just your mental state to begin with.

But one of my next kinds of things is to go back to that breathing course and start working on my upper back on my own because I don’t want to go to a chiropractor all my life either. They’re great, wonderful at helping me be able to move my upper back. But I wouldn’t have looked there before had I not realized just how tight my upper back was.

Susi: What you’ve expressed so well here is that your body doesn’t lie.

Trudy: No.

Susi: Your body is giving you signals all of the time. Your brain is interpreting these things and there’s a piece around being able to connect brain and body in a way that is supportive and nourishing, and helping you move forward. And sometimes they can be at odds in some ways, especially if you want to override the body’s signals, or you’re being taught to override the body signals.

And so what you are sharing is how you went through that process, and if you didn’t know how to do that and you had hurt yourself in PT, you might have just said, I’m just resigned to this the rest of my life. I’m just going to live my life. My life is pretty good, but I’ll live it with pain. I’ll take care of myself, I’ll do whatever I need to do. It’s just the way it is.

Whereas you actually had a different view on it and then you could start to see actually what you needed, right?

Trudy: Yes.

Susi: So as you started to play around and went, wait a second, these ribs need more help than I’m currently doing for myself. And then that’s where the chiro sort of showed up into your space. And that’s what I find happens for a lot of people, is they’re searching, they’re researching, they’re doing the work, but the right person sort of shows up at the right time, right? It’s that sort of weird, awesome thing.

Trudy: Yeah. The way the universe just all kind of comes together.

Susi: Yeah.

Trudy: Because I wouldn’t have searched for you had Corinne not had you teach some classes and be there to answer questions and things in her membership at all. I wouldn’t have searched for you. Yours is not a podcast I would have come out and searched for because I don’t think I would have been in the space to accept the advice you have to give. Does that make sense? Because you’re not woo-woo as we would call it or whatever, at all. But people don’t really like to talk about feelings in their body a lot of times. They just don’t, except for this hurts.

And I’m like where the pain is is not the problem. I’ve been able to say that a couple of times myself. But yeah, people don’t want to listen to that. So I’m always wanting to – And have always been interested in learning and doing, so yes, the right person comes into your space at the right time. And it’s been a pretty amazing process just to keep moving. And is my life going to be rainbows and daisies and Kelly green grass? No, that’s not life. But do I know how to get back to where I need to be? Absolutely, I do. And so thanks to you.

And so now once we get all of my structure I guess anatomically correct kind of thing, then strengthening is one of my next games. And of course, I always want to lose some weight. But strengthening and going for longer walks and being able to exercise more without hurting myself is something that I would not have said would have been possible for me, even this time last year.

But I know now I will be working out and I will be able to exercise and do more things for my life and not hurt myself because I know how to listen to my body. And you’ve taught me that, which has been really great.

Susi: So, so good. Trudy, thank you, this has been great.

Trudy: And thank you, it has been great. I don’t know that you realize just how great it’s been for me as well. It’s been an honor.

If this episode has resonated and you’re looking to deepen this idea of getting your body back on board, of listening deeply to your symptoms, of listening to the whispers so you don’t have to hear the screams, and you’re looking for one to one support or professional training, then reach out to us at [email protected] where we can customize your learning path. That’s [email protected]. Looking forward to hearing from you.

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