Sacro-iliac pain in a teenager

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I want to thank you for allowing me to attend the Tension Myositis workshop last year. As you already know, I have played competitive soccer for about 10 years now. I started playing when I was 7. I suffered a back/hip injury about five years ago that never seemed to heal. I didn't take any time off and the pain would flare up now and then. Sometimes the pain was so bad that I had to be taken out of the games because I could barely run or strike a ball. I never would know when the pain would hit because some days I would be fine but others I would suffer. I would take pain relievers before and after games just as a precaution. My father is a physician so through the years I have been to several orthopedic doctors, sports medicine doctors, different physical therapists, chiropractors and other specialists. All the medical tests came back normal. I even tried yoga and pilates and had orthotics made for my shoes because they thought maybe I needed to be more flexible and that the actions involved with playing soccer called for better flexibility. I worked with a personal trainer for a couple of years to build a stronger core. But the same back and hip pain kept coming back. I was so frustrated that no one could understand the pain I felt or could help me resolve it.

You were the only physician that I saw who asked me how I slept at night. I have always had trouble falling asleep ever since I can remember. I also had trouble staying asleep and would wake up almost every night in pain and discomfort. I never put the two together: my pain and the problems with sleeping.

The workshop made me realize a lot about myself. I realized that the pain I felt was tied up with the anxiety I felt every night before I went to bed, especially if I had a big soccer game or tournament coming up or had other "stressors" like boy problems, exams, college visits, etc. Your meditation tape really helped me to relax before going to bed. I also learned to confront the pain and "talk" to it. I took control by telling the pain to go away and concentrated on my breathing to help become more relaxed so I wasn't all knotted up and tense at bedtime. I realized that my anxiety was showing up in the night while I was asleep and causing my muscles to tense up and that the pain I felt was exactly like the pain I felt from the old soccer injury I suffered years ago. My brain NEVER forgot what that felt like.

I am happy to say that a year after the workshop I sleep better than ever, feel healthier and more relaxed and I have less anxiety over the "stressors" of my life. I am relatively pain free now and I love it! I am back to playing soccer like my old self again which is cool. I have been recruited to play Division 1 college soccer next fall and now I am not afraid and I do not have doubts that I can do it because I have learned to conquer the pain that had affected my soccer for so long. Thanks again.

Joanie G. Age 17

*The personal stories are from actual course participants and are used with permission. The names and photos have been changed to protect confidentiality.