How Whole Body Cryotherapy changed my life
Some of you will know my story. For those you don’t, here is a brief summary of my pain journey…
My Debilitating Back Injury
I was a competitive gymnast and then coach and judge for many years. I was coaching elite development gymnasts when I suffered a back injury. After multiple scans and tests, the doctors just didn’t know what was causing my excruciating pain. So the answer for them was to prescribe pain medication… and then more medication. Eventually, I was addicted to opiates and still in pain.
Living with Chronic Pain Syndrome
In 2015, an Indian specialist found a protruding disc in my neck, which was transferring the pain down the nerve. I had a cervical fusion in India. While the pain was now nowhere near as bad and I was able to come off most medications it has never completely left. I have been diagnosed with Chronic Pain Syndrome, which is a problem with my nervous system. Essentially, because it took so long to fix the problem my brain has decided to just keep sending me those awful pain signals – it’s kind of like a stuck alarm, always going off. I live in pain every day.
How I rate my pain
I have always rated my pain on a scale of 0-10 (because that’s the first thing the doctors ask you to do). For 5 years my pain has constantly been at a level of 5-6 or above. I have never had NO PAIN. At about level 6, I am disabled (in too much pain to be of help to anyone). At about 7-8 I take pain meds (and I mean serious stuff). And at 10, it’s a hospital visit for either the pain or the seizure it ends up causing (this has happened around 20 times in 5 years).
Before the Machine
Before the Cryo Pod arrived, I had been starting to work on lifestyle changes and had taken a course at Burwood Hospital to learn how to manage what they had diagnosed as ‘Chronic Pain Syndrome’. My pain levels were lower, usually around 3-4. Three days out of 7 were getting to the 6-7 mark, requiring medication. So I had significantly cut down already. But there was still never a time that I had zero pain.
After the Machine – My Diary
1st treatment: Friday, 31st August
Felt wonderful afterwards, but still had pain that night – very disheartened. Went to bed. Went through the next day as normal… realised at the end of the day that I hadn’t taken any medications and my pain was at about a 2. A very good day!
Saturday, 31st August. One whole week without medication!
Next day, the same and so on. I went 1 whole week without any medication… and went on holiday with my kids to the Gold Coast… and went on rollercoasters… and lived like anyone else who doesn’t have pain (I took my wheat-bag and pain meds with me but never used them!).
2nd treatment: Sunday, 9th September
Pain was coming back a bit yesterday, so had a treatment this day. Same feeling as last time: felt wonderful afterwards and no pain for days on end. Started giving cryotherapy treatments to the general public.
3rd treatment: Wednesday, 12th September
Still no pain and still no meds!!! I was starting to feel a little bit hypocritical saying to clients that I had Chronic Pain Syndrome, as I know that this is a lifetime illness, but I definitely didn’t feel like I had the same illness as before.
4th treatment: Thursday, 20th September
Great treatment, just running through life without meds – feeling very “normal”.
5th treatment: Friday, 28th September
A wee bit of pain came back in 2 days prior to this, but no need for pain meds, pain enough to start to be annoying again and always present. Did this treatment because we realised I needed it. All back to normal again.
6th treatment: Monday, 8th October
The treatments almost feel easy now. I no longer struggle from the cold and it was just very normal. I still feel fantastic – I can feel where the pain used to be and every now and again it will remind me it’s still there, but OMG – what a difference Cryo has made!
An overview of what has happened to me with Whole Body Cryotherapy
Because of pain, I was unable to do many everyday things that people take for granted, like carry my son Armani, or go to the park with my kids. But my greatest pet peeve was that sometimes the medication took my ability to speak away. Now, I am functioning as a normal, productive member of society and as a member of my family. I couldn’t be happier! The Cryo Pod treatments have surpassed all my expectations.
I know it sounds too good to be true and I would be the first to admit it probably all wasn’t just because of Cryotherapy. But it definitely helped alongside the other tools and practices I had adopted. It’s just so good getting back to the things I love to do, and getting back into life!
If anyone out there wants to talk to me personally about my experience, I would love to chat with you.