You may know that I had severe neck pain this summer that went on for several weeks.  It came on gradually and continued to become more intense until I was in almost constant pain.  The good news is that with treatment the pain got better then finally disappeared for good.  Looking back, I realize it was an instructive and valuable experience for me.  I would like to share with you some of the lessons I learned.


1.   Nerve pain is in a totally different realm than other types of pain like soft tissue or joint.  There is something particularly excruciating about burning, electrical or shooting pain. Now I know from personal experience what a patient is feeling when they describe that type of pain to me…


2.   It was interesting for me to witness all the irrational thoughts the mind can have in the middle of the night when one is unable to sleep due to pain.  Thoughts like “it’s going to be like this forever” and “I might die soon.”  I’ve seen it in people before with chronic pain but now I really understand how disconnected from reality the mind can become when experiencing such intensity.


3.   Sometimes you have to try many different therapies in order to discover what is going to turn the ship around and get healing happening.  I found acupuncture and cranial/sacral work to be particularly effective in this instance but other modalities were helpful too.  I have enormous gratitude for all the talented body workers we have in Durango; particularly Hiroki Ide and Adam Hutchinson, acupuncturists; Jennifer Letellier cranial/sacral work and naturopath; Chris Furer and Nancy Robinson, massage therapists; Nick and Rachel Kapustka, chiropractors; and Kelly Wright, rolfer.


4.   Never underestimate the body’s ability to heal.  I learned this from my experience and from a young man I treated this summer.  He was a runner who had strained a ligament in his knee and was signed up for a race in California the following week.  He felt batter after his first acupuncture treatment but was still unable to run around the block let alone a 100 mile race.  He received a second treatment from me and at that time, I helped him fill out paperwork so he could get a refund for his plane ticket.  That was the last I heard about him until I heard from Chris Furer who had been giving him massage and body work that this young man finished a 100 mile race in 25 hours and came in 47th place.


I’m grateful for the lessons I’ve learned and I’ve come to understand that we never quite know what we’re capable of in our deepest beings until we come out the other side.


To your best health,  Sydney Cooley L. Ac., Dipl OM