Renew Movement Blog


Chronic Pain and Autoimmune Disease

March 17, 2022

“In a handful of sessions I was back to living a pain free life…”

“In 2016, I was diagnosed with a debilitating autoimmune form of arthritis called ankylosing spondylitis (AS). It’s similar to rheumatoid arthritis, but is centered on the sacroiliac joint of my lower spine. At my worst, I was immobilized. I couldn’t get out of bed without extreme pain. My life changed overnight when the AS kicked in. My ability to ski, snowshoe, hike, garden, even walk the dog disappeared. I was in pain sitting, standing, and bending over. Not only was the physical pain awful, the emotional shock of suddenly losing mobility with no promise of getting it back was crushing.

Unlike many people with AS, I was diagnosed quickly, but as with many autoimmune diseases finding a treatment plan that worked for me took more than a year. What works for one person, doesn’t always work for another person who has the same diagnosis. The meds my doctor prescribed helped, but not completely. I still wasn’t able to do the things I enjoyed without paying for it later. I’d essentially lost my way of life and had become a couch potato—and not by choice.

I tried chiropractic care, massage, traditional physical therapy, diet, cryotherapy, sauna therapy, yoga, acupuncture, dry needling…you name it, I tried it. Finally my physical therapist recommended Renew. When I first met Kirsten, my Renew Coach, I still couldn’t do any of my favorite activities without being immobilized for days afterward. My back, particularly my lower back and hips were so tight and the pain so deep that none of the therapies listed above could make any lasting difference in my pain levels. I could immediately tell in the first session that she was hitting the right spots in the right way. The pain I was experiencing was reduced after session one. I was so tight at that point that it took about four sessions to undo more than a year’s worth of extreme muscle tension. But just like that, in a handful of sessions, I was back to living a pain-free life.

Today I see Kirsten once a month for maintenance care. She gave me back my life. I do everything that I love—hiking, gardening, walking the dog—and even a few new activities like paddle boarding. I consider Kirsten and Renew an essential part of my treatment plan and would highly recommend giving this treatment a chance, particularly if nothing else has worked. Renew’s unique method of physical therapy is a game changer.”

~ Julie

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