Before starting Health Revolt, I worked nine years as a personal trainer. For seven of those years I wrestled with chronic pain, failing to find relief on the symptom-chasing treadmill of conventional health care.
I spent thousands of hours researching and consulting with leading fitness, nutrition, and wellness experts. My perspective on health and wellness began to shift fundamentally, and I came to believe that it’s time for a revolution. We don’t have to settle for a life of adjusting to our symptoms and rearranging our lives around problems we’re told have no solutions.
I believe we can cure and prevent chronic pain and sickness.
I started Health Revolt as a way to share the life-changing and cutting edge information I’ve gleaned. It’s my passion to revolutionize our approach to health, to get to the root cause of our pain and sickness. My story is not uncommon, but the answers and freedom I’ve found changed my life.
How it began…
The neck pain and headaches started after a high-speed car accident. Flipping end-over-end at 75 mph did a number on my neck. I spent a few years seeing several different chiropractors. Adjustments would bring temporary relief, but nothing lasted.
After one adjustment, searing nerve pain began to run up the back of my neck and head. A few hours later a migraine set in as the muscles in my neck began to spasm. The pain was horrific. And it lasted for weeks. I spent most days lying in bed.
A series of referrals, specialists, diagnoses, and treatments followed with no effect. An internal medicine doctor ordered an MRI and suggested occipital nerve impingement/irritation. Multiple physical therapists, traction, acupuncture, rest and massage failed. A neurologist ruled out multiple sclerosis. A pain management doctor prescribed painkillers and muscle relaxers. Over a dozen nerve block injections failed to address the pain.
If you’ve experienced chronic pain, you’ll know the devastating long-term effects. I hardly slept. I was nauseous from the pain and had no appetite. I lost 35 pounds. I grew physically weaker and weaker.
The more insidious effects were psychological and emotional. The pain started mere months after I married the man of my dreams and started my career. I was young, excited about life, healthy and vibrant. But the pain, corrosive and constant, ate away at my life, leaving me isolated, withdrawn, and depressed.
Small victories but more battles…
Months passed. Out of sheer desperation and against the advice of the medical doctors, I found another chiropractor. It took several months of work and adjustments, but the pain started to subside. I was ecstatic! My life could now get back on track. But in spite of the relief of physical pain, my health was a mess. I slowly became aware of the toll the years of struggle had taken on my whole body.
My internal medicine doctor explained the trauma of the neck injury and the mass amount of stress on my body as I struggled with the pain. She diagnosed me with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and recommended antidepressants and a psychologist. I was back in the vicious cycle of diagnosing and prescribing, a frustratingly familiar pattern.
I recognized the disjointed nature of my treatments. Specialists could only see one part of my body at a time isolated from the rest. I wanted to be treated as a whole. I wanted someone to put everything together and recognize and respect how interconnected the systems of the body are.
I dove into research: books, blogs, medical journals; I listened to podcasts and videos; I found leading health experts and closely studied what they were saying. I dug deeper and deeper down through a healthcare system fueled by drugs and profit. I drilled down through symptom management to find arguments and solutions for not only healing but also total preventative care. Most importantly, I learned I had to be my own health advocate.
I found a naturopathic physician who worked with me to help my body restore and rebuild itself. We worked to improve my sleep, address nutritional deficiencies, remove inflammatory foods, and restore hormone balance and thyroid function. It took time, but eventually I felt well enough to return to work and a regular exercise routine.
My first run in over two years felt like a milestone accomplishment, but when I finished, the bottoms of both feet started to hurt. Perhaps I had overdone it and they needed a few days to recover. Weeks passed and the pain worsened. I tried new shoes, orthotics, rest, ice, and massage. I saw doctors, a podiatrist, physical therapists, and orthopedics. The eventual diagnosis was tarsal tunnel or nerve impingement in both ankles. Multiple orthopedics recommended surgery, but I knew that couldn’t be the only answer.
I was told to immobilize my feet and ankles for six months. I literally crawled out of bed in the mornings, showered sitting down, and rolled around on a physio ball at work. I didn’t spend more than a total of 10-15 minutes on my feet a day. Six months passed: no improvement.
I’m not sure what word expresses the feeling of being beyond frustrated, perhaps utter hopelessness or despair, but I was there. The pain wasn’t as debilitating as my neck injury, but all of the devastating consequences of chronic pain were the same. For two years my feet hurt all the time, burned with intense nerve pain, and constantly ached. I could feel the depression creeping back in as I was unable to work out or even join my husband for something as simple as a walk. Again, pain governed my life.
Dr. John Bergman, a renowned chiropractor, suggests tarsal tunnel is a “double crush” syndrome, meaning the pain comes from somewhere “up the chain.” In the case of my ankles, “up the chain” meant my lower back.
As a young girl I had a bad fall that damaged the connective tissues in my sacrum, resulting in hypermobility. A combination of chiropractic care and strengthening my posterior chain began to bring stability to my lower back and settled the nerve irritation.
A new foundation…
As I worked to build strength in my lower back, I consulted a mentor, Ben Greenfield, who is one of the top 100 most influential people in the field of health. He suggested reading the book, Foundation Training, by Dr. Eric Goodman. Foundation Training (FT) works by targeting the posterior chain, our weakest and often most dysfunctional portion of our bodies. FT re-educates the body, teaching it proper movement, and it effectively brings strength and stability to the backside of our bodies. Over the next few months of doing the exercises Goodman outlined, my back and foot pain went away. That bears repeating: the pain went away.
I started using the exercises on clients and people who struggled with severe chronic back pain. One success story followed another, and coupled with my own dramatic success, I knew I had found my passion. I became a certified Foundation Training Instructor.
While we’ve been trained to trust the experts – our doctors – we can unknowingly surrender our own knowledge and responsibility. Conventional medicine focuses more on diagnosis and prescriptions to manage symptoms than it does on addressing root causes. As a result, we are continually adjusting to the “cure” and being pulled farther away from uncovering the underlying cause. It took a lot of research, consulting, and patience to figure out the source of my health issues, but I eventually got to the bottom of each one and removed not just managed my symptoms.
Personal training, weight loss, six packs, and bicep curls have become much less important. Freeing people from pain, bringing hope, and helping others improve their quality of life is the most rewarding, meaningful and exciting work I’ve done.
I’m so grateful for the struggles I have endured because without them, I would have never stumbled upon my passion, my strengths. If I can offer hope during a time in your life that’s as dark and challenging as mine was, that’s my purpose. If I can distill the knowledge I’ve fought for and save you the struggle of finding your own answers, my purpose is complete. My goal is to empower individuals to educate themselves, take control, and become their own health advocates because without our health, nothing else matters.
Here’s to our health,
~ Kate Murphy