On 23 October 2016, I went to Sacramento, California to attend the Gohl Program’s Healing Retreat. The retreat officially began on Monday (24 October 2016) and ended on Friday (28 October 2016). The majority of this post was written during my trip back home to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on 28 October 2016.
You may feel like you are lost in a deep dark pit that you will never be able to escape from when you have CRPS. However there are lights out there beyond the darkness and people willing to lift you into the light. The Gohl Program provided the light to guide me and I was pulled out of that dark pit by the program’s wonderful and compassionate staff.
I have not attempted traversing a grocery store in at least six months. Why? Because it caused severe pain and exhaustion anytime I would go. My husband can attest to this as I generally had to abandon him midway through the store to go sit and rest in the car until he was done. I also moved incredibly slow because I was forced to use a cane to counterbalance my bad leg. Last night (27 October 2016) I went to NOT one, but TWO grocery stores. I did not have to go to the car to rest and I could keep up with the healthy fast moving people that I was shopping with.
The above story illustrates just one of the benefits I have received after spending only five days participating in the Gohl Program. I have not been able to walk without pain since December 2014. I walked a distance at the Phoenix Airport today (28 Oct 2016) that on Sunday (23 Oct 2016) required a wheelchair.
Describing the experience of attending the Gohl Program’s Healing Retreat can be a little hard, but I will do my best to give an overview of the last five days. Most likely more posts will come about the Gohl Program. Initially they will be used to add to this one (in case I have forgotten something) and later I will track my post-retreat progress.
Manual Ligament Therapy (MLT) is an advanced treatment using the gentle manipulation of ligaments in order to restore the nervous system to a relaxed state, in turn reducing pain and dysfunction. Very fast-acting and pain-free, when MLT is combined with gentle dynamic stretching (Active Isolated Stretching), movement re-education, and postural strengthening, the body is able to recover in a fraction of the time it normally takes with conventional physical rehabilitation.
During the MLT treatment and stretching, my entire body was worked on, even though my CRPS symptoms/flares only presented in my legs and feet. Therefore MLT and the stretches were used for my core, as well as my hips, hands, arms, and other non-symptomatic body parts. The pressure and touch applied during the therapy was gentle and I did not experience pain from it. The stretches help with encouraging proper posture and body movements. They also felt good to me and provided additional relief when anything began to tense up.
Though MLT plays a huge role in the therapy, there was so much more to the Gohl Program that provided healing. As a retreat it took me away from my home and placed me in a beautiful and peaceful environment. That alone helped relax me and lift up my spirits. We discussed healthy emotions, sleep habits, and nutrition with a doctor. We also got a pair of custom orthotics designed by Dr. Edward Glaser, a medical doctor with an engineering background. The orthotics help the body naturally get into a good starting posture making the application of many of the techniques taught to us by Arik Gohl much easier.
As patients, we had the freedom to go off on our own or to interact with each other. Being able to talk face to face with the other patients receiving the treatment for CRPS and chronic pain was refreshing. Most people suffering from CRPS or severe chronic pain can completely understand the rarity and thus incredible value of being able to interact with others facing the same challenges as you. The wonderful people involved in the Gohl Program were around us in both treatment settings and social settings. Being able to interact with Arik Gohl, Dr. Glaser, and Monica Depriest outside of treatment made it easier for me to relax around them, to be open and honest with them, and to trust them.
This is just a small peek into what my 5 days were like. I haven’t had a flare up or severe pain since day 2 or 3 and I began walking further and further each day. In 5 days I have gone from very little confidence that things would ever change to being able to look into my future again.
My Future is Looking Bright!