Chronic pain has been a taboo topic that is now finally coming to light. It tends to be subjective and can be described as physical or mental/emotional pain. Often people suffer in silence. Tianna Meriage-Reiter is a licensed Physical and Yoga Therapist in California who suffered from chronic pain for 14+ years. She now specializes in treating those with chronic pain.
Tianna spent most of her young career working at a typical desk job. Over time she began to notice persistent pain. She thought by becoming a Physical Therapist she could learn to cure her pain. She completed a joint graduate program between UC San Francisco and San Francisco State. It was not long until Tianna realized that her pain had followed her. She asked for help, only being led back to the books to figure it out for herself. In 2009, she found a therapist certifying people in Yoga Therapy. She was intrigued and decided to study Yoga Therapy from the Professional Yoga Therapy Institute and the Mount Madonna Institute.
Her pain continued to follow her leaving her feeling uncomfortable most days. She felt mental anguish over this; she questioned her ability to treat others with pain while she herself was suffering. Tianna decided to attend a Yoga Therapy conference for therapists in 2011. At this conference she had an experience that would change her life. During a guided imagery meditation she felt her pain being lifted for the first time in 14 years. This experience gave her hope to keep going and learn more about pain science.
The present moment brings us back to our center and it affects our brain as well as strengthens our neural system.
In Yoga Therapy the physical, energetic, emotional and bliss body are all touched on. Movement and breath can affect the mind and provide relief. The nervous system responds and changes when we pay attention to it. During poses and breath practices we are asked to pay attention to our body. This changes our energy. According to Tianna, there is science to prove that when we have a traumatic experience it changes our physiology. She says that here is also evidence that mindfulness decreases activity in the fear hyper sensitivity area in the brain.
Our individual pain will most likely come and go, however it no longer has to be an overhanging cloud in our life. Through Yoga Therapy, Tianna has learned to welcome and accept her pain when it does come. She is able to do this because she knows that energy is always changing and her pain will dissipate. Education of the yoga vails and kleshas that keep us stuck, is a framework to help us understand how we can change our brain and nervous system. Gratitude, mindfulness and connecting with nature, are other daily practices to help rise above our small nature.
Through her own experience, she is now able to have empathy for others with chronic pain. She describes her experience with chronic pain as self limiting. Activities she once enjoyed, she was no longer doing. Pain was limiting her from social circles and activities, leaving her to feel very small which can lead to mental anguish.
Everyone deals with pain in their own learned way. Her patients with chronic pain can experience both physical and mental pain, however persistent pain is almost always connected to an emotional/mental component. She specializes in embracing someone in their current state and helping them to find balance in their life.
Seeking help from western medicine can feel heavy because of a diagnosis or their choice of words. You can leave feeling very stuck and hopeless. Some of the work that Tianna does is help people feel safe again and begin to open up to the possibility of change. She believes when someone is in the right space and time they too can experience relief from their pain.
Tianna still experiences unpleasant sensations, however she is no longer as resistant to pain and it does not feel as powerful anymore. She is currently certified to treat those with chronic pain in California through Physical and Yoga Therapy at her Mind Body Movement Center. She is also available to coach or help anyone, in any state, with other wellness/nutrition programs to help find balance in your life. You can read more Yoga Therapy and pain management on her Mind Body Movement page.