Hello my name is Helen and I suffer from a “Hypermobile spine.”
Hypermobile = “joints that stretch further than usual,” according to wiki, or as you might say, super-flexible. Think Gumby or Stretch Gordon (look that one up kids).
Sounds like it would be great, right? Who wouldn’t want to be the rock star in Yoga class? Turns out, Joint Hypermobility Syndrome can be PAINFUL. We’re talking CHRONIC PAIN. Plus, I’m more subject to joint injuries and muscle fatigue. For me, the pain was always in my low back.
Well, so much for the cover of Yoga Journal.
Regardless, I’ve always been active: weight lifting, bike riding, walking and an occasional run.
In 2007 my back pain was so severe that it often caused shooting pain down my legs, even after only 10 minutes of sitting. Desperate and frustrated, I went to a specialist, who (after multiple X-rays, MRI’s and other tests) recommended what became a 5 year on/off series of:
…and eventually Hydrocodone and Corticosteroids (For flying only…I mean, when I actually fly in an airplane and have to sit for hours at a time).
The therapy helped…especially the TRACTION! Anyone ever try that? This machine attaches to your upper body and lower torso and pulls in opposite directions. I always felt like the Dread Pirate Roberts in “The Princess Bride” when I was hooked up to “The Machine”. But it actually feels good and temporarily relieves the pain and pressure.
After 5 years and over 50 traction sessions (I still have the bills) and a stomach ulcer from too much meds I started asking myself “What the hell am I doing?
So I took control…
An epiphany? Maybe….
I started to pay attention to HOW I moved (Pilates was very helpful for this) and when I DID overextend myself, what could I do to alleviate the pain, not mask the symptoms.
So – I started to ICE!!!! I iced my back after every single workout and when the pain got bad during the day. You know what happened? NOTHING! That’s right – I started to feel less pain, I stopped sleeping on the floor, I stopped all the pain meds and eventually stopped the pain.
This was great! Then I got bored. All of this sitting around icing was taking away from time I could be GETTING STUFF DONE. Are you sensing a theme here? While I was thrilled that something so simple as ICING reduced the inflammation and relieved my pain, I wanted to do this without taking 30 minute time-outs. I needed a method to deliver therapy while at the same time I could make breakfast, feed the dogs or (insert any household chore / daily task here).
I started furiously researching and learned from the ACA that 8 in 10 adults will suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.
I was a statistic.
Nobody puts Baby in a pie chart, so that’s when I got serious. I wanted to create life-changing clothing that could ICE (or heat when needed) my back while moving freely, wear outside my home, and get the perfect blend of thermal therapy in.
Fast forward to me now; “Entrepreneur”, game-changer and outside of the box-thinker (as well as inventor)! In hindsight, I think I always have been. You know that little nagging voice inside your head that you never listen to? I finally listened – and I’m building a business around helping people to manage their pain without taking time out of their lives. I want to give PEOPLE FREEDOM from pain. Freedom to move and freedom to take control.
In closing, I just want to say that I still hurt myself ALL THE TIME. My hubby claims I don’t bend my knees (NOT EVER) when I pick things up. The good news is – I know the solution that works for me and I have my Spand-Ice shirt always ready and waiting for the next time.
Stay tuned guys – we’re really close for product release…
Helen Behn is the creator and founder of Spand-Ice: wearable, flexible, gear made for women to get pain relief while staying mobile throughout their entire motherhood journey. Helen started Spand-Ice because of her own personal struggle to relieve chronic back pain without taking time out of her life.