Real Recovery Stories
Dan’s story: From chronic back pain to whole-person transformation
Just six months ago, I was lost in pain. I was living in fear, I felt like I always needed to be careful about how I moved and what I did. It was no way to live. Lin helped me to understand that there's a different way to look at chronic pain. Now, life is so much richer, I see the bigger picture now.
It started with pain in my right hip. I got physical therapy, but I couldn't shake it. Eventually, I had surgery. My surgery was just a few weeks before the COVID-19 outbreak. Right when I should have been getting into post-op physical therapy, everything shut down. My wife got sick with COVID, and suddenly, my back went out. And that was that – it never really went away. There'd be good days and bad days, but it was just always there. And my hip still hurt. I was constantly in PT, visiting doctors, and trying different treatments.
It was as if the pain was bouncing around my body with no particular logic.
I thought I was just another medical mystery. At least three doctors and a chiropractor assured me that the structural issues with my back were minimal. Not knowing what was going on put me in a very dark place for a little while.
I just wanted to be an active, normal guy again and take care of my family and home and maybe go for a bike ride every now and then. But I couldn’t even do that. I couldn't even go for a walk around a block at one point.
By the time I found Lin, I had four or five areas of pain that I just could not get over.
I stumbled across the concept of brain-centered healing. I tried some of the techniques, and there were a few hints that a brain-centered approach was helping. But the pain would always come back.
If I had a stressful day at work, my neck would be tight and painful. I would relax at home, and it would feel better. I was aware that at least some of this was related to my mental and emotional state, but for some reason, I just needed a bit more hands-on support because I wasn’t putting the pieces together by myself.
When I searched online for mind-body therapists, Lin came up. I said, "Why not give it a try?" I signed up and started working with my coach Tim on strategies that would help for the long haul.
Lin helped me to understand the “origin” of my pain.
I've always been extremely active. I did mountain biking and triathlons, and I swam at the University of Delaware competitively for a couple of years. I would get hurt all the time. So up until the hip pain started, I just assumed, "Hey, I'm so resilient."
And then all of these major stressors in my life hit all at once, changing the way that I carried myself – mentally and physically. The stressors started to express themselves in my body. I think that because I’ve been such a physical person my whole life, my body is where I felt it all.
“Just six months ago, my world felt so small. This week, I went boogie boarding in the ocean and on a mountain bike ride.”
Lin is different from other self-healing approaches – more customized and accessible.
To me, it’s important for things to make sense. I have to know why they work.
Tim, my Lin coach, really customized the experience to this aspect of my personality. We started with some knowledge-based stuff that helped me understand the different strategies I could apply to my pain. We also did some more somatic tracking (which I had tried previously on my own), but this time it was made more accessible, something that I could do in a pinch for just a few minutes. That was a real breakthrough.
Tim suggested some breathwork meditation and yoga. We also worked on building evidence lists. It was very empowering.
Lin works because it helps you overcome things one at a time.
Part of my evidence list included things like this: I went for a walk around the block. I drove the car. I wore different shoes. I calmed myself down when something stressed me out. Every time I have a success, I add it to the list. It builds on itself. It builds up enough that even if the pain comes back, I have all these tools and affirmations to get myself past it. Lin helped me to understand that there's a different way to look at chronic pain.
Personally, I had a lot of built-up stress; I had hit a point where I had no healthy outlets for my pain because my healthy outlets used to be running, swimming, or biking. Once I lost that, everything just spiraled out of control. New health issues just kept appearing and not going away. And it was my brain saying, "Hey, you're hurting, something's wrong. You're not dealing with things. Pay attention." It's the only way my brain could get my attention. My coach, Tim, was able to help me get to the point where I really believed that my body was fine and that most of the “pain” was my brain overreacting to normal sensations. That took a lot of work and exploration, the encouragement from Tim made a huge difference.
Lin helped me to get my full life back again.
Just six months ago, my world felt so small. I felt like I was in this tiny little box, and I always needed to be careful about how I moved and what I did.
This week, I went boogie boarding in the ocean and on a mountain bike ride. At this point, if my hip starts to feel tight – I just say to myself, “It’s OK, you’re almost 40, you have a little tendonitis – no big deal.”
Now, if something gets hurt, I believe it's going to get better.
Thanks to Lin, I can trace the origin of my pain. I can look back and see how my body was expressing the stress of these events via pain sensations. Knowing this helps me to move forward and heal.
Lin led me through a full, whole human transformation.
I am so much more mindful. Before this, if anything was bothering me, I would just go for a run. I didn't deal with any of it. Now, at work and at home with my wife, things are so much richer. I see the bigger picture now, whereas before, I just got frustrated and went to the gym to work it off.
It is really easy to get started with Lin, and the cost-benefit ratio, for me, has just been off the charts. So it's absolutely worth a try.
My Recovery Toolbox
- Favorite Neuroscience Fact: “Motion is lotion.” You've got to move to accept that you can move. Your body's designed to move. Sometimes you've got to rewire these neural circuits.
- Fear-busting thought: When I’m fearful, I go straight to my evidence list writing. I jot down what I’ve been doing and remind myself how far I’ve come. I also take a look at what might be upsetting me. The combination of those two things just seems to melt the fear and pain all away.
- Something I’ve put into my life in place of pain: Meditation, focusing on emotions. Before, I saw myself as all these labels – mountain biker, swimmer, a scientist at a biotech company. And now, I see myself not just through these physical labels but also as an emotional, spiritual person.
Bill’s story: How I got my life (and my tennis game) back
From an early age, I was always active, playing tennis and other sports. Out of nowhere, in my late 30s, I started having symptoms, and my body was always sore. Lin brought it all together for me. I have been able to achieve so much more in my life thanks to Lin.
The pain took away all of my hobbies, everything that made me happy. It sank me into a perpetual bad mood.
When I tried to play tennis – or anything requiring exertion – I felt like somebody had hit me with a hammer. My whole body hurt terribly. Even though I looked normal, I was sore all the time, and I had to use a scooter to get around.
This lasted for almost 10 years, with other people’s prayers as my only real treatment. Somehow, I made myself start playing tennis again. But the healing process was more complicated than just that. When I went back to tennis, I was still in pain and had injury after injury. Working out wasn’t so bad; somehow it didn’t bring on the pain. But tennis? From the moment I got in the car to drive to the court, my body would begin to hurt.
I injured both my shoulders. I couldn't even put my hand above my head. According to the doctor, I needed surgery. A short while later, I was diagnosed with arthritis in my knee, and surgery was once again offered as an option. I just couldn’t accept it, and instead started to explore some of the mind-body stuff that I had found on the Internet.
Thanks to Lin, I know now that I was holding on to “muscle memory” of the pain I had from playing tennis and all the subsequent injuries. I also know that complaining about it was making it worse.
I saw a video with Dr. Sarno, who introduced me to the idea of self-healing. I discovered that some people would get better just by going through Sarno’s class. That gave me something to think about. I read a lot of books, but my knee just wouldn't get better. So when I saw an ad for Lin in one of my online groups, I figured, why not give it a try?
Lin brought it all together for me.
I knew a lot about mind-body healing going in, but working with my Lin coach, Tara, pushed me way beyond what I could accomplish on my own. She's helped me get back to doing what I love.
It’s fascinating how tennis – the exercise I love most – is a pain trigger for me. Tara taught me to tell myself that tennis is fun rather than dangerous, and that the longer I play, the stronger I get.
I’ll say things like "Oh, brain, you don't have to give my knee pain. I’m safe. I'm doing everything I need to – I'm working out, I'm getting healthier.” And then my body is fine.
Today, I'm very upbeat and positive.
I'm back to playing tennis a few days a week, even in the blazing Georgia summer heat.
Before I started with Lin, I'd be worried about my body, and my body would hurt while I was playing. But now, I'm able to play in all kinds of conditions. I even helped my team get to the playoffs in our division.
For anyone who is suffering, I would say, without hesitation – give this a chance. I have been able to achieve so much more in my life thanks to Lin.
I’ve been with Lin for about half a year. The results have been amazing. I’ve learned that it’s all about calming down the nervous system. Lin’s “brain-first approach” helped me find balance so that I’m not constantly in fight or flight mode. I’m more in control of my nervous system. And I can accomplish more.
I'm doing yoga three days a week and play tennis two or three days a week. So I'm much stronger.
My Recovery Toolbox:
- Fear-busting thought : I tell myself there is nothing wrong with my body. When I looked at my body, I used to think, "Oh, my body is broken, and I have all these problems." Now I know that I’m not broken, and I’m even stronger than most people my age.
- My mantra: “I'm a Viking giant, and I'm powerful.” (I’m pretty tall, 6’6”, so that’s a good one!)
- My best recovery advice: Lin is more powerful than all the books and groups because of it’s coaches, who share their personal experiences with chronic pain. Tara was so responsive - as soon as I’d tell her something in our chat, right away she'd send me a link with relevant resources. It’s totally personalized for you; you take the ideas right into your life.
- To all those starting their journey toward a pain-free life, I would say: Have an open mind, and don’t beat yourself up. It's not a straight line to get better. There are a lot of setbacks, but the most important thing is to realize that you're calm and you're safe.
Lisa’s story: I can smile again
I lived with fibromyalgia and other symptoms for 25 years. I wouldn't describe it as a life or living. A hug hurt, smiling hurt. Since I discovered Lin and started a brain-focused approach, I have a life, and it is full. I can smile. I can accept a hug, and it doesn't hurt.
By the time I found Lin, I was ready to be well.
I was at a point where you could have told me to stand on my head, and if I thought it would work, I would've done it. I was in the emergency room every two weeks or so. It was absurd to me. I didn't understand. And it was getting worse and worse. I just happened upon Lin and I said, well, I've tried everything else. Let's try this and see if it works.
The first thing I learned with Lin is that my brain controls most of my pain, and it's up to me to regulate my nervous system. I learned a mind-body approach - how to develop new neural pathways in order to change the way my body reacts to pain.
I haven't been to the ER for almost a year.
Lin set my arrow on a straight path toward my target - overall wellness and freedom from pain.
In the beginning, when you are creating the new neural pathways, your brain fights it. Your brain and nervous system fight off your attempts to heal by giving you more symptoms. They throw little signals… like allergy symptoms and pains in parts of your body you never thought could even experience pain. It's your brain fighting against what you are trying to do.
When I experienced these little symptoms, I turned to my coach and said "Shannon, what is going on with my body?" Her answer? "You don't know how close you are to recovery."
And then, boom - you get it.
My coach was impressed by my rapid success. She said, "I've never seen anything like this! It’s like you're at least a year into it - but you've only been with us a few months."
The thing was, I was ready to be well. I was already doing some of the techniques that Lin teaches. I was meditating. I was trying to talk to my body, but I wasn't doing it the right way. I just needed to be focused. Lin set my arrow on a straight path toward my target - freedom from pain and overall wellness.
But it was hard work, holding that arrow in place. There were lots of challenges that threatened to throw me off course. It's not that I got worse before I get better, but I did experience lots of things before I really got better.
I had a lot of childhood trauma to work through. Lin showed me how to allow space for the hard things and gave me the tools to do the work. Lin couldn’t do it for me. I had to do it. My coach supported me with meditations and mantras and other support, and I did it on my own.
Even when it was super-exhausting, I stuck with it, because I could see my body changing. And the work finally paid off.
Lin has been my personal cheerleader.
The thing about Lin that really moved the needle for me was my coach, Shannon.
I really needed a cheerleader. I needed someone to say, "Lisa, you can do this. Lisa, you know this." Someone to be accountable to. I was a walking victim at one point, with one thing after another happening to me. I needed someone to say to me, "It's okay to be okay. You don't have to fight everything. Fight for yourself. All of that energy you're putting into defending yourself against the world, use that energy to help yourself."
Since I started the brain-first approach with Lin my life is full. I am no longer a victim. I feel I have control over my mind and my body, and I have the great opportunity to help others who are feeling like I felt. I have a life now. I can smile. I can accept a hug, and it doesn't hurt.
Lin teaches you how to own your story, how to help yourself, and how to heal yourself.
To anyone who is considering this approach, I say, “Try it!” You really have nothing to lose but pain.
You just need to be open-minded, open-hearted, and patient. And you need to have grace with yourself - you may not get it right all the time. The nature of recovery is that you're going to have bad days. It's what you do next that really means something. With the help of your Lin coach, you get back up, and you keep going.
And I would also say, “Be stubborn!” Be very determined to get results. You know how a hungry person eats when they get some food that they like in front of them? That's how you should approach Lin.
Once I was solidly on the road to recovery, I decided to become a Lin coach myself.
Without a doubt, I believe that if you put everything that Lin offers into action, you are going to see a difference. You may not be totally pain-free, but you're going to see something different in your life. If it doesn't work, Lin will get your money back, and you can move on. We are here to support you.
If you put these things into practice in your life, you’ll get out of it what you put into it.
My Recovery Toolbox
- Favorite Neuroscience Fact: I can control my pain. I can affect my body. I have control.
- Fear-busting thought: I am okay. It’s fundamentally true. (If I wasn't really okay I wouldn't even be able to say, "I am okay," so clearly I am okay.)
- What I’ve put into my life in place of pain: Lin. Lin has become my life. I have a normal life now. I can get out of bed and not worry about whether I'm going to throw up or whether I'm going to need my cane. Just having a normal life and being able to be a daughter and a friend is a gift.
Jodi’s story: From the cliff’s edge back to solid ground (and the music studio)
Meeting people that understand what chronic pain is and learning that it is my primary diagnosis has changed my life and brought a whole new level of access to my life that was simply unavailable to me before. Now, I’m back in my music studio, taking my dog for walks, I’m back to exercising and enjoying my life.
Life before brain-first
Before I had even heard about a brain-first approach to pain, I had three orthopedic surgeries within a one-year span that threw me into a chronic pain nightmare. I had developed a condition called CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome). At the time it developed, I had no idea what it was. All I knew is that it hurt - a lot - and the pain stopped me almost dead in my tracks & prevented me from doing the things that I love. I’ve always been very athletic. I was a judo competitor for 18 years, I love to work out, and take my dog for walks regularly. Music and art are also big parts of my life. The pain made all of that impossible.
When I began my search for pain care, the pain was in my right foot. It was excruciating. I kept thinking, “my God, there's something seriously wrong with me.” CRPS causes all kinds of pain, and sadly, mine spread to my elbows and wrists. Honestly, it felt like they were on fire (which I’ve come to learn is pretty typical).
I found an out-of-state pain clinic that specializes in CRPS. It’s run by a doctor who had developed a really good and successful program - I was hopeful. I had an interview with the doctor and was prepared to travel and excited to participate, but, at that time, there was a year-long wait.
I realized that’s why they call CRPS the “suicide disease” because most people won't make it one year - it’s that intense. I was near the cliff emotionally and getting dangerously close to the edge. It was a dark time.
“I found an out-of-state pain clinic that I was hopeful about but there was a year-long wait... I was at the edge of a cliff when I found Lin.”
I was out of options. I didn’t want to try ketamine, narcotics, or spinal injections. And I certainly didn’t want another surgery! All the research I had done caused me to fear that this condition would worsen and it was already really bad.
A chance online encounter with PRT
I was searching for pain reduction techniques online and I happened to find a 40-minute guided Pain Reprocessing Therapy (PRT) session - using a technique called somatic tracking. As the patient was being asked questions, I put myself in her position and I followed along with everything as if I was in the room with them. Then I got up to see how my foot was feeling.
I now understand how PRT allows you to observe the pain, be curious about it and relate to it differently. When I stood up (very carefully) and I walked into the room where my husband was, he looked at me with complete shock and said, “why aren’t you limping?” It felt miraculous.
From that point on, I scoured the internet for everything I could find about Pain Reprocessing Therapy. I learned about the Boulder Back Study, and that led me to Lin. I was at the edge of a cliff when I found Lin. The team was so understanding and helpful.
My work with Lin has taught me a great deal about how the brain and body function together and how the body-mind relationships interact. I’m learning how to deal with my chronic pain and how to manage it. I also learned how PRT can be helpful with dealing with emotions of any type- difficult ones as well as happy ones. I am a strong supporter of somatic tracking for both physical & emotional issues.
Becoming educated about the fear/pain cycle has made a huge difference in my recovery process. The brain-first approach is geared towards learning techniques that I can put into practice in my life; this has increased the quality of my life, both physically & mentally.
“My life has changed tremendously since applying these brain-first solutions.”
Things really started to turn around for me when I began working with my coach, Deb, one-on-one. It’s like she knows what I need before I even need it. There is so much care, compassion, and encouragement towards my physical and mental well-being. Part of Lin’s practice is teaching you how to be kind to yourself… positivity is a must. I call it giving yourself grace.
I feel “heard” and encouraged to voice my opinions. The Lin team always asks their members for ideas about features and even other platforms they’d like to see offered. This has been so positive for me, as my previous experience with the healthcare system was the complete opposite of my experience with Lin.
Meeting people that understand what chronic pain is and learning that chronic pain is my primary diagnosis changed my life. This brought a whole new level of access to my life that was simply unavailable to me before.
Now, I’m back in my music studio, taking my dog for walks, and keeping busy because I find that I feel better the more I move my body… which is usually slowly & cautiously. When I do have a pain flare-up, Lin has and continues to provide me with the tools and the support that I need to work through it.
My Recovery Toolbox
- Favorite science fact: If my brain can learn pain (in an area that is structurally fine)… it most certainly can unlearn this pain.
- Fear-busting thought: I can take a step (or two) back and not just dive into the pain/fear cycle. I can instead observe and be curious, and not judge myself or the pain. And if there’s an emotional cause for a flare-up I can use my tools to handle it.
- What I’ve put into my life in place of pain: I’m back in my music studio - and I just expanded it as it seems that I just cannot have enough guitars! I have also expanded my art area and I’m back to exercising and enjoying my life.
- My mantra: My Life Has Purpose. My Story Is Important. My Dreams Count. My Voice Matters. I Was Born To Make An Impact.