Lukes recovery story

Hearing other people’s recovery stories was immensely helpful in my own journey to overcome chronic pain, fatigue, long-covid and various other mind-body syndromes. 

Those stories provided me with hope in the darkest moments when there didn’t seem to be a way out. So it’s with great thanks to the 100’s of people who shared their journey that I’d like to add mine to the mix. I hope it provides some value to you if you’re currently struggling.

My chronic pain timeline

The Early Years
1991-early 00s
Childhood stuff

As a child I was generally a happy chappy, but suffered from unexplained allergy rashes, tummy troubles, migraine headaches, frequent joint injuries, anxiety and depression through various parts of my childhood and adolescence.

I loved the outdoors, building lego, playing football and practicing martial arts, but at the same time was highly anxious, found it hard to fit in, and put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and be good. 

The Big Trigger
The big trigger
Uni Luke Rebuild Mind Body

At university in London, my stress levels were through the roof and my existing health issues worsened.

I developed excruciating mouth ulcers, regular stomach issues, back and joint pain, fatigue, trouble sleeping, and an increase in anxiety and depression.

Unable to cope with the stress, frustration and other difficult emotions that were boiling up inside, I further committed to my main coping mechanism - intense physical training, multiple times per day.

This only added to the load my nervous was under and pushed me further down the symptom cycle.

The decade long search
through the 2010s
The Search
Twenties Search Luke Rebuild Mind Body

After graduating from uni, I dedicated most of my time, energy and finances through my twenties trying to get to the root cause of my pain.

I visited several rheumatologists, gastroenterologists and dieticians and was initially diagnosed with Crohn's disease and a form of inflammatory arthritis called Seronegative Spondyloarthropathy.

These were in fact mis-diagnosis, and were later re-diagnosed as Fibromyalgia and IBS.

On my quest, I tried countless diets, supplements, movement modalities, breathwork practices and beyond. I visited 10+ chiropractors, osteopaths acupuncturists and massage therapists.  

Anything I tried brought temporary relief, but I always found myself back in the same position. Knackered, frustrated, and in lots of pain. 

the long covid low point
when the world went to sh*t
Hitting rock bottom
Long Covid Luke Rebuild Mind Body

Things hit a low point for me in 2021 after contracting covid-19 and subsequently developing long-covid. 

This led to an intensification of existing symptoms, accompanied by a batch of new fun ones - increased food and medication sensitivities, tinnitus, brain fog, panic attacks and more.

I was bed-bound for an extended time period, unable to work or interact much with loved ones, heavily medicated, and losing hope.

On many occasions I considered taking my own life, and may have done so without the immense support of my loved ones. 

Finding hope & rebuilding
Rebuilding Mind & body
Rebuilding Luke Rebuild Mind Body

I kept searching for answers, and in the summer of 2022 discovered the world of mind-body medicine, Tension Myositis Syndrome and Neuroplastic Pain.  

This model places a dis-regulated nervous system at the centre of many chronic pain symptoms.

Through expressing repressed emotions, cultivating a sense of safety, and reducing fear, I was gradually able to start turning down the volume of many of my symptoms. 

The process wasn't easy. It involved a lot of introspection, therapy sessions, journalling, and retraining of old habits. Lots of tears and doubts. Big breakthroughs followed by heavy setbacks.

But I kept at it and slowly but surely began to feel more like the real me.

Sharing what has worked for me
rebuild mind body
Moving forward with hope
Rebuilding Luke Rebuild Mind Body Future

As of spring 2024, my chronic joint and muscle pain is all but gone. I have much more energy than I can remember having in years, and my mental health feels increasingly stable. 

I'm back strength training, walking, running, dipping in the ocean and enjoying martial arts again. I can work part-time and I'm increasingly able to visit loved ones without having to worry about a flare up.

I still have a few symptoms here and there, so 100% cured might be a bit of a stretch. But I'm certainly in a much healthier place than ever before, and excited for what the future holds.

I've had to learn a lot to get myself through the last few years, so I'd like to use this site to share what the ideas, tools and techniques that have worked for me. 

I can't promise that this stuff will work for everyone dealing with chronic pain or long-covid. But I do hope there's something of value in there for someone. 

The 20+ Chronic Pain Symptoms I have worked through

Chronic pain and Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS) can manifest in the body in various ways, and it seems I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing a fair few of them! Below I’ve listed the ones I’ve experienced over the years. 

Some seemed to resolve themselves or turn into other symptoms during my childhood. Most, I’ve overcome or significantly reduced the intensity of through various nervous system retraining techniques. For now, a few stubborn symptoms seem to want to hang on for a little while longer – namely some stomach stuff, a little ear ringing, and occasional bouts of fatigue. 

I’m hesitant to say that I’m ‘fully cured’, or to put a number on my recovery journey – say 80-90% better. I don’t think those absolute labels really do us any favours, and instead encourage the very same thought patterns that contributed to my symptoms in the first place (perfectionism and all-or-nothing thinking).

I know this can be frustrating to hear if you’re in pain and looking to case-studies to see how long it will take to get better (or if you’ll indeed ever be pain-free).

What I can say is that my symptoms no longer run my life. I am for the most part able to live an active, healthy lifestyle with minimal restrictions

I’m still working through a few things, and I believe this will be somewhat of a lifelong process to prevent me from falling back into old patterns. But I’m no longer burdened by the long list of symptoms, and I’m not scared if something does crop up, as I know I have the tools to get me back on track. 

Additional info & interviews

Here I’ll link to interviews I’ve done with others to talk about my recovery journey: