MANSFIELD — Pain is largely personal, but there are certain experiences and conditions that are unequivocally painful.
There’s the kind of pain that makes life miserable, that makes simple things like taking a shower or giving someone a hug agonizing.
That’s the kind of pain Mansfield woman Tammy Hartman endured for years while suffering from several health issues, including degenerative disc disease, radiculopathy (commonly referred to as pinched nerve), temporomandibular joint (TMJ) dysfunction, and fibromyalgia.
“I was miserable,” she said. “Thinking about this I’m starting to get all choked up.”
As a registered nurse — a profession with a high incidence of lower back pain — Hartman had lower back pain for years, using anti-inflammatories and physical therapies to alleviate the pain, until, fast forward about 10 years, she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease in her lumbar spine, which then advanced to radiculopathy, causing pain and numbness in her leg.
In the course of three years (from 2000 to 2003), she received 12 injections in her back, which “helped temporarily,” she said.
Then, in 2005, she started experiencing TMJ problems following a dentist appointment.
“I had this horrific pain in the right side of my jaw and my face, and even though I couldn’t move my jaw, I was told the X-ray said there’s nothing wrong,” she said. “Maybe after 24 hours I could open and close my mouth, but it was still very painful. It was excruciating pain to the point where I couldn’t sleep.”
And as if that weren’t enough, she was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia — a condition that causes pain all over the body.
“That nightmare went on for two-and-a-half years,” she said. “When you’re in pain for that long, your whole system starts going crazy out of balance.”
“It hurt to take a shower, the water hitting my skin… I didn’t like to be touched. Emotionally I was a wreck.”
The pain was so severe she had trouble playing with her children, who were 8 and 12 at the time. Hartman persevered the best she could, feeling as though all she could give was the bare minimum.
“It was so bad. I just prayed that the Lord would take my life,” she said.
She visited specialist after specialist in search for help, but to no avail.
It was after she collapsed at work one day that she said enough’s enough and began looking into alternative and complementary medicine.
“I didn’t know anything about it,” she said.
In her pursuit for help, she was connected with a doctor of osteopathic medicine, or DO, (a fully licensed physician who practices in all areas of medicine, emphasizing a whole-person approach to treatment and care).
During her initial appointment with the DO in 2008, he tested her blood, urine and saliva.
“He was like, ‘You’re very sick,’” she recalled. “He said my adrenals were shot because I was in this constant state of fight or flight.”
She tested high in heavy-metal toxicity, she said. To help pull the metals from her bloodstream, she underwent chelation therapy, in which a dose of a medication called ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) is delivered into the bloodstream through an intravenous line.
She also had a displaced bone in her cheek.
“I looked like I had had a stroke,” she said. “Two years with this problem on my right side, I had facial dropping and macular swelling.”
After a few rounds of chelation therapy, as well as a procedure to put the bone in her cheek back into place, Hartman finally started feeling better, and her eyes were opened to a whole new way of healing the body.
Hartman Holistic Health
Hartman started learning more about holistic health, and ultimately founded her own health service called Hartman Holistic Health in Mount Gilead in 2010.
This alternative and holistic health service offers natural, holistic health care combined with energy medicine to help clients identify and release unresolved emotions that are causing problems with the adrenals, hormones, weight loss, physical pain and more.
Hartman uses Touch for Health kinesiology, a healing process through touch that restores the body's natural energetic flow.
“It is this beautiful dance of muscle-testing back and forth to figure out where these congested or blocked flows are, and we can actually figure out why,” she said.
Hartman said she’s a big believer in mind-body connection and the interrelationship between emotional and physical health.
“People will tell you all kinds of things, but the body won’t lie,” she said.
Best is yet to come
Hartman said she tries to make time for self-care by getting a massage or energy work done once a month and taking a bath at least twice weekly with essential oils.
She also tries to get outside every day.
“And if it’s nice, I take off my socks and shoes in the early morning and walk around in the dewy grass — that’s called grounding,” she said.
She enjoys taking a walk with her dog a mile or more daily and works out to HIIT or barre videos online a few times a week.
She uses essential oils faithfully, takes high quality vitamins, and makes sure to drink plenty of water.
She gets sore here and there after workouts, but hasn’t felt the kind of pain she previously experienced in 9 or 10 years.
“I feel better at 53 than I did at 33, so I’m pretty excited,” she said. “I feel like the best is yet to come.”