Hiller shares 'miracle' that ended decades of pain

by Len Lear
Posted 9/16/21

Nicole Rodriguez was so thrilled to be pain-free that she underwent training herself to become a therapist, using the therapy that relieved her pain.

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Hiller shares 'miracle' that ended decades of pain


Nicole Rodriguez should be on the Ellen and/or Oprah TV shows. She has just the kind of compelling “miracle cure” happy-ending story that almost every sentient, empathetic being loves to hear about and maybe even vicariously experience. How many millions of people have suffered with chronic, almost unendurable pain and have tried to treat it with over-the-counter pills, prescription drugs, internet and cable TV advertised “cures,” but the only people who wind up feeling better are the ones selling the pills and the “cures?”

“I lived with chronic back pain for 20 years,” said Rodriguez, a Chestnut Hill area resident for most of her 49 years, “and it even got worse after I was in a car accident in 2011 on Columbus Boulevard near Queen Village. Deepak Chopra said that chronic pain is the most significant disability of our time. I tried Cortisone injections, prescription pain medicine, physical therapy, knee sleeves and so many other things, but nothing helped. Whatever relief I ever got was temporary.”

Rodriguez graduated from Springfield High School and Temple University with a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in dance education. She taught dance at several area schools and danced professionally with regional dance troupes. She also taught in several area elementary schools for 10 years, but she injured her knees dancing and “was decimated by chronic pain, even after I stopped dancing.”

Nicole finally had arthroscopic surgery on her right knee, “which wasn't helpful at all … and then, inexplicably, the pain shifted into my low back. I hadn't had any acute injury to my back, but now I had a ton of back pain.”

Acupuncture helped somewhat, but then Nicole had a bad fall on a freshly mopped floor in a restaurant, and she had to be carried out of the restaurant by paramedics. “It all impacted my ability to participate in recreational activities or do much of anything physical. The pain, my limitations and the side-effects from the meds made for a really lousy quality of life.”

After the car accident, Nicole could no longer drive a car for five years or return to work or even carry a purse or bag, and had difficulty preparing her own meals. She was divorced and living alone at the time, so her father would regularly come over to do chores, even scrubbing floors and cleaning the bathroom. “I lost much of the fine motor control in my hands and had to use dictation software because I could no longer use a pen or pencil without making the pain worse.”

Nicole even developed ankle pain that got so bad that she would take a bus just to avoid walking a couple of blocks. She went to five different neurosurgeons, some of whom suggested cervical fusion, but “I did not want to go that route.” Nicole wound up on disability for a few years and feared that she would never be able to work again. Finally, after 20 years of unrelieved suffering, Nicole met a woman at a fitness club in center city in 2016 who suggested that she go to a non-traditional, holistic “posture alignment therapist” in Fort Washington.

“For the first time, something actually worked,” insisted Nicole. “It was not overnight; it was gradual, but the more I got the therapy and did the exercises, the pain got less and less. It was a miracle! I was eventually able to live a normal life again, and today I feel better than ever!”

Nicole was so thrilled to be pain-free that she underwent training herself to become a therapist, using the therapy that relieved her pain. Called the Egoscue Method, it was founded by a military vet, Pete Egoscue, in the 1970s and is now considered by practitioners as a way to treat chronic musculoskeletal pain attributed to workplace and sports injuries, accidents, aging and other conditions. The treatment consists of a series of stretches and exercises that “essentially correct the misalignments in the musculoskeletal system of the body and help restore the body’s innate symmetry and balance.” Unlike chiropractic treatments, it is hands-off.

Nicole's “posture therapy” center, “Pain-Free Philly,” is located at the Montgomery Integrative Health Group, 1108 East Willow Grove Ave. in Wyndmoor. Her journey to a pain-free life is chronicled in a just-published book, “How Did I Not Know About This? Becoming Pain-Free Through Posture Therapy,” by Grace Lambert, a therapist and posture alignment specialist.

There are 20 reviews of Nicole's therapy online, all five stars. A typical one from Nick Rubin of Elkins Park, says, “Words can't really do justice to the level of individual care and intelligence Nicole puts into her craft … I worked with her weekly for two months in hour-long sessions. Each session was a joy … Since my treatment, I've been completely pain-free in my pinched nerve, I went hiking in Iceland for a week without any hiccups, and I'm well on my way to playing competitive sports again.”

Rodriguez also has a Mt. Airy Learning Tree talk scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., at the United Lutheran Seminary, 7301 Germantown Ave.

For more information: painfreeinphilly.com or 267-888-2242.