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Meet Alec

At age 18, all I could think about was cycling. It consumed my life - training, racing, cleaning my bike, you name it. When I wasn’t riding my bike, I was thinking about riding my bike. 

And I had been presented with an incredible opportunity: I had just qualified race against professionals.

But on a training ride one day, I felt pain like a lightning bolt in my back. It was as if someone was wringing my spine from end to end. The pain was so bad that I couldn’t sit on my bike seat.

I visited a chiropractor who said “two weeks, and you’ll be back on top - no problem.” Well, two weeks passed, then four, then eight, and my pain was getting worse. Not only had my entire cycling season been taken from me, but I was in pain every day during normal activities, like sitting and even lying down.

When the new semester started at college, I retreated inward, unable to sit without pain in my lectures, and ride my bike - an identity that had been so core to who I was.

I tried every physical treatment I could find: physical therapists, epidurals, chiropractors, acupuncturists, you name it. Nothing was helping - and I was adamant that I did not want surgery at such a young age. 

A year later, nothing had helped. And I started to question why. Why was my pain horrible on days when I followed my care team’s instructions to the letter? And why on days when I did the opposite of what they recommended - sitting too long or being too active, would my pain feel slightly better? Why could someone have a perfectly normal MRI of their spine and be in immense pain, and someone else, whose MRI looked just like mine, be in no pain at all?

MRI - Back

MRI of my spine taken in 2011, showing a disc extrusion. This occurs when the outer wall of a disc tears, causing the inner disc material to seep into the spinal canal.

bandaids on Alec back

These questions led me to pick up a copy of Healing Back Pain by Dr. John Sarno. My questions were finally answered. 

Numerous studies show that structural abnormalities, like herniated discs, are extremely common among the population - up to ⅔ of people have them.

And when I learned that repressed emotions, pressure I was putting on myself, low self-esteem, shame, could cause physiological changes in my body, it was like a light switch went off. 

Sarno called this Tension Myositis Syndrome, or TMS. (Also known as Tension Myoneural Syndrome or Mindbody Syndrome).

I started to see all the pressure I was putting on myself to win races, to prove to myself and others that I was enough. It was killing me from the inside out. 

Me after receiving my first of two epidural injections into my spinal canal in 2012. My pain decreased for a few days, and then came back even worse than before.

I knew from then on that my pain was due to Tension Myositis Syndrome.

And two years after my original pain episode, my back pain started to go away - permanently.


But then over the preceding years I developed a number of other strange symptoms: Shin splints despite the fact that I’d only run 1-2 miles. Tension so bad in my calves that it was like they were frozen stiff. Pain in my forearm when throwing a baseball. Plantar Fasciitis. Pain in my wrist and shoulders. Insomnia. Anxiety. Shivering. Stomach issues and more. Each was a manifestation of TMS.

It was as if my mind was saying “until you look deeply inward you’re going to keep having these symptoms.” 

And I did the work - I developed a stronger and more comfortable sense of self, learned that my mind is always on my side, that the body is more powerful than I can possibly imagine, and most importantly, that I am, have always been, and always will be enough.


I made a full recovery, resumed all of the activities I enjoyed, like cycling. I worked for LinkedIn as a Manager in San Francisco, Ireland, and traveled the world. 

I intentionally gave up my dream of becoming a professional cyclist, and decided instead to pursue my life's calling.

MBFI Certification

My Tension Myositis Syndrome journey has been a blessing. It gave me my life's purpose and taught me lessons that have transformed the way I see an experience life. 
 I became a Certified Tension Myositis Syndrome/Mindbody Syndrome Coach because I never wanted to see someone unnecessarily suffer from chronic pain again. Because I want to help people achieve in weeks what took me years to do. Because it’s possible to recover.

If my story resonates with you, then I'd love to connect.

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