Today I am interviewing the lovely Aimee Clark from Primal Influence to share with us her inspiring story about how she healed her back problems, all naturally!
Tell us about yourself Aimee….
I’m Aimee Clark, I’m 31 and I live on the beautiful Sunny Coast in Queensland Australia! I was a Personal Trainer for 6 years, then when my partner Clint and I moved back to QLD a few years ago I left the PT behind and took up reception and admin work within allied health and holistic medicine. I had plenty of reception and admin experience and a passion for health and wellness so this definitely wasn’t a difficult transition.
I’m currently studying a double diploma of marketing and business from home and I work within Primal Influence which is our health and fitness coaching biz by helping with the website, program creation and maintenance, social media etc, plus we host the local Sunshine Coast Paleo/Primal/Real Food Meetup Group so all of that keeps me pretty busy!
When I’m not studying or working I like to tend to my little organic container garden, I do lots of crocheting, and of course I like to get outside and explore the Sunny Coast because it’s abundant with national parks with bushwalking, camping and picnics, rivers and creeks to fish and kayak in, beaches to walk on and just a bit inland are country towns to drive through and take day trips to. What a great place to live!
2. How did your back problems come about?
Here’s my story.. it’s a bit long, so stay with me here! Way back in 1999 when I was in Grade 11 I injured my lower back. X-ray didn’t show anything but it was suspected I had a stress fracture in the lower left vertebrae. Before that diagnosis though I was taken to chiropractor after chiropractor and unfortunately was made to feel worse and in more pain every visit.
Eventually a friend of mum’s suggested I see a Physiotherapist, so I did and their treatment seemed to help.It took a year of regularly treatment before my Physio said I was ‘better’. But three days later at a night time school event a student jumped on my shoulders trying to look over my head, I bent backwards, and OUCH… I was in instant agony.
A CT Scan a couple days later showed a prolapsed disc between L4 and L5. I was devastated. A year of pain and rehab and then another injury straight away, but worse.
The same month (this was now start of Grade 12) I contracted Barmah Forest Virus. I spent 6 months flat – with a constant headache, aching all over, tiredness like I’d never felt before, and a very sore back. I was also taking lots of poor quality vitamin supplements, anti-biotics, anti-inflammatories and anti-depressants. >A very unhealthy combination right there!
During that year I did start to feel better, not enough to return to school, so I did some volunteering, got into some hobbies, and eventually joined the workforce. Looking back though, a desk job probably wasn’t the best choice for what I had going on but I didn’t know any better at the time.
While living in Darwin from 2008-2010 and having seen a functional medicine GP beforehand in Brisbane, I saw massive improvements with my gut health. But only for a few months. Then I became sicker than I was before, and my back was giving me seriously major pain. I moved back to QLD, left Personal Training as it was too physically tiring for me, got back into admin/reception and until about one year ago, Iwas in constant pain with my back, on top of general poor health.
3. What options did you try to overcome it?
What didn’t I try?! Physio, Cranial-Sacral Therapy, remedial massage, Bowen Therapy, Finch Therapy, dry needling, acupuncture, magnesium supplements, regular pilates, rehab pilates, exercise, stretching… the list goes on.
4. Tell us how you healed your back?
At the end of 2012 I got into Paleo – the food aspect anyway. I started to feel a bit better eating about 80-90% Paleo but my back was still always very sore. I’d been reading about this thing called Bone Broth and how amazing it was, but it wasn’t until someone told me their experience with it, and how easy it was to make that I finally gave it a go.
Within weeks my back pain was decreasing! Finally some relief! Therapies I’d tried often helped for short periods of time but I found by drinking a cup of bone broth a day, most days, was keeping the pain away. I still needed to be careful with the movements/exercises I was doing but as time went on I eventually got to a point where I was pain-free all day long and could do more exercise.
In October 2013 I got onto pure grass-fed gelatin and that partnered with the bone broth has made even more of a difference. Bone broth contains gelatin, but straight gelatin is obviously even better. I actually notice the difference when I’ve only been having one or the other. I find having both keeps me pain-free.
5. How long did it take?
I can’t remember the exact time-frame but I know it was between 3 and 4 weeks I started to feel big improvements and a lot less pain in my lower back and legs.
6. How do you incorporate it into your daily diet?
I used to drink bone broth by itself every day (which is recommended for people with chronic pain but always check with a health care practitioner if unsure, because it’s high in many minerals and amino acids) but now I drink it every few days or cook with it.
It can be added to mash (I make paleo veggie mash often), sauteing veggies, slow cooker meals etc. Some people don’t like the taste at first but may find they prefer it slightly diluted and get used to it after a week or so, or just tweaking the types of bones used can change the flavour a lot and therefore make it more enjoyable to drink.
Gelatin comes in the form of powder. I will only use the pure grass-fed type. Beef or pork are available but I always use the beef. I make jelly with it, lollies, marshmallows, panna cotta… all sorts of HEALTHY (no joke!) goodies. My brekkie for example is fruit, gelatin and mince. So I make fruit jelly (this morning was blueberry banana jelly) and have grass-fed mince on the side. That’s actually part of the eating plan I’m on for healing my body. How many health care practitioners do you know recommend eating that sort of thing for brekkie?! Jelly?! I love it!!
My partner Clint and I run a gelatin co-op so we can order in the Great Lakes variety in from America (the only grass-fed pure gelatin we’ve found) for ourselves and for others. So many of our Sunshine Coast Paleo/Primal/Real Food Meetup Group members buy it and benefit from it, and we even send it to people in other states who can’t otherwise source it. We order in the beef powder as well as the hydrolysate which is just collagen and doesn’t gel. I consume both now every day and I’m already feeling my gut health improve with the hydrolysate just in the last few weeks since starting it. It’s amazing stuff!
So today I can honestly say I’m no longer a sufferer of chronic pain. Thanks to bone broth, gelatin, and using ALL aspects of the Paleo Lifestyle (not just food!) I am pain-free every single day unless I do something silly, and even then my recovery time is incredibly quick. I feel healthier and I think my back is a lot healthier. If I can muster up the courage to get another MRI done, I will, and I’d love to see if the degeneration in my lower back as improved at all!
Want Aimee’s Bone Broth Recipe? Go here.
Do you use Bone Broth or Gelatin? Share with us your thoughts!
Follow Aimee and Clint (Primal Influence):
*Please make sure you discuss any changes to your diet with your doctor or medical professional.