It wasn’t until I lost the ability to move that I ever appreciated my pain.

It was March, 2012. I had come off not one or two, but fourteen different medications – just a year before.

In that time, I found myself bedridden for the majority of the year, fighting withdrawal symptoms that rivaled a handful of the most hard-to-watch scenes in Trainspotting.

Being bedridden had changed a lot about who I was already. I had no choice but to lay on top of my sweat-soaked sheets, staring at the ceiling, waiting to get breathlessly sick (again), contemplating my life choices.

Many of them had been not just awful or poor decisions, they’d been completely toxic. Totally unhealthy. I had treated my body like garbage – for my whole life! I had run myself into the ground. Between my lack of thought with the food I put in my body, to the attempts I’d made at masking my pain, to the drugs I’d taken in hopes that I’d someday wake up pain-free, I realized that for years I’d been selling myself not just a pack, but a house full of lies.

I’d suffered from scoliosis, arthritis and excruciating back pain for more than a decade, but I’d never done anything for it except take the pills I was prescribed. Painkillers, opioids, muscle relaxers, nerve blockers… it never ended. When they didn’t work, all I did was complain, switch drugs and make more doctors appointments. It’s exhausting just to think about!

A little over a year after my withdrawal began, I was sober and began feeling well enough to take walks and to move. More and more I found myself up at dawn, butt in my meditation pillow, relaxing my mind and preparing myself for the day. Often I’d leave my workout clothes or running shoes out by my bed the night before – a not-so-subtle reminder to get myself in gear. Directly after this I’d get up, change,wake up my pup, put her harness on and take her on a long walk, hike or bike ride. This is when everything changed.

There were days I’d wake up convinced that I was too drained, too sick or too exhausted to move. I’d have absolutely no energy, feel more frail than I’ve ever felt or be in such excruciating pain that all I wanted to do was lay in bed.

But this new mindset I had gained while meditating forced me to push myself. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I pushed myself up when I wanted to sit. I pushed myself outside when I wanted to lay in bed and sleep. I pushed myself to get ready when I felt like I wanted to stay inside and hide. And something miraculous started happening…

It worked! I felt better, I looked better, and I GOT better – which had been the goal all along.

Today, my entire life – and my entire life’s work – focuses around this type of healing. Not only is exercise a non-negotiable for me, it’s something I truly enjoy. It’s my healing. It’s healed me from chronic pain, nausea, exhaustion, depression and unhealthy habits. It’s encouraged me to explore other natural methods for pain treatment, such as anti-inflammatory foods and spices.

I went from treating myself with Fentanyl – one of the deadliest and most addictive painkillers in the world – to treating myself with turmeric, one of the most traditional and widely used spices in the world. Spices like turmeric, garlic, ginger, cinnamon and skullcap (all herbs I take regularly) have been used for thousands of years for the treatment of pain and inflammation. Studies show that spices like turmeric work in a superior way to drugs by breaking down existing inflammation in the joints and supporting the body’s natural healing techniques.

Turmeric is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. You can use these spices in tea or in your cooking every day for the most effective benefits.

Below are some of my favorite exercises to combat back, joint and ligament pain. I practice these exercises 1-2 times a day for at least 5 minutes each – to amazing results! With regular maintenance I am now pain-free and have been off all drugs, including painkillers and muscle relaxers, for over six years! I am thrilled to teach others these ancient and effective healing techniques through my books, blog and media. I hope you’ll join me – and really start seeing the difference in your own life!

This piece was originally shared on Wicked Spatula