My Story

I'm Gary Chellberg and helping people enjoy the quality of life that comes from being pain free is my goal. Often I am asked how I got into this profession and my answer is, "because I lived in chronic, and at times, debilitating pain for 15 years until I discovered postural alignment therapy". Being unable to do simple everyday activities, such as bending over, or turning my head without turning my entire upper body, or even traveling in a car for 5 minutes without developing a headache, was normal for me. Sitting caused my neck and back to go into muscle spasms. I went to work simply because I had to provide for my family, but as soon as I came home, I spent my time lying flat in bed, trying to find a position that would give me some momentary relief from the pain. Some days were so bad that I felt too sick to eat dinner and would go straight to bed and stay there until the next morning when it was time to go to work again. I was unable to do any chores around the house and could not play with my children. Life was miserable and my one over-riding focus was to try and get out of pain.

My journey with chronic pain began more than 15 years ago when I bent over to pick up my son's mitten which had fallen as I lifted him into his car seat. As I bent over, a muscle tore in my upper back. From that moment on, life became a round of one therapy after another. I started with an assortment of pain medication, along with physical therapy, infrared therapy, and ultrasound therapy. None of these made any significant or lasting difference. Next, I progressed to massage therapy, osteopathy, and chiropractic. I was prescribed a shoe lift. Some days the pain was so bad that I went to the chiropractor before and after work... then spent the evening lying on an ice pack on the sofa. After several years of these various therapies, I resigned myself to the fact that I was going to have to live with the pain. It was permanent. A fall, in which I fractured 2 vertebrae and damaged my hip, compounded matters and I developed sciatica. Bottles of Ibuprofen were stashed everywhere: at home, in the car and at work. Gradually over the following 10 years the pain got worse. My neck was in constant agony and so stiff I could hardly move it. I had a perpetual headache. If I bent over, the headache became so intense that I felt nauseas and dizzy. Aside from forcing myself to work, I did nothing. My wife and 6 children tried to carry on with "normal life" while I spent miserable hours in bed focused on my pain. It was very depressing for all of us.

Finally, it came to the point where my wife and I were ready to try anything. We began another round of doctors' visits. At the time, we were hoping that surgery of some kind would help. The diagnosis from the Neck and Back Specialist stunned us...osteoarthritis! His advice to us was to "manage" the pain and learn to live with it. I was sent for physical therapy; it helped a little. Next was a round of physiatrist visits filled with muscle relaxants and trigger point injections. They made me feel worse. We began to despair. We sat down and made a list of possible alternative treatments. It was alarmingly and depressingly short. As we considered what to do next, a friend sent me Pete Egoscue's best selling book "Pain Free". His explanation of why people have chronic pain and how to reverse it made logical sense and gave us a glimmer of hope. I made an appointment at our nearest Egoscue(tm) clinic in Chicago to try this method of postural alignment. The rest is history. From the very first visit I could feel a change in my body and came out with hope that this could help me. The Egoscue Method(tm) of postural alignment is simple, logical and the exercises can be done without the assistance of anyone else. Once my postural misalignment was pointed out to me by the Postural Alignment Specialist at the Egoscue clinic, it seemed so obvious. I wondered why I, and all the "specialists" that had examined me over the years, had not noticed or connected it with my pain before. Over the next few months, changes were slow but steady. I attended the Egoscue clinic every other week and was given new exercises to do. As my body moved into better alignment, my pain lessened. Disciplining myself to do the daily exercises was challenging, but after 7 months I was able to take an 1800 mile road trip with my family. We were ecstatic! Now, after 2 years I am totally pain free. I am doing activities I have not done for more than 15 years: home repairs, riding a bike, playing ball with my kids. I rarely have a headache and have more energy than I have had in years. The Egoscue Method has literally changed my life. In fact, I was so impressed  and helped by the Egoscue Method (tm) of postural alignment therapy that  in 2010 I enrolled in The Egoscue University(tm) and am now a Postural Alignment Specialist certified in Levels 1 and 2 of The Egoscue Method. My wife and I currently run our "A Life Pain Free" clinic out of our home. My goal is to help others in pain as much as I was helped. I know how hard pain is to live with . Now I also know a method to get out of pain and into a pain free life.