75% of athletes suffer
from chronic pain
do not have to.

We're Miriam and Alec, and our vision is to change the way the world sees and treats chronic pain:
from ‘pain management’ to ‘pain free.’

We're the Co-Founders of Pain Free Comeback, and we're both athletes and certified Chronic Pain Coaches who got to know each other because of our shared stories.

Both of us are former chronic pain sufferers, who were once forced to give up our favorite sports because of scary structural diagnoses, and faced the prospect of a life of pain and restriction.

But both of us became pain free using the very same principles we now share in Pain Free Comeback.

We’ve seen incredible transformations in ourselves, and the numerous clients we’ve worked with. Breakthroughs you need to see to believe.

We know deeply that it is possible to not just manage pain, but to make a full recovery.

From Pain Management to Pain Free

Hundreds of millions of people are suffering from treatable chronic pain without knowing it.

But our desire to empower athletes with chronic pain isn't just about the pain - it goes much deeper.

The biggest challenge that athletes with chronic pain face isn’t the pain - it’s what it represents. 

It degrades physical health, creates incredible mental pressure, and makes you unable to perform. There is no aspect of life that it doesn’t affect. It creates restriction and fear, especially when treatment after treatment doesn’t work, leaving a sense of hopelessness and limitation.

This is because conventional medical treatments see symptoms like pain as a root-cause, when the problem lies deeper.

The good news is that cutting edge brain-focused treatments have been proven to heal most forms of chronic pain.

That's why we believe it's possible for hundreds of millions of people to be pain free without drugs, surgery, or physical treatment.

Alec's Story

I’m so passionate about helping athletes with chronic pain because chronic pain nearly ended my life.

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 as a semi-pro, I had been presented with an incredible opportunity to race against professionals. One of my first races in my new field was going to be one Lance Armstrong had won two years prior.

But on a training ride a few weeks before that race, 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, despite trying every possible treatment I could find.

Not only did I miss out on the entire cycling season, but I was in pain every day during normal activities, like sitting and even lying down.  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.

Alec's MRI from 2011, showing a ruptured L4-L5 spinal disc. The same rupture is still present in an MRI taken in 2024... yet he's been pain free for 12+ years!

The pain got so bad that I had to withdraw from college. I was left partially bedridden, depressed, on strong painkillers, with suicidal thoughts, unclear whether I was ever going to get better, let alone be able to ride a bike again. And a year after my initial pain started, despite my myriad physical treatments, my pain was actually worse.

Alec's return to cycling after overcoming chronic pain

And I started to question why.  

Why was my pain horrible on days when I followed my care team’s instructions to the letter?  

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?  

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

And when I learned that emotional turmoil, pressure I was putting on myself, low self-esteem, shame, etc. could cause physiological changes in my body, it was like a light switch went off. It dawned on me that my ruptured disc wasn’t causing my pain - it was my brain trying to protect me.

I started to see that all the pressure I was putting on myself to win races, to prove to myself and others that I was enough was killing me from the inside out. And two years after my original pain episode, my back pain started to go away - permanently.

It was like a miracle.

Healing Chronic Pain by Looking Inward

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 a brain/mindbody issue. 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 even feel stronger than before my pain; I’ve run a marathon without training, done epic hikes, and can proudly say there is no physical activity that I am prevented from doing because of my body. I intentionally gave up my dream of becoming a professional cyclist. But I wouldn’t change a thing. This experience gave me my life's calling - to empower chronic pain sufferers to be pain free and live unrestricted and authentic lives. It is the deep knowledge that hundreds of millions of chronic pain sufferers can be pain free that drives me forward. Seeing the lightbulb moment when people realize their pain isn’t structural.

Miriam's Story

In 2016, I felt a strong, dull pain in my shoulder as I was pursuing my favourite sport - rock climbing. I thought little of it, and returned to climbing a week or two later. But the pain returned, and I was encouraged to seek physical therapy.

The therapist was very positive about my outcome, thinking that it was probably just a strain. However, after a couple of months, my pain didn't improve. Instead, it started behaving in very odd ways, and my shoulder's range of motion became limited. I could not lift my shoulder up in the same way. And the exercises that I'd been given seemed to make it all worse!

This is when I was referred for a scan, and warned that if there was a tear, then I shouldn't continue climbing ever again. After months of pain, I took a shoulder MRI, which revealed a HAGL lesion, an issue with the shoulder capsule that is considered to be very tricky to treat. I was referred for surgery, but the surgeon told me that he couldn't promise a pain-free outcome.

A week before the surgery, I woke up with excruciating leg pain. The pain spread down the entire back of the leg to the calf, as well as up and around to the piriformis area. I was diagnosed with Piriformis Syndrome and also developed the same symptoms in my other leg.

Discovering the MindBody Connection

A gut feeling prompted me to cancel the surgery because I needed to deal with these new symptoms that prevented me from walking. They would get temporarily better after a massage, but would soon return to high levels.

It hurt to sit and it hurt to walk. My past active life felt like a lost dream. Instead, the pain consumed my entire life, I went from one specialist to another and lived in fear of my body breaking down. Indeed, shortly after the leg pains, I started experiencing neuropathic pain in my arms and hands.

Climbing an overhanging route in Malta (Tufa Baroque, 6c)

I had a new physical therapist which was very thorough and supportive. But still, improvement was minimal.

Luckily, a desperate Google search led me to discover the concept of Tension Myositis Syndrome  (now also known as neuroplastic pain), and Dr John Sarno's work. I read that people were healing by learning to work with their brain. It sounded too good to be true, but something nudged me to give it a try. In fact, I had nothing to lose and I'd also been having suicidal thoughts.

I started out the journey with almost no expectations, but decided to follow all the tips and protocols that people who healed from TMS had followed - I wanted to make sure that I gave it my best!

 In a few weeks, I learnt how my past stressors had culminated and created extreme tension in the body. This was exacerbated due to my fear of the pain itself, as well as the negative warnings and messages I'd received from doctors and therapists.

Finally, it all made sense! And in 5 weeks, my pain diminished to such an extent that I returned to a few easy rock climbs. Three months later, I reached my previous level, and was climbing without limitation and without fear - something that I still do up until this very day.

What changed everything for me was the new knowledge and the mindset I cultivated based on that knowledge. This totally changed the way I related to my symptoms, as well as to life in general.

Since that time, I have been coaching people on achieving this mindset shift, and I also created the only MindBody Syndrome Practitioner certification course, which is delivered by the award-winning MindBodyFood Institute.

Why Pain Free Comeback?

Ours are just two of the tens of thousands of stories of people who have used brain-focused principles to become pain free.

There were times on our journey where we felt hopeless, like our identities as athletes were being ripped away. But on the other side we found a level of self-empowerment, self-acceptance, strength and resilience we didn’t know we had.

We enable the same transformation for athletes in our Pain Free Comeback Program

Through our combined experience as athletes and almost 20 years of navigating and learning about chronic pain, we share the same exact tools, principles, and wisdom that helped us - and countless others - heal.