The Stories of P.S.T

Your history is only as good as you tell it. 

By Payton Grantham

Hi guys! Welcome to the P.S.T. blog where I get the chance to show you some other sides to what we’re involved in and hopefully start some discussions! 

Although this post is going to be more about who I am and why I chose this career path, stay tuned for other great topics and interviews coming soon!

So, about me…? Honestly, I’m just enjoying everyday for the opportunity it can bring. I really wake up ready to be optimistic, and go looking for the groove of growth of the day. To understand a little more about why I have that mindset and outlook on the daily, we have to go back to when I thought I’d never get to live life like that again.

A summary of my childhood and a breakdown of my post high school work lifestyle will help you get the gist. I grew up on a ranch in Las Vegas, NV which means there were things that had to be done. We had horses, chickens, dogs, pigs, and other miscellaneous critters. If any of you have lived on or worked a portion of your life on ranch, you can understand the demand of labor required. I wasn’t too fond of these chores while living there honestly, but what kid enjoys his chores?? Although, once I was older and realized that work ethic instilled in me, I knew I could become an a valuable asset wherever I was employed.

This started my “high school entry level position jobs” career. Quickly I was stacking work, school, sports, and social life because I felt like I could “handle” it all. Little did I know I was asking way too much of my body and didn’t realize the consequences quickly coming. I went from fast food, to retail, to landscaping jobs and digging holes was the straw that broke the camels back. I was in the middle of using a pick axe to break some rocks when I felt my lower back give to the point that standing was nearly impossible. So, I stopped working, because I literally couldn’t any more, and then went home and told my parents that something was seriously wrong. We made an appointment with Primary care to get a referral for x-rays and MRI, and when the results came back, sure enough, 5-6mm bulged disc between L4-L5 at age 17.(2011) 

“You will have to maintain a strong core for the rest of your life if you want to recover from this and refrain from needing surgery.”

This is what they told me when I was revealed the results. My mom has had 4 back surgeries and 1 SI joint fusion, and then my Dad’s had 5 knee surgeries, so I have no interest or intent on having that sort of procedure if it can be avoided! 

The next step was Physical Therapy. I was excited because it felt like I was going somewhere that had a treatment for my issue/condition that could solve it and benefit me. I’ll admit things felt more stable and stronger during and mostly after PT. But there was always a lingering pain.

This is what I hear from so many of my patients about how the things they do at PT can help strengthen the areas that are weak, but very rarely do they integrate bodywork. When muscles are so dysfunctionally tight that they are pulling our body into poor postures and then you just strengthen the other side of that tug of war, it can create pressure or pain within the joints. This was my first red flag with understanding how PT actually works, but we’ll touch more on that after I go to Massage College! 

Fast forward to 2017, I wasn’t having quite the same complete debilitation as when I initially injured my back, but now it was a trickle down affect to my left leg and foot. Before I went to school for massage, I was a server for Top Chef, Shirley Chung, in Irvine, CA at her restaurant Twenty Eight. I loved working there and providing amazing dining experiences! But, if you’ve worked in the service industry, especially fine dinging and catering, you know how hard it is on our body to literally SERVE our guests. This is what was the second straw to really break my camel’s back. I had to quit because I was at the point of limping and in so much pain, I was unable to perform and they couldn’t allot me the time off needed to take care of it fully.

This is when I went to National Holistic Institute College of Massage Therapy to see if they could help me, as well as educate me. I was fortunate enough to make it into an advanced sampler class where the teacher was also the creator of the Advanced Neuromuscular Massage Therapy Program! Her name is Cynthia Ribeiro and she’s incredible, she was able to discuss my work and injury history in about 20 minutes, then directed one of her STUDENTS to work on me for 45 minutes and told them where to work. I though, “okay, cool I’ll have some relief and might have some new things to look into for self-care.” 45 minutes later, I got off that table not feeling the sciatic pain, low back pain, or nerve pain that was traveling all the way down leg for four long years. I was in disbelief. 

All I knew at that moment, was that his type of therapy works, it helped me tremendously and it can help others as well, and I want to know how. After that sampler I made an appointment with admissions and was enrolled for the next group to start.

The rest is history, I spent 2+ years going to school in Santa Ana, CA for six days a week and eight hours a day for four of them. I was embedded into NHI. Right where I wanted to be, now I’m so grateful to be helping so many people alternatively manage their pain and improve quality of life. 

I’d be nothing without the people who believe in my service, so thank you all and I can’t wait to see you for your next session! I plan on having a patient appreciation event soon so stay tuned on social media so we can all celebrate safely together when the time is right.