Hey there, and welcome to my blog! 

I'm truly excited we found each other... I'm Sofia and I started this blog simply because a blog like this did not exist 7 years ago when I was desperate to find answers or even find someone else who had experience with that I was going through.


I'm a certified strength coach and rehab trainer. I'm also a NASM Corrective Exercise Specialist. I love studying and learning as much as I can about the human body. 


I've been helping women and men break free from chronic lower back pain and piriformis syndrome.

 

I've shown my clients how to build their strength and health back without having to rely on short-lived treatments or quick fixes...ever again!


My passion for health and fitness started way back when I was 11 years old. I was an overweight kid but I always loved watching people workout and exercise. I was fascinated by it!

I remember buying my first book ever on Pilates (I saved my bus change to buy it - and I still have the book!)

Then my uncle got me a step cardio DVD (it contained 2 workouts), and I played that DVD every single day. Over and over again...I felt GREAT, and...

I got hooked!

When I finished my high school, I packed my bags (exactly two black suitcases) and moved to Canada to start University.

My Chronic Pain Journey

Well, shortly after starting school, I woke up one day with a really painful sensation on my right hip. I could hardly walk. And had to use the wall to carry myself to class.

The pain was getting worse, but I had no idea what was happening.

I tried to ignore it...I took some anti-inflammatory pills...I did some stretches I found online...

It really wasn't improving.

That's how I scheduled my first Doctor appointment and was diagnosed with piriformis syndrome shortly after that.

For the next few years, the pain was getting worse and at that point, I've exhausted all the help I could get...

Here are some of the things I've tried (I'm just including the highlights):

  • A cocktail of drugs every day (anti-inflammatories, pain-killers, muscle relaxants)
  • Physiotherapy (3 different therapists over the period of 2 years)
  • Athletic therapy (2 therapists and each treatments lasted a few months)
  • Acupuncture (along with therapy)
  • Massage therapy
  • Home therapies (stretching, foam rolling, yoga, pilates, electrical muscle stimulation)
  • Chiropractic adjustments (3 clinics and went for 6 months treatments for each)
  • Pain management specialists (2 specialists)
  • 1 Rheumatologist (this was when I was diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis - which I'll talk about in a bit)
  • ER visits for bad flare-ups
  • Cushions, kneeling chairs, lumbar supports...any gadget I can find that promises relief
  • Psychotherapy (I wanted to see if I had post traumatic stress disorder that was triggering the pain or some old childhood trauma - I was desperate)

I spent all my savings on treatments and I was still getting nowhere!

When things started to change

Truth be told...my parents always told me I had a stubborn personality. And I'm so thankful for that! It was the only thing that kept me going.

I just couldn't give up!

2012- 2013 I finally had two MRI scans prescribed and they showed an L5/S1 disc herniation and abnormal pelvic inflammation, and I was later diagnosed with ankylosing spondylitis (a rare spinal arthritis). 

I remember the Doctor's assistant calling me asking if I can come to the office asap because my lap tests are in.

They usually don't call you to come unless your results are showing something. I couldn't get anything done that day. I was extremely anxious...what could it be??

When he told me I had AS, he also said that so far there is no cure for it (because it's an autoimmune condition) and that he'll refer me to a rheumatologist who will prescribe meditation to "slow it down". He said if I don't do anything, my pelvis and spine will fuse up and I'll end up in a wheelchair.

That medication turned out to be strong immune suppressing meds. Um, no thanks!

I left the rheumatologist's office feeling completely defeated! I took the prescription but I didn't buy the drugs. I just refused to accept the diagnosis. 

I had to find a way to reset my body to how it was before I moved to Canada! I mean, I was completley pain-free just a few years back.

What the hell happened?!?!

I signed up for the Strength Coach certification

Again my stubborn personality came to the frontline... I just couldn't see myself being disabled. 

I decided to pursue my dream anyways. And this is when everything changed.

I started learning more about anatomy, physiology, functional training, the nervous system...

...I also took courses and read a ton of books on the mind-body connection (by Dr. Sarno). I discovered neuroplasticity and the possibility to heal my body and reverse disease.

I started implementing...day in, and day out.

I could feel things changing. Little things like sitting in the car without pain, working out my glutes without triggering a 2-month flare-up, and being able to walk at a normal pace without feeling a shooting pain down my leg.

I can't say there was ONE thing that did it. That's why isolation never works to heal from chronic pain. You need to take a holistic approach to healing.

I worked on my mindset just as much as I worked on my body through exercise and a healthy nutrition.

AND THEN...THIS BLOG WAS BORN!

I decided to start my blog coachsofiafitness.com around this time...but I wanted to mainly share fitness and health topics (workouts and recipes).

But I couldn't relate to the state of the fitness industry. I was more passionate about holistic health, strength training, corrective exercises, meditation, mind-body healing, and nutrition. I didn't care about meal planning and dieting...I cared about building a strong healthy and balanced body free from pain and disease. 

So I deleted all those diet-related posts and started from scratch. My first blog was about my story with piriformis syndrome...

I remember researching success stories all over the internet and I couldn't find any. The only ones I found were people talking about their surgery and how it didn't fix anything. Not that I was looking to get surgery, but the forums were full of those posts and I was getting desperate.

I couldn't find anyone who's had success healing it.

The majority of articles were from medical sites and all regurgitated the same info (cold, heat, stretch, do these exercises, go see a physio...) but not one single article written by a human being I can relate to.

I knew I had to share my success story (and also what I went through) on my blog. 

WHAT TO EXPECT:

I've dedicated more than 10 years of my life studying, researching, and taking courses to help myself and to help my clients.

I'm still immersed in this field and It's starting to feel more like a life mission.

This blog is where I share everything that has helped me heal from piriformis syndrome, a disc herniation, all the symptoms I was experiencing (sciatica, bursitis, pelvic pain), and reverse ankylosing sponsylitis (it's been on remission for a year now).

I'm not just a certified coach - I'm a coach who lived through the pain and can relate exactly to what you're going through. 

I understand the misery of living with pain...

...the feeling of hopelessness...that your life is slipping away...

...feeling frustrating that nobody truly understands the pain you're in. I mean raise your hand if you've had people tell you to just get over it (because deep down they think you're just making it seem worse than it really is). 

Only the person who truly lived through the pain can understand what it's like...and I am so grateful for my experience because it made me a better coach.

HOW TO GET STARTED...

I've organized this blog so you can easily find all the information you're looking for. Below the "Blog" MENU item, you'll find all the topics I write about. If you're here to learn about how to heal from piriformis syndrome, please read ALL the blog posts. They all complement each other and you'll get a lot of clarity if you read them all. I also create a video for each post, so if you don't like reading, you can watch or listen too!

My weekly emails:

Each week, I personally write an email to my community where I share practical tools and techniques to help you correct muscle weakness, strengthen your body, and build your health back...

To receive my weekly emails, you can subscribe below...

MY PROGRAMS

There is a lot of information on my website that can help you get started, but if you want to get step-by-step guidance and help from me, I have some amazing and affordable programs that I created to help you transform your health...

PIRIFORMIS CONTROL

If you've been wondering why you keep getting hip pain and triggering piriformis or glute spasms, then this program will help you get to the root cause of the pain. You'll find out exactly which muscles or postural imbalances are keeping you stuck. 

You'll also get a step-by-step corrective exercise plan to help you fix the imbalance you've identified. Click here to learn more about Piriformis Control

THE BACK PAIN BOOTCAMP

If you want a complete solution to fixing muscle and joint pain, you need to join the Bootcamp. 

You'll learn exactly how to find the root cause of the pain, how to fix it, and how to rebuild your health back and even...how to get back in shape safely and injury free.

Click here to learn more about the Back Pain Bootcamp


THE MIND-BODY HEALING SYSTEM

Throughout my healing journey, I've learned powerful mind-body healing tools that made a huge difference in my healing. 

I worked with a registered hypnotherapist to create this program (including 3 custom meditations you won't find anywhere online). 

Click here to read more about the Mind-Body Healing System

SOME INTERESTING THINGS ABOUT ME...

It's really weird to just sit here and talk about myself...but since this is my "About me" page, I'm guessing you're here because you wanna know more about who this Coach Sofia is 🙂 So here are some interesting things about me:

  • Obsessed about kombucha (I drink it almost everyday!).
  • Born and raised in Casablanca, Morocco. At the age of 19, I packed my bags and moved to Canada to study, and travel. I moved from a warm country to one of the coldest cities in the world where it can get to -40 degrees C in the winter.
  • 3 years ago I skydived in Varedero, Cuba (the best and scariest experience of my life)
  • I Love lifting heavy weights.
  • I Love exploring islands and remote beaches around the world.
  • Outgoing introvert.
  • Blogger and Youtuber (hey, click here to subscribe to my Youtubec channel).
  • Graphic designer (self-taught). I actually designed this whole website! Never hired any help. 
  • Copywriter.
  • Wrote and self published an ebook on Amazon about Fat-loss (took it down but it still exists on Goodreads)
  • Kindle - self-development - books obsessed - if I'm not cooking or working out, I'm reading. Sometimes I do both (I love reading on the treadmill).
  • Extremely stubborn - I won't give up on my goals. Ever.
  • Blue and light pink are my favorite color (hence the blog colors!)
  • I'm married (no kids).
  • I live in one of the coldest cities in the world (it gets as cold as -40 degrees C in the winter) - but I see myself retiring on a beach, somewhere. 
  • Contact and Interstellar are my favorite movies.
  • I love stargazing and astronomy.

Here's a photo I took of the moon (with my phone!)

I guess that's it for now 🙂

What about you? where are you from and what brought you here ? Comment below and let me know...

  • 33 year old mom of four with a desire to fit and healthy. Pregnancies and life in general have left me in an almost constant state of pain, sometimes to the point of nausea. Committed to take care of myself and my family and enjoy the journey!

  • hi my name is fergus mccormack in 1987 I had a car accident and was badly injured I won’t go into detail I made a good recovery and want to continue………………..

  • I have been desperately trying to find the best solution for my degenerative scoliosis with lower back pain and for the last 3 months I have been exercising with weights, resistance, stretching and the use of a wheel, planking, jogging and others workouts twice daily for approx 10 to 20 minutes. The objective being to strengthen core by reducing luv handles and tummy fat in an effort to aid with improving posture and reduce back pain and improve wellbeing. i have lost some core flab and improved core strength and overall developed extra strength. and also feeling a lot healthier. I have just now realised that I have not used or exercised my glutes and that is an eye opener for me.

    • That’s really great! Strength training is such an amazing way to fix weaknesses and also feel so much better.

  • Glad to have come across this. Blogs aren’t usually my thing, but I found a link to you on Pinterest whilst looking for hip flexor stretches. The article addressed the psoas and other muscle tightness/irritation I’ve been having for years! I was a college track athlete and volleyball athlete and only once did any train or or leader come up with the idea to address my psoas! I’m going to be implementing your help and guidance and hopefully find more great things as I look through your blog! Thank you!!!

  • Im a 65 year old woman. I got a new hip last December. As a result I developed a brsitis on the new joint which is very painful. Since my surgery my Quad muscle is extremely painful. My IT band on both sides is very tight. I have pain in my other hip. As a result of the pain now in both hips I have developed a bent over stance when walking. I would just like to be pain free. I have tried medication such as anti inflammatories and pain killers. I have also attended Physiotherapy, Deep tissue massage and tried the bowening method. Also Chiropractor. I do multiple stretching exercises evry morning. I can no longer walk the 4 miles a day I used to do

  • Hi Sofia,
    I am so glad to hear about your journey and all you have to say. I love that’s people like you exist who are purely in it to help others based on your own experiences and knowing that doctors often don’t have all the answers. I don’t have all the same problems but i recently started seeing a chiropractor twice weekly. But for the past 8 months I have had gradual stiffness all throughout my back and some pain. It’s gotten pretty difficult to move at any point of the day. Now I feel it from my neck to my pelvis all the way from my left to right side. Even when I get my adjustments and I’m told not to crack my back, it’s like impossible because I get
    so uncomfortable and I know I don’t end up staying aligned. I could really use some help with knowing how to handle my body especially as a college student who sits in my bed all day!!

  • I am very hopeful for this program to work. I decided to spend some money on this instead of the deductible for my chiropractor. I’ve always had a so so back. About 5 yrs ago I began to have pain from my lower back through my bum down the side of my leg. It felt so debilitating!
    Physical therapy did help. 2 yrs later it was back. I was super apprehensive but went to the chiropractor. It helped along with nice massages. I want to be free of it and manage it by I’mmyself and find root causes as well as better ways to function. I’ve learned quite a bit already.

    • Hi Monique,

      thank you for trusting me and allowing me to be part of your healing journey. I do believe you can get better when applying the principles I teach in the program. I still use them to this day to maintain a pain-free state.

      If you need guidance or support with anything, please email me. I love seeing members engage with the content and ask questions. It shows they are persistent and are doing the work.

      Sofia

  • Hi Sofia,

    I enrolled into your Piriformis Control program. After the assessment, I figured that my legs are going inward when i do single leg squat. So I am doing the corresponding corrective exercises. However, i m getting a lot of pain when i do the glute exercises, the side kick and the back kick. Do you know why this is happening? Shud i stop doing them for sometime and see?

    thank you
    Kavitha

    • Hi Kavitha,

      Can you please email me about this? I don’t want to be asking health questions or giving personalized advice on this page. It’s public 🙂

      Sofia

  • Hi! I can so relate to your experience with pain. You look ok on the outside, but the pain level can be so severe, that only someone who has walked in your shoes can understand. My life has changed dramatically. I cant walk any distance& I’m limited with exercise. So I’m overweight. Now depression has set in. No fun. I’m a totally different person. Me before pain& me after pain. Unrecognizable personality. Its taken away my quality of life. I’m glad I found your blog. I still have a little bit of hope left than before. I had an x-ray about a month ago that revealed stage 3 spondylolististhesis? L-4 or 5 & L-2? My doc says surgery. My MRI isn’t scheduled till the end of January, & I dont know if I can hold on that long. I was having flare-ups that would give me a pain break after a month. Now it’s been going on for at least 6 months straight& the last 3 or 4 months the pain has been excruciating at times. Left butt cheek, hips, groin, lower back, are all high pain level. The vertebrae that has shifted is pressing on my sciatica& its traveled down my leg to my foot, which is always numb. Always numb but hurts like heck when I bump it. Go figure. Can you help me? I dont know how much longer I can withstand this pain. Nothing helps. Prescribed naproxen 500mgs. & neurontin 100mgs. What a joke. No relief. I also take something called golden revive? Just started. Nothing is working.

  • Hi Sofia,

    I have read through several of your piriformis syndrome posts and have already learned so much. I think I have PS as get I discomfort or pain when sitting, but not when laying down, walking, or standing. I was wondering, about how long do you think it takes to recover from piriformis syndrome? I purchased your Piriformis Control program and plan to start it soon. : )

    Mine seems to be pretty reactive, as it flares up easily if I do the wrong thing. I was trying to do only glute exercises for a few days straight, all the time squeezing my glutes and no stretching, and thought I was doing good, and then *bam* I woke up with a big knot in that muscle lol. I guess I did too much. Now I’m working on being gentle with ice, heat, and limited stretches to get it back down to a manageable level. And then I’m going to give your program a try. Did you find yours to flare up easily too?

    Thank you so much for creating this site. I feel less alone knowing others have recovered from this.

    • I’m so glad to have you in the program! I hope you find it helpful and hopefully it helps you fix this issue.

      Just give it time and patience. There is always hope!

      Oh my goodness yes, my piriformis would flare-up out of the blue sometimes after days of being pain-free. It was driving me crazy. I tried every yoga video on Youtube and every physio and chiropractor in my city. I think they all knew me lol.

      My road to recovery took so many years but that’s mainly because I was delegating my problems. I was just looking for the next therapist who can “fix me”. I looked at the problem in isolation and thought there was something wrong with my body. But a change of perspective was what changed everything for me.

      I started to look at my body and the pain from a compassion point. I stopped abusing my body with so many treatments and a ton of stuff to do daily and kinda backed off a little. I gave myself some space to analyze what I have been doing and what hasn’t worked.

      (I was also studying for my certifications so that helped a ton to shed light on what was going on)

      I was able to go through a remission (it was less frequent flare-ups). The flare-ups didn’t just STOP out of nowhere but they became less and less frequent. And I think that’s what gave me the confidence to keep going.

      So it’s important to track your flare-ups as well as all the details about which things you’re doing that cause a flare-up. Tracking was another very helpful thing. I’d track almost everything and avoid or adapt certain activities so they don’t trigger pain.

      If doing glutes exercises for 5 days straight triggers a flare-up, decrease that to 3 days and see what that does. Remember to give your muscles enough time to recover from the exercises and also that less is always more.

      I hope this helps 🙂 If you have any questions about the program, don’t hesitate to email me.

      Sofia

  • Hi! I am recently experiencing a wide array of hip, glute, low back and hamstring pain. No amount of stretching relieves this and in fact, I think it’s getting worse. I read some of your post about this issue but I would love to consult with you if that’s something you do? I really need help because it’s becoming debilitating.

  • hi,
    I am impressed by your fight and stubborn way of dealing with the problem. Let me tell you my problem. I got a jerk while coughing repeatedly in my bathroom one fine morning. I had a sudden circuiting pain in my lower back and I fell on the floor. Thereafter, I took some heating treatment and NSAIDs. It got slightly better but didn’t go and it was really painful while sitting and walking. I went for a MRI which showed mild bulge in L4-L5 and L5-S1, with no neural compression. I didn’t have radiculopathy. I did some physiotherapy and heat fermentation for many days, but not much benefit. I saw various orthopaedics and they said it will heal with time and do core exercises. It didn’t improve much and in between at home quarantine due to Corona, I also left doing any exercise. The pain in back was there and while walking I had some pain in thigh and slight cramp in calf, though my SLR test is negative. Recently I met one orthopaedist who asked me to test for ankolysing spondylitis. The blood test came negative and sacrilion joint MRI is normal. But my pain in lower back is still there while I sit for long or walk long. I also had a sudden spasm again in back which subsided slowly. Its now more than 10 months and I am puzzled what to do. Thanks a lot for reading this long message and help me find some solution. I shall be grateful.
    Mansoor

  • hi
    would I benefit from your programme? I have just been diagnosed with hip dysplasia.
    kind regards RIkke writing from Denmark.

    • Hi Rikke,
      Which program are you interested in?
      I would consult with your physician first who knows your condition well. Because these are exercise programs, I want you to be safe when engaging in the content. You can also email me at [email protected] with more details about your level of activity and what you’re struggling with specifically and I can tell you whether the program will be a good fit or not 🙂

  • Your videos are amazing! I first saw your video on Pinterest about hips, then I found the one on Anterior Pelvic Tilt, TFL, Piriformis Syndrome, and Shoulders. Very informative! I learn something every single time. I’ve been following your suggested exercises for a couple of weeks. My flexibility and mobility have increased and pain due to tightness is subsiding. Thank you!

    • Hi Tina!
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write your feedback and I feel very grateful that my videos are helping you. This truly encourages me to keep making them 🙂
      The body is a very intelligent system and just learning how to work with it (not against it) will bring true healing and give you back full control over your health.
      Thank you again and keep coming back for new blog posts each week 🙂

      Sofia

  • Glad I found your blog. I’ve been dealing with bursitis and lower back pain for over ten years now. Really believe that now I have found my answer. Thank God you didnt give up and thank you for putting up a blog and truly sharing all you have learned with everyone.

  • Hello Coach Sofia,

    I’ve just finished reading your post and in somewhat of shock because this is the first hopeful bit of info I’ve been able to find in the last 6 months. From a healed person and not just facts spouted by a doctor whom has never walked a day in these shoes. I haven’t necessarily been diagnosed (in fact have had handfuls of appointments with different doctors and specialists and no one can figure out what’s causing my pain) with a piriformis condition but just intuitively have felt that’s a big factor in my low back/hip pain. I have a small bulging disc at L5, which is also dehydrated). Nothing seems to help the pain. I’m a stay at home mom of 3 young boys with a husband who works a corporate job (which means he’s hardly here). Like you, I’ve been drawn to physical fitness since I was young. I danced, played sports and after graduation I studied nutrition & fitness. Since becoming a wife and parent I’ve rarely got time to check in on myself. Six months ago I awoke and could hardly walk for a week. It’s hard to even put to words all the emotions I’ve been carrying each day since because I can’t seem to find much hope. Your words could have been my own – the struggle with living this way and not wanting to accept it. I signed up for your news letter and look forward to hearing what you have done to heal yourself. Maybe it could help me heal as well.

    Thank you for being a beacon for those who feel lost, stuck or hopeless. It’s a tremendous purpose to have.

    Best,
    Molli

    • Hi Molli,

      Thank you so much for your feedback. It was an honor reading your comment and I’m so glad you found my blog.
      I’ve always felt that people who go through the chronic pain journey are among the strongest because they have to live with an invisible illness and still meet their daily responsibilities. We look normal on the outside. I always had people tell me that I look healthy and fit, they didn’t understand how I couldn’t get out of bed because of the pain some days. Even my chiropractor told me that he couldn’t understand how a small bulging disc could give me such pain. And I couldn’t even explain the pain.

      So I totally understand you 100%.

      You know, journaling helped me soooo much. It was the only way for me to truly express how I felt on the hard days. I knew people were sick and tired of me complaining each day. So writing down how I felt was an amazing relief! Also, writing down my health and fitness goals (even when I couldn’t do any of them) was extremely empowering. It helped me restore faith in my body and build confidence that I can still do those things someday soon.

      I do believe healing is possible 100%. I know sometimes it feels it’s impossible. Especially after years of pain. You almost forget what being normal feels like. But, I know it’s possible and it’s also possible to recover and build your body back to its normal optimal state. I would be lying if I said the healing journey is full of ups and downs and lessons to learn, but at the end of the day, you come out of it extremely strong and you gain a deep knowledge of yourself and your body that only a few people get to experience.

      I look forward to connecting with you more and sending you supportive healing thoughts 🙂

  • Hi Sofia!! I’m Jay! Thank you for sharing your story! I’m 33 years old, from the US and I’ve had a very similar experience to yours with Chronic Piriformis syndrome/SI pain. I was a pretty active guy on high school, the I went to a school in Texas after I graduated highschool. I one day woke up with this intense hip/glute pain, and I didn’t know what it was from. I tried chiropractic and it temporarily helped. I stopped going and years later I had a bad random flare up where I was in a wheelchair my sophomore year in college because it was so bad! That went away eventually too, but not fully. Since 2015, it’s been a chronic, on-going, every-day problem. I’ve lost being able to do all of the things I love to do. I can’t run anymore, can’t do the elliptical, cant really play any sports, I only can do certain exercises (kettlebell swings) to help me with my pain; and those do help, but I never know if I’m over-doing it or under-doing it. A few years ago, I went to a neurologist where they said I have AS. I’ve been going to PT and Chiro to try to help the pain; and it does help, but it’s only temporary. A week later, I’m back. I have the same problems now that I had in July. My wife and I are going overseas and I’m trying to find other ways to get out of this pain that I’ve lived with for 12 years. Thanks for sharing! Your story has encouraged me!

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