Annie Vander is a country music up-and-comer, who’s latest single ‘Falling into Nashville’ has been featured on the Music Row Country Breakout Chart. Just a few years ago Annie had no idea that her lifelong musical dreams were about to come true. She had built a career working with animals, first as a vet tech and then with her own pet care business. But in 2019 she suffered a horrible accident that changed the course of her life forever. She took a bad fall on the ice during a storm in Chicago, shattering her wrist. After surgery her injury began to heal normally, but a few weeks later she woke up to excruciating pain and intense swelling. This pain was so severe it could cause her to pass out, and sometimes prevent her from leaving her bed for days at a time. Almost immediately she received a diagnosis of CRPS (complex regional pain syndrome) and was terrified to learn her wrist was stuck in a pain loop. Doctors don’t have a clear understanding of why this condition occurs or how to treat it, and Annie worried this pain would never abate.

In this episode of the Major Pain podcast, Annie tells us about her CRPS journey and how it led to her country music career. After being diagnosed she was lucky to find a therapist who had experience with this disease. She was introduced to mirror therapy, in which a mirror was used to see her healthy right hand in place of her left. The idea was to trick her brain into thinking her left hand could move freely and without pain, in the hopes of harnessing neuroplasticity to break out of her pain loop. She also began to reconnect with her childhood love of music, spending many hours singing along with her karaoke machine as a form of distraction therapy. Slowly but surely she began to make progress, feeling that her early diagnosis, knowledgeable therapist and positive attitude all contributed to her eventual remission. This harrowing ordeal lit the fire under Annie to pursue music wholeheartedly, soon finding success in Nashville and beyond. She wrote ‘Falling into Nashville’ as a metaphor for falling into music after her recovery, bringing her resilience and positivity to the radio waves.

Find Annie online at



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