Monday, August 7, 2017

Why I Take My Own Self Care Seriously

I want to share my own personal story and perceptions about self care and how it impacts everyone's lives that we touch. I firmly believe that when we are emotionally triggered, feeling snarky,etc., that something or someone is acting as a mirror to show us what is really going on inside of us. That can be scary for some people. It's not an easy pill to swallow. Like attracts like, even if we think the person or experience is projecting the opposite of what we think we would do.

I grew up the youngest of four kids. My two older sisters and I share the same biological parents. My step Mom adopted my brother when she was married to her second husband. My Dad was her third husband. When my step Mom and Dad first got together, us three girls lived with our biological mother. Her name is Deb. Deb called my Dad one day ready to send us to social services. My Dad was going to let her, as he didn't feel adequate to care for our needs, either. My step Mom, or my Mom as I call her, stepped in and said she would take care of us. She didn't want us separated or worse yet, on the streets. Wow!!! What a sacrifice! My sisters were 4 and 5 years old at the time. I was 6 months old.

The sacrifices that my Mom made for us did not stop there. It was non stop. Everything we ever needed was provided, at the expense of Mom and Dad going without. There was no other choice that could have been made and nothing anyone could do about it. The sacrifices were beyond just basic necessity. My Mom and her side of the family have very high standards. My Mom is a perfectionist. When we went to the lake, burgers on the grill on paper plates wasn't good enough. It was steak with real dishes and silverware. Sounds great, right? OMG, those standards were the most stressful part of childhood for me. When Mom went through that kind of trouble, being around her was like walking on eggshells. She was constantly upset, angry and yelling at us the whole time. This was also what every holiday she ever hosted was like. Going to potlucks meant bringing enough food from one family to feed an army. She told us that's what people with class do and that too many other people were bringing one small dish just enough to feed 3 people were coming. She was worried about shortage of food. Is it any wonder why going home for the holidays or just visits are something I would rather avoid?

The other families who did not put as much pressure on themselves were having fun and their Mom's super cool and relaxed. Everyone was jealous of our meals. We were jealous of the peace and harmony in their families. Observing our parents and their choices certainly shapes who we are. My take away from my upbringing is that putting other people's needs above your own can manifest in ways that actually hurt the people you are trying to help. When we are not whole, everyone around us knows it. This is not meant to judge my upbringing. It is only meant as an observation of my upbringing. 

I notice similar types of interactions with other people in general. One example is therapists and other body workers putting their clients needs above their own by not scheduling appointments for themselves with other professionals or cancelling on them when a client wants the same day and time. When I get worked on by these same professionals, they are tired and express hoping their next client won't show up. What? When I used to work out of a massage franchise, the break room was filled with constant negativity of listening to the other therapists complain about which clients they didn't like and who they wish would stop requesting them. Yep, you heard that right. When you work for someone else other than yourself, you don't get to make any of your own decisions and this type of negativity is the result. This has actually been my experience at every multi therapist practice I have been at, whether or was a massage franchise or a privately owned massage practice. If you are being worked on by a therapist who works for someone else other than themselves, you risk being worked on by someone who may wish that they didn't have to work on you at all. 

The point that I am making with this post, are my perceptions and observations about why I make the self care choices for myself that I do. I screen all potential new clients to determine whether or not we are a right fit to be working together. I think this is the level of service that potential clients deserve and it's the fair and right thing to do. I offer a unique style of body work that is not a massage and gets better long term chronic pain relief results. You appreciate knowing what your getting is advance and what to expect. I was not allowed to be unique at the other massage places that I worked out of. They do not like that. 

The reason I work on myself and get worked on by other professionals is so that I can be the best version of myself that I can possibly be. I really can't do that without putting my own needs first. Everyone deserves me at my best. If you are particularly moody, you might be an empath. This is something to watch out for. Are you taking stuff out of other people who haven't done anything wrong? Are other people taking their stuff out on you when you haven't done anything wrong? This is a result of not cleaning up your own "laundry". How many piles of dirty "laundry" do you have hanging around. 

Back to my family. Many of them have serious major medical problems. I do not. While there are numerous reasons for illness and I am not placing blame. Even self care junkies may have some major medical issues they were born with. My point is, that self care can have big rewards in the long run. The are two kinds of people out there. Those who only see what is in front of them and then the big picture people. I am the big picture type who knows that all of the money that I am spending on body work services, chiropractic appointments, special supplements, exercise DVDs, fitness equipment,etc., is significantly less than what my family is spending on their health, even with good insurance. Any time and money I don't put toward my well being now, could lead to an inevitable trip to the hospital. 

Do what is right and realistic for yourself. Is there something you always do yourself that you can delegate? What are you comfortable delegating and what would you rather handle yourself? When I used to go to networking groups, several people who work on websites and print for a living wanted to work with me, but I am a control freak who doesn't want other people touching my stuff, but I am willing to take suggestions and apply them. Take on honest assessment of what is right and realistic for you. Not what other people think is right for you. But what you know is right for you.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

How To Know When Your Pain May Have Non-Physical Roots

I am going to give you my cheat sheet that I use when speaking with potential new clients.  This cheat sheet is how I decide where to start them off in their first session with me.  This is how I determine whether or not to start them off with energy work in my Columbus pain relief practice, before doing any physical manual therapy with them.  I ask them their full history.  Not just their physical symptoms, diagnoses, etc., but I also ask them what else was going on in their lives when the pain first started, when the injury first occurred, etc.  And yes, there is usually something, whether anything comes to mind right away or not.

How I suspect non physical aspects of pain:

-When they say they have tried everything and nothing works

-When they schedule their appointment with me and then immediately have a serious injury right afterward, causing them to have to reschedule for a later date.

-When they walk out of my office feeling great and then immediately re injure themselves

-When they are obsessed with certain life events, to the point that it comes up in every conversation

-When current life events prevent them from coming up with the time and money to do self care or get professional help (being "too busy")

-When they are gifted with the tools and resources, but keep forgetting those tools and resources are sitting right on their bedside table

-When they are easily triggered to the point of resistance by what other people have to say

-When they are only willing to see one therapist and will not consider combining therapies (emotional attachment to your favorite therapist is a real thing and will hold you back 100% of the time)

-When they have their mind made up that they are only going to see a new therapist once and this decision is made before they pick up the phone to call that new therapist (these people are the de-bunkers who feel coerced to make the appointment by a friend or family member and want to prove that nothing works for them)

-Secondary gains, such as going back to a job they hate once they recover, etc.

How to know when someone is ready to look into their non physical components of their pain:

-They are open to everything and anything in regard to different treatments and therapists

-They are focused on symptom resolution, rather than what the technique or modality is (they don't care whether it's myofascial release, trigger point therapy, reiki, basket weaving 101, etc.)

-They trust the professional to decide what techniques, modalities and treatments that they need (someone who found me online because they searched "neurokinetic therapy" didn't care that they ended up getting craniosacral therapy instead)

-They are not easily triggered by what other people have to say and appreciate all of the help and insights that they receive

-They are never "too busy" for self care or professional help.  They make it a priority.  (If you are another body worker, you make sure you pencil in "you time" and don't schedule your own clients during your "you time" even if they ask for that day and time)

-They understand that the important people in their lives deserve them at their best and they also understand how the important people in their lives are affected when they are not at their best

These lists are compiled from my own years of experience and observations.  You may have more that you would like to add, based on your own experiences and observations as well.

So, what do we do about these non physical aspects of pain, you ask?  I am going to keep the it very simple by recommending my number one favorite resource.  It is a tapping book.  The difference between tapping on your own from home and doing it with a professional is that the professional will help you find stuff that all of the self care in the world will not.  This book is great and best to use in conjunction with working with a professional.  The more self work you do in between appointments, the further you progress with the professional and the less appointments with them that you need, saving you some serious $$$$$$. This not not counseling or psychotherapy. The purpose of tapping for pain relief is to remove any obstacles getting in your way.

This book took care of excruciating pain and burning inflammation that I had in my shoulder for over a decade.  I also recently facilitated a session with a client who had the same thing going on in her hips and groin area for over a decade, and the pain and inflammation were gone before getting her onto the table to do some manual therapy.  I believe in this book so much, that I keep a stock at my office to gift to clients in need. My goal for this post, is to empower you, whether you are a client of mine or not.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Do You Notice Shoulder Pain After Hiking?

Do you notice shoulder pain after hiking?  Do you hold any objects in your hands such as a water bottle while you are hiking?  This can prevent your body from the proper arm swing.  Typically in gait, the right arm should swing when we step forward with the left leg and the left arm should swing when we step forward with the right leg.  When this doesn't happen, it creates imbalance in the body.  When we walk, run or jog, the arms need to be free to move.

Whenever I have gone hiking with a water bottle in my hand, I would end up with shoulder pain after my hike, even though I changed which hand that I carried the water bottle in throughout the hike.  I only noticed the correlation through trial and error.  Whenever I remember to bring my water bottle holster, my shoulder didn't hurt afterward.  The arms do not like to be stagnant during movement.  Unnatural movement of the body or forcing an area of the body to stay stagnate when it should move creates compensation patterns throughout the body that can create more pain and dysfunction in other areas of the body not related to the shoulder area at all.  One common area are the hips.  When you go for walks or hikes, do you notice the hips not feeling lined up with each other?  Pay attention, because this can lead to no longer being able to hike anymore of not addressed right away.  One thing that I do like about long walks and hikes, is if my hips do feel unbalanced at the beginning, they usually balanced toward the end.  Long walks and hikes for me usually make my hips feel like they have been adjusted.

For a long hike in the woods, I like to have a fanny pack, for essentials such as keys, phone and driver's license, and a water bottle holster for my water bottle to hang off of my hip.  Some fanny packs come attached to a water bottle holster.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Garden Injury Prevention

Every spring, summer and fall and see an influx of garden injuries in my Columbus pain relief clinic.  Much if what I see is preventable. One of the main reasons I see them, is because of bending over from a standing position.  This can be problematic, especially if you have large gardens and plant a lot of vegetables.  Even with small flower gardens, this can still aggravate the back, no matter what your lifestyle is like.  You cannot out exercise bad body mechanics.  With that being said, proper body mechanics alone are not always enough, so lifestyle is important in addition to proper body mechanics.

One way to address the lifestyle issue is this.  I am not a fitness expert and am not passing this off as advice, only stating what I do.  Certain things I have noticed about my body through trial and error.  I do my best with a strong core and loose hips.  I workout regularly and I have noticed that the more I sweat through working out, the less heat sensitive I am overall, so I am less affected by the heat during outdoor activities such as gardening, hiking, etc.  I still have to be safe about it.  My exercise routine is a little shorter in the summer time, despite having air conditioning, since that is what is safe for my body.  Safety first, always.  In order to keep my hips loose, I like the gentle styles of yoga that include a lot of deep hip stretches.  I feel like that helps to counter how tight they get during cardio and strength training.

Now, on to body mechanics.  Bending over from a standing position while gardening is a recipe for disaster and can injure your back.  I always recommend that clients get a stool for kneeling and sitting.  I like the kind that offers both options and has sleeves in it to hold your garden tools.