Gratitude, Lessons and Perspective

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On Christmas Eve I fell. Picture it. Dressed up like Santa's elf (for real...it was for charity, ok?) I pretty much was airborne and slid down a paved pathway. Scraped up, I dusted myself off, applied some bandaids and got back to business. As the day went on though my wrist became more and more sore and less and less mobile. I went to urgent care that evening, got an x-ray and although it wasn't believed to be fractured, sometimes breaks aren't visible right away. So off they sent me (Dr. Tom...amazing Doc! Felt so well taken care of) with a half cast to return in 2 weeks time for a re-exam. 

That was yesterday. Luckily, x-rays were negative and it ended up being a bruised bone (as confirmed by Carla the awesome physio I saw at Lifemark). Let me tell you though, this has been more painful than any other injury I've had. It has highlighted a few things for me though and something so crucial for any practitioner to really grasp. The physical pain of an injury is only a fraction of the issue. Sure, it is sore and limits me. I can't do yoga, haven't been able to swim, and washing my hair or putting on my shoes takes me a little bit longer than it should. The emotion that accompanied the sprain however was the unexpected sucker punch. 

Frustration for being slowed down and somewhat limited at work. Compounded by the fact that I didn't have access to my (usual) mental outlets of yoga or swimming. (Once confirmed it was a bone bruise not a sprain/ strain I was given the ok to swim again though so yay!)

Fear that my wrist would heal with residual limitations or if there would be any long-term impact on my work as a Chiropractor, or with activities I enjoy for fun, and how long I would have to compensate and be limited.

Fatigue from now having more appointments to accomodate and for the extra effort it is taking to do virtually everything.

All of this for an injured wrist when so many others (many of whom I see right in my office) are facing far more debilitating or challenging circumstances. So I take this time to reflect on some lessons in all of this.

  •  To say to my current and future practice members "I hear you". I recognize the emotion behind the injury (which will be different for everyone). I understand how powerful it can be to know what to expect, to have an idea of how long you will be limited, and all the things you can do to make your recovery the fasted and most effective. 
  • Logically I know this will heal. I am committed to doing everything I can to maximize that. Luckily I have a network of Chiropractors, Physiotherapists and Acupuncturists to see, all of whom offer some pretty incredible skillsets to enhance my healing. There are some aspects out of my control, but I can control the steps I take to be well again. 
  • Patience. Healing takes time. I smile because I say this often but also SO understand why that can be an annoying comment to someone in pain. The truth is though that there are things you can do to facilitate healing but at the end of the day, tissues take time to heal. 
  • Gratitude that this occurred over christmas week...and the coldest week of the year. A week where I could rest and recuperate and not add more stress to my wrist. 
  • Gratitude that it was my left wrist and not my right. I can still work. My 2018 intention was simplicity so maybe this was kickstarting me towards more of that. 
  • The weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas were nuts for me. Covering other practices, working on growing my own practice, continuing ed, social engagements, volunteering...all things I happily said yes to, but were starting to take a toll. The universe works in mysterious ways, but if we don't get the subtle nudges, the signs will become louder and this injury was a less than subtle push to slow down. To make time for self care. To ask for help (and take it). To recognize the community of support we always have if we open our eyes. I strongly believe (yet sometimes need a reminder) that there is duality in all events. There is no event that is exceedingly great without some challenge or contrast just as no unfortunate circumstance is without growth and benefit. 

And that's all I have to say about that. An entry for to reflect on when my frustration gets the better of me, or when things feel hard. And hopefully some perspective and value for anyone choosing to read this. 

 

Safe Shoveling: Preventing Injury

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As I write this I am looking out my office window and it appears to be more spring-like outside than late November. Alas, the snow has made an appearance and will again so it is important to protect our spines when taking on this sometimes arduous chore of shoveling.

The Canadian Chiropractic Association has 5 tips on shoveling safely this winter season. The Alberta Chiropractic Association and College also offers some highlights on shoveling techniques and even the type of shovel that can be more spine-safe.  In addition to these tips, I tell my practice members to treat shoveling like a workout (because it definitely can be as strenuous as one).

1. Warm up with movement (not static stretches) that mimic the motions needed for shoveling. Some air squats, hip circles and twists can be a gentle way to warm up the back and hips.

2. Breathe. Holding our breath upon inhale or exhale can offer some helpful bracing for the spine, however we want to be sure we are breathing as steady as possible. Often when people get lightheaded it is due to lack of oxygen to the brain so we want to ensure we have a steady flow of oxygen.

3. Hydrate. On a hot summer day it can be more intuitive to have some clean water on hand to rehydrate but when we are cold and bundled up we can forget this important step. The heavier we breathe, the more we sweat, the more water we lose. Maintaining adequate hydration will help keep our tissues healthy and resilient, and will help us recover faster from the exertion.

4. Move mindfully and stretch when complete (here is where static stretches should be used). Although it is tempting to just get all the shoveling over-with, be ok with taking breaks. We often injure ourselves when we are tired, so be mindful of using your legs when lifting, and moving mindfully instead of moving with momentum. The smallest of things can be what prevents injury this winter and allows you to keep moving. Static stretches are those we hold in one place for 30 or so seconds. Again, moving through spinal rotation, hips, neck and shoulders can help to reduce accumulated tension in the body and slow the heart rate down.

Look at shoveling as another opportunity to add movement to your day! Keep active this winter and stay safe. For further information on how to optimize your spinal health or in the event you are faced with an injury, contact me to schedule a consultation. 

 

Guest Blog: Combatting Scar Tissue w/ Lindsay Burns

I met Lindsay Burns in a Muscle Activation Technique seminar last year. We were table mates and it was there that I first heard of Endermologie. Her excitement and knowledge on the modality was evident immediately and I have since referred some patients to her. Endermologie, in the context she uses it, helps remove scar tissue which can be a big barrier for a lot of people in adapting and finding balance and ease. She approaches her clients with holistic goggles, recognizing the role of scar tissue as a stabilizer, and that once that is removed, a person must also have means to continue that stability through strengthening and muscle activation. 

I figured if I had never heard of this technique, many others probably were also in the dark, so I asked Lindsay to share more about what she does... For further information, to meet Lindsay or to schedule a consultation with her, her contact is at the end of the article. Of course you can also contact me directly and I'll be happy to connect you. 

What is Endermologie? This is a question I get asked all the time and honestly I feel like it’s the best - kept secret around.

An Endermologie machine is 100% natural and non invasive. It breaks down scar tissue, increases blood circulation and boosts the Lymphatic System. And that just scratches the surface of what it can do.

Does this sound too good to be true? You aren’t alone in thinking that. Wonder why you’ve never heard of this before? You aren’t alone in that either. The European designed machine has moved away from it’s original use in North America and is being used mostly for cosmetic purposes but luckily, I spent time in the US observing, learning and training on how the machine can be used for more restorative, recovery and mobility purposes.       

I see the results and changes on a daily basis. I often hear, “I’ve been like this for twenty plus years. I’ve tried everything and it just stays the same”. I completely understand the helplessness that an injury past or present can make you feel. I’ve been there myself. Recently, one of my new and very active clients came in unable to completely extend her leg. After multiple knee surgeries and a lot of scar tissue built up she often experienced residual pain and constant aching. After trying a variety of things with little to no improvement my client was referred to me. Not knowing what to expect she booked her first appointment and was surprised when she could feel a difference almost immediately. After a handful of treatments this client has a greater range of motion. The dull aching is less, if at all, and her knee feels better then it has in years.

Knees, hips, tennis elbow, shin splints, neck, shoulder and back pain can all be treated with Endermologie plus much, much more. Recovery after surgery can also be expedited once you have the okay from your Physician to aid in regaining mobility.  

Endermologie works great on its own while complimenting other modalities as well. I like to think of it as a tool used to clear a roadblock. It increases blood circulation by 400%, which promotes healing and is able to get deeper then deep tissue massage.

The founding principles of Endermologie were to break down scar tissue, reduce inflammation and increase mobility. The bottom line is, it works. My clients are pleased with their results and how quickly they’re able to resume their everyday and active lifestyles.

I would love for you to come and check it out!

Lindsay Burns practices out of Lasya Healing Alternative Wellness Centre in Calgary, Alberta. For further info check out her website at www.endotechnique.com or find her on instagram @endotechnique!