Insomnia is one of the most frequent problems my patients talk to me about. It plagues almost everyone at some point in life. Some have insomnia off and on their entire lives. For others, it may last for a few days at a time when the person is very stressed or ill.
What have you found effective to treat insomnia?
Do you have a magic formula that prevents another round of insomnia?
Over the next several weeks, I’m going to share some of the ways my patients have found relief from this symptom that if left untreated, can severely affect every aspect of life. Hopefully, if we work together, we can help many others not have to deal with prolonged insomnia and its consequences.
Please share your ideas. We never know what little pearl of wisdom might create a major benefit for someone else.
Seriously. I have to know!
I started off the week by having to confess to my patients that I broke my thumb. Now you may ask…why is that embarrassing? I have my reasons. For starters, let’s just admit that I’m not the most graceful person on the planet. This is why I choose sports like softball and kickboxing instead of sports like dancing or gymnastics. However, when asked the most popular question of my week…”How did you break your thumb?” I had to give the honest answer that I fell…getting into a truck. This answer was generally responded to by silence and my patients looking at me with a bit of a blank stare while likely thinking I obviously wasn’t finished with my story yet. After a few seconds of awkward silence, I would respond “And that is all.” See…I told you I am not graceful. I am many things…strong, fast, athletic, intelligent, determined and honest…but not graceful. Then, of course, I got asked “How are you going to possibly adjust my neck or back with a broken thumb?” And this was when I got to acknowledge that all those professors in chiropractic school really did know something important when they made us learn hundreds of ways to adjust the spine and extremities. That was smart of you professors/doctors!!! I appreciate it now even though I would have liked to believe that my favorite adjustments are the only ones I need to perfect. Well…now I get to put that knowledge to excellent use for the next 4-6 weeks!
So…as I asked in the beginning…What’s the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the past week?
I hear statements such as “I have normal headaches” or “I have normal back pain” or “I have normal knee pain” almost every day. I want to wear a t-shirt to work that says “we don’t believe in normal pain”. Yes, pain is a normal physiological and emotional response. It’s a normal response to injury or irritation. Pain tells us that something is going on with the body. Pain is an like an indicator light on the dashboard of your car that starts flashing so that you pay attention to it. We need to pay attention to our pain and listen to wait it is saying about the body. With my office, as with many of my colleagues offices, you will hear us say that we do not treat pain. This concept can get confusing so let’s look at it like this: Just as with your car and that annoying, flashing indicator light…if you decide to reset the flashing light so that it doesn’t bother you but you ignore the problem causing the light to flash, eventually something really bad generally happens. This concept in your body is no different. If your body is flashing that pain indicator light and you continually “reset the flashing light” by taking over-the-counter or prescription meds that treat the pain without treating the cause of the pain, then something generally bad happens. That “normal” back pain is later discovered to be moderate of severe arthritic changes. That “normal” headache is later discovered to be coming from rising blood pressure, low blood sugar, diminished blood flow, vision changes, degenerative changes in the neck or a lot of other underlying issues. Please don’t ignore your pain. It isn’t “normal pain”. One of the things I love about my job are these statements that I hear at least once a week from a patient. I hear things like “When I came in here my neck was really bothering me. I didn’t know that after two treatments, my elbow pain that I thought was just normal because of my job would all be gone.” I hear statements like “I don’t know what’s going on with me but for the past two weeks, I don’t have that normal stomach pain anymore when I eat salad.” I love it! So the next time you catch yourself or a loved one say “oh that’s my normal … pain,” ask them (or yourself) why you’ve decided that pain is normal. Then take a step to get that “normal” pain evaluated by your Doctor of Chiropractic and discover what living without “normal” pain feels like.
Why would we possibly by stressed? We all know that too much stress is unhealthy but are we really paying attention to all the stress that we are under on a daily basis. I know personally that if I don’t actively engage in things that reduce my stress, I feel tired, my memory isn’t as sharp, I make poor food choices and just about everything takes a lot more effort to do than when I’m feeling well. I have several de-stressing routines that work for different types of stressors. If I’m feeling stressed after the first half of my workday, I get on the treadmill for 20-30 minutes and walk while either reading a book or watching a funny Netflix show. If I’m getting stressed behind the wheel of the car or after a long day of work, I turn off the music and pay attention to my breathing and thoughts. Sometimes I repeat a positive thought while slowing and deepening my breathing. This helps me feel centered and calm. When I’m at home and feeling stressed, I go stand on the grass barefoot and take a few deep breaths. This makes me feel grounded and secure. And of course, I get adjusted every other week (more if I’m feeling stressed). This helps my body become restored to its normal state so I stay healthy. What are your de-stressing routines? Need some ideas? Click on the following link and check out this latest newsletter to see what you can do to break the stress cycle. Sep14
It’s back to school time again so make sure you are checking your child’s backpack to ensure that it is a good fit for them. A good rule to remember is that a backpack should weight NO MORE THAN 10% of your child’s body weight. Heavier backpacks cause not only back pain, but also shoulder pain and neck pain. To put it in perspective to a child consider this…a recent study discovered that the average child carries a backpack that would be the equivalent of a 39-pound burden for the average adult man and a 29-pound burden for the average adult woman. That’s A LOT of extra weight on those growing bodies!!! So get out the scale and weight those backpacks! Check out the full article for more backpack safety suggestions. Backpack safety
I have the best patients in my practice. I continue to be inspired by them daily. My patients walk into the office with smiles on their faces – almost all the time – and sometimes they are dealing with some serious stuff. They amaze me. People are resilient. I am constantly reminded of this in the spirit of the people I am blessed to be able to help every day. Just another testament to the design of our body, mind and spirit. We are designed to heal. Sometimes that healing comes with scars. Take a look at your hands and see the remnants of tiny (or not-so-tiny) old wounds. Your body healed itself. The reason I am so grateful for the job that I get to do everyday is because I get to work with the body’s own natural ability to heal. I line things up – physical, chemical, and emotion – so that they body does its healing quickly and with less scars. My job is awesome. My patients are incredible. And for all of this – I AM GRATEFUL!