As many of your know, I recently gave birth. This was my second labour and after a long first labour, I was not looking forward to doing it again.
When I first started to feel the pain and discomfort of the contractions, I tensed my muscles and shortened my breath in anticipation of the pain. I even started to wish the contractions away (not conducive to giving birth). Deep, down, I knew that this was not the answer because, birth is not usually a quick process and the pain was going to get worse before it got better.
I knew I needed to change my current state so I called a friend of mine who is a doula. Her advice was to invite the pain. I was to picture each contraction as my body giving a hug to the baby. I was to use all the focus and attention that I could muster to fight the urge to tense and instead relax every muscle and allow my body to do what it naturally knew how to do. I was to stop fighting my body….easier said than done.
So, for each coming contraction, I focused on my breath. I focused on expelling out all the air that I could. I told my body to relax. I started with my toes and worked my way up to my face. To my surprise, the pain became more tolerable! It still hurt like crazy but I could do it.
I also noticed that when I was not prepared for a contraction, my instinct was to tense, fight my body and have my mind panic. This brought on more pain which then caused more tension in my body.
As the day continued and the pain got worse, I had to focus more and go internally. I talked to my baby during the birth, saying that we were going to do this together. I told her how excited everyone was to meet her. I surrendered to the pain and trusted that my body knew what to do and how to do it. My body contains all the DNA of my ancestors who’ve birthed children before me and so I can also do it.
It was one of the hardest things I had to do..but it was worth it. Birth was a lesson in persistence, surrender, trust, support...and I never want to go through it again.
Each birth is different and a learning experience and opportunity. What did you learn form your births? Leave a message below.
Do you have fears surrounding giving birth? Give us a call 613-446-6060
Often we don’t appreciate what our bodies do for us until something goes wrong. I know that for myself, I don’t often think of what my big toe does for me each day...that is until I injure it. Then, I realize how it’s used in every step of the entire day.
I’ve been nursing my baby and am amazed each day that my body produces food. Enough food to keep a tiny human alive for months! The milk contains the right amount of fat, nutrients and water, just for him. It’s even loaded with antibodies to keep him from getting sick. The correct amount gets produced for his appetite and if he needs more or less, the body adapts! Our bodies are so amazing!
Our bodies are constantly healing themselves. When you get a cut or a cold, your body immediately starts to heal. So, why is it that when we are sick for longer than we EXPECT or something isn’t healing as we like it, we doubt that our body can heal itself?
When we have a bunch of rainy days in a row, do we doubt that the sun will ever come back out? No, we know that eventually, the sun comes out again.
This is how we need to see our body. Even if you’re dealing with low back pain or neck pain, you can still look for signs that your body is constantly healing. Look at a bruise or scratch that you got recently. Our bodies can make human beings in 9 months. They can heal. Don’t give up on your body.
Looking for ways to help your body heal faster? Give us a call 613-761-1600
Nearing the end of my pregnancy I noticed a shift in perspective. Whereas I was once avoiding or not wanting to feel the physical pain of it, I am now embracing it. This is because my perspective has shifted in regards to pain.
Now, I’m embracing pain. This is because I know it will get me closer to my goal (meeting my baby). It goes without saying that birth can be a somewhat painful process for most people. So, as one gets closer to the process, a certain amount of surrender to pain needs to occur.
With each cramp, each painful movement, each strain, etc. it brings me closer to my goal. Shifting from fear to change means accepting what’s to come and welcoming growth.
Stage 5 in SRI (book: 12 stages of healing) is about merging beyond the illusion. The illusion is a wall or something created by your mind. You need to go through the illusion to embrace what’s on the other side. The illusion that my mind created was that pain is separate from growth whereas, the reality is that pain is a part of it. This isn’t just in childbirth. It occurs throughout life.
Is there pain when starting a new exercise regimen after not working out for a while? Is there pain in making a commitment to improve your diet when you need to give up a lot of what you’ve been eating before? Is there pain when ending a relationship or job for the opportunities of a new one?
Pain is not separate from life. It is a part of it. When we embrace it, learn through it and grow, we shift from fear to change.
Need a shift in perspective? Come to one of our monthly workshops.
When an event happens to us, we tend to label it good or bad. I.e. a relationship ended, a new job, financial trouble, health issue, etc. Based on how we label something, we will experience emotions and take actions accordingly.
Different emotions will lead to correspondingly different actions. Different actions will lead to a different life. The quality of your life will be determined by the quality of your thinking and your actions.
If we were to label a relationship breakup bad, then we might take actions to prevent us from getting into the same situation again or might take it out on the next person we meet.
Instead of labelling something good or bad, we can ask: how can I evolve from this? This isn’t a “always think positive” kind of question. We still want to acknowledge if something didn’t go as we planned. I.e. getting sick, laid off, etc. However, we also want to examine what else we can learn and grow from our experience.
I had a patient who was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her life before breast cancer was as a lawyer who worked 80 hours a week, rarely saw her family and was always busy doing something. Due to her diagnosis, she ended up slowing down, changing the field of her law practice into something she was passionate about and spending more time with her family and friends that were important to her.
On the other side of her diagnosis, she often said that her breast cancer was a turning point in her life. She evolved and learned from her experience and in the end, evolved through the life challenge. She says she’s never had a better outlook on her life than now and she no longer does things out of obligation but because she wants to. That is a life well lived!
Ask yourself: how can I evolve from this situation?
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This blog was written a few months ago and I've come to appreciate it even more....
I have been in quite some pain for the past 2 days. I had been fighting a cough and 2 nights ago, I was lying in bed and I coughed and felt a pop in one of my ribs and then intense stabbing pain. My first instinct was to scream and wake up my husband to take me to the hospital. For those that know me, I don't take going to the hospital lightly. It was 3am. I then gave myself a few minutes of lying there to assess the damage before I decided to do anything else. Talk about life deciding to stop me in my tracks.
Once the initial pain started to subside, and now that I was awake, I got to thinking how this could happen. I am 8 months pregnant which means my body is releasing lots of relaxin to get my body ready for childbirth. This causes loose muscle and ligaments, making you more susceptible to injury. That was on the scientific level. On the emotional and mental side, I knew it was my body’s way of slowing me down and getting me to take a break.
Lying down was the worst position for me so I walked around which helped, meditated propped up on pillows and even had time to journal. By then, I had already decided to clear my day and focus on rest and healing.
The next day, I was able to call a friend and doctor to further assess my ribs for a home visit. I am so grateful that they were able to come. I felt better after her visit but was still in intense pain each time I coughed.
I managed to get a nap in, not cook or do the other million things I would normally do but just rest. I talked to friends on the phone and enjoyed a visit from my friend and rested the entire day.
When I went into work the next day, I was able to get taped up by the physiotherapist and use other modalities available for healing at the office. Once again, so much gratitude to have the tools I need to speed up the recovery process.
Even in the midst of pain, there are opportunities for gratitude.
My foot started hurting one day and I went through the process of trying to figure out why. Perhaps I had injured it while at the gym the previous day? It’s possible but I didn’t remember it even being sore.
When I took the time to connect and breathe into my ankle, I was able to localize the pain to my heel. I started to ask my heel what it wanted to tell me. Was it in pain from overuse or something else?
What came back were the words, “achilles heel”. Which lead me to ask, what is my achilles heel?
Side note: An Achilles' heel is a weakness in spite of overall strength, which can lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.
My Achilles Heel is my ability to procrastinate doing something that I don’t want to do i.e. my taxes and then needing to rush to get it done.
I examined my life and observed areas that I was procrastinating in the moment….my taxes, writing a letter for a patient, working on my next presentation, booking an oil change, getting my summer tires on, and the list went on from there….
I laughed at myself and thanked my heel for the message. I gave my heel a couple days rest from the gym, took Arnica for the pain, started on all the projects I’d been procrastinating and the pain is gone.
Need help figuring out what your body is trying to tell you about your life? 613-761-1600
Your pain in your shoulder, back, neck, relationships, finances, etc, is not the problem. Pain is only the manifestation of the problem.
Imagine you had low back pain for 6 months and you came into my office. You’ve had pain for 6 months, why did you decide at that moment to make the call to come in? You were already dealing with the discomfort for so long. The answer isn’t because of the pain.
Perhaps your low back pain prevented you from going to work and making a living. Maybe you couldn’t play with your grandchild anymore. For others, the pain keeps them from being intimate with their partners. The majority of the time, it is a quality of life issue that forces us to make the call to do something about the pain.
Ask yourself, what is this pain keeping me from doing?
To take it a step further, not only do we want to know the quality of life issue that brought you into our office, we also want to know, what emotions are behind the pain.
Are you frustrated that you got hurt? Are you sad that you are still sick? Are you fed-up with work and need a change in your life? Do you keep attracting the same type of people in your relationships? Are you behind on filing your taxes?
Once we know what you are really searching for and the emotions that you are experiencing, we can better help you in taking the action steps required to help you achieve your goals.
Need help figuring yourself out? 613-761-1600
People often ask what happens when I get sick or when I’m in pain. Well, let me start by saying that doctor’s are not any more special than everyone else. I get sick and am in pain too and it’s an opportunity to practice what I preach.
A few weeks ago, I started having a pulling sensation behind my ear. This happens a few times a year and usually lasts a few days. Whenever it does, I try to figure out what my body is trying to tell me.
My first question is, what patterns could have caused this? Physically, I wear glasses all day long, when there’s an especially long day and tiring day or a few in a row, my glasses hurt the back of my ears. Also, if my hair is tied back in a ponytail too long, this can occur. So, did this occur? Yes. So that’s a physical explanation.
Next, I ask myself what emotional and mental patterns are there. I came up with 1. working extra hours to help out a friend 2. overstretching myself with bookings outside of work. Perhaps, my body is trying to tell me to slow down and rest.
Once, I have some possible explanations, I move on to breathing exercises for that part of my body. I put my hands over the area in pain and breathe in through the nose and out through the mouth. I then start talking to that area by acknowledging that it’s in pain and seeing if there are any emotions or thoughts associated with it. For more on this breathing exercise, please come to our monthly workshops where we go through several breathing techniques.
After talking to the area, I work on reducing and changing my patterns and observe my body to see if it makes a difference.
In this instance, I choose to sleep in and rest longer even though I scheduled myself time to be doing paper work. I took off my glasses for longer periods and kept my hair down. I noticed that within a couple days, what worked best was the extra rest. So, I went to bed earlier than usual and made sure to feed my body the nutrients it needed.
When the pain disappeared, I thanked my body for the message.
Need help figuring out what your body’s trying to tell you? Come in for a free 15 minute consultation where a consultation is simply a conversation.
What do symptoms tell us? Symptoms tell us that something in our body or our life isn’t functioning the way it’s supposed to. Certain patterns in our life, physical, emotional or mental are causing our bodies to be unable to correct themselves.
When we cut our finger or bruise our knee, our body heals over time. So why is it not healing right now? We’re stuck in a pattern.
Physically, patterns that lead to symptoms could be sitting at your desk too long, lack of exercise and movement, poor food choices,etc.
Emotional and mental patterns can include not speaking up when you wanted to, staying in a relationship longer than you wanted to, feeling trapped at work, not doing something that you are passionate about, finances, etc.
Whatever the case, a symptom is a sign that something isn’t working properly. What do we usually do when we have a symptom? Some of us take medication to make it go away. This may work for a period of time, however, if you continue to do the same patterns, then pain will continue to persist or come back again. Other people, may seek a health professional to massage the pain, do acupuncture on it, etc. This is helpful as well. However, if you continue to do the same patterns physically, emotionally or mentally, the symptoms can come back.
So, what is the solution? Instead of looking for someone to fix the symptom, focus on finding someone to help you to figure out the problem. Do you want to work on the symptom or do you want to work on WHY you have the symptom?
If you had a garden full of weeds and you mowed your lawn to get rid of the weeds, what would happen in a few weeks? The weeds would come back. How do you get rid of the weeds? Pull them out by the root. If you don’t get to the root pattern or cause of your symptom, working on the symptom alone can cause it to come back again.
“If you step on a dog’s tail, the bark comes out of it’s mouth. Working on the bark never takes the foot off the tail.”- Dr. Donny Epstein
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There's an old addage that says, where your attention goes, your energy flows.
When my car battery was slowing down, I observed how my focus shifted. I went from not worrying about something to focusing only on that. This happens often in my practice as well. Once sometime hurts a part of themselves, it becomes their entire focus.
I began to worry about the possibility of my car not starting. I would leave the house earlier in case it wouldn’t start. I would park in different places so I didn’t block anyone and to make it easier for others to help. I would worry about where I was going in case the car wouldn’t start. This went on until I changed my battery.
Once I changed the batter, all these worries disappeared and I returned to my normal behaviours. I also noticed how much extra energy it took to do all this worrying….and this was only over 2 days!
The same thing happens when we’re in pain. Let’s take chronic, long-term low back pain for example.
Behavioural changes could include:
Eventually, you stop doing the activities that bring you joy. There are times when our bodies do need a break and we do need to stop everything but this is usually for short term.
If the pain lasts long enough, we soon develop behaviours that aren’t like us. People close to us may start to notice that we are the way we used to be. This could lead to depression.
SO, what do we do instead? It’s time to seek help. Change your battery! Get your low back checked out by a non-traditional chiropractor. 613-761-1600
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.