Connecting with a part of your body that is in pain also tells you about a part of your life that is in pain.
Put your hands on an area of your body that causes you pain.
Say “hello” to that area.
Prepare to ask your body some questions and then listen for responses. Sometimes you will get one, other times, you will not. What is important is the invitation to your body to speak to you and be heard.
Questions to ask your body/pain:
Remember that you are in pain….it’s supposed to hurt!
Once you’ve communicated with your body. Thank it for listening and answering the questions that it did. Remember to pause between each question and give your body time to answer.
If you did not get a response, try again when you have quiet time for yourself.
We are all here for a purpose. The world needs you. The world needs to heal and it needs you to learn how to heal yourself. Once you can heal yourself on one level, you can teach others to do the same. As you peel back the layers of your onion, you will go deeper and deeper into your healing.
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Illness can show up on multiple levels (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) and in many ways. Most often, when we think of illness, we focus on the physical but that is not enough.
I had a new patient that came in with what seemed to be a simple back pain issue from shoveling his driveway too much. He stated that he felt he pulled a muscle because he was lifting and twisting too much. While, lifting and twisting certainly play a role in injury, I always dig deeper to see if there are other factors at play.
Questions I asked:
What I discovered was that he had been stressed out at work for months. When shovelling, he was thinking about how much he hated his work and he was even hoping for some time off. Well, his body did what he asked it to do! He got injured and got some time.
To get to the core issues hidden in your illness, here are some things to pay attention to:
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I fell a few weeks back and it hurt. I was carrying my baby when I slipped on black ice on the driveway. I was conscious of protecting the baby so I ended up with scraped knees and a very sore neck and shoulder.
There’s nothing like an unexpected event to throw off your day!
As I carried on my way to my car appointment, I thought to myself how did this happen. My first reaction was that the driveway wasn’t salted or shovelled properly. After that passed, I asked myself, why did this really happen to you?
With that question, I had to admit to myself that I had had a difficult week. I had been angry and the energy had not resolved itself yet. I was also in a rush trying to get the kids ready, dealing with a toddler who would rather not wear shoes (who would? haha) and trying to get to a car appointment on time.
The fall was suppose to disrupt my life. It was supposed to hurt. I had been stressed, running around and angry. It was what I needed to calm down and take things slowly, not because I wanted to but the pain left me no choice.
Life will give you clues and when you don’t listen, the clues will get louder and louder until you can no longer ignore them. I should have slowed down and I did not.
I am grateful for the life lesson and I hope I learned what I needed to through the fall.
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Have you ever noticed that when you are under a lot of stress, you are more susceptible to illness? I remember when I was going through school that after an intense period of exams were over, I would often get sick with a cold.
Now, it shouldn’t be a surprise to you that stress negatively affects your health. That is why people are often told to decrease the stress in their lives. But what is the mechanism of how this works?
It turns out that stress negatively influences the body’s immune system response. This then leads to a decreased ability for your body to modulate inflammation and illness occurs.
A research team led by Carnegie Mellon University's Sheldon Cohen has found that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response.
Cohen argued that prolonged stress alters the effectiveness of cortisol to regulate the inflammatory response because it decreases tissue sensitivity to the hormone. Specifically, immune cells become insensitive to cortisol's regulatory effect. In turn, runaway inflammation is thought to promote the development and progression of many diseases.
Our body’s are for the most part self-regulating. This means that when we cut ourselves, we heal. Our heart, lungs, organs keep working without us having to think about them. Inflammation is also part of our body’s healing response. However, when our body receives distorted signals, it can no longer respond in an appropriate manner.
In order for our bodies to regain the proper signals, we need to resolve the abnormal signals. Tune in next week to find out what causes these abnormal signals in our body.
Need help getting your body back on track? 613-446-6060
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
Dr. Amanda is a non-traditional chiropractor who focuses on Neuro-Optimization in Ottawa, Canada.