Help is on the way… I hope

American Heart Association: Neck manipulation may be associated with stroke – see the little tear in the blood vessel wall? That can be caused by prior trauma. So be careful. Fortunately, network chiropractic involves an approach OTHER than structural adjustment.

I’ve got an appointment with a network chiropractor later today. I’ve been to network chiropractors in the past, and they really helped me, but I’m no longer willing to drive a long distance to get to them. Now that my commute is much shorter, I am much more protective of my time.

Plus, this chiro is someone I wanted to work with, years ago, but they were too expensive.

Now, they have special packages for people who need help, so I’m getting help.

What I’m really hoping for is to get a break from the pain and to be able to rest better, so that I can get back to normal and complete some of the big projects I’ve had going for some time, but which haven’t gotten wrapped up, yet. My plan was to have at least one of them done last weekend, but the car accident prevented that.

I need to just get back to normal and proceed… Onward.

I’m pretty hopeful about this. Network chiropractic doesn’t involve a lot of structural adjustments, which can be dangerous for someone with a history of neck and brain injury. Those kinds of injuries can cause clots to form more, because the walls of blood vessels may tear, causing blood clots to form inside the tears. And neck adjustments can loosen the clots which may go to the brain and cause a stroke. Or they can even cause the tears which can lead to clotting… and to stroke.

No thank you. I’ve got enough on my plate, thank you very much.

Network chiropractic is all about re-tuning the autonomic nervous system and getting your system properly talking to itself again. It’s gentle and it’s very powerful, and it helped me a lot in the past. I have high hopes for this new chiro.

And I’m also looking forward to this coming weekend, when I can (fingers crossed) settle in and do the things I intended to do last weekend. I have a lot to do, and it’s great stuff. I just need to be allowed to do it.


Today I stretch

At the chiropractor, the other day, I was informed that my right side is “very tight” and that it’s throwing my back out of whack. That makes sense, because I’ve been sitting at my desk, nearly motionless, for days, now, trying to meet my deadlines. The only movement I’ve been doing, for hours on end, is typing and moving my mouse, which is on the right side.

I guess I need to stretch. And not only for my chiro’s sake.  I also need to stretch because when I get tight and tense, I tend to get tired. More tired than usual, actually. And it becomes hard for me to relax.

I notice this especially when I am trying to get to sleep at night, or I wake up in the middle of the night. 7 times out of 10, if i’m having trouble either falling asleep or staying asleep, it’s because I’m tight and tense, and I need to stretch — especially my back/spine.

It’s pretty amazing, the difference a back stretch makes. I do two different kinds of back stretches, in this order.

First, I do the cat/dog thing, where I am on my hands and knees, and I first arch my back (like an agry cat) and then I lower my back and stretch it that way. Usually I can hear/feel my spine popping and adjusting when I go from cat to dog. It feels pretty great.

The second stretch I do is a side roll. I lie flat on my bed with my arms at my sides, palms down.  Keeping my back and shoulders flat on the bed, I lift up my right leg (keeping it straight0 and bring it over across my left side, swiveling my hips as I lower my right leg to cross my body. I gradually turn my whole torso to that side, keeping my shoulders flat, so that my spine is turning. I usually hear/feel 3-4 cracks and pops, from my sacrum up to my middle back, when I do this. And it feels great. It’s like this huge pressure is relieved, and I can breathe again.

I hold that stretch for a little bit, then I do the same with my left side, lying flat and lifting my left leg up and over my body to point to the right side. I often get more cracks and pops from that, and I get the same relief from the pressure when I do it.

Then I straighten out and lie flat again. Sometimes I’ll repeat the stretch a few times, just to make sure. Even on the nights when I don’t get cracks and pops, I still get a lot of relief from the stretching. Heaven.

And then I can sleep.

A lot of times, when I wake up during the night, it’s because my back is tightening up and I’m not able to relax. Doing this side-to-side stretch often gives me just the kind of relief I need.

Try it. You might like it.

Anyway, I’ve been feeling a little sick, the past few days, with a sore throat and aches and chills. I think I need to take it easy today. Of course, I still have lots to get done, but I’m going to focus more on stretching today, than strength-building. I’ve been on this strength-building kick for some time, now, and I’ve done pretty well at my daily workouts. Nothing huge, mind you, and more about maintenance than out-and-out strength building. But my focus has been so much on cardio and lifting, that the stretching thing has kind of fallen by the wayside.

And I think it’s cutting into my overall health. Reason being, I’m on the go so much, I don’t give myself nearly enough time to rest and relax. Part of the reason  seems to be due to my tightness and lack of flexibility. I’ve noticed that being tight actually tires me out, and I’ve also noticed that stretching seems to free up some pretty amazing energy — it’s like I can breathe again. My body can communicate with itself again. And I start to feel more human. I start to feel like myself.

Which is good.

And it’s good for me to keep this in mind, when I’m pushing through to Get Things Done. Sometimes I don’t need to force issues and MAKE things happen — I need more to loosen up and let myself be inspired, let some of the answers that I’ve been ignoring (because I’ve been so busy trying to force things through) actually bubble to the surface.

It’s all a balancing act, of course, and there’s no simple solution to lots of the issues I come across, but having one more thing I can do to help myself when I’m getting in a jam is a good thing.

I love my chiro, but…


… sometimes they make me nuts. Like when they start talking about me being “stuck” as though it’s an emotional issue, or there’s some deep-seated drama that’s broiling just beneath the surface of my psyche that needs to be exorcised, in order for my back to be flexible.

Ugh. Good gaawd.

I suppose it couldn’t possibly be all the falls I’ve experienced over the course of my life, or the cumulative effects of having had to keep myself ramrod straight, to keep from falling over, those many, many, many times I’ve been so dizzy, I didn’t know what to do.

Don’t get me wrong. My chiro has helped me immensely, and I credit them with helping me along the path to an amazing recovery from multiple traumatic brain injuries. The constant headaches that I had for years… gone. The difficulties with turning my head and back… pretty much gone, too. And I’ve had this amazing energy and sense of well-being that is almost unprecedented.

Now, I have had plenty of times where I felt energetic and truly well. But since I started seeing this chiropractor, my level of wellness, not to mention the duration of my sense of well-being, has jumped way up.

And that’s good.

I just wish they’d knock off the talk about mind-body connections that makes the mind and the psyche into the Master Controller of the body.

Lately, I’ve been increasingly sensitive to this mind-body orientation (which a lot of my friends have) that the body is an outward expression of what is going on inside you. There’s this “meme” that runs through my social circle that dictates “a strong body indicates a strong mind” and which equates physical illness with psycho-spiritual imbalances — or “dis-ease”. It’s kind of arbitrary and heady, and it seems to tie in with a modern American version of the “everything is an illusion” school of thought.  It’s like folks believe that if your mind and spirit are well, then you won’t “manifest” any outward difficulties. As though physical pain and issues are “lessons” we concoct for ourselves to teach us what we need to know… and when you’re psycho-spiritually “fit” and you know everything you’re supposed to, you won’t experience any bodily pains or aggravations or stiff back or whatever other physical dis-ease seems to correlate with an inner problem.

I wish to high heaven people in the healthcare/caring professions would have compulsory traumatic brain injury training (ahem – that’s standardized and based on fact and the latest research, not all that blather that passes for neuroscience that we’ve been belabored with for the past 50 years or so). Seriously. How many people have concussions every year —  let alone full-on traumatic brain injuries — and how many doctors and nurses deal with them each and every day? It’s just crazy, that we have this all-pervasive health care phenomenon (I won’t say “crisis” as the word is way too over-used), which touches countless lives — millions upon millions of people each year. But nobody can seem to get a clue as to how brain injury “works” or what the right thing to do about it is.

It makes no logical sense to me. Maybe it’s all of my own head injuries that make me so idealistic and make me crave a common-sense solution to a vast and lives-altering part of our culture — even our whole world. Maybe it’s my broken brain that thinks this should be a no-brainer. People, it’s serious. It’s a priority. It’s important. Get it?

But no…  instead, we have a health care system crammed full of people who are so busy prescribing drugs and procedures, that they can’t see what’s right in front of them. We’ve got alternative health care providers who are getting farther and farther out in left field, looking for some guru-defined explanation for why we’re all so screwed up and can’t seem to get any better.

Good grief. And now I hear my chiro talking somberly to me about my back being “terribly stuck” and needing to get some relief — as though this stiff back of mine were a terrible torture I can’t even begin to endure… and it’s due to some hidden wound that I haven’t faced up to yet.

Hidden wound… yeah — how ’bout nine of them? As in, concussions. Have I got wounds for you! But in all seriousness, framing my difficulties as some sort of psycho-spiritual phenomenon isn’t going to help me through the logistics of my days. It’s not going to help me remember to shampoo my hair in the morning, or put my socks where I can find them (I wore my driving Tevas all day at work today, because I forgot one of my shoes in the car, and after I went out to get it, then I couldn’t remember where I put my socks). It’s not going to help me deal with the vertigo that has me teetering at the tops of staircases (as my life passes before my eyes). It’s not going to help me keep my mouth shut when I’m this close to chewing someone out or making an inappropriate comment to a co-worker.

Anyway, I’m venting this evening, I know. I’m starting to annoy myself.

What’s my point? It’s that sometimes our physical issues are just that — physical challenges that come up as a result of injury or just life, not due to some inner moral or psychological deficiency… and I get tired of feeling judged for having these issues — especially the physical ones, which my chiro loves to lecture me about. I’ve been in a bunch of car accidents, I’ve been attacked, I’ve had a number of falls, and my head got hurt a lot. As far as I’m concerned, I’m extremely fortunate to be as well as I am, and I get a little frustrated with people judging my condition as being terrible and awful and untenable… and due to some deep-seated psycho-spiritual morass I can’t haul myself out of.

Oh, screw it. What-ever. I’m tired and I need my rest. Of course my chiro is going to tell me I need more work. They need the work. I just wish the helping professions could just… help. Without the lectures that go along with it all.

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