Category Archives: Blogs

Rotator Cuff: Core stability for the shoulder

Alternative PT Fort Worth

Most people associate any type of shoulder pain as a problem with the rotator cuff. It’s important to understand that the rotator cuff is not one muscle but a combination of muscles that surround the shoulder and scapula. These muscles act with the ligaments and labrum to stabilize the shoulder and allow it to function in all ranges. Its job is pretty intense because the shoulder must be very dynamic. If the shoulder is injured, often the elbow, wrist, and hand cannot do their jobs. Various other muscles help to stabilize the shoulder as well, so don’t get hung up on strengthening only the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff and scapular stabilizers are much smaller than the overlaying musculature (deltoid, biceps, triceps, pecs) and are often under strengthened and prone to over-use type injuries. Poor posture and poor body mechanics anger small, stabilizing muscles because they are forced to work…

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Headaches

Headaches have many causes which may stem from the neck, shoulder, TMJ, mid back, ear, sinuses, cervical (neck) ligament laxity, vestibular (inner ear) disturbances, dizziness, muscle tension, lack of sleep, anxiety, postural pain syndrome, high blood pressure, head trauma, seizures, strokes, and poor nutrition…to name a few thousand.  From the preceding list it’s very obvious why Tylenol and Ibuprofen have a thriving market!  What is the simplest cure to decreased headache pain and frequency?  Once traditional routes to a cure are exhausted, consider the role of the following:

Poor nutrition and/or allergic responses

Nutritional deficits and maladies are the root of all illness.  Nutritional imbalance fires up the systemic inflammatory response, which often spirals to chronic illness when uncorrected.  Chronic inflammation, or as I like to think of it an over worked immune system, sets the stage for almost every disease process.  SO to be short and sweet, nutritional deficiency or imbalance could be the fix to MANY of the previously stated culprits leading to headaches and migraines.  How do you fix nutrition?  Start in the produce aisle. For more details see also my nutrition blogs below.

Examine your household and body care products as well.  Many people have an allergic response to their most favorite scents and products.  Examine fabric softener, detergent, hairspray, perfume, body wash, shampoo, soap, toothpaste…OH MY!  Go for products that are “free and clear” or safe to use on infants and children as these contain fewer preservatives and allergens.  Don’t forget that you absorb everything that touches your skin.

Ligament laxity

If the ligaments of the upper neck are over stretched or loose for any reason, this could cause chronic migraines or headaches.  Diseases such as lupus, RA, fibromyalgia, any connective tissue disorder, MS, and multiple other neurological processes as well as trauma can cause this laxity or looseness to occur.  A surgical procedure may be an option but many times the only cure is gentle cervical strengthening.

Vestibular disturbances/dizziness

Dizziness has many causes as well which may or may not be related to the vestibular system (inner ear), and is often related to neck pain or dysfunction.  There are specific vestibular exercises a skilled physical therapist can address to reduce headaches.  See also nutrition as nutrition serves the viability of the vestibular system.

History of head trauma

Headaches are also related to traumatic events such as a car wrecks, falls, gunshot wounds, stab wounds, scarring from burns, or concussions (this is not an exhausted list).  Many times addressing neck, shoulder, mid-back, and TMJ issues act to resolve tension-type headaches.  Those headaches more neural in nature such as migraines may be better addressed with diet or specialized surgical procedures (orthopedic or neurological).

TMJ

Tension in the jaw is created often by stress, anxiety, and worry.  Meditation, breath practice, and emotional release help to alleviate anxiety and worry that create stress and tension.  Also simply cueing yourself to “relax my jaw” throughout the day and right before drifting to sleep may help.  Mouth guards are also useful but not the cure.  The aforementioned spiritual practices have been shown to be very effective in releasing the jaw to reduce headaches.  There are situations that warrant specialized dental or oral surgery to correct TMJ issues, which may also alleviate or eliminate headache pain and frequency.

Neck and shoulder

Neck and shoulder pain create muscle tension.  Many of the neck and shoulder muscles attach directly to the skull so it should be no surprise that tension here can create headache pain.  Limited shoulder mobility and pain often creates neck disturbances as well see my neck and shoulder blogs below for more information.

Role of breath practice, postural change, sleep, and meditation

Breath practice works to replenish the brain and body with life sustaining, and repairing oxygen.  Oxygen’s life force is healing and promotes optimal muscular and neurological firing, which will ease the pain associated with headaches.

When we sit or work in a prolonged posture or position blood is shunted in a specific direction often crippling adequate flow to the head and neck.  Practicing postural change for even a few seconds every 15 minutes will produce a more oxygen rich environment within the head and body.  Postural pain and prolonged positions have also recently been associated with depression.

Meditation is directly correlated with improved sleep patterns.  It aides in more restful sleep allowing our bodies to enter healing, repair, and regeneration mode (see also my meditation and sleep blogs below).   Without sleep our bodies are never allotted the time to heal.  Without sleep chronic pain, disease, and illness is almost inevitable.

Links:

Meditation Blogs:  https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/05/05/the-secret/, https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/03/10/what-is-destressifying/

Sleep Blog:  https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/04/01/stop-fighting-your-sleep/

Neck and Shoulder Blog:  https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/06/04/neck-and-shoulder-pain/

Postural Pain Blog:  https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/05/12/postural-pain/

Nutrition Blogs:  https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/04/21/a-dose-of-medical-medium/, https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/02/18/offensive-health/, https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/02/06/on-the-radio-the-earth-diet/

I will be discussing the roles of meditation relating to spirituality and how to start a meditation program in an upcoming mentoring program called Spirit and spirits.  Please visit https://alternativeptfortworth.com/spirits-and-spirit/ for more information!

Stop Fighting Your Sleep

sleepHave you ever witnessed a baby “fighting sleep?”  The child’s body is exhausted, mind in shambles, emotions erratically incomprehensible, yet they stand firm—“I am NOT tired, nor am I going to sleep!”  It’s an obvious act of defiance in search of control.  The baby is put to bed violently kicking and screaming to awaken with angel wings in the morning.

Here’s the reality…we are always that kicking, screaming child!  Countless adults fight sleep on a daily basis, reporting that they are “Night Owls.”  Okay…so you’re an animal?  Is that your goal?  Shouldn’t we embrace the Godly likeness we embody?  I’ve never met a “night owl” that isn’t moody or extremely stressed out with early aging and most often suffering from chronic pain or disease.  Fine, fine…if a night owl you must be, then at least take a nap!  Know that you cannot continue to deny your body rest and obtain higher consciousness at the same time.  Submit to your making.  You are not the exception to the sleep rule, quit fighting it.

I’ve battled with sleep deprivation due to standing figures at my bedside, irrational thoughts of the death of my loved ones, over thinking a situation, or replaying events over and over in my head.  In the past, I have gotten as few as 3 hours of sleep on a nightly basis.  My body would not relinquish control, and I would fruitlessly continue to try to solve problems.  We all know nothing good happens after midnight anyway!  Allow God to naturally provide your healing and refreshment through sleep.  Give God your nightly “issues” and know that He and the angles will take care of everything you need while you rest.  Once I embraced this, I now sleep like a baby and can nap like a champ.

Here are my top tips to get more sleep at night:

  • Pray and set boundaries: Some people are extremely sensitive to energy.  The energetic presence of our guardian angels, God, and other spirit guardians can overwhelm the mind with an endless to-do list of ways to help others or genius solutions to the world’s problems.  Remember that you can pray and set boundaries.  A prayer I have used frequently is this “Heavenly Father, thank you for your presence in my life.  Thank you for sending guardians that tirelessly and lovingly protect and guide me.  Thank you for providing me with easy sleep and vivid dreams so I can receive Spirit’s messages in a rested state.  Thank you for giving me signs during normal waking hours.”  It is also important to energetically shed the waste you have accumulated throughout the day.  I will use this prayer “Thank you for every person you have placed in my life and path today.  Please cleanse me of all energy or presence that does not walk in your pure, white light.”
  • Journal: Keep a journal beside the bed to jot down anything that you want to remember in the morning.  DO NOT use your phone or turn on bright lights to do this as this interrupts the rhythm of the night.
  • Turn ALL lights off: No lights in the room AT ALL.  Our brain and body physiologically perceive light as daytime, which means wakey wakey!  If you have to turn on lights to get to the bathroom, make them very minimal and very dim.  Never turn on a full, bright light.
  • Eye mask: A blackout eye mask saved my life when my children were infants and while I was in graduate school.  The mask instantly blacks out every visual disturbance and prevents you from glancing at the clock.
  • Electrical tape over flashing lights: Put electrical tape over the flashing lights of the cable box or any other electronic device that is charging.
  • Put the iPhone face down and on silent: Through the night our phone receives constant updates, emails, and messages that create illumination in the darkness.  By keeping it face down, the night’s darkness and rhythm will not be interrupted.  Also, think about turning your alarm clock backward because the light from the alarm gets your brain buzzing about the next day’s activities.
  • White sound: Use a small fan, sound machine, or YouTube sleep music.  Do not use anything upbeat or with an abrupt sound, this will make your dreams fanatic and interrupt your fall into sleep.  The sound should be as neutral as possible like the drone of the ocean, or light instrumental music.
  • Lavender essential oil: Lavender is well known and documented for its relaxation properties.  When inhaled it produces a sedative effect.  Read more from The University of Maryland Medical Center at http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/lavender.
  • Relax your jaw: A clenched jaw activates the mind and prepares the body to react.  Do a body scan and relax all tight muscles including the jaw.  A clenched jaw is clinically correlated with insomnia, see the related article from the journal Head & Face Medicine http://link.springer.com/article/10.1186/1746-160X-4-4.  
  • Do not exercise right before bed: Exercise right before bed elevates the heart and energizes the body—the exact opposite effect we desire before bed!  Do not perform exercise approximately 2 hours before bed.  Read more from Harvard Medical School here http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/22/health/upwave-night-exercise/.
  • Do not drink caffeine after lunch: All of the caffeine addicts out there can argue with me over this but studies show that caffeine consumption up to 6 hours before bed will interrupt sleep and increase night time wake time.  Read this article for more in Psychology Today https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/sleep-newzzz/201312/new-details-caffeine-s-sleep-disrupting-effects.
  • Get out in the sun: God did not make humans to allow them to sit in an artificially lit box all day (i.e home or office building).  Our biological clocks are programmed by exposure to the sun.  The sun signals our body to release hormones that programs the brain to a day time-night time sleep cycle.  Sun exposure prepares the brain for night time sleep.

What is destressifying?

“Live From The Sweet Spot” is absolutely my favorite radio show on Hay House Radio (http://www.hayhouseradio.com/#!/host/davidji).  Meditation guru and New York Times bestselling author Davidji is the host. He teaches very real, in the moment solutions for life’s stressors seeking to cultivate awareness and consciousness into the nuances of earthly existence.  His most recent book destressifying is a practical guide that helps incorporate enlightenment into our daily lives even in a never ceasing, constantly communicating, information overloaded culture.   My goal is to summarize a few of the techniques, and encourage you to GET THE BOOK–it may change your life!

Stress can be good, it’s what drives earth’s creations.  Stress is also our best teacher, leading us to our greatest accomplishments and higher selves.  Stress’s evils are nown all too well in our world today.  The ability to change the perception of stress from a negative event into a nurturing event is key to transforming your life.  The world is not out to get you, but it is out to guide you to your dharma (life purpose), and to cultivate our ever existing soul.  Sometimes humans need the brick over the head, or a life-halting moment to change gears, to repent, and to turn around!

Pattern Interrupts:  It is vital to pump the breaks as we begin to lose control and to prevent a loss of control.  Stress starts affecting our body by elevating the heart rate, causing us to perspire, and shifting hormone levels to adequately fuel the extremities to bounce into action.  Subsequently our brain goes into autopilot and we often react in a way that is regretful or physically harmful to ourselves.  A brief pattern interrupt can physiologically restore the body to a leveled sense of being so that rational, mindful decisions and reactions can be birthed.  The second you become aware of your body’s reaction to stress, Davidji suggests doing the following:

STOP, detach from the situation both physically and emotionally so that you can witness what is going on.  Pretend to be a fly on the wall, then react in a way that reflects the best version of yourself.

The book details examples that clarify, but for me the word “STOP” is the most important.  In the stressful moment, throw up an emotional, nonverbal stop sign.  If anyone else is involved in the situation, they do not have to be aware of what you are doing.  Stop because your reflexive reaction is not the imprint you want to leave behind.  Once the reflexive pattern has been interrupted, there is space to turn to the direction you wish to go.

PT application:  What is the biggest pattern interrupt of all time?  An injury, a traumatic event, a hospitalization–talk about a screeching halt!  As I mention in my blog Why Me Why Now at https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2016/01/19/why-me-and-why-now/, these events are ultimately wake up calls.  We ignore what our body is telling us on a daily basis continuing to grind through to accomplish something that in the end.  Do we even know what that something is?  By initiating the practice of pattern interrupts, I think we may be able to avoid and shift life’s screeching halts.

16 Seconds to Clarity:  If you listen to Hay House Radio Davidji offers a “meditation minute” between programs, and one of the techniques he uses is 16 seconds.  The best thing about 16 seconds is…it’s short.  If you are new to meditation or feel too busy for mediation, this is the perfect practice.  In our work-life culture, stress has become an accepted, mundane practice.  16 seconds offers a pattern interrupt to the stress-infused day.  It’s so easy–perform 16 seconds three times a day for two weeks, then observe as you effortlessly incorporate it out of habit in the days that follow.  The full version can be found on page 58 of destressifying.  Here is a summary:

Inhale deeply through the nostrils for 4 seconds, hold that breath in 4 seconds and witness it, exhale slowly 4 seconds (you may exhale through the nostrils or sigh through the mouth), hold the breath out 4 seconds and witness it dissipating into the universe.  If you have time quietly observe your normal breathing pattern in the following few seconds.

PT application:  16 seconds helps to detach your ego from the current situation.  In my practice many people have a brain block.  Their brain is convincing their body to be, act, and move in a certain way.  16 seconds allows the person to detach for a few seconds, clarify the situation, and then harmonize with the highest version of themselves.  An approach utilizing the higher self may impart utilizing a different spin or a different path to wellness as oppose to the beaten path, which translates to a new outcome for the situation.

The 5 Realms:  Consider five aspects of our existence according to our needs as identified by physical, material, spiritual, emotional, and relational needs.  Once you identify your blockages within each realm or within a particular realm, healing can begin.  We are our own ultimate healer and teacher.  Just by asking God reveals answers to us.  We just have to be open and receptive to that answer.  The 5 realms gives the human brain an objective playing ground.  More details can be found in Chapter 7!

PT application:  You can see that one of the five realms is physical.  My career has been birthed out of needs identified in the physical realm but that’s only 1/5th of the puzzle!  What I’ve come to realize is that a focus and consideration of the other four realms is essential.  When is comes to treating someone who is homeless, an abuser or abusee, an atheist, or someone without family or friends, a focus in the physical realm rewards little amount of healing.  By tapping into the deficits in the other realms, I can better tailor my treatment and education to guide my clients into healing the blockages present elsewhere.

The Importance of Relationships:  So many of us hold on so dearly to relationships that are tearing us to shreds.  It’s the one realm that requires the active participation of another individual.  Over and over I’ve identified and encountered people with physical burden due to these toxic relationships.  Yes, it may be your spouse, sibling, or dearest friend–that doesn’t make the relationship any less toxic.  A relational toxicity doesn’t mean that either person involved in the relationship is a horrible person, it simply denotes that the energy surrounding the relationship is not nurturing at this time to either of you.  Davidji offers four techniques to remedy a toxic relationship (Pg 145):  1)  Birth it–create a new relationship, start over brand new.  2)  Repair it–release the past and step into the future, (if this fails then) 3)  Shift it–create or dismiss boundaries to re-define the relationship (and if all else fails) 4)  End it–release the relationship for the time being.  When ending or shifting a relationship I always say that this doesn’t have to be forever, but for now.

Please visit Davidji’s website at http://www.davidji.com for more information

You can buy destressifying on Amazon.com

Butt Pain

Butt pain is not cool. I’m not talking rectum pain (go see a doctor if you have this), I’m talking pain right in the middle of your booty cheek. Can’t sit, can’t walk, can’t run, can’t get comfortable! What is the cause, and how can I fix it?

No one is immune to butt pain because we all have glutes (unless your glutes were bitten off by a shark). Pain in the butt may have a few causes including pinching by the piriformis, irritation of the sciatic nerve, lumbar disc bulge, low back derangement, SI/sacrum/coccyx dysfunction, and hip arthritis.

With butt pain we can assume that the glutes and hamstrings are tight and weak. There may be some associated quadratus lumborum tightness and weakness as well as quadriceps and IT band tightness (quads are usually pretty strong in healthy adults).  No matter the cause, there are a few simple fixes that can alleviate your symptoms:

Postural Change and Correction–My soap box of all time.  SYMMETRY.  It is SO important that we balance our posture.  Every 15-30 minutes change position, get up, stand, walk, stretch.  Movement helps to shift the pressures in the spine and joints to refresh and replenish the blood supply.  The blood carries vital nutrients and oxygen in and removes waste on the way out.

*If all you do is stand all day, lay down, roll like a ball, throw your legs over your head, hang upside down…change position!

LLD–what people in the biz call leg length discrepancy.  Most people have one leg that has little man syndrome.  Do not let the little or big guy rule your posture.  Either correct or overcome the LLD.  If your SI is always “out” (the biggest PT debate of all time is if the SI really moves at all), or if you have herniated discs, or a “bad side” it’s probably because the little guy isn’t up to par.  Correct LLD by placing an extra insert into the short leg.  If this feels too weird, then you will have to consciously balance your posture by even weight distribution and postural positioning throughout the day.

Cross Training–I marathon, CrossFit and practice yoga.  I began by running, and then my PT brain told me that I needed to strengthen to prevent an over use injury so I started CrossFit.  CrossFit improved my strength, which fueled my cardiovascular health for running but then I began feeling tight and too forward flexed so yoga came to the rescue.  Yoga is the the icing on the cake.  Yoga is the ultimate balancing machine.  No matter the sport, please practice yoga.

Yoga has taught me that prayer, meditation, and a healthy spiritual practice are vital components of the cross training circuit.  Again, it’s all about finding balance.  God made us to be multi-dimensional, multi-modal, multi-talented individuals capable of anything because we house His breath, life essence, talent and creation.

Eat Healthy— A healthy diet produces good neuronal firing and decreases inflammation.  Remember these simple tips:

  1.  You can’t over eat the produce aisle:  If you eat nothing but clean meat and produce, you WILL NOT be fat…it’s impossible.
  2. Clean meat:  Organic, free range, non-GMO.  Remember you are what you eat, so if your food is eating chemicals that can melt plastic, you are too.
  3. Plan your cheat meals:  Look ahead each week and decide when you are going to be bad.  Have a kid’s birthday party with a hot dog and Cheetos buffet in the future?  Know that you aren’t going to win any health awards at that party and plan accordingly.  I would recommend no more than 3 cheat meals in a week.  You can do a cheat day, where the day is dedicated to gluttony, but I’ve found it’s wiser to plan the cheat meals based on social obligations.
  4. Eat healthy most days of the week AND consecutively:  MOST days is four days out of the week. Try to string these together if you can so that your guts get a break.  You’ll notice less pain and swelling in the these four days because your energy will be used to effectively to fire your brain, muscles, and nerves.  Your guts get really tired and cranky kicking into high gear to digest indestructible carbohydrates and GMOs on a daily basis, so they’ll request energy from other sources (like your brain, muscles, and nerves).

The Earth Diet by Liana Werner-Gray is a great reference http://theearthdiet.com/.

Relationships–Look at your relationships and life, is there a pain in your butt? Shift it, fix it, or release it (as Davidji would say).  Remember that some relationships are toxic, get over it–try to shift it, fix it, or let it go if all else fails.  Look for a future blog featuring this approach to healing taken from Davidji’s book Destressifying.

Now to the physical therapy stuff…

Stretching–Feel free to totally “Zen” out in the following stretch poses:

Child’s pose:

Spread the knees wide, let the toes touch and bend forward putting your belly between your knees.  Hold for 3-5 breaths or up to 2 minutes.  Repeat with body shifted to the right and left.

child's

 

Quadratus Lumborum stretches:

This stretch is intense so please modify if needed.  Some are flexible enough to reach the top arm to the shin or grab the toes.  If you get a quarter of the way into the stretch and feel it, good job…that’s it for you today, stay and hold.

QL

Sit on the ground with legs spread wide.  Lean to one side reaching the opposite arm over head toward the toes.  You may use a strap around the ankle to assist.  Hold 3-5 breaths or 1-2 minutes.

twisted tree
Cross one leg over the other.  Allow the top leg to pull the bottom knee down and in.  You may be flexible enough to double cross the legs to take the stretch deeper.  Relax and breathe 3-5 breaths or 1-2 minutes.
Piriformis stretches:

Cross one leg over the other, grab the uncrossed leg behind the thigh and pull forward 3-5 breaths or up to 2 minutes

piriformis2

Glute stretch pigeon pose style. You can also come to elbows, or rest your head on the ground.  3-5 breaths or 2 minutes each side.

pigeon
Spinal twist by pulling one knee across the body, shift that same shoulder out and lower the opposite shoulder to the ground to deepen.  Hold 3-5 breaths or 2-3 minutes each side.

spinal twist

Quad stretches:

I like this pose because modifications can easily be done with depth of lean back (stay propped up on hands, come to elbows, lay on pillow, lay on ground).  I can totally relax and daydream for a while in this pose.  I like to let my head fall back as well.  Hold 2-3 minutes.

quad stretch

Rolling—  Sit on a tennis ball or foam roller and hang out.  Cross one leg over the other, find that nauseating trigger point and chill for 2 minutes.  Exhale through the pain, each exhalation should exit out of the trigger point relaxing it.  Just when it feels like it will never relax is when it does, so give it time–2 minutes of time, then move on to the next trigger point.  Don’t ignore the IT band because it’s often a culprit to be dealt with as well.

Glute roll:

foam roll glute
IT band roll:

ITB foam roll

Strengthening— Just because your butt cramps and spasms tighter than a vice grip does not mean that the muscles are strong.  In fact, the majority of the time, the gluteals are weak in cases of butt pain.  Try some of the following booty tighteners (after you stretch and roll):

Standing forward bend balancing on one leg: rep it out or hold 3-5 breaths.

single leg forward bend
Bridge pose (block optional):  rep it out or hold 3-5 breaths

bridge
Pistol  Squat (a CrossFit favorite):  To perform reps, you may need to modify depth, hold on to a stable object with one hand, or use a band.  Below parallel may or may not be obtained, and that’s OK.  You may also simply hold 3-5 breaths.

pistol

Offensive Health

My mid 20’s marked the beginning of my journey to health. I was hardly an adult but I was experiencing pain that I began to identify as something that could easily spiral to chronicity. Weekly migraines, high blood pressure, viruses, infections, allergies, depression, intolerance, fatigue, neck pain and hand pain were things I didn’t think I’d experience until my golden years. My hobby became figuring out food— a BS in Biology taught me that medicine is made out of food so I figured if I ate the right things I may be able to stay out of the local Care Now.

Health can offend. I had absolutely NO CLUE that my decision to seek health and happiness may offend so many. My now husband, then boyfriend, accompanied me to Whole Foods for my first effort in transformation. He rubbed his head as I searched for a non- dairy milk, he sighed as I picked up a bottle of spirulina, and he nearly passed out when I bought almost everything in the produce aisle to prepare my meals fo
r the week. Finally, I turned to him and jokingly said, “You’re acting like I’ve decided to do crack cocaine!” We had a hearty laugh and headed to the register. Maybe he was realizing that he would be dragged into the same eating habits if he stuck with me.

One change a week was my motto. Every week I would pick something to change: Minimize dairy and eliminate milk, eat healthy grains, eliminate processed foods, rid myself of gluten, no more “juice” that isn’t really juice, read all ingredient labels, try everything in the produce aisle, experiment with one new recipe a week, read more books, do more research, and learn about organic and non-GMO food options.

Almost 10 years later my healthy habits now include yoga, meditation, exercise, use of essential oils, and homemade/chemical free household products, juicing, and incorporating alternative therapies (which I think shouldn’t be called alternative as they are the practices of our great grandparents). Yet every change continues to offend some people. I am amazed by how many conversations I’ve had trying to convince a disbelieving audience or defend my current practice. More eyes have rolled my direction than I care to count. Things that are my “Zen” and bring me happiness, and health have truly made some people irate, and I’ve lost a few friendships over it.

The norms of the world necessitate my constant tolerance, which is not always reciprocated. The planetary demands to conform have never suited me—not because I like to be different or cool but because I am drawn like anyone else to the things that bring me health, happiness, and joy. My antidepressant is exercise, my migraine deterrent is non-dairy milk, and my allergy pills are my oils and juice. Yes, I find myself in the local urgent care every now and then but it’s WAY less than the 4-5 times a year as in my early 20’s. I’ve eradicated the need for blood pressure medicine, daily Zyrtec, Flonase, Excedrine Migraine, and Celexa (an antidepressant)—yes, I was taking all of these at the ripe age of 22.

I’m sharing all of this so that you don’t feel alone if your efforts to heal and be healthy are not supported by your friends, family, coworkers, or spouse. It is my hobby, it brings me joy, and I don’t try to control anyone else’s hobby—maybe this will help it be accepted or at least tolerated. I’m extremely proud of all of the things I’ve taught myself through the wisdom of the health and alternative community (thank you Hay House radio, and the countless authors in the self-help and health/nutrition section of Half Price Books and Amazon).

XL hugs and kisses!

A New York Minute with Plantar Fasciitis

Nothing is more grounding than New York City.  Manhattan’s streets cannot be stifled even in the face of an epic blizzard. My first-hand experience during the girl’s trip of a lifetime allowed me to connect to my root in a way I could have never imagined. Every present, in the moment, minute matters in New York. Here and now…right now!  While it took me a few days to wipe the smile off of my face, and to quit excusing myself in public, I did finally fall into order. By day three, a bump on the subway awarded no human interaction or acknowledgment. I am a day dreamer, and can easily be whisked away in a bundle of lost moments. In the city that never sleeps, I noticed the inability to escape and found myself hypervigilant on the task at hand, the present minute—my safety, my whereabouts, my next stop and destination, the puddle on the ground, the color of the traffic light, the accessibility of my wallet and phone, my swift order at the counter, and the nearest Starbucks for a refuel. The days concluded with a crash into deep sleep and colorful dreams.

My deficit root chakra has left me with an absence of grounding for months, years, and possibly a lifetime. At first I hated that so many people were living so connected to the here and now, this exact minute and nothing else. The realization that it is a necessary requirement for higher cultivation surprised me. Living to appreciate and to be present in every moment is something every self-help author writes about…so maybe New York is on to something. Also, where would the world be without people connected to making it run every minute of every day? Without this necessary task to reveal our best future, we’d all be fighting for survival as oppose to day dreaming about our next get-away vacation. My misconception was that everyone’s dream job entails waking up naturally, donning yoga pants, meditating, and sharing wisdom with chosen clients or friends. The hustling business world is a dream job to many, and thank God! Just like everyone else, they must find balance, which may necessitate some time spent in elevation but I obviously lack balance in time spent grounded, preparing for the next, best moment ever.

During the trip, I had the pleasure of sharing treatment ideas for plantar fasciitis (shouldn’t be a shocker immersed in New York’s ambulatory culture). So below is the information now gifted to you! Lucky you.
Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar Fasciitis produces pain on the bottom of the foot, usually on the inside arch or the heel. Typically, pain is worse upon rising and with prolonged walking. Heel wearing individuals and runners are the target population to suffer from this problem; however, everyone’s got a Vegas’ chance of suffering from this condition. What can you do?

Shoe wear—depends on specific foot type but if I stereotype the typical sufferer a more rigid sole that rocks slightly is most beneficial versus a shoe with a small heel or wedge. Guys, think cowboy boots or dress shoes. Runners, the shoe should rock slightly when sitting flat on the ground. When buying shoes bend and twist them—the shoe that moves the least and rocks slightly is best.
Inserts—again, insert type varies by foot type. A custom orthotic from a prosthetist/orthotist may be the answer; however, a semi-rigid store bought orthotic may fit the bill as well (this is what works for me). Slowly incorporate the inserts by wearing them little by little until you can tolerate them all day. It is extremely normal to have some leg, hip or back pain because the inserts are changing your body mechanics. This should resolve in a few weeks and leave you with less pain all over.
Stretching—stretch the gastroc and soleus as shown in my previous plantar fasciitis blog at https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/05/04/pain-in-the-foot-plantar-fasciitis/.
Night Splints—these are a great solution for chronic heel wearers and sufferers, or those that get no relief from any of the above. Simply wear them at night for an eight hour plantar fascia stretch. Find them on amazon.com and refer to my plantar fascia blog at https://alternativeptfortworth.com/2015/05/04/pain-in-the-foot-plantar-fasciitis/ for more information.
Leg dominance—switch up the leg load when resting in a standing posture. Pop your hip out to the left instead of the right or vice versa.
Leg length—if you sense one leg is longer than the other, it probably is. It’s a super common occurrence. The fix? Throw an extra Dr. Scholl’s insert into the short leg’s shoe, simple as that.
Taping—watch the following video for an effective taping technique that I use called navicular sling taping as shown at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UhvESzvHliE . There are about a million other taping videos out there so feel free to use the one that brings you the most relief. When treating a patient, I may blend or modify a few techniques. I suggest Leukotape or Rocktape (amazon.com) as it is more rigid for an all-day wear. If all day wear turns into all month wear, consider custom inserts made by an orthotist.
Tension release—MEDITATE, practice quiet stillness, breath practice, spend time with God, exhale through your muscles letting energy flow out. Peppermint oil and sea salt soaks can help too. Destressify as Davidji would say!

Why Me and Why Now?!

SERIOUSLY!…no, REALLY? This cannot be happening right now…I am way too busy to deal with an injury. I can hardly take care of my family much less find time to take care of myself…and this pain. How am I going to fix this? Ever wonder why a physical injury is manifested at the worst possible time? Clarity is on the way! While listening to Hay House radio one day, I heard a snippet from a lecture given by a medical doctor turned spiritual teacher. She tells a story about discharging patients from the hospital. The night before their discharge, she would ask them to answer a few questions–something similar to the following: 1) Why do you think this happened now? 2) What was happening in your life to cause this? 3) Why do you think your (heart, ankle, foot, lung, etc…) was affected? Upon follow up the next day, she reports that every patient understood why the disease/injury occurred and what caused it. As a physical therapist, I can teach you all of the exercises, stretches, and techniques you need to recover from an injury, but the true cure and preventative strategy may be to fully understand what in your life caused the manifestation. Was it the wakeup call you needed or the factor that changed your life forever? Did it simply slow you down for a while to teach gratitude, appreciation, or grace? It may have even saved your life in the long run but the realization of the reason is likely for you to come to find. If you keep tearing ligaments or muscles, maybe you need to detach yourself from a situation. If you’ve broken more bones than you can count, maybe there’s emotional brokenness that needs attention. For constant migraines or tension, is there something you’re trying to shut out of your life or are you resisting facing a situation or accepting your life purpose? For TMJ, should you practice silence? If you were victimized in some way maybe you need to step out of that role and take charge of your life, honor yourself, find self-love. Chronic pain is the embodiment of answered prayers. God…why?! He’s trying to tell you. Start thinking about what may lay beyond the physical manifestation, what is broken spiritually, socially, or emotionally? Sometimes the cure isn’t complete alleviation but acceptance, acknowledgement and a new perspective.

The Kicker–
Literally hours after I finished this blog post, I got the phone call….the mysterious “why is my husband calling me at work” call. He was on his way to the children’s hospital with my son. Thank God it was nothing life-threatening but a clavicle fracture that should heal on its own. Why me, why now? As I stared at my angel sitting as a tiny boy on a huge cot in triage, I wrestled with why God used this to get my attention. Maybe he needs some extra cuddling from mommy and daddy, maybe it’s a lesson to our daughter not to push him (she gets in trouble constantly for bullying and pushing him—ya’ know, big sis problems), maybe he needs to learn how to take up for himself. Either way, it made me reflect not only on his physical needs but his social, spiritual, and emotional needs. It also made me thank God for…well, everything.

Holiday Magic

Holiday magic…real or not real? One of my favorite songs speaks of the magic that is within each of us. The magic within the Christmas story and Jesus’ birth continues to have human vessels. Just as the song tells us, what made mountains move, and rose Jesus from the grave is alive, and “the same power…lives in us.” Whaaatt??!!

A few years ago, I explained to my three year old that God’s magic took our doggie to heaven overnight. She looked very sad for a moment then said “I wish I had magic powers too!” I laughed at how she lamented the absence of her magical powers over the death of our dog!

Additionally, I recently explained to my children that vital essence of Santa’s magic is our ability to use our imagination to believe in the unseen.

What I’ve come to realize, is that our magic is real (my daughter will be so happy!). Through God we are more. It’s the realization that the movement of our body, our thoughts, words, and reactions can all be extensions of Him and his word if we let it. The same power alive in Jesus is very alive in us. God loves us so much, he gave us his Spirit…that’s not something you can wrap to place under the tree—it’s perfectly wrapped and placed within.

The physical therapist’s therapeutic spin–

To ignite some holiday magic, remember that the same power that creates miracles, and converts cynics is alive in you. To completely heal we must recognize, believe, and connect with the God force within. The Spirit is patiently waiting for you to spark the flame. Recent cell research has shown that the power of our mind is more determinant upon our health than genetics. Think about that! YOUR THOUGHTS determine your health more so than inheritance. So BELIEF is the key…belief that you are more, and that you can heal and co-create a miracle from within. To me, that’s a clear sign of the magical Spirit He sent to keep within.

Merry Christmas!