Tag Archives: meditation

Catastrophizing: Why is it ALWAYS so bad?

Last week on @LoveinActionTV on the Periscope app my sister and I talked about PTSD.  Closely linked to PTSD is catastrophizing.  These two are similar to the chicken and egg theory.  Many catastrophizers experience PTSD and many people with PTSD are catastrophizers.  So what is catastrophizing anyway?

Catastrophizing is thinking something is much worse than it actually is.  Guilty as charged.  We all do it but some people get stuck in a catastrophic wheel unable to pull the breaks, stop, and get off, which tailspins catching a multitude of other problems along the way such as:

  • Poor interpersonal relationships
  • Missed opportunities and underachievement
  • Hopelessness
  • Irrational thought patterns
  • Constant pity parties and disappointment
  • Chronic or uncontrollable pain
  • Anxiety, depression, negative mood
  • Illness
  • Suicidal ideation

I see this situation all the time in my practice as a physical therapist.  When treating acute or chronic pain, the person’s outlook on their ability to improve, heal, and move on speaks more to their prognosis than the actual diagnosis.  Those who constantly think about the situation, depend on others to give them answers, and allow one injury to segue to multiple tend to have poor outcomes no matter how simple the medical and PT diagnosis may be.

These problems can be classified into three major categories, which identifies those exhibiting catastrophizing behaviors about a situation or the future:

  • Magnification: Having fear that a situation will worsen
  • Rumination: Unable to stop thinking about the situation
  • Helplessness: The feeling that you have no power to change or improve the situation

Simple techniques get out of catastrophizing:

  • You become aware that you’re doing it!
  • Fake it. Visualize the best possible outcome and begin to act, talk, and be the reflection of greatness.
  • Take charge. Be an advocate for yourself, empower yourself as your ultimate healer.
  • Draw a line between catastrophe and something very unfortunate that you can deal with.
  • Meditate, breathe, and pray. This will increase your ability to cope with negative situations.

References

Boyls A.  What is Catastrophizing?-Cognitive Distortions  www.psychologytoday.com/blog/in-practice/201301/what-is-catastrophizing-cognitive-distortions

Grohol JM.  What is Catastrophizing?  https://psychcentral.com/lib/what-is-catastrophizing/

Quartana PJ, Claudia MC, Edwards, RR.  Pain catastrophizing:  a critical review.  Expert Rev Neurother.  2009 May; 9(5): 745-758. Doi:10.1586/ERN.09.34

**Catch Teaching & Talking with the Twins every Friday night on the Periscope app @LoveinActionTV!**

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5 Things Everyone Can Do NOW To Be Happy and Healthy

5 Things EVERYONE…despite disease, disability, and pain…can safely do NOW to create a happier, healthier life.  No need to wait until after Christmas or the New Year.  Let’s make some positive changes!

  • Eat healthy
  • Bike or swim
  • Yoga and breath practice
  • Meditate and pray
  • Create and help others

Eat healthy:  Many of you will skip this explanation because you’ve heard in a thousand times.  I hate to beat a dead horse but seriously…eat the produce aisle.

Bike or swim:  I don’t care what physical deficits or injury you may have.  One of these two will work.  In severe cases (those with para or quadriplegia or wheelchair bound) assistance may be required and the pool may be the only option.  The benefits of elevating the heartrate are phenomenal for hormonal balance, happiness, heart and lung health, and a sense of purpose and accomplishment.

Yoga and breath practice:  If yoga is too difficult, begin with breath practice.  If you are conscious and breathing, you can perform breath practice.  Research beginners breath practice, slow steady breathing, diaphragmatic breathing, or breath awareness practices.  Breath practice is a standalone practice or a great addition to a yoga practice.

Meditate and pray:  Again, if you are conscious and breathing, you can meditate and pray.  Incorporate this into your daily life.  A little bit of research on the internet or iTunes will get you plenty of free resources to use.

Create and help othersThis is the most important of the five. We must perform work to complete our human task.  It’s essential to health and wellness.  Holding a formal job is not necessary.  Each week commit a minimum of 1-2 days focusing on giving back.  Giving back creates an environment of enablement as oppose to the tangled forest of a disablement, disease, and dysfunction.  Your work can be in the form of a blogging, letter writing, and any kind of art creations to give away or sell, volunteering anywhere, or making phone calls to relatives that need social interaction.

Your schedule may look something like this:

Monday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes.  Eat Healthy

Tuesday:  Create for others (your work), meditate.  Eat Healthy

Wednesday:  Bike or swim 10-20 minutes

Thursday:  Meditate or breath practice.  Eat Healthy

Friday:  Yoga, create for others.  Eat Healthy

Saturday:  Have fun

Sunday:  Have fun

Mindful Genetic Control

genes-blog-pic

Bruce Lipton is a stem cell biologist and author of The Biology of Belief.  Through his research and publications, he explains the power our thoughts have to control our genetic expression.  This means we are not a victim to our genetic inheritance, we actually have the ability to control it through our perception.  I heard an interview with Bruce on the radio and was immediately intrigued because I’ve never heard the science, and specifically the cell biology behind the energy and power in our thoughts.  As a practitioner in the medical field with a strong interest in metaphysics, it was relieving to hear a scientifically sound explanation supporting the power of belief! I wanted to share some his key points taken from his blog.  All of Bruce Lipton’s blogs can be found at https://www.brucelipton.com/blog.

Our assumption that DNA controls cellular function has been proven untrue.  The truth, he proposes, is that DNA function and expression is reactive and controlled by the cellular environment.  He relates this to an experiment he did with stem cells.  He cloned a single stem cell and ended with many cells genetically the same.  He divided the cells into three petri dishes with three varying mediums or environments.  The cells became either muscle, fat, or bone based on the environment, not based on their genetics because, as he said, the cells were genetically identical.

Whaatt??!!

The cell’s perception of the environment opens protein-gated channels in the membrane that then cause our DNA to turn genes on or off.  So really it’s all about perception.  Perception is influenced by the level of stress.  Our genetic expression is written and rewritten based on perception causing a biological reaction to the environment.  Keep in mind that a perception is not always true.  Biological reactions come in two forms:  growth and protection.  If the environment is perceived as nutritional, growth genes are activated, if it is perceived as harmful, protection genes are activated.    When growth is activated, our immune system is fully functional, and we are ready to heal and grow; however, when protection is activated energy conservation is kicked in by supressing the immune system and shunting blood away from vital organs into the extremities, this is “fight or flight.”  The cellular goal of fight or flight is to utilize the least amount of energy to reflexively keep the body alive…no time for healing, no time for cognizant thought or memory…just survive.  Survival does not allude to any type of replenishment, pleasure, or enjoyment.  With blood being shunted away from our vital organs and the immune system supressed, it is clear how this creates an opportunistic breeding ground for disease and cancer.

Davidji, meditation guru and Hay House author, reminds us that the breath initiates the fight or flight response.  Rapid breathing sets off this autonomic response but slow steady breathing has the power to reverse it.  How easy!  A couple of slow deep breaths amidst a stressful situation will help to keep our blood chemistry primed for growth, health, and love.

Bruce Lipton also speaks to the power of quantum physics where the focus is on the unmanifest, or in other words, energy.  Energy is the only true primal essence.  Energy is the building block of the manifest.  Quantumbiology is a new science attempting to harness the energetic power held in our consciousness.  Thoughts (energy) control blood chemistry, which affects DNA expression.  Love produces a blood chemistry conducive to growth and fear a chemistry conducive to death.

Book List

Many people have asked for a list of books I’d recommend or have read.  Well…here they are!  I’ll try to keep the list updated as more are added.  Of course there are many books I’ve forgotten or can’t remember the title or author so I’d say this is a list of the most recent :).

The Impersonal Life—Joseph Benner

Talking to Heaven—James Van Praagh

Ghosts among us—James Van Praagh

Heaven and Earth—James Van Praagh

Reaching to Heaven—James Van Praagh

Looking Beyond—James Van Praagh

A Still, Small Voice:  A Psychic’s Guide to Awakening Intuition–Echo Bodine

Heaven is For Real—Colten Burpo

Destressifying–Davidji

Secrets of Meditation–Davidji

How to Think Like Einstein—Scott Thorpe

Medical Medium—Anthony William

The Bhagavad GitaSage Vyasa

The Bible—God

Using Your Chakras:  A new Approach to healing Your Life.–Ruth White

The Earth Diet—Liana Werner Gray

You Are What You Eat—Gillian McKeith

Unbound:  A Practical Guide to Deliverance—Neal Lozano

The Big Book of Angel Tarot—Doreen Virtue and Radleigh Valentine

Memories of Heaven—Wayne Dyer

Dying to be Me—Anita Moorjani

Wisdom of Scovel Shinn—Florence Scovel Shinn

Divine Magic—Doreen Virtue

Same Kind of Different As Me–Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent, and Ron Hall

Mary, Queen of Angels—Doreen Virtue

The Forgotten Promise–Sherry Wilde

The Power of Love–James Van Praagh

Life Changing Foods–Anthony William

The Shadow Effect–Deepak Chopra, Debbie Ford, Marianne Williamson

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!

The Secret

Who wants to cultivate mindfulness?  Who wants to develop a deeper relationship with God? Who wants to work on vision, intuition, and clarity?  MEDITATE!  In his book Secrets of Meditation, Davidji keeps it simple when encouraging and teaching the foundations of meditation and how to finally get started.

“Prayer is talking to God; meditation is listening.”  As a spiritual intuitive, meditation is something I’ve naturally been doing for years.  Slipping into the gap has been a hobby of mine from the time I can remember thoughts.  Now that I’ve read this book, I realize it was actually a form of sound meditation.  Ever since I can remember, I have the “gift” of drifting off.  How do I do this?  Certain sounds and vibrations take me away.  I simply listen to the vibration of a lawn mower, the air conditioner, someone’s tapping pencil, the water faucet, the dogs barking…and I’m off.  The utilization of honoring the vibration of sound has always quieted my mind.  My co-workers are amazed at my focus and ability to day dream in the most crowded and busiest of environments.  The ability to disconnect from the world and connect to the collective consciousness or higher self has set the stage and cultivated my understanding and acceptance of the world and that which is beyond.

Here’s my brief summary

Meditation has many benefits.  Our physiology, psychology, and biochemistry change.  We eliminate knee jerk reactions and replace them with conscious, purposeful reactions.  The production of stress hormones, heart and respiratory rates, and platelet production decreases and our immune system, sex hormones, and growth hormones increase.  There are many more transformative benefits of meditation that can only be discovered by starting a practice.

There are many methods of meditation that include biofeedback, the use of a mandala, Buddhist meditation, chanting, primordial sound, and breath awareness to name a few.  Meditation is not a religious practice, it simply unifies you with your higher, enlightened self and brings many closer to God.

Meditation employs concepts based in yoga, which means union, pure being, and acts to provide mental cultivation that resonates with unconditional love and compassion.  A mantra or chant acts as a mind vehicle to get us where we’re meditatively and wakefully going.  It allows the meditator to disconnect from the sounds or words and enter into the space between thoughts known as the gap that is beyond labels.  To pick a mantra, simply go with what resonates and vibrates with you now.  Here are a few examples he gives:

  • Aham brahmasmi—I am the universe
  • Moksha—I am emotionally free
  • I am or So Hum
  • Om or Aum—the sound of the universe
  • Yogastha Kuru Karmani—established in oneness perform action
  • Trust

What is the gap?  It’s the space between thoughts, which is where you find you.  The gap reveals your unbound potential.  You are not defined by your thoughts, and you cannot tell you are in the gap until your thoughts bring you out of your meditative state.

Stop trying, stop expecting just keep up the practice!  Don’t let thoughts, sounds, and sensations distract you.  Simply let them be.  We are human and cannot avoid experiencing any of these.  Simply witness it, accept it, and let it go returning back to the mantra, which can always override the others.  “Let it come; let it go; be unconcerned.”

You know you’re a successful meditator if any of the following happen:  You fall asleep, you have dancing thoughts, or you drift into stillness and silence known as being in the gap.  The gap opens up infinite possibilities, which you can materialize when your eyes open.  Through meditation the understanding and acceptance of life develop and deepen.  Meditation allows you to simply BE not just DO.  In fact DOing hinders the experience.

Here’s how to start a successful practice:

RPM—rise, pee, meditate 10-30 minutes.  Ritualize the practice, do this every day for 21-40 days.  You may also…

RAW—right after work, meditate an additional 10-30 minutes.

What I’ve learned after 21 days of meditation

  • Sometimes I’m in the gap, sometimes I’m not.
  • Sometimes I never find the gap.
  • Sometimes I can’t say the mantra very loud. Sometimes I whisper it, sometimes I just think it.
  • Sometimes I fall asleep…and snore.
  • I need environmental sounds playing while I meditate.
  • Sometimes I have to jog on the treadmill before I meditate because I’m very sleepy at 5:30am! So RRPM (rise, run, pee, meditate)
  • I need a blanket every time. Anytime I’m uncomfortable, I adjust.
  • Sometimes I sit, sometimes I lie down. I keep my legs however they are most comfortable.
  • Sometimes I have intense visualizations filled with people, animals, nature, and symbols, but most of the time I don’t—I just appreciate the vibration of the mantra and my voice.

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