I am starting Living the 21 Day Self-Care Challenge. Yesterday I wrote a post explaining this challenge and it’s importance to me, and hopefully it inspires many to take time to make self-care a priority in their lives.
Today was about pain, and respecting the pain, and making a plan to hopefully prevent some pain in the future. I was getting daily migraines and made an appointment with a chiropractor, since in the past they have always helped manage migraines from neck strain, work sitting positions, etc. I took X-Rays of my neck, back and had to wait to get the results. I went into the office yesterday and immediately the Chiropractor said “I have a few pamphlets I want you to read in order to understand things we will go over in the scan.” Ok……well upon a mere glance of the pamphlets I see the words “Subluxation degeneration” with the pictures shown below:
Terrifying when at first glance. I read further that: Subluxation is a chiropractic term used to describe what happens when one or more bones of the spine (vertebrae) moves out of position and creates pressure on or irritate spinal nerves.” This would make sense, from my symptoms, and my past with chiropractors, I have been told my neck is an issue that needs maintenance, because when they move out of position, the pressure can cut off the blood flow to the head, often triggering migraines. As I continue to sit there, I am wondering why I wasn’t told which phase I was in. I tweet to get out my anxiety, I text my mentee saying I am semi freaking out. Finally I am called into the room, and he says “let’s go over the pamphlet so you can understand when I put your scans up.” WHAT? Seriously this man doesn’t know me or get that I want to know NOW what stage I am in, how bad it is, and what I can do. I need to solve this. Not discuss in length each stage before I know what stage I am even in. So I mostly listen, and understand that when you are stage 2 and greater you cannot go back to normal, and can only maintain. Here is a quick link explaining subluxation, the Phases, and consequences of each phase.
Basically this is what the chiropractor shows me:
See how it leans to the left a bit? For years I have been told my left shoulder is higher than the right one, but no one thought to tell me why, or how to fix this with adjustments. He said over time it will be adjusted back to normal. Phew.
Normal Healthy Neck:
See it has a natural curve, and equal healthy spacing in between the vertebrae. That is key.
No curve. And near my 5th vertebrae the space between the one next to it has lessened. This is due to pressure on the vertebrae, which would be concerning over time, with further degeneration. This is Phase/Stage I.
He said he was honestly glad it was only in the 1st Phase. He was also glad he didn’t see a reversed spine curve. Nearly 80% of people in this Phase have NO pain. He said it was a good thing I have pain, in order to see and try to reverse and maintain a healthy natural curve.
So this was my day 1 of self-care. Getting results that were a bit scary, but grateful they aren’t permanent. It included creating a plan of attack for how to approach the situation in the short-term and in the future at a maintenance level. I feel comfortable and safe with this chiropractor and am grateful he took the time to explain to me, ask me what I would feel was the best approach for me, and give recommendations. I will be going 3 times this week in total, and each time it makes me feel better. My migraines were at once a day, or more. They are now down to once every other day or every three days. That is a HUGE improvement. While I know my migraines due to weather and hormone triggers will need other approaches, I feel this will limit the migraines over time due to sitting at a desk all day, being an accountant and using a mouse, being on two monitors, and blogging at home sitting on the floor. I have adjustments to make, I have a game plan, and I feel committed to this part of my self-care.
In the end, self-care is important because it is a commitment to MY health, body, mind and spirit, and in the end that is the most important thing in my life. I have made this small 21 day commitment to give myself structure, and accountability to be forced to do it. I know over time it will get easier and easier to do without reminder, and will become natural. For now I admit and am ok admitting I have to remind myself on a daily basis to make a commitment to my health.
How have you practiced self-care today???