Move Your Body with Exercise, Chiropractic, Massage Therapy; or use Opioids

During the COVID-19 quarantine, I took the opportunity to exercise more since I was working from home.  As a therapist, I sit talking to clients, for 10 hours or so a day. Even though I know the more we sit the more our bodies think we are ill. But, my job is traditionally one that sits.  Before the quarantine, I would exercise in the morning, but I would only get about 3,000 to 4,000 steps before I had to get ready for work. My low back was always bothering me, so I would faithfully go to the chiropractor every week and get massages at least 1 x month to keep my body healthy.

Every time I get an adjustment, and feel some relief, I say “what do people do without chiropractic care?”  I know the answer… they just live in pain or turn to pain killers.   According to Stat News,” Among the worst is doctors’ decisions to write opioid prescriptions as a treatment for lower back pain and their patients taking these drugs. Lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for an opioid prescription, but here’s the kicker: There’s no evidence that opioids are effective at treating this problem. We still have an opioid problem, and balancing holistic methods along with medical care is one way that Integrative Medicine can help prevent opioid addiction.  And last week I had an experience that helped me understand how someone could get hooked on painkillers… after flushing the toilet. 

Now that I am working from home thanks to tele-health, I have been able to exercise longer and get the 10,000 steps in a day that I need, along with using hand weights and doing strength training.  I was feeling strong and fit! My massage therapist and my chiropractor suggested I try a new exercise to stretch my psoas (inside hip muscle) and see if that helped my back pain.   I did use it and I believe it loosened the muscles in my back.  But maybe it did it too much because last week I twisted to flush the toilet and my back went into a spasm!  I knew what to do and used a tennis ball to help relax the muscles, but the pain was still there the next day. I got right into the chiropractor and massage therapist to work out the issue and thought I was on the mend. Until the following day, I tried to pick up something that fell on the floor and then I had a pain so sharp that I could not move!  It took me a few tries to reach my phone and text “help” to my husband. Luckily, he works from home now, too.  He figured I needed a glass of water or something, but all I could do is text ‘help” again. I was on the floor and screaming with pain.  My whole body began to shake in shock, because the spasms wouldn’t stop.  This went on for an hour and a half. My family brought me the tennis ball, ice, hot rice packs, and Kleenex.  I was stuck and so scared to move. My husband and daughter finally convinced me to let them pick me up to get me off of the floor, but I wasn’t sure I could handle it. If I had not known about chiropractic care and massage therapy, I would have called an ambulance right then.  The ambulance would have taken me to the ER and I’m sure I would have gotten x-rays, muscle relaxers, and pain killers.  But that’s probably where it would have stopped. Maybe they would have suggested physical therapy, but I don’t think chiropractic would have come up.  The pain killers wouldn’t have moved my sacrum back so that my pain would decrease. And I could, very easily, have turned to pain killers to cope with my day to day activities.  What if we had a more integrative approach? What if there were a chiropractor (which could be an Osteopathic Doctor) who could adjust me in the ER?  Or if chiropractic was a part of Physical Therapy?  What if that were the first approaches in stead of a strong opioid?  Do you think that could make a difference? I do! By the way, back pain or chronic pain is one of the reasons people look to supplements and other  Complementary and Alternative treatments.  We are starting to see that we must get to the cause of the pain, not just mask it with medications. 

Then, we can look at the spiritual reasons for this episode.  I will explore this and maybe do a blog about it in the future.   I’m not sure why this had to happen to me, especially when I think, “I do so many things right”. But that is how life works, Right?  Things do happen to us, and at the time they might be very difficult physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  But the good news is, I felt like I knew what to do.  I already practice Integrative Medicine, and I knew it was a twisted sacrum from that new exercise. After my chiropractor got it in the correct position, I needed to let it rest and get stronger again. So, I got back into the chiropractor every day since then. I went to the Emergency Room and got the shot to relax my muscles. I slept as much as possible and used ice, laser therapy, along with Ibuprofen to reduce the inflammation. I did reiki on myself while I got traction.  I know that I need to take it easy. Usually, moving the body is the best approach, but when I move, the sacrum just goes out again.  It’s not time for me to start physical therapy or drive right now. There is a time to move and a time to rest.  #SelfCare…  I know what to do and I will get back on track soon!

I’m telling you this story to illustrate the benefit of Integrative Medicine and how it doesn’t mean that it’s a guarantee that we will always stay healthy and well. Nor, does it mean you will never be in pain or need pain killers. But does give you options.  It gives us a map, that we control, of how we want to help our bodies and souls heal when something does happen.  I am so grateful that I had the resources and providers in place to help me through this. But many people don’t know what to do or how to start.  As a part of the BridgeIT Movement, we want to fix that by educating each community about Integrative Medicine and help you meet your local providers.  We want you to have the best map possible for you to move through your life.  

It’s Your Health, Your Money, Your Choice. 

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