I have been absent on this blog for quite some time. Please accept my apology. Life has had quite a few twists and turns for me.
Most importantly, I am ‘back on track’…physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I’d like to get you up to date on what’s been happening in my world. I can’t do it all at once, but here is a summary below.
Let me start by saying that I have been recovering from Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) which I was diagnosed with in August 2013.
I had what the medical staff at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital described as a severe case. It is a rare condition where the body’s immune system attacks the nervous system thinking it was attacking the virus.
My nervous system shut down and I was paralysed from the neck down. This included not being able to talk, swallow, eat, drink, breathe, urinate, defecate on my own. It all had to be done through some sort of machine. This was quite scary in the beginning, confronting, challenging and an experience that I will never forget. It was a near death experience (NDE) that has changed my life in many, many ways.
The rehabilitation and recovery has been a very long, slow process. I heard it described as 1 mm/day and I think that is about right. But looking back, those millimetres add up! So with patience, determination, faith, trust, love and support, I am well and truly on the way to recovery.
There is so much that I have learned from going through GBS that I feel inspired to share with others if they are interested. I can actually say I feel blessed for going through GBS as I am now recovering and am on the other side of such a horrific experience.
In future posts, I will be sharing different things that I would like to share, including some different health tips, recipes, ideas and thoughts on what comes across my path in daily life.
I am on the road to recovery, and while I am not 100% yet, I am far from where I was in August
2013 when I was first diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome.
How many times have you said to yourself or heard someone say: “My joints hurt when it gets cold or damp”?
There is a popular belief that weather affects arthritis. But is there any proof of this?
It’s been unusually cold in Perth this Winter, and patients have asked this question numerous times. Let me shed some light on this…
Arthritis can occur as a result of injury, when cartilage is damaged. This is known as traumatic arthritis. It can also occur as a result of “wear and tear” over time. This is the most common form of arthritis, and is called osteoarthritis, aka degenerative arthritis. There are also other diseases in which the body’s immune system forms antibodies which attack the cartilage in joints. The most well-known of these types of arthritis is called rheumatoid arthritis. This shouldn’t be confused with the term “rheumatism”, which has taken on the meaning of any aches or pains related to aging, or weather.
So what about the effects of weather? Some studies have demonstrated a worsening of arthritis symptoms with low barometric pressure and high humidity. There is a theory that low pressure systems, usually associated with damp or rainy conditions, could cause joints to swell. The swelling causes stiffness of the joints, as well as pain. High humidity may have an effect through other mechanisms.
Key: Keep the Muscles Warm and Loose
We know that arthritis symptoms can be worse when the muscles around the joint aren’t strong or supple enough. Cold weather stiffens muscles, so this may also worsen arthritis symptoms. I believe this is the key here. The muscles really need to be kept warm and loose.
Each person is different in how weather can affect them. Some people say they can predict rain based on their arthritis, and others say that they feel worse during or after a storm. This simply shows that the correlation between weather and arthritis is poorly understood.
There’s no actual evidence that weather actually causes damage to joints, and there’ s no more arthritis in the population in rainy, damp climates than there is in dry, sunny climates!
So keeping all this in mind, here are a few tips to deal with arthritis:
Keep joints warm. Dress warmly in cold weather, scarves and gloves are effective; and stretch once warmed up for cold-weather activity.
If you feel your arthritis symptoms worsen in specific weather, try to avoid heavy activity at those times. Even if nobody can prove that arthritis and weather are related, if you feel that it does affect you, then listen to your body and act accordingly.
Last Monday, the 22nd of March 2010 was a day that the people of Perth, Western Australia will remember for many years to come. The heavens opened up and it rained, then poured and then started sending hail that ranged from the size of golf balls to cricket balls. Some escaped damage, and others had the unfortunate circumstances of wrecked cars or homes damaged from water or hail that viciously came through windows, ceilings, walls or backed up onto floors and gardens.
Here is a brief video that a local shot on the day of the storm for those of you who were not here in Perth to experience it, or if you wish to ‘re-live’ the experience.
The purpose of this blog post was not to elaborate on the damage, the wrecked cars, the numerous amounts of insurance claims now in queues, but to share with you my true inspiration from the storm.
The Sunset After The Storm which was the day after, was one of the most breathtaking I can remember. I ran to get my camera and capture the sky with it’s most magical hues of pink, orange and red.
This to me is reflective of life. The ups and downs of life are representative of a storm. Emotions like rage, anger and hate can be shades of black and grey and be so dim. Going through rough periods can make you feel like you’re in a black hole, falling down a dark tunnel, bleak and even fearful. The sky that late afternoon got so dark around 5:00pm, that you thought it was midnight. The power went out creating even more darkness and quietness which was quite eerie. Amazingly enough, it was such a different sound compared to the ‘buzzing’ that is constantly surrounding us. It was also another reminder how we take things for granted like electricity, which we have grown so dependent on.
On the other side of the spectrum, to balance out that dark, black vicious sky – the most amazing brightness that painted the sky literally made me stop and give thanks for the many blessings in my life.
I quote my mentor, Dr John Demartini, “Nothing has ever happened or can happen to you that is not a gift and a blessing, but it’s difficult to be thankful until you find the hidden benefit in what may seem at first to be a negative event. Gratitude makes you present with whatever you are doing.”
I’ve learned that it is more than just being positive, or thinking positive. It’s about being truly grateful for what is, as it is. Not living in the guilt of the past, or fear of the future, but truly in the present…that’s why they call it a gift :-).
Balance comes from focusing on what we have in our lives that we are grateful for. I’ve been consciously asking myself, when I catch a negative thought, or complaint in action. Is this an empowering thought, or a disempowering thought? We have the power and the choice to change that. It doesn’t have to dominate. Choosing which way is so liberating.
So whatever storm you may be going through in life, ask yourself: Am I acting in an empowering way, or a disempowering way? Are my thoughts empowering or disempowering? If I want a different outcome, the first major step is to change my thoughts and the rest will follow.
Choose to see the sunset, appreciate the sunset, be grateful for the sunset, rather than focusing on the storm – the darkness, the destruction, the damage. Look for your ‘Sunset After The Storm’….good luck on your journey!
Happy 2010! It sure has gotten off to a very fast start. I feel like it just rolled in and we’re getting ready to turn the page on the calendar to February. One of the most significant things that has happened in my life as a female chiropractor, is the 2 new chiropractors that have joined my team at Hillarys Chiropractic.
When The Teacher Is Ready, The Student Appears
I have taken on a mentoring role in the practice with 2 new associate chiropractors. They are both vibrant, enthusiastic and eager to learn. I am committed to assisting them while they embrace and develop into being the best chiropractors that they can be. With the experience and wisdom of my years in practice, I plan to share and nurture that chiropractic spirit in them to love, give and serve the patients to the best of their ability.
When the Student Is Ready, The Teacher Appears
One of the new mentorees has been a wellness patient of mine for many years. His understanding of the chiropractic paradigm and commitment to helping people is from the heart. The other mentoree I had the pleasure of meeting through the other, as they went through the chiropractic course together. His heart and commitment matches the core values, mission, vision statement of our practice.
Mentoring is a mutually beneficial relationship that involves a more experienced person helping a less experienced person to achieve their goals.
Mentoring provides a unique opportunity to contribute to a student’s career development by sharing knowledge you have acquired through years of experience.
focuses on the needs of the person being mentored
fosters caring and supportive relationships within the workplace
encourages the person being mentored to develop to their optimum potential
As a mentor, the role is one that instructs, helps and guides another in the process of gaining knowledge, understanding and skills. I want to take this a step further – pointing to something that is already present in the student. It is like teaching someone to have shoulders. You can’t really teach someone who already has shoulders, to have shoulders. However, you can make them more aware of the shoulders they already have.
A mentoring relationship is usually where one wiser and more experienced person assists another person to grow and learn. Humans from the beginning of time have learned norms, values and behaviours by the example and coaching of others.
New adaptations of mentoring allows individuals to interact as colleagues in a helping relationship, on a more equal basis which can cultivate growth and learning to mutual benefit.
Experience, skills and a genuine desire to help are more valuable assets in a mentoring relationship than age or position. Open and assertive communication and the trust of both parties are essential.
Benefits to the Practice
• Greater productivity
• Discovery of talent
• Development of leadership for future survival and prosperity
• Communication of values, goals and plans
• Increase in morale and motivation
• Demonstration of personal and professional standards
• Achievement of excellent service
• Implementation of equity initiatives
• Fostering of shared values and team work
• Enhancement of leadership and people management skills
• Revitalised energy
• Increase in staff satisfaction
• Building a learning organisation
Benefits to the Mentoree
• Development of potential
• Increased knowledge about the practice
• Flexibility – Mentorees negotiate with their mentors to work within available time and other commitments
• Self directed learning – Mentorees choose specific learning objectives
• Give and receive feedback
• Receive encouragement and support to achieve goals
• Develop new networks
• Develop new and/or different perspectives
• Get assistance with ideas
• Demonstrate strengths and explore potential
• Develop visibility within or outside an organisation
• Be challenged to use talents and share expertise
• Develop and increase self confidence
Benefits to the Mentor
• Obtain a greater understanding of the barriers experienced at lower levels of the practice
• Enhance their own skills in coaching, counselling, listening and modelling
• The sense of being needed and recognised professionally
• Develop and practise a more personal style of leadership
• Gain additional recognition and respect
• Learn new perspectives and approaches
• Contribute something to others in the organisation
• Extend professional networks
• Demonstrate expertise and share knowledge
Both partners in the mentoring relationship benefit. Learning must be a lifelong process and one of the most effective ways to learn is to assist in the development of others. The best teachers learn much from their students, counsellors constantly learn from clients and partners in any successful relationship grow and develop along the way.
I look forward to our journey ahead, and trust that all will benefit in many forms.
During pregnancy, there are incredible changes occurring in a woman’s body and the creation of delicate new life within. The significance of pregnancy cannot be over stated. Chiropractic care during pregnancy is focused on caring for both mother and unborn baby.
Studies have shown women who have consistent chiropractic care throughout their pregnancies have shorter and less painful labours, with fewer complications and fewer interventions.
I can speak from experience not only as a chiropractor, but 12 years ago as a pregnant patient myself. I am fortunate to have experienced the health benefits from chiropractic care personally, and passed on to my child as well.
Why is Chiropractic care important during pregnancy?
The nervous system is like the “electricity” for the body. It supplies this “electricity” to every body system including the reproductive system. Therefore, keeping the spine aligned helps the entire body work more effectively. This is true throughout all stages of life, and very important throughout pregnancy for a woman. Chiropractic care is also a drugless way to manage symptoms of pregnancy, such as back pain. A common misconception is that back pain during pregnancy is “normal”. Back pain is not normal, it is only common.
A few aspects of pregnancy that may lead to spinal misalignments:
Rapid increase/decrease in weight
Changes in sleep patterns & positions
Altered appetite and eating habits
Loosening of body ligaments to allow for growth and labour
Flat feet/pronation due to weight gain/loose ligaments
Emotional changes (hormonal shifts/new family stress)
Not only does what you eat and drink during pregnancy affect the unborn baby, but the way you sleep, sit, stand, walk, drive and handle stress will affect the baby too. Your baby needs your nervous system to be functioning optimally in order to develop correctly.
Is chiropractic care safe during pregnancy?
The answer is Yes! There are no known contraindications to chiropractic care throughout pregnancy. General wellness of women who are pregnant or trying to conceive is a routine treatment.
Chiropractors that have been trained to work with pregnant women may use tables that adapt to suit a pregnant woman’s body, and will use special techniques that avoid unneeded pressure on the abdomen. Exercises and stretches that are safe to use during pregnancy are recommended by chiropractors to compliment any adjustments made to your spine.
Why should I have chiropractic care during pregnancy?
During pregnancy, there are several anatomical and physiological changes that occur to the woman’s body. The following changes could result in a misaligned spine or joint:
Protruding abdomen and increased back curve (lumbar lordosis)
Establishing pelvic balance and alignment is another reason to obtain chiropractic care during pregnancy. When the pelvis is misaligned it may reduce the amount of room available for the developing baby. A misaligned pelvis may also make it difficult for the baby to get into the best possible position for delivery. When the pelvis or lumbar spine is misaligned, there are also increased chances of developing back pain, groin pain or sciatica.
What are the benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy?
Chiropractic care during pregnancy can include a variety of health benefits for women who are pregnant. Potential benefits of chiropractic care during pregnancy include:
Maintaining a healthier pregnancy
Controlling symptoms of nausea
Reducing the time of labour and delivery
Relieving back pain, neck pain or joint pain
Preventing a potential caesarean section
What about chiropractic care and breech deliveries?
The late Larry Webster, D.C., Founder of the International Chiropractic Paediatric Association, developed a specific chiropractic analysis and adjustment which enables chiropractors to establish balance in the pregnant woman’s pelvis and reduce undue stress to her uterus and supporting ligaments. This balanced state in the pelvis makes it easier for a breech baby to turn naturally. The technique is known as the Webster Technique.
After your pregnancy, chiropractic can help to ensure that the loosened ligaments and joints to get back into their proper places. A spinal check-up is recommended for mother and baby to assist in enabling optimal nervous system function.
Which one, you may ask….in fact, many of my chiropractic patients ask me all the time which is best. Well, questions like this always depends on the individual and their personal needs. Both Yoga and Pilates work in supporting your body, mainly the muscular system. Core muscle strength is one of the Health Benefits of Yoga and Pilates.
A little background from a chiropractic perspective:
The muscles of the abdomen, the back and the buttocks all support the spine. These are the core muscles. If these core muscles are weak, they often contribute to the root of back pain, especially lower back pain.
Muscles are the spine’s main support system. Strengthening the muscles that support the spine with exercises can assist in preventing, reducing and even eliminating back pain.
Strong abdominal muscles (primarily the deep abs) are as important as strong back muscles for supporting the lower back and preventing lower back pain. Strong quadriceps (front of thigh muscles) are important to prevent back injuries when lifting. Proper lifting techniques involve using your legs. If your legs are weak, you may end up using your back, which can lead to injury.
Shortened muscles can throw the spine out of alignment and cause back pain. Stretching exercises lengthen shortened muscles and help to relieve back pain. Tight back muscles, tight buttocks muscles, and even tight hamstrings (back of thigh muscles) or quadriceps (front of thigh muscles), can affect the alignment of the spine. Stretching the back with stretching exercises also increases mobility of the joints of the spine.
Flexible and strong muscles help maintain proper posture and prevent back strains and sprains.
Here are the basic differences to help give a better understanding between Yoga and Pilates.
Yoga is aimed to unite the mind, the body, and the spirit. Yoga’s view is that the mind and the body are one, and that if it is given the right tools and taken to the right environment, it can find harmony and heal itself. Yoga therefore is considered therapeutic. It helps you become more aware of your body’s posture, alignment and patterns of movement. It makes the body more flexible and helps you relax even in the midst of a stress stricken environment. Benefits include feeling more fit, more energetic, balanced and peaceful. Your own body’s weight is used for resistance from one posture into another. There are several different Yoga styles. It boils down to personal preference and individual needs.
One example and a common one is Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga makes use of modified yoga poses that are designed to enhance healing, flexibility and strength of joints. The poses also intend to promote the feeling of well-being and strength. The emphasis of this branch of Yoga practice is on coordinating breath and movement. Practices may also include meditation, reflection, study and other classic elements.
Pilates is aimed at reaching similar goals with a series of controlled movements. The major difference is that the Pilates technique has a full complement of mat work, as well as incorporates work on the Pilates machines. The emphasis of the exercises is to strengthen the abdominals, improve posture, stabilise and lengthen the spine, improve balance and overall strength.
Pilates works the whole body, emphasizing control, precision and concentration in both the mind and the body. The focus is on quality not quantity, so movements are not performed rapidly or repeated excessively. The abdominal muscles, lower back and buttocks (“powerhouse”) serve as the centre of all movement, allowing the rest of the body to move freely. This focus on core stabilization makes one stronger from the inside out and is critical for advancement. The low impact nature of Pilates makes it ideal for injury prevention and rehabilitation. The balance between strength and flexibility creates a healthy, vigorous and symmetrical workout for all muscle groups resulting in a leaner, more balanced, and stronger body.
Are you still left with a question of which of these two fitness techniques is right for you? Here’s an answer for you: do them both! You don’t necessarily have to choose. The nature of the techniques makes it easy for them to complement each other. Get the stretch from Yoga and keep it from Pilates. Strengthen your abdominals and watch your poses improve. Join the breathing techniques of Pilates and meditative aspect of Yoga into your daily routine and see the stress of your everyday life begin to dissipate. Both techniques are time-proven and established, and with the help of an experienced instructor, you will surely reach the goals you set up for yourself!
Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or “IBS” for short – This seems to have been a “buzzword” for quite some time now. I remember first hearing it and thinking to myself, “sounds like an unknown that needs a label!” Well, I think most people have heard this term now, but the following are the symptoms associated with IBS:
Abdominal Pain or Discomfort
This is really an umbrella term, with many different conditions and diagnoses associated with it. The most common are:
Coeliac (Celiac) Disease
Having one or more of the above conditions can be a roadblock to your health and wellness, if not addressed properly.
Lactose intolerance is not only a well known condition but very common. It is where a person doesn’t have appropriate levels of lactase, the enzyme required for the breakdown of lactose (milk sugar). For people with lactose intolerance, eating lactose can cause symptoms of bloating, stomach cramps, loose stools, diarrhoea, nausea and flatulence. Avoiding dairy products such as milk, cheese, yoghurt and ice cream will decrease the amount of lactose in the diet and therefore decrease the symptoms.
Lesser known, but making more headlines lately is Fructose Malabsorption. It is similar to lactose intolerance but with Fructose Malabsorption, a person has impaired ability to absorb fructose, (fruit sugar). This results in fructose passing through the intestines and being fermented by bacteria, causing both gastrointestinal symptoms (abdominal bloating/cramps, constipation, loose stools, diarrhoea or flatulence) and increased proliferation of certain intestinal bacteria and yeast which metabolise fructose.
The most common fruits with high fructose that should be avoided are: apples, pears, guavas, mangoes, watermelon, lychees, pawpaw.
Note, Fructose Malabsorption is not to be confused with Fructose Intolerance. Fructose Intolerance is a hereditary condition in which there are deficient liver enzymes to break fructose up. In patients with Fructose Malabsorption, the small intestine fails to absorb fructose properly. This results in excess hydrogen caused by an overgrowth of otherwise normal intestinal bacteria.
Coeliac Disease is from an intolerance to gluten. It is a disease of malabsorption (nutrients not absorbed properly) as well as having an abnormal immune reaction to gluten. Coeliac Disease can be hereditary. The small intestine is unable to absorb nutrients from food. Diagnosis can be difficult because of the similarity of other symptoms, but blood tests are used to help in the diagnosis.
With all of these, Lactose Intolerance, Fructose Malabsorption and Coeliac Disease, you may start by being your own detective and making a food diary; noting which foods trigger which symptoms can be very helpful. This can help strengthen the practitioner-patient relationship.
Let me encourage you if you have any of these symptoms to start listening to your body and taking note. Then seek a health practitioner to assist in the proper diagnosis and management to get you on the path of health and wellness.
Chiropractic treatment has helped in many cases to reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms, allowing patients to lead more active lives; however chiropractic cannot cure these diseases.