What a pain in the... back?
I have never had a back injury really. I mean, I have some mild scoliosis in my mid back that caused a little pain after my oldest was born, but I had decompression therapy, it felt better, and I went on about my merry way. And over the last several years, I've seen chiropractors for maintenance and some neck pain, but that's it.
Early this summer, I started getting this weird pain in my low back when I would bend over sometimes. It didn't happen every time, and once I stood up, it would go away, and I had some mild sciatic pain in my left hip that would come and go. But none of this restricted me in any way. I was teaching 3 yoga classes a week, and going about my day, business as usual.
Inevitably, the mild pains I was feeling became intense pains really quickly. Like in an instant. I was giving our puppy a bath, and I was totally fine one minute, and then not fine the next. I feel like I have a pretty high tolerance for pain, especially after all the surgeries and procedures I've been through, but this... this was intense! I couldn't move. I immediately saw the chiropractor the next morning, and she confirmed what I was thinking but just didn't want to believe. Probably a bulging disc. Well, shit.
But we were able to get the pain and discomfort under control pretty quickly with several adjustments! I was still on restrictions. No yoga. No bending. Resting as much as possible. Shortly after, that's when the nerve pain came. That little annoying sciatic pain I had been getting intensified to the point where I could barely walk because it hurt so bad.
The only thing that seems to give me relief from the nerve pain is dry needling. Which I had never heard of before, but decided to give it a try. Dry needling is when little needles (think acupuncture) are inserted into trigger points for the muscles to help them release and relax. Turns out some of the muscles in my left hip (piriformis and medial glute) and my hamstrings are SUPER tight. Which all makes sense now. About a year ago, when I was going through yoga teacher training, I noticed my left hip was a lot tighter than my right, and seemed to be getting worse despite my regular yoga practice. And even though it probably would've been more beneficial to me to take more notice and try and do something about it then, I didn't. Hindsight, ya know?
With the dry needling, I also had a dear friend come over to do a little Reiki on me and see what we could find out. Reiki is a Japanese technique used to promote healing. You can learn more about it here. She incorporated some sound healing as well, and it was wonderful! What we found is that my sacral chakra seemed blocked which can mean I'm feeling alone and unsupported. Without thinking too much, I just assumed it was from the long hours Stephen (my partner) works... but the more I sat with this thought, I began to realize that might not be it, at least not entirely. I'm sure Stephen's long hours can contribute to that sometimes, but honestly, I think I wasn't really supporting myself! Dun, dun, dunnnnnn. What I mean is, I sort of fell into the "health & wellness" world, and at first, it was so much fun! I was learning a ton and things were just clicking, and I could actually see and feel positive changes in my life and in my body. But then I got overwhelmed, scared, and hesitant. I started to doubt my knowledge and myself. And I kept thinking, "Who the hell am I to tell anyone what to do? What do I know?" Quite honestly, I still wrestle with that, and it has effected lots of aspects of my life. I've even abandoned habits and things that I knew were making my life better simply because I wasn't supporting myself and standing my ground. Not that anyone confronted me, but I know how personal food choices can be, so rather than stick to my guns, especially in social situations, I just went with the flow.
So enough. Maybe I don't know everything (spoiler alert: I definitely don't know everything!). Maybe what works for me, won't work for someone else. BUT maybe my suggestion will lead them down the path to get them to the thing that works for them! And maybe, just maybe, I need to get off this "what if" train and just get out there and share and teach!
In the meantime, I'm definitely going to figure out this back issue so I can get back on my feet and out into the world again. And why not write while I'm sitting around?