Should I get a cortisone injection?

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Has your doctor recommended a cortisone injection to help relieve your shoulder pain?

Are you wondering why you would get a cortisone injection and what they do?

Then let’s start there! Your doctor may recommend that you have a cortisone injection if you have a painful muscle or joint that is inflamed. The cortisone is injected directly into the muscle or joint and decreases the inflammation. You see, cortisone is a powerful anti-inflammatory. By decreasing the inflammation, the pressure in the muscle or joint will also be decreased. Once the pressure is decreased you will feel a decrease in the pain.

Decreased inflammation = decreased pressure + time = decreased pain

Do cortisone injections really work?
While the theory for cortisone injections is sound the research tells another story. A recent study concluded that “corticosteroid injections provide – at best – minimal transient pain relief in a small number of patients with rotator cuff tendinosis and cannot modify the natural course of the disease”. Which means that the cortisone injection may help decrease pain in the short term but will not provide the long term benefits needed to heal a rotator cuff issue.

A different study from the Annals of Internal Medicine compared 3 steroid injections with Physical Therapy treatment. This study found that both groups reported a 50% improvement in pain and disability after one year. However, the steroid injection group had more return visits to their primary care doctor and a higher request for additional steroid injections. Basically, Physical Therapy was able to provide the same benefits while decreasing the number of doctor visits after treatment and decreasing the need for drugs.

Are there any side effects from a cortisone injection?

YES! It has long been known that steroid injections lead to degeneration of the soft tissues of the area it is injected into, potentially leading to tendon tears in the future. That cortisone injection you get today to deal with a rotator cuff tear leads to a weakening of the rotator cuff muscles which increases the risk of further tears in the future.

AND, the medical community is starting to question if cortisone injections into joints actually leads to an increased risk of arthritis. A recent report in Radiology observed patients who had previously received steroid injections and found that some of the patients exhibited further joint damage on medical imaging tests. This study is concerning to those who have been told they need to have an injection to decrease pain from arthritis.

PLUS, there are other potential side effects from a cortisone injection including muscle weakness, slow wound healing, and high blood pressure. Just to name a few! The cortisone is injected locally but travels throughout your body and can cause problems to other systems.

Would you prefer a completely natural way to treat your shoulder pain?

Physical therapy offers a more holistic approach to treating your shoulder pain. It is true that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Our treatment model is entirely based around addressing the root cause of your pain instead of just providing temporary relief. This allows us to be non-invasive, movement-based, and entirely customized to YOU.

If you have been told that you need a cortisone injection to deal with your shoulder pain we would like you to get informed about other options. We offer a completely natural route to get your shoulder moving again. Want to find out how? Then schedule a FREE 20 minute Discovery Visit to talk with one of our specialists now.

Do you have Shoulder Pain?

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Do you have pain when you reach into the cabinet for your favorite coffee cup?

Do you struggle to lift your arm to put on deodorant or wash your hair?

Are you limited with your arm motions due to pain?

You may be struggling with “shoulder impingement”.  What does that mean?

Well, the shoulder is a complex structure made up of bones, muscle, tendons, and ligaments.

The bones involved are the humerus (even though shoulder impingement isn’t funny!), the collar bone (AKA – clavicle), and the shoulder blade.  Yes, the shoulder blade (or scapula) must be included when you are discussing the bones of the shoulder.  See, the shoulder blade has to move or else the rest of the bones and muscles can’t move correctly.

Also, there is a bony part of the shoulder blade called the acromion.  This part of the shoulder blade makes up the top part of your shoulder.

Put you hand right on the top of your shoulder. Do you feel that bony part right at the edge of your shoulder?  Just before your hand falls of the shoulder.  That is called the “acromion process”.

The acromion process is super important because it creates the “top” of the shoulder.  The humerus makes up the “bottom” of the shoulder.

In between the acromion process and the humerus is an open space.  What is in this space?  Several things!

  1. Tendons – these attach muscle to bone. The muscles are on the shoulder blade and attach into the humerus.
  2. Ligaments – these attach bones to each other. There are tons of ligaments in this area attaching all those bones together.  They can get tight and hold the bones too close together.
  3. Bursa – these are sacks filled with fluid. They are found in between muscles and bones.  Bursa help keep the muscles from scraping on the bone.  But, when they get inflamed they can get too big.  This is called bursitis.

The tendons, ligaments, and bursa are all together in the very small space between the shoulder blade and the humerus.  Normally, this is fine and we can do everything we want.  However, when one of them starts misbehaving or gets swollen, trouble ensues.

You start to have pain when you are trying to lift your arm up.  Initially it may just be a little bit of pain and you can move through it.  Over time the pain increases as you try to continue reaching for your coffee cup, put on deodorant, wash your hair, or grab the cookie jar you put up high to keep the kids out of it.

Then you have a full blown shoulder impingment.  It gets to the point that any time you reach your arm up it becomes painful.  This is very limiting to all of your activities and frustrating to many people.

The great news is that there is an easy solution that doesn’t involve pain killers, expensive procedures, or even surgery.  It’s called Physical Therapy.

We look at your shoulder and figure out what started the problem in the first place.  We then develop a plan to eliminate the shoulder pain and restore normal motion in your shoulder.  The final step is giving you some exercises that you can do to help your shoulder move better.

Don’t worry, the exercises are never painful and we make sure you can do them at home!  Unless you don’t want to.  If you want to come into our clinic and do your exercises then we can do that too!

If you are suffering from shoulder impingement please know that there is help.  You can access Physical Therapy without having to see a doctor.  We can tell you if what you have is shoulder impingement and develop a plan to get you back to a pain-free life.

What’s the first step?  Simply click here and fill out a short contact form.  We will be in touch to get you on your way back to your favorite coffee cup in no time.

Sciatica in 2020

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When I graduated from Physical Therapy school 20 years ago there were 3 indisputable facts:

  • The brain stayed the same throughout your life.
  • The disks in your spine never healed.
  • Nerves could not regenerate.

Oh, what a difference 20 years can make.  Research has taught us:

  • The brain can make new pathways and even repair itself.
  • Disks in your spine DO heal!
  • Nerves often regenerate AND your body can form new nerves.

These 3 factors are critical in our understanding of how to treat sciatica in 2020.

You see, the sciatic nerve is the big nerve that travels down the back of your thigh before splitting just above your knee to cover your calf area.  Along the way there are many places the sciatic nerve can have pressure put on it or get stuck.

The sciatic nerve is like a long hose that starts in your low back and goes down into your toes.  The information that is sent through the nerve is like the water flowing through the hose.  If the hose gets “kinked” it becomes more difficult for the information to travel down along the hose.

This can result in pain, tight muscles, feelings of numbness or tingling, difficulty walking, difficulty sitting, or inability to sleep due to not being able to find a relieving position.

Sciatica pain brings many people to my door as they are looking for a way to be able to do what they want to do without this constant pain.  Some people travel for work and have become afraid to travel because they don’t know if they can even make it through the airport.  Some people are teachers who can’t stand as needed to teach their students.  I have worked with engineers who are unable to focus on their work due to pain with sitting.

As you can see the sciatic nerve can affect many different aspects of life and each person may have a different limitation placed on them.  How can this be if it is the same nerve that is being affected?

Well, the sciatic nerve travels a long path and different people get a “kink” in different areas of the hose.  That is why a complete discussion and evaluation of your symptoms is so very important.  There is not one way to treat the sciatic nerve that works for everyone.

However, there is one specific way that will work for you.  We just need to uncover the truth behind your sciatic nerve pain and understand the treatment path that will work for you.  Every BODY is different and everybody deserves to be treated in the best way that works for them.  Not for your neighbor, family member, or the way Dr. Google recommends.

If you are ready to start finding specific treatments that will work for you and your body, we are here to be your guides along that path.  PT4EB was designed to offer you the time, space, and one-on-one care to focus on your body and your goals.

Do you need an MRI?

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I recently had a new patient start working with me who had low back pain. When he first arrived, he was very frustrated that his doctor had not ordered an MRI.

“How can you know what’s really going on if you don’t have an MRI report to look at?” he asked me.

“My doctor told me that I didn’t need an MRI because it would just show that I had degeneration and he already knows that,” he told me.

Clearly this man was frustrated and you may be too. So, let’s clear up these two question by discussing why doctors are ordering fewer MRI’s for low back pain and what this means for your low back pain.

MRI’s became common in the 1980’s in America. The MRI machine became a tool to be able to “see inside” the patient and find out what was truly going on. This greatly aided diagnosis and treatment because the MRI is able to look at soft tissue structures including muscles, ligaments, tendons, and organs.

Previously, the medical community had only had X-ray which shows any bony issues but does not show soft tissue abnormalities.

The MRI machine became extremely popular because of its ability to accurately show what was going on in INSIDE the person’s body, thus making diagnosis of the issue and treatment much more predictable. What a huge bonus to the medical community and to the patients!

Low back pain has long been a “mystery” to the medical community. It affects 80% of people at some time in their life but it affects people differently. Some people report sharp pain while others have dull pain. Some people have pain with sitting while others have pain with activity.

So, what is really going on inside that low back?

This new tool, the MRI, was put into action to find out the answers. And, it did it’s job. MRI’s found herniated disks, degenerative join disease, arthritis in the spine, torn ligaments, and so many other things. Which all sounded very scary and led many people to have surgery to correct these things.

So, in the 2000’s researchers started wondering “What does a normal, pain free spine look like on MRI?”. They started doing MRI’s on people who had never reported low back pain in their lives.

And, what did they find?

They found herniated disks, degenerative joint disease, arthritis in the spine, torn ligaments, and so many other things.

To be clear, the researchers found the same issues in spines that were pain free as they had in spines that had extreme pain.

What does this mean? It means that if you have an MRI on your spine today you are likely to show some degeneration, possibly a herniated disk, and something might be torn. This is whether or not you currently have pain in your low back.

This is the reason that doctors are hesitant to perform MRI for low back pain. What they find may or may not be what is causing the pain!

MD’s are realizing that it is the “clinical presentation” they need to look at to determine what is causing the pain. So, they send patients to a Physical Therapist to evaluate the patients’ pain reports and correlate them with the clinical signs that the patient presents with.

Physical Therapists listen to what the patient SAYS and tests how the patient MOVES to determine the true root cause of the patients low back pain. Therefore, we do not need an MRI report to show us what is going on inside because the body will tell us during the evaluation.

That’s how I know what is going on without having an MRI report to read. Now, if you have had an MRI, feel free to bring the report along. I am happy to discuss it with you.
However, if you do not have an MRI report and your doctor is not willing to order an MRI – have no fear. We can figure out what is going on and treat you appropriately for the issue you have without the report.

If you have questions regarding your specific low back pain and would like to schedule a free Discovery Visit to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us here.

Power Washing Like a Pro

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Summer is finally here! Which means it is time to get outside and enjoy the sunny days. For you that may mean heading to the river, traveling across the mountains, or hopping on an airplane. If you are like me, that means heading to the back yard. Our family enjoys lounging around in hammocks and cooking on the Traeger.

Before you can enjoy that awesome yard you need to get it looking good. Which, in the Pacific Northwest, means you need to power wash. Here are the top tips to keep in mind to keep your back, neck, and hands pain free while sprucing up the house and yard.

  1. Stand up straight – Keep your spine aligned while you are chasing after that dirt. Usually people start off with really good posture and great alignment in their spine. It is over time when people are most likely to lose that good control. You may notice yourself bending over to get the wand closer to the dirt. Or you may notice that your back is getting fatigued which is causing you to bend over. Either way, maintaining good alignment with you head over your shoulders, your shoulders over your hips, and your hips over your knees will decrease your risk of low back and neck pain when you are done.
  2. Take breaks every 30 minutes – Power washing involves holding your body in a very specific position and taking small steps to move the wand. Your entire torso stays in basically the same position for the entire time you are power washing. You need to take a 2 minute break every 30 minutes to allow your body a break from that position. During the break you can do some different movements including gentle arm circles, roll your shoulders out, bend your spine forward, and mini squats to get your body moving in a different direction.
  3. Stay hydrated – When your muscles are working hard to stabilize your body and control the wand while power washing they need proper nutrition to keep up the good work. Water is what delivers the nutrition to the muscles. Keep a water bottle close at hand for those break times so you can stay hydrated and avoid muscle cramping.
  4. Take care of your hands – Holding the trigger on the wand down for even 30 minutes at a time can be challenging to our hands, as they aren’t used to working in that way. Add on top of that keeping the wand pointed at the location you want and you have got some hard working hands/arms. Take good care of your hands by giving the regular rest breaks every 30 minutes. Get them moving by making a fist and then spreading out your fingers as far as possible. Another tool that can help is what our family calls the “power washing rumba”. Seen on the right hand side of the picture above, this device at the bottom of the wand helps to focus the water to clean flat surfaces. It makes cleaning the pavement much quicker which decreases the time needed to power wash.
  5. Get moving – Once you are done with power washing make sure you get your body moving. Take a walk around the house or better yet around the block. Get those arms swinging, those shoulders moving, and the hips stretching. Your body will appreciate the movement as it helps the water pump nutrition to the muscles and joints. Moving after power washing will also help to decrease soreness you may experience the next day. The movement does not have to be aggressive but it does need to encompass the entire body. So, grab your power washing pal and take a lap around the neighborhood.

If you find yourself waking up the next day very sore from power washing keep the above tips in mind. Make sure you drink plenty of water, stretch throughout the day, and do some cardiovascular exercise like walking or running. Soreness after an intense workout (which power washing is) is normal. However, if that soreness turns into pain or lasts more than 48 hours it’s time to get some help — before the pain becomes an issue that lingers around for months. Lingering pain can lead to abnormal movement patterns and decreased activity level. If you find yourself with soreness that lasts longer than 48 hours or pain after power washing feel free to give us a call. We can help get your body moving correctly which not only eliminates pain but prepares you for all of your summer activities.

Happy power washing and happy summer!

Training to Walk

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We are in the final countdown for the first ever “Be the Hope XOXO” walk for all cancers here in our very own Maple Valley. Created by the Valley Girls and Guys, this walk is raising money for cancer awareness, treatment, and research that stays in our local community. PT4EB is honored to be a part of the post-walk treatment team offering free calf, quad, and hamstring massages to all the walkers.

What does it take to train for an 18 mile walk?

The following are the top 5 tips to keep in mind before beginning a walking program.

1) Start with the right shoes – Many people believe that walking can be done in just any shoes but I guarantee bad shoes lead to foot, knee, hip, and low back problems in the future. Start yourself off on the right foot by heading out to find a pair of proper walking shoes for you. In general you are looking for a good level of support balanced with cushion to help absorb the shock. If you are planning on spending most of your time on trails, look into a trail shoe that has a better sole to handle the rougher roads.
2) Use a comfortable pace – When you are beginning a new program you may be very excited and ready to charge forward. This can lead to quick injuries that will end up sidelining you for so long that you lose your motivation. Start with a pace that gets your heart rate up but you can easily talk through.
3) Grab a friend – Having someone on this journey with you gives you someone to talk to during your walks to make sure that you are keeping your breathing steady. It will also help increase your accountability. Have you ever said you were going to start a walking program only to find that months later you still hadn’t started? Having a partner can help keep you accountable. You can even enlist your dog to help. Once they get used to daily walks they can be great motivators to keep you going!
4) Drink more water – The great thing about exercising is that it makes us thirsty, so we want to drink more water. Make sure you are drinking enough water to meet your increasing exercise demands. How much is enough? Well, there are several formulas but I prefer to keep it simple. Drink enough water that your pee is clear and then keep drinking water to keep it clear.
5) Keep going and progress regularly – If you are new to exercise, or it has been awhile since you have used a regular exercise program, start off with 1-2 miles a few times per week. As you build up your endurance, add ½-1 mile per week. When you increase your distance you might have some increased muscle soreness, but you should not have increased pain in your muscles or joints.

Muscle soreness is normal after starting an exercise routine but pain is another matter completely. Muscle soreness feels better after you are moving around and stretching out. Pain may increase the more you move. Painful muscles do not like to be stretched. Stretching them may actually make the pain even worse.

If you find yourself having increased pain with a new exercise program we can help with that. We will help locate what is causing the pain and get you on a personalized plan to get you back to your training program. At PT4EB we believe that movement is life. So, we design all of our treatments and exercise programs to get you back to the movements your life requires.

For all those who are joining this walk, we here at PT4EB give you a standing ovation. We hope you will come see us after your walk to help work out any muscle soreness in your calves and legs. Or just stop by so we can give you a high five and thank you for walking.

Medical Bills

Please Call Me!

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The picture above is the bill from my husbands’ recent trip to the Emergency Room (ER).  He had a painful toe that started to get REALLY bad quickly.  He called the doctor to make an appointment and they said he hadn’t been in recently so he would have to wait 3 weeks.  When my husband explained how bad the pain was they said he should go to the ER.  So, he did.  Turns out it was an ingrown toenail that was getting infected.  He was treated very well and the toe was completely taken care of.  I am grateful for the level of care he was provided.

But, I am not grateful for the bill that came out of it!

The bill you see above is ONLY for walking into the ER.  We have also received a bill from the doctor.  And, of course, there was the co-pay.

I was very angry when I found out he had gone to the ER and NOT called me first.  If I couldn’t fix it I am sure I could have found a doctor who would have seen him that day.  Yes, it may have been expensive but I am sure it wouldn’t have cost as much as that trip into the ER.

(Side note – he was also offered a prescription for Codeine which is a narcotic but that is a rant for another day.)

Now, I am grateful that we have doctors who are skilled in medical emergencies who can literally pull people back from the brink of death.  I am grateful that they work the long hours in the ER and keep their skills honed for such an emergency.  We do need ER’s for those life threatening emergencies.  But, we need options for those really scary pain situations where we don’t know what’s going on.

One Saturday morning I had just finished eating breakfast when my phone started ringing.  It was one of my favorite patients and I immediately answered.

“What’s up?”

She was crying and had difficulty getting her story out to me.  She had been plugging in her vacuum to do her Saturday morning housework and her back exploded in pain.  She was stuck perched on a chair and afraid to move.  She didn’t know what to do.

Should she call 911?

Have her husband take her to the ER?

She was afraid.  This was really bad.

We spent about 30 minutes on the phone that morning.  I suspected that she had ruptured a disk (this later was confirmed).  Once we got her breathing back to normal I explained what I thought had happened.  I gave her a 72 hour treatment plan.  I explained what she was going to feel during those 72 hours.  I told her what she could and could not do.  And, I did tell her that if her symptoms did not proceed EXACTLY how I described that she should head directly to the ER.

72 hours later she was in my clinic and said “How did you know?  Everything went EXACTLY how you described!”

I know because I know how disks behave.  I know the signs and symptoms of a disk herniation.  I know the initial treatment techniques.

I also knew her body. Since she was a current patient (being treated for her neck) I had put my hands on her.  Based on my previous knowledge of her body and what she described to me I was pretty certain about what had happened.

That patient made a full recovery and is now living pain free in her back AND neck.

I offer this free phone consultation to any of my patients – current or previous.  If you suddenly find yourself in excruciating pain feel free to call me.  I am happy to talk with you and see if we can come up with a treatment plan over the phone.  If I am uncertain about what is going on and feel that you need to see a medical doctor, I will tell you that.

My goal is to help my patients make the best decisions for their health.  To help them avoid unnecessary surgeries, procedures, and medications.  So everybody can get back to moving pain free and living the life they choose to live.

If that means we need to spend 30 minutes on the phone discussing your pain, I will do it.  If you find yourself searching on YouTube for exercises to help alleviate your pain, please call me.  Put down the YouTube and pick up the phone.  Let’s find answers that will work for YOUR body.

Why I Don’t DIY

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It was dark the first time I saw our house 12 years ago.  I couldn’t see the backyard very well.  We live on a pie shaped piece of a cul de sac so the backyard light only went so far that first night.  I remember asking Matt “How’s the yard?”

His reply – “The yard is fine”

You may or may not be surprised to hear – the yard was not fine!  The yard was a hot mess.  There were planter boxes that had not been put together well and were never maintained.  There was a spot where the playground used to sit that was covered in wood chips.  And the retaining wall was bowing outward.

Imagine my shock the first time I saw our new yard – on the same day we signed the paperwork to make it ours.  But we loved the house so we could figure out the yard.  Or so I thought.

We spent 10 years trying to figure out that yard.  We raked up all the wood chips and planted seeds to renew the grass.  We tore up the planter boxes and used the dirt to make flower beds.  And we completely rebuilt the retaining wall so it fit together correctly.

We weeded non-stop to try and stay on top of it.  And every year I bought different plants trying to get my yard to grow.  I had friends give me plants that they were sure would survive.  Most of them did but some of them, well, not so much.

I spent 10 years trying to make this yard into an enjoyable place to hang out.  I bought different patio furniture, planted, weeded, trimmed – in short, I spent a lot of money, time, and energy.  And no one wanted to hang out in my backyard.  Except the dog.  Who does not have very discriminating tastes.

I was so frustrated that when Wendee entered my life I sprung at the chance to get help with my yard.  Have you ever been to that point of frustration that you are willing to do whatever it takes to find an answer?  Well, Wendee had the answer and a magic touch with plants.

Wendee came out to my house for the first time a year ago and we spent the entire day playing in the yard.  She tasked me with rebuilding the “river stream” we have running around the yard.  She helped me build a pea gravel path to get to the air conditioner.  Wendee decided that the extra rock needed to be used to build a pathway to the little table in the corner of the yard and we should plant succulents along the side.  Along the way, she trimmed, pruned, weeded, and worked her magic on my yard.

Then she taught me about the difference between mulch and bark.  Let me just say, mulch is good and helps your yard.  Bark is just pretty and washes away.  Trust me, mulch!

After our first day together, the yard looked amazing and I finally found some peace in spending time in the backyard.  The mulch greatly reduced the number of weeds so the yard stayed weed free for the rest of the year.  Plus, the bushes weren’t going out of control so it made mowing way easier.  For the first time in 10 years we actually hung out in the backyard.

Wendee has been back twice since then and each time my yard looks better.  This spring I almost didn’t have Wendee come out because the yard was looking great.  But a few hours of her magic hands and my yard looks amazing! I am so glad that I had her over and so grateful for how she magically transforms my yard into an oasis that we enjoy hanging out in.

Why didn’t I hire Wendee sooner?  Well, you see, I thought I could do it on my own.  I mean, it’s yard work.  I grew up doing yard work.  I can pull a weed!  And it seems ridiculous to pay someone to do something so simple.  But I didn’t weight the cost of the stress I was carrying from having a yard that I didn’t enjoy.  The frustration from not being able to do yard work right.  I mean, who can’t do yard work right?

Three lessons from my DIY experience:

  1. After 10 years it’s time to give up and hire a professional. How much time, energy, and money are you willing to spend before you solve this problem for good?
  2. Professionals make their work look easy and the solutions appear out of thin air. We pay people good money not just for their skill but also the expert knowledge they carry in their heads.
  3. Getting the problem taken care of clears up head space. What are you focusing on that could easily be taken care of by someone else?  What would clearing that space allow you to create?

Sometimes we are like a dog on a bone in our fierce independence to get something done by ourselves in our own way. What would it look like to allow someone to help us with that problem so we can put our brains to work on more interesting tasks?

Let me know if you need help solving any body aches, pains, or movement limitations.  Let’s free up your body so your mind can go and do great things.  And, if you need a landscaper, please let me know.  I am happy to give you Wendee’s contact information.

Memories from DC

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Do you have a city that holds an emotional place in your heart? They may be positive emotions:

  • where you got married!
  • where your first child was born!
  • where you ran your first marathon!

Or they may be negative:

  • where you got your first speeding ticket
  • where you broke your leg
  • where your parent died

Sometimes, you have a city that just triggers you.  There is a memory or a time that was spent in that place that was either so positive or so negative that you constantly place that emotion on that particular city.

Every time I think of Paris I remember waking my 3 year old up at 11 pm to watch the pretty lights sparkle on the Eiffel Tower.  It is no surprise she dreams of living in Paris to this day.

I should have expected the trigger when I landed in DC after a red eye flight.  But, in my sleepless haze, I found my way to the Metro and figured out which direction I needed to go to reach my destination.  I stood on the platform and enjoyed the sunshine.  When the Metro arrived and I sat down, all the memories came flooding back.

Lorelei and I were medevac’d from Germany to Walter Reed Medical Center 12 years ago.  Since Lorelei was not a big fan of sleeping we arrived in DC pretty groggy.  I remember searching for the shuttle I had arranged to take us to the base while carrying enough suitcases to last us who knew how long.  We had a return ticket for 2 weeks later but there was no guarantee we would be going home then.

The shuttle was only able to drop us off at the gate for the base.  This was post 9-11 and there were civilians on the shuttle.  I had to carry my baby and all our stuff up the ¼ mile long driveway to the hospital.  But it was okay.  I was finding answers for my baby.  We would be fine.

You see, Lorelei was very sick as a baby.  She cried constantly whenever she wasn’t being held.  She didn’t eat very well because she couldn’t poop.  Lorelei had become a ‘failure to thrive baby’.  They had sent us to a specialist in Germany who ran all the big, scary tests.  No, she didn’t have any life threatening disease. Yes, she did have muscles to push things out from that end.  No, we don’t know what’s wrong with her.

Lorelei was so sick that they had pulled Matt out of Iraq to come home and care for Ainsley so Lorelei and I could go to DC.  Okay, let’s be honest, first they told me to leave my 3 years old with friends in Germany while my husband was in Iraq and I took Lorelei to the US.  When I explained (read: yelled) about how I wouldn’t do that, they brought Matt home from Iraq.

I finally found the place in the hospital where we were supposed to check in and get our lodging assignment for our time in DC.  When I explained that Lorelei was the patient and not my husband the lady at the office said those fate filled words “Then I cannot help you”.  This was during the height of the war and this office was focused on helping families of soldiers who had been injured in Iraq and medevac’d to Walter Reed.  My baby didn’t count.

I was alone in DC with a very sick baby and no clue where I would sleep that night.  No clue what answers we would find in this place.  No clue what the next step was.  As I got back on the elevator to go back downstairs my luggage literally exploded all over the place and I started bawling while trying to grab all my luggage and pull it into the elevator.

Luckily an intern walked by and took pity on the crazy woman crying with a baby strapped to her chest and luggage that was all over the place.  He finally got the story out of me and figured out what needed to be done.  He marched me downstairs and had the information desk get me a hotel room for the night with a shuttle to come pick me up.  I continue to offer up thanks to that intern. I was, and am, so grateful for his help.

As it turned out the trip was non-productive.  They ran the same tests they had already run in Germany which led to the same diagnosis that we had received in Germany.  Which was “we have no idea why your kid can’t poop but she needs to be on medication for the rest of her life”.  It would be 5 years before we found the naturopath and nutritionist who would finally give us the diagnosis of celiac disease.  This would allow all the pieces of the puzzle to come together and allow for the healthy teenager we now have.

Therefore, I should not have been surprised when 12 years later the Metro brings about all those fears, anxieties, and tears.  But I was surprised.  I had difficulty breathing.  I became nearly paralyzed with fear.  And I had to figure out how to put one foot in front of the other.

I started with gratitude for how much our lives have changed in 12 years.  That fussy, failure to thrive baby has turned into a beautiful dancer/8th grade President/super fun teenager.  And I was in the DC area for a conference to help me with business development.  Because I own my own business.  Which is so very awesome.

I was honest with myself and the people around me about what was going on.  I texted Matt to get some support and I also told my group what was going on.  I acknowledged that these were old memories surfacing which decreased their power.

I moved forward with what I was in DC to do in the first place.  I did let the memories have their time while I went for a walk before the conference started.  But, once the conference started, I let go of those memories and focused on what I was there to do.

Grateful, honest, and moving forward.

Maybe you find yourself in a place filled with fear, anxiety, pain, or overwhelm.  I encourage you to remain grateful for all the good you have in your life.  Be honest about where you are with people you can trust to vault that information.  And then figure out how to move forward.  You are not meant to live in this place.

Movement is Life

By | Pain Relief, Physical Therapy | No Comments

You need to be able to bend over to work in your garden, pick up your grandchild, or do yoga.

You need to be able to squat to give a child a hug at their level, to do home renovation projects, or tie your shoelace on the side of the trail while you are out running.

You need to have foot flexibility to walk so you can go hiking with your friends, take the dog out for a potty walk, or keep up with the kids while they are riding their bikes.

You need to have shoulder motion to play basketball, do Pilates, or paint a wall in your house.

You need to have neck motion so you can check your blind spot while you are driving, lay on your stomach while you are sun bathing, or use your “third eye” to watch the children.

Movement is required for life.  Movement is required to be able to do the things we want to do every day.  They may not feel like amazing things but they are the things that you want to do.  The activities that make up your life.

Perhaps you are a stay at home mom who spends your day reaching down for little ones, picking up their toys, standing while preparing meals, or hauling all of their stuff everywhere.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

You may work in an office which requires you to drive to work where you are walking between meetings, standing for discussions, typing to communicate with your team.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

Retirement brings a whole new set of movements depending on what that looks like for you.  It may be renovating your forever home, outfitting a boat for sailing around the world, or loading up the fifth wheeler to travel the US.  Those are all movements and they are required for your life.

The tissues in our body need movement to get stronger, to become more flexible, and also to heal.  Muscles need heavy weight applied in order to grow and become stronger.  Bones need the muscles pulling on them to regenerate and avoid osteoporosis.  Spinal discs require rotation to bring in fresh nutrients to remain healthy.

Just as you need motion to live your life, your body needs motion to maintain your life.  If you stop moving then you stop living.  Your body has a harder time healing itself as it becomes more difficult to get the proper nutrition to the proper locations.

Movement is life.  Movement allows you to live the life you love.  Movement teaches your body to adapt thereby allowing you to do the things you love.

If you are not moving, you are not living your life to the fullest.  If you are not moving, you are not helping your body to heal itself.

When a muscle is tight it holds on to all the extra stuff that is meant to be pumped out on a regular basis.  This makes it harder to bring in fresh nutrition for the muscle to feed on.  As you challenge that muscle with your daily activities, it starts to hold on for dear life.  No amount of ice or heat will cause it to release.  It simply can’t because it has gotten into this holding pattern.

That muscle may be compressing a joint.  The joint needs movement in order for the cartilage to get its nutrition.  When cartilage becomes dry it leads to arthritis.  Arthritis leads to pain and decreased movement.

Or that muscle may be compressing a disc.  Spinal discs are like sponges that absorb nutrition when the pressure is released.  If they are constantly compressed they cannot receive the needed nutrition.  This causes degenerative disc disease.  It comes down to a lack of movement.

Movement is life.  Movement allows the tissues in our body to heal. Movement allows us to do all the things we value doing in life.

How is your movement?  How is your life?

If you are having difficulty with movement please reach out to us.  We are movement experts that love seeing you achieve the movement you need for your best life.