Posted in Baby Girl

New Mom Injury – What a Pain In The Neck

Parenthood is filled with all sorts of new movements that were definitely not in my repertoire before having our little girl.  Daily lunges, for example, and trying to make sure I’m alternating legs when I go to change her diaper at the coffee table.  Don’t judge–it’s a 2 story house and I don’t always want to lug a soiled baby up the stairs.  Then there’s the lifting and twisting to get her out of her cradle and comfort her when I’m lying in bed more asleep than awake but willing my sluggish limbs to just move.  Then there’s the bouncing, cradling, constant hand washing, limbs-falling-asleep-snuggling, and must-sleep-on-your-back-because-otherwise-the-baby-won’t-sleep type moves.
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I’m good with all of them.  I’ve been doing really well at this whole “stay-at-home-mom” thing.  Until this morning..

It’s been usual and customary for me to hold our little Elfkin against my shoulder while I carry her around.  She’s not quite big enough to sit on my ample, child-bearing, hips–and she seems heavier when I cradle her with my whole arm, so I let her perch on my forearm and look at the world over my shoulder while I get things set and we go about our day.  This is how she sits when I’m getting things started for the day, when I’m consoling her in the afternoon, and when we’re heading up to bed.  Basically–I’ve had 11 weeks of holding her in this position and thought I had it down pat. So it’s not unusual that I was holding her that way this morning.  I had her clothes picked out and clutched in the hand that held her, her pacifier in my teeth, and was just about to go downstairs to get her bottle ready when I remembered my cell phone.  It was under my pillow because we had one of those nights where she slept on my chest… [Sidebar: she slept there for half the night because she fell asleep in a cloth diaper that completely failed to keep her wetness contained and I need to wash her cradle.]

MOVING ON.

I leaned over the bed, holding the Elfkin with my chin/cheek–as I had learned to do–when suddenly CRACK! ooooohhhhhh something was wrong.  Something was very very wrong.  Apparently the small, rather delicate vertebrae that hold up my head are not meant to also support this growing girl now that she’s 12+ lbs!  Thankfully, it was the pain of acute injury and not the burning pain of broken bones. 😉

Now, I haven’t been to the chiropractor in over a year.  There’s nothing, though, more motivating in finding a doctor or chiropractor than your body screaming at you “you done f****d up.”  After giving Evelyn her bottle, and realizing just how badly it hurt to look down, left, right, or really anywhere but straight ahead, I started seeking a new chiropractor.

This brought back all sorts of nostalgia for my old chiropractor.  I miss him all the time and wish he were around.  I could just imagine him admonishing me for being so careless with myself.  This is a completely avoidable injury.
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The new Chiropractor seems effective.  He saw me right away this morning and the girls at the reception desk took care of my little girl.  She rewarded them with all sorts of smiles and I came back to find her asleep in the woman’s arms. Meanwhile, I got an x-ray and scans, had an adjustment–my bones were all too ready to move! They were cracking just by breathing–then they did even MORE.  I was treated to a massage, electromuscular stimulation, and vibration therapy.
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The DC had another adjustment and some home exercises that he wanted to recommend, but I was in too much pain and he didn’t want to do too much too soon.  I’ll be going back on Friday, so hopefully, fingers crossed, I start feeling better.

Lesson learned, though: when moving with the little one, have a care and move with intent! I’ll be keeping my core engaged and using my legs to lift her.  I’ll be using proper squatting form/technique to lift her car seat in and out of the vehicle, and I’ll be downing much more water…

Posted in Fitness, InBody230, Life + Living, Measurements, Self-Reflection, Weigh Ins/Progress Photos

Day 1. Again. How many Day 1’s does one person get?

Day 1. Again. How many Day 1’s does one person get?

As many as a person needs. (I have 10 results that come up when I search for the key phrase “day 1” in my blog…)

I had another Day 1 today.  This time, I was sized up (literally–I gained 10 lbs since my back injury, and had gained 15 lbs due to a situational depression prior to that.. eep!) and figured out.  I met with Jody from the fitness center and asked her to be my trainer.  I talked to her about my back injury and what I’ve been through…

I let her know that we (Jeff and I) are at a point where we’re willing to try anything really.  The cool thing is that in addition to being a personal trainer, she actually has experience with physical therapy and rehabilitation.  She was really nice about figuring out whether I care more about form or function at this point.  I had let her know about a friend’s wedding coming up in October and how the dresses she admires are more like sausage casings at this point.  More important, though, is my functional ability to move and be myself.  I can wear an A-line dress if it comes down to it.

With functionality in mind, my day 1 is going to start on Friday with some resistance band exercises to figure out where my muscle imbalances are.  We’re going to go through a rehabilitation program for my back/core, I’m going to keep up with chiropractic care, and we’ll see how it goes.  Jody said that we’ll be able to transition from the therapy to actual fitness workouts once my strength is rebuilt.

After about 3 weeks, she wants to see a food journal.  Guess the photo tracker is making a resurgence 😉

Day 1 Weigh In:

InBody230 – Weight: 240, Lean Body Mass 118, (body fat 122), BMI 50. (ugh!)
(Previously)  Weight: 220, Lean Body Mass 117, (body fat 103), BMI 43.

Posted in College, Fitness, Food, Gaming, Life + Living

Party Rock – on a rock – in game

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This weekend was 100% enjoyable.  a majority of it was spent gaming, hanging out with the family (Jeff, and our two fur-balls, Taz and Toby).  A LOT of it was spent studying because I had two exams to post for.

Breakfast this morning was Quaker Real Medleys with blueberry and banana, with a side of research.  See, I’m still dealing with chronic back pain.  Turns out, I’m doing it wrong.  When my back hurts, I feel like I can’t  exercise because of the pain.  It’s like, I can’t twist or bend, so why try?

Well, I was reading some peer reviewed articles on www.spine-health.com and one of them said that for Chronic Intractable Benign Pain (CIBP) one of the best things you can do is to exercise.

 A typical response to experiencing back pain is to take it easy – either staying in bed or at least stopping any activity that is at all strenuous. While this approach is understandable and may even be recommended in the short term, when done for more than a day or two it can actually undermine healing. Instead, active forms of back exercises are almost always necessary to rehabilitate the spine and help alleviate back pain.

Guess who’s going to the gym after work?

 

Posted in Life + Living

Chiropractor – 1 year update

A week or so ago, I had an updated exam with my Chiropractor.  This week marks a year since I started seeing a chiropractor.  The first time I wrote about it was back in February of 2013 and I observed:

 I was able to get in on Friday and they did some pretty fancy scans to figure out what the problem is, where it might be, and what might be causing it.  I had to wait through the weekend to find out what the problem was, but when I got the results, they were a bit staggering

The C1 vertebrae in my neck, for example, is being pulled to the left 175% more than the right because those muscles are activated and compensating

A year ago, I was going to physical therapy, building standing stations, swearing off gaming, picking up swimming… basically anything I could to try to figure out the back pain.  I was driven to the Chiropractor when I had extreme pain in the form of spasms that were interrupting my ability to do my job effectively.

On the 24th, I had an updated scan, and I’ve got good things to report:

Chiropractor EMG Asymmetry

Changes.  Last year, there was a >25lb difference in weight distribution.  At this latest scan, it’s down to ~10lb difference.  The mid-thoracic is no longer having spasms and most of my days, my back feels good.  I’m no longer taking advil and tylenol multiple times a day, or even daily any more.  The rest of the scans were great, too:

Chiropractor NCM Scan

This chart (above) is showing that the muscles that were being over worked are no longer being overworked to the extremes that they were in the past.  The T11,T12 and L1 areas are still problematic, but it’s come a long way since then.  I certainly FEEL better.

Chiropractor EMG Thermal

What these charts are showing is that in Feb 2013, there was a pretty significant problem with muscle asymmetry/fatigue.  My newest scans are so much closer to the  normal scan.  I was really happy to see this.

I got a high-five and stickers, though, for a new scan that they performed:

PhysicalFitness

I’m fit as a fiddle when it comes to my heart and athletic aerobic abilities.  They were saying that the blue areas were for super-athletes like Olympians or whatnot.

🙂  Considering the type of blog I’m trying to keep here, I’m very happy to report that I am (for all intents and purposes) healthy. Special thanks go to Dr. Gary and the team at my local Chiropractor for all of their assistance in getting me functioning this well.  Especially to Brittany and Jess for fitting me in where they can, and for constantly tolerating all of my needs to reschedule appointments.

In the next year, I hope to continue seeing improvements in my overall health and wellness.  Specifically, I would like to see a reduction in stiffness in my back, and to address the pain in my hip.

In a nutshell, though, I’m happy just to be able to work out again 🙂  Now it’s a matter of getting back into a great routine now that it’s been a year and a half since really being into it.

Posted in Anti-Inflammation, Fitness, Food, Life + Living, Menu Planning, New Food, Recipe, Self-Reflection

Anti Inflammatory Diet??

A lot of why I haven’t been posting here is because there hasn’t been much fitness to speak of.  On June 26th, 2012, I finally sought medical advice for my back.  Here on July 9, 2013, I’m still in pain daily.

Originally, we thought it was a Rhomboid Strain and my Primary Care Physician referred me to a physical therapist.  The physical therapist determined that it was not, in fact, a rhomboid strain, but to do with the alignment of my hips.  I followed the physical therapy for a couple of months, and my hips didn’t click anymore, but my back still hurt.  I sought another option.

When I went to the Chiropractor, we found a series of issues with my back that are actually there–the alignment was off, there’s the start of arthritis due to the misalignment, etc. We’ve been working hard since January to bring everything in line and I really

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Dr. Pennebaker, doing an adjustment with the Gonstead Method [click to learn more]
believe it’s helping.  My back still hurts every morning, though.  We were getting a lot better, making a lot of good progress, and then we experienced a really bad setback.

When Jeff and I got back from the Canadian reception, I had a few really rough mornings.  I thought it was just because the bed wasn’t supportive enough, or maybe the long ride in the car… But no, this felt like I was being squeezed–like my ribs were being pushed out of place.  It hurt to breathe, hurt to move, hurt to laugh–should I care to, hurt to yawn, hurt to sneeze, cough, or hiccup.  When I talked to my dad about it, he said “Oh, that’s just a pulled muscle–you’ll feel better in about a week.”

It’s been over a week and I’m still waking up in pain.  My Chiropractor gave me a sort of “ah-ha” moment when he observed that it was swelling and inflammation causing the pain. The word “inflammation,” hung in my head repeating itself like a fading memory.  Until all of a sudden, the light at the end of a tunnel turned out to be a train.  What if my DIET is causing me all of this stress and drama with my back!?

It makes sense!  I eat a Western diet high in processed carbs and lots of sugars. Last Friday, by happenstance, I didn’t eat much in the way of sugar or refined carbs.  On Saturday, as if by a miracle, I had no back pain.  Yesterday, I had cereal for dinner, chex mix for a snack, a wrap for lunch, and a breakfast sandwich for breakfast.  My back is killing me today.

So now, the problem that I’m faced with is “how do I convert my eating habits to the anti-inflammatory diet?”

I don’t know 😦

The sites I’ve looked at say

Foods to Steer Clear of—Here’s what you’ll want to wean yourself off of in order to reduce the inflammation in your body: wheat, dairy, potatoes, tomatoes, corn, sugar, citrus fruits (except for lemons and limes), pork, commercial non-organic eggs, shellfish, peanuts and peanut butter, coffee, alcohol, juice, caffeinated teas, soda, anything containing hydrogenated oils, processed foods, and fried foods. – http://primaldocs.com/opinion/how-to-transition-to-an-anti-inflammatory-diet/

I keep seeing conflicting information, though.  One site says pineapple is to be avoided as it’s a tropical fruit.  Another says pineapple will decrease inflammation.  One says nightshades and tomatoes are bad.  Another doesn’t mention them at all.

I’m so terribly lost.  I’ve cast out the line to the Weight Loss Warriors to ask if they have any experience with this sort of conversion.  I read that high quality yogurts and cheeses can be eaten in moderation, so maybe I can use that to my advantage when subbing foods?

Here’s our dinner menu for the week… If anyone has any ideas on how to convert it to an anti-inflammation version, I’d appreciate the help:

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Posted in Life + Living, Self-Reflection, Uncategorized, Wedding Planning

Back rant [edited]

You know those exercises you’re supposed to do to get rid of your muffin top? “Trunk twisters” I think they’re called.  Yeah. I can’t do them. My back hurts so badly that I can’t even WIPE properly… And maybe that’s TMI for the internet, but when I have to pop my shoulder in an effort to clean up, well, I guess I’d rather vent top the anonymous crowd that is “the internet” than actually confess this problem to anyone I really know.

My mid/upper back hurts like I got half way through cracking it and never finished. It’s like the pieces aren’t aligned properly and the weight of me is TRYING to force them into place but they just won’t go.  Getting out of bed was an accomplishment. Breathing is another. Getting dressed will be a feat. And driving myself to the chiropractor in pot hole season… Well gee, I’m so looking forward to THAT.

I wish this were fixed already. I’m so very tired of mornings like this. I’m afraid that they might last forever. On a smaller scale, I’m afraid I’ll have a day like this on my wedding day. And I’ll have to pop pain killers just to smile.

[edit]: I got an adjustment and feel loads better already. I even brushed my hair and put lip gloss on…booyah.

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Posted in Fitness, Life + Living

Chiropractor – Week 1 Update

I’m having a hard time thinking of what to say because I think that the pictures pretty much tell the story.  I’ve been complaining of back pain for a while now.. and I realized recently that it’s been SINCE JUNE that I’ve had trouble.  Originally, it was upper back pain that my PCP designated as a Rhomboid Strain.   I saw a Physical Therapist who said no, it’s not a rhomboid strain, it’s a misalignment of the hips.  Some exercises and therapy and ta-da! The upper back pain was gone.  But then I had mid-back pain.  I attributed it to my gaming and resolved to just exercise more frequently and stand more.  I built a standing station at work but things still didn’t get any better… nay! Then I got low back pain.

This is on top of the chronic hip pain that I’ve had for ages.

I finally went to see a Chiropractor when a spasm put me in tears at work and my mom got insistent.  I was able to get in on Friday and they did some pretty fancy scans to figure out what the problem is, where it might be, and what might be causing it.  I had to wait through the weekend to find out what the problem was, but when I got the results, they were a bit staggering… like, the want to cry because it seems so futile type staggering..but, I’m a cry-baby, so that’s neither here nor there. First, we took a look at muscle symmetry.. so how hard the muscles are ‘pulling’ on either side of my spine (click for larger image):

Muscle-Symmetry-02-8-13

 

The C1 vertebrae in my neck, for example, is being pulled to the left 175% more than the right because those muscles are activated and compensating.  I’m not a trained doctor, so I can’t interpret these results like a professional, and it’s been a little while since they were explained, but basically, when looking at the middle ‘graph’ the lengths of the bars (no matter the color) indicates the muscle activity.  Differences in length indicate differences in activity.  Color coded bars highlight areas of concern or significant differences.  I have pain at the L5 (lumbar) area of my back, and from L1 through T6.  At this very moment, I also have mild pain in areas T10, 11, 12.  But these graphs don’t measure pain, they measure muscle activity.  The next scan measures areas of concern that may also be reflecting pain due to inflammation and/or nerve pressure:

Thermal-Scan

 

I’m honestly surprised that L5 doesn’t show up more on these scans because it has LIT UP since starting to receive treatment.  It would certainly show up on a scan today.

These beginning scans start to point at an underlying problem that I’m hoping to correct through regular chiropractic care:

Skeleton-obscured

 

Look at the spinal alignment on the left.  Note how the pelvis is actually off-center a little to the left of the parallel lines.  Now scroll up and note where my spine travels and where my skull is ‘centered’ on the parallel lines.  I assure you, they were straight up and down on the wall I was standing in front of.   Standing ‘straight-‘ on my feet that distribute weight with more than a 25 pound difference right to left.  The x-ray on the right is highlighting the beginning of a loss of the curvature of my spine.

close-up spineThe number 6 there is calling attention to a vertebrae in my neck that has started to come out of alignment as a result of those muscles pulling and pulling to my left.  Here it is in chiropractic jargon:

2013-02-16_09-55-51_972

 

Phase 1 disc degeneration and the very beginning stages of ‘spinal arthritis’ in my thoracic spine.  I’m hopeful that it can be halted or reversed with regular chiropractic care.  I’m signed up to meet with my doctor every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the next 4-6 weeks.  I’ve got 18 appointments all plotted out already, carrying me into March.  I’ve gotten adjusted 3 times so far.  The first time I didn’t feel any different.  The second, my hips felt worse.  The third time, I felt tender at the L5 location but it felt GOOD to stand all day and I didn’t even want to sit.

I’m keeping hope that Chiropractic care will help.  I’m getting a new swim suit this weekend so I can continue swimming regularly at my local fitness center.  Once Jeff and I move, we’ll also be looking into getting new, more supportive bed.  He’s on board with my care plan and said he’d do whatever it takes for me to get better.

I’m glad that I went and that we have a plan.  I’ll do another update in March when I get new scans so that you can follow along with my progress.  Let’s go out and have a healthy day!