You’ve heard me talk about being the CEO of your own health care for quite a while now, but do you really know what that means? Do you know your own body so well that you can give your doctor the information she needs for a proper diagnosis, or, even figure it out yourself?
Here’s an example of how that works:
A few weeks back, I suddenly had quite a bit of pain in my left hip. I rubbed in some magnesium lotion, but it didn’t help as much as it usually does, so after a few days, I decided to test all the muscles that could be involved to see if I could figure out how to stop the pain.
I discovered that the injured muscle was my iliopsoas. Unfortunately, an overworked iliopsoas takes a while to heal, so it needs to rest and heal, first, before one can even begin to exercise it.
Since I am teaching (via Zoom) three days a week, that’s not an easy option for me. It’s been three weeks now and I’m still figuring out what exercises I can and cannot demonstrate until I’m totally healed. I’m in a lot less pain than three weeks ago, for sure, but there is more healing to be done.
Now, because I know my body so well, and I do this for a living, I was able to look at the actions that caused the discomfort, and figure out which muscle lifts a leg up, etc. and work out the solution. Did it happen overnight – no. Did it take longer than any other time I’ve overused a muscle – yes. But, let’s take a moment here to look at what would have happened had I gone to my primary care doc:
She would have listened to all that I explained about the pain, and then referred me to a bone doc. That appointment would have been scheduled for a minimum of two weeks and up to three months away, so she would have offered to prescribe pain meds, which she knows I would not have accepted; 8-hour Tylenol works just fine. By the time my appointment finally arrived, I would have spent weeks favoring that left side, walking incorrectly, and not sleeping well due to the pain. The bone doc would have ordered an x-ray, which I may have been able to get that same day, or days or weeks away. X-rays do not show soft tissues such as muscles, bursae, ligaments, tendons, or nerves. So, I would still not have had an answer. I would have insisted on a referral to a Physical Therapist who would then have done all the things that I did at home, testing muscles for the action that caused the pain, etc. The PT would then have given me my rest orders, and a small stretch to begin with – the same thing I discovered on my own. Eventually I would be given some strengthening exercises, which I will begin on my own, most likely by next week.
So, the bottom line here is that when you know your body well enough to know exactly where the pain is, what action (walking, raising or rotating your arm or leg, etc.) is causing the pain, you can figure it out for yourself. At the very least, you can take more information to your primary care doc who can then skip the whole waiting several weeks for an appointment with a bone doc and go right to a PT so your healing can begin several weeks quicker. And when healing begins so soon after an injury, you don’t spend weeks limping, or favoring a shoulder, ankle, etc. and that helps prevent other body imbalances which can cause more pain as time goes by.
THIS is why we all need to be the CEO of our own healthcare. MUCH faster results, and getting to the cause of your pain MUCH quicker.
How do you become that CEO? My recommendations are to start with a Yoga or Pilates class. When in the class, listen to the instructor’s explanation and breathing instructions and learn them. If you find a class where the instructor doesn’t explain what muscles you are using, and if they are being stretched or strengthened, and how to work with your breath through all the movements – find another class. Many people attend a class, and watch the instructor to duplicate what that instructor is doing. This is not the way to learn about your own body. Listen to which muscles your instructor is cuing to move, and where you should be feeling the stretch or strengthening. Learn the difference between feeling a muscle working and feeling pain.
All of my classes are currently offered via Zoom and all of them teach you how to know your own body. The classes and times are listed on my Calendar page – check one out for yourself!
I also have many videos on my YouTube channel which I share and which you can use anytime you have an ache or pain that needs a little help. Check them out HERE, and if you like what you see, please subscribe!
Meanwhile, here’s a simple self Reiki treatment for you!
Best of Health,