Empower, Enlighten, Equilibrate

Spinning Out of Control

Renovations, Retirement, Relationship

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Something that is more prevalent today is vertigo and dizziness. Many times, doctors will say it’s related to the inner ear and one’s equilibrium being off. In the last five years, I’ve noticed more and more people either with vertigo or know friends and family suffering from it. It seems to affect a lot of women in their mid-40s to mid-50s.

I have come to associate vertigo as a way for one to get out of an old pattern through the sense of spinning out of control. Vertigo is very disorienting and forces one to get out of their stuff, and see what they really want to do with their life. Sometimes it can last for a short period of time, just to get the person spooked and alert, while other times, it can last a long time. When vertigo persists and lasts for extended periods, it’s because the person’s body wisdom is literally shaking the person to create change in their life.

The role of vertigo is to insure that a person’s acorn and tree of life are on track with a person’s life path. Vertigo attacks seem to always be when people want to make a change deep down inside, but don’t want to let go either. The more often it hits, the more their inner self wants them to make a change in their life, but they’re not making it. We tend to get conditioned and feel safe in our routines because routines are comfortable for people.

My first experience with someone having vertigo was with Elise. It was about eight years ago when I wasn’t too familiar with vertigo yet. Elise’s house was under renovation, she had some challenges with her husband, and vocationally she felt no support at work with her co-workers and her boss giving her grief all the time; she was deliberating between retiring or not.

Elise didn’t know what do to and felt her life was in flux. Each time the vertigo would hit, it would force her to surrender to what was going on. Every time she resisted what was changing, the vertigo attack got worse. She went to the ENT (ear, nose, throat) doctor, but all her tests came back negative with no conclusive evidence (hearing, inner ear – balance, cerebellum).

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As Elise’s body learned strategies to release tension, she found herself not as reactive to situations at home or at work, that in the past would drive her into a tizzy. Although her vertigo episodes still would come up from time to time, it wasn’t happening on a daily basis or not as intensely as before.

After eight weeks of care, Elise was feeling better and learned that breathing and being present with her body helped to ameliorate the spinning episodes. Some side benefits that she didn’t expect were decrease in blood pressure and less swelling in her hands and feet.

Elise continued on with care until one day she abruptly stopped coming in. I tried to get in touch with her for a couple of months in vain, and when I finally did, she informed me that she was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. I inquired about how her vertigo episodes were and Elise shared that the moment she found out about the cancer, the episodes stopped! The doctors were recommending Elise to undergo chemotherapy and surgery. I informed her that there were other ways to deal with her diagnosis, but after our conversation that was the last I heard of her.

Elise taught me that sometimes when a bigger health crisis appears, it forces one to make a decision on what is truly important and may bring clarity in the most unexpected way. From time to time I think about Elise and wonder how she is faring, but recognize that every person has to make their own choices. When one takes the time to choose what is right for them, they won’t necessarily have to create a health crisis to get back on track with their own inner truth and knowing.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!

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Gift of Spirit Workshop – Nov 10, 2013

Disabling Head Pains

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Nathan was a 13 year old boy that came in with bad pressure headaches. His mom decided to contact me because the headaches have been causing him to miss a lot of school.

Nathan was adjusted by another chiropractor in the past, and the headaches decreased quite a bit, but still come and go. Upon meeting them, it turned out that his mom really loves him, but is extremely controlling, to the point of being militant on some issues.

All of Nathan’s friends have freedom to hang out and play video games, but Nathan isn’t given the same freedom. Because of this, he can’t connect with his friends in the same way they relate to each other even if he tries, and ends up feeling left out.

He’s really quiet, doesn’t say much, and holds it all in. When I asked him if there was anything going on with his mom, he started tearing up, but wouldn’t say anything. His mom was also in the room with us, so I asked her if she would get upset if he expressed himself. She reassured him that she wouldn’t and that she wants him to express his feelings.

I was able to slowly pull things out of Nathan. One issue was that his mom is a health nut. She has him eating all these nutritious foods that appear weird to his friends, and we found out, he hates being teased by all the weird foods he has to eat! He dreads lunchtime and his mom has been forcing him to eat this way for the past three years.

Nathan is here to break his mom’s fantasy about things. He doesn’t want to disappoint his mom, which is something I completely understand because I did the same thing for my mom. I now understood why he was getting his migraines. He doesn’t want to disappoint his mom, yet feels disconnected from his friends, and it’s all making him miserable. He’s in distress.

In Nathan’s mind, he’s thinking of how he can please his mom, but still live his life. He feels stuck, so he gets headaches because he doesn’t know how to deal with it. He’s in a lot of pain because he’s in his head, thinking about it. It’s basically mental congestion.

After he got adjusted on a Saturday, his mom asked him about his true feelings on Sunday, and he started tearing up again, so she asked me to talk to him on Monday at his next adjustment to see if I could find out what was going on with him.

When we talked, Nathan said that he had a headache that morning. It resolved an hour before his appointment, but he missed school again. I can’t imagine how upset his mom was with me, because she brought him so that he would stop missing school, yet he comes for an adjustment, and ends up with a bad headache, and misses school again.

This poor kid is always on the verge of crying because he can’t tell his mom that he feels she’s being unreasonable. Adding to this fact, Nathan perceives he has no friends because of her rigid mindset and her unwillingness to let him connect with them.

I can’t tell her what to do; I just asked her if she sees that her son is trying to connect with his friends but is not able to. He feels like a pariah because he doesn’t know about all the latest things his friends are into. I almost cried with him because I knew exactly what he was going through and could feel his pain.

I can understand his mom’s point of view. Her intent is good and she is just trying to look out for him, but she also needs to understand that she raised her son with good values and morals, and now has to start trusting him. If she makes him repress anything else, his head is going to explode, or he’s going to do something crazy.

 

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!

Oh My Hands!

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It’s interesting to note how much we take our hands for granted until we injure one of our fingers or have tightness building up in our hands that lead to pain. In the past 15 years, I have seen practice members who come in with different hand complaints ranging from the most infamous, “carpal tunnel syndrome,” to hands feeling numb or weak, to burning sensations in the finger tips. The common theme that seems to underlie all of the pains, numbness, and weakness in one’s hands, was the perception of having no control over what was happening in one’s life.

What truly differentiates us from the animal kingdom besides monkeys and orangutans, is our opposable thumb. Our thumb helps us to hitch hike when we need a lift (just kidding), but more importantly allows us to grab and build things. This unique ability of ours oftentimes give us the sense that we have control over our environment.

The story of Ben helps to illustrate this point. Ben first came into my office with complaints of constant left and right hand pain. For the past month, both his hands would go numb in the middle of the night and wake him up. As I asked him questions, Ben kept rubbing his hands constantly and shaking them. I asked, “When did you first begin to experience your hands being sore and numb?”

Ben replied, “Around two months ago, but it would come and go. It has been this past month where the pain and numbness have persisted. I went to my doctor and tests were run, but no clear diagnosis was determined. He thought I had a pinch nerve in my neck that was causing the pain and numbness, so that is why I came to see you.”

I responded, “Has there been anything causing you stress for the past two months – family stress, work stress, financial stress?” Ben thought for a moment and then shared, “At first I was going to say no, since I tend to handle stress rather well, but the past two months has been challenging for me. My wife has been depressed and blaming me for not supporting her enough. No matter what I do, she gets angry with me and I am at my wits end to find a solution. Even the medications that she is on, don’t seem to have any affect on her. Adding to this stress, I have two business transactions that have stalled, which has created some financial pressures that I am unaccustomed to.” After the last comment, Ben sighed and rubbed his hands again.

I mentioned, “By the way you are rubbing your hands, it appears as if you are trying to take shackles/handcuffs off your wrists. Would you agree that the amount of pain and numbness you are experiencing in your hands match to the same degree that you are experiencing stress in your life?”

Ben raised his right eyebrow, thought for a moment and shared, “I never thought of looking at it that way before, but I do feel helpless in not being able to do anything to help my wife. I tend to fix things and make things right, but I am stumped. I also feel stuck in my two business transactions and can’t do anything about it either. So I do feel powerless and handcuffed.” The moment Ben became aware of his current situation and acknowledged what he was feeling, he exclaimed, “Can it be that simple? My hands feel less painful and not as numb. Hmmmmm.”

I proceeded with the physical examination and adjusted him. As Ben learned to release tension from his spine and brought balance to his perceptions, eventually things started to shift for the better in his life and his hands ceased to be painful or numb.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below. Have you experienced hand pain? What did you find it related to? There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories. Let’s hear it!

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Animal Gift of Spirit Workshop

For more information click on this link: Animals Workshop-Sep2013

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Gift of Spirit Level 1 workshop on August 31st

Click on this link for more information: Gift of Spirit Workshop – Aug 31, 2013

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Misty had a rash appear on her chest that soon spread all over her body. She was in her early thirties and in a long-term relationship for several years. For a year, she was feeling the need to make changes. Although her boyfriend was her best friend, their paths were diverging for a few years. She woke up one morning, realizing the relationship was comfortable, but stagnant and not growing. Misty couldn’t understand why she was unhappy, but knew on a deeper level that she wanted to move on.

Misty’s rash intensified when the company she worked for devalued her efforts. She was the leading salesperson of her company for the last three years but they wanted to trim her commissions. This threw Misty off balance and infuriated her.

The tipping point occurred when she finally decided to end the relationship with her boyfriend, and due to extenuating circumstances, he didn’t move out right away. He would constantly question her and plead for her to reconsider. When Misty came in, she expressed, “I am just miserable. Although the anti-histamines and corticosteroids are taking the edge off the itchiness, when I sleep at night I’m restless and find my bed sheets covered with bloodstains in the morning. I don’t know what to do and am riddled with guilt. I’m not a bad person, but I feel like I am.”

I inquired, “Would you say that the intensity of the itch matches the degree that you’re judging yourself for breaking up with your boyfriend and not being valued by your company?”

Misty nodded. I added, “You feel that you are hurting him, but can you see that by staying with him you are hurting him too? Misty looked at me with a quizzical look and asked, “What do you mean? He is a great guy and I should be grateful to have him in my life. We have just grown apart and are more roommates than lovers. He has his life, which many times inconveniences mine and I no longer fit in with his social circle of friends. I feel I have grown and he has stayed the same and doesn’t want to grow or change. I was sure about my decision, but he’s been asking for a second chance and promising to change, which is making me reconsider.”

I responded, “Can you see that the itchiness and rash are your body’s non-subtle ways to illustrate how uncomfortable you are in your own skin? The reason why you can hurt him by staying in the relationship is that you are no longer interested in sharing a life with him and will begin to resent him and yourself for not sticking to your decision of breaking up. Instead of perceiving that you are hurting him, how is this a positive for him and for you?”

She said, “I can’t see how it is serving him. He has been telling me how much he is hurting.” I replied, “I hear what you are saying, but some positives for him is that he won’t hear, ‘why is the toilet seat up?’ or ‘why do you have to go out with your friends tonight?’ You mentioned that you no longer resonated with his group of friends. Is there some conflict in him choosing to go out with them or staying with you?” Misty replied, “There were moments he really wanted to be with his friends, but because we made plans he chose to stay with me but was distant the whole time. Those were the times I wished he had been honest and told me what he really wanted versus us getting into an argument, because I felt he was not connecting with me.”

Misty started to come up with some of her own positives for her boyfriend and started to relax. She then asked, “What about my job?” I answered, “Are you happy working for this company, because it seems that you want to do something different with your life?” Misty replied, “Although I have done well these past three years for my company, there was a change in management recently and I don’t agree with their personality or vision. I almost feel like a fraud selling something that I don’t believe in anymore.”

I said, “can you see your company’s choice to cut down on your commissions was actually a blessing in disguise? Did this action make you consider staying with them or not?” Misty nodded in agreement. I then asked, “How’s the itch?” She looked at me and responded, “I was so deep in thought, but actually I’m less itchy. I still feel it, but it is more subdued.”

Misty continued with care and as she became more in tune with her truth and inner knowingness, she set into motion changes in her life. Due to Misty’s increased awareness and willingness to follow her inner voice, within a week, her ex-boyfriend moved out and she made preparations to leave her company to pursue her dreams of starting her own business. Once she brought balance to her experience and perceptions, she was able to resolve her rash and the itch was a thing of the past.

It’s amazing that when you awaken and the need to change arises, the infinite body wisdom does whatever it takes to make you so uncomfortable that it pushes you into action. The should’s made Misty doubt her own inner knowing of what was true for her.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  Have you experienced foot pain?  What did you find it related to?  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

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When Justine first came in, she told me that her boss sent her, because he felt that what I offered could benefit her. He wanted her to at least be open to the initial visit and if it resonated with her, then she could continue on with care. As I was taking her history and asked different questions, I discovered that she has chronic back pain, high blood pressure, and pain in her right foot for the past year versus her left foot which had pain two years ago, but had resolved. I asked Justine what happened two years ago and like most people who first come in said that nothing of significance that she could remember happened. She remembered though that her left foot was very painful, because she even had to wear a boot for her foot. I once again asked her if she was sure nothing was happening back two years ago, and she affirmed that nothing had happened.

I then asked, “So what is going on in your life now and what happened this year when your right foot started to bother you?”

Justine replied, “Work is just stressful. My boss is fine, but I just have a lot of busy work and many obligations. I inquired further, “anything else?”

Justine thought some more and said, “Oh I have been noticing that if I sit for a prolonged period of time, my back gets really sore and my neck and shoulders tighten up. I feel very uncomfortable and the tension that I feel usually becomes really intense and painful by the end of the day.”

I asked, “Do you like what you do for work or is it the workplace that creates stress for you?”

Justine replied, “I enjoy my workplace, but there is a ton of things to do and I am constantly working with deadlines.”

“So how long have you been working there?”

“About two years.”

I took this opportunity to mention and help her gain some awareness, “Oh so did you have the left foot pain before or after you started this job?” Justine raised her right eyelid a little perplexed, but answered, “the pain in my left foot began before I got to the company I am working for now.”

I followed up with, “Was something going on at your previous place of employment? How long were you there and what made you leave?”

Justine looked at me with eyes getting wider, “I was there for eight years, but three years ago, we had a new manager come in and he was a micro-manager. I put up with it for a couple of years, but after a while I just got fed up and started to look for a new place to work.”

All of a sudden Justine paused and looked intently into my eyes, “Are you kidding me? Did all this stress cause my pains? Because my left foot started to be painful at about the same time I started thinking about leaving my previous company and look for someplace else to work. I found this company that I am currently with now and even got a pay raise to boot. However the only challenge is that when I moved to this new company, I had to learn a whole new system and it seemed like a very steep learning curve. I eventually got the hang of the new system, but it has been rough.”

Side note here – The moment Justine left her old work place, although at the time she thought that is what she wanted, she was judging her decision of leaving. Her new job was different than her previous one and she had to learn a new system and she questioned her competency. She felt inadequate and unconfident, which on an emotional level caused her right foot to start getting sore.

I have discovered that one’s feet are analogous to stability like the expression “having our feet on stable ground.” Over the years, I have observed practice members who suffered from left foot pain were often times dealing with issues of having to make a difficult decision that would change their lives by literally “taking a step forward.” In a similar fashion, right foot pain I have observed occurring among my practice members in instances when they were either judging the action they took or not taking action where they feel they should have.

If you can relate, or have a story to share, please comment below.  Have you experienced foot pain?  What did you find it related to?  There is a benefit in expressing and exchanging our stories.  Let’s hear it!

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Bend Those Knees!

In the past few years, knee pains have been on the upswing. It almost seems that on average I have at least three or more people complaining of knee pains. Sometimes it is the right knee, sometimes the left and in more intense cases both. The diagnoses given by their primary care physicians or their orthopods cite “bone on bone” where the cartilage between the femur bone and the leg bone has totally withered away. However, many times arthritis is the primary diagnosis and culprit being caused by wear and tear as well as old age. I have seen over the past fourteen years of practice a direct correlation with one’s life experiences and knee pains.

One story I am going to share hopefully will provide some insight into the underlying cause of knee pain. Around five years ago, Claudia came to my office due to intense pain in both knees. She had heard about me via friends who had come in for various health concerns and she was hoping that I could help her. Let me provide some background on Claudia. Claudia was a physically active woman, who enjoyed swimming, playing volleyball, and running. However, recently the pain in her knees were increasingly getting more and more painful. There were few moments where her knee would just dislocate for no apparent reason, which would create an extreme amount of pain forcing her to the ER to get her knees reset into alignment.

During our first initial consultation I started by asking Claudia, “so what is going on in your life?”

Claudia responded, “For the most part life is fine, except that I am not sure what to do about my job. A part of me knows that it is time for me to step down and retire, but the other part of me feels that no one can replace me. I am deeply concerned that if I retire, it will leave my organization in a bad situation.”

I then inquired, “When did you first notice your knee pain getting more intense and painful?”

Claudia answered, “It has been more painful the past few months, but I would have to say around six months ago.”

Being the inquisitive being that I am, I asked, “So what was happening around six months or seven months ago when you first started to notice the increasing pain in your knees?” Claudia thought for a bit, shifted her body in the chair and then all of a sudden I could see a light of recognition in her eyes. She began by saying, “That is so weird that you asked me that. Could it be? Hmmmmmm. Okay now, around six to seven months ago, I started to contemplate about retiring. It is not that I am unhappy with my job, it’s just that I am wanting to have more freedom and dedicate my life to other endeavors. However, I feel very responsible at my position and want the perfect person to replace me, but that person hasn’t shown up.”

I followed up with, “Is it that you haven’t found someone or is it harder for you to let go a position that you have held for a long time?” Claudia paused and was just about to speak, when a big grin came across face. Claudia chuckled to herself and then spoke, ”How did you know that I have a hard time delegating and I feel like no one can do this job as good as me?” Claudia knew she had to move forward, but she was resisting the change of letting go of her position. Although she knew it was the best thing for her, where she was at in life, she just could not do it.

I just responded, “It appeared to me that you are in control most of the time and over the years I have witnessed knee pain correlates with anyone resisting to change. My favorite analogy is ‘What does one do when they are at church or they get to a certain point in life when they ask God for help?” Claudia looked me straight in the eyes and said, “Oh….I get it! At Church we usually get down on our knees and pray. Can it really be that simple?” I just smiled and said, “why don’t you try for yourself and see?”

Claudia decided to get under care and as she received her adjustments, her knees became less and less painful. However, although she had some bumps and set backs along the way, little by little Claudia came to terms with her situation and realized what she was resisting. Even when her knee dislocated again, she was able to relocate it herself without having to go to the ER. The amazing part of this story is that once she retired, Claudia’s knee pains went away, even though the diagnosis of her orthopedic surgeon was “bone on bone” with no cartilage. She did not have to go through total knee replacement surgery and was able to enjoy her life more fully and pursue her next life’s adventure.

If you can relate to knee stiffness or pain, or have a story to share about how an experience was linked to pain, please feel free to share it in the comment box below.  There is a benefit to expressing and sharing our stories!

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Pelvic Foundation Story

Grace, an 80 year old woman, came in with her daughter.  During her physical examination and history, her daughter was surprised to find out her mother had pain in her back for the past five years.  I asked Grace, “What happened five years ago?”

She answered, “Nothing.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

Her daughter asked, “Wasn’t that when Dad wasn’t doing good, and you and he went into that care home?”

Grace thought about it for a moment and said, “Oh, I guess so…”

Changing Foundation

The pelvis area is about foundation and change.  Grace’s entire living situation changed from living in her own house for more than 40 years, to living in a care home, and that was a big change for her.  There were different people, a different environment, a different way of life, plus her husband was not doing well.  Grace was clearly uncomfortable in her new living environment and her pelvis was giving her a blaring signal.

Her pain began to worsen three years ago, which being a coincidence or not, corresponded at the same time with her husband’s passing.  The pain intensified the following morning even without her doing anything that would cause an increase in pain.  

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Shifting Our Identity

The sacrum (lower back) is linked with our foundation.  Lower back pain above the pelvis arises usually when we move or make a shift in our identity.  Physically, it can happen when we pick up something heavy or turning our body in an awkward way.  Mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, it’s when we’re questioning the direction we’re going in, figuring out who we are, or not being able to safely express ourselves.  This creates a conflict in our sense of self and what we should be doing versus what we are doing.

There can be mild to severe pain, and doctors usually prescibe muscle relaxers or anti-inflammatory drugs.  They prescribe this form of treatment to help ease the person from the pain they are experiencing.  Although this may take the pain away initially, but over time if the person can’t feel the pain, they can end up injuring themselves more, creating bigger problems in the future.

Doctors are doing their best and making the best diagnosis based upon the symptoms that are being presented.  They may not always have enough time to really ask what is going on in a person’s life.   Also their scope of practice leads them to prescribing medications to help stop the symptoms, but it doesn’t necessarily address the cause.

Judging Choices

In my life, I will get lower back and pelvic pain if I was judging my choices, where I was in my life, or doubting what I know to be true for me.  The lower back is also linked at times with financial worries, stress, and challenging relationships.  The right side of the lower back is associated with a male figure in a person’s life (husband, brother, father, coworker, etc.), while the left side is associated with a female figure (wife, sister, mother, coworker, etc.).

If you can relate to low back or pelvic pain, or have a story to share about how an experience was linked to pain, please feel free to share it in the comment box below.  There is a benefit to expressing and sharing our stories!