Originally when thinking on how to end cap this blog series, I thought it would be best to describe all of the blogs with hit 90’s songs. Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby,” was the first that came to mind. After reading the lyrics I opted to pitch the whole idea.
I am grateful that at the time that nonsense became a hit, my 8 year old self was very busy making “U Can’t Touch This,” by the incredible MC Hammer my spirit song. The only thing sadder than Vanilla Ice’s lyrics is that I have no idea where all my Hammer pants went. Those shiny, golden wonders were timeless.
Moving from emotional pain to physical pain… Getting rid of the idea of ending this blog series with a 90’s hit parade and grieving the loss of my Hammer pants (25 years after the fact), I decided it would be a great idea to instead make a hit list of the information the blogs. Today you’ll get the highlight real from this series, as well as learn how to own your doctor’s appointments… which is only logical as you’re paying for them.
Before we go any further, let’s give a shout out to our homeboy, the one who has been here through this entire blog series, the disclaimer.
DISCLAIMER: None of the information in this blog series is meant to take the place of your healthcare provider’s advice. Continue with your existing pain management plan and seek medical care as needed. Inform your healthcare provider of any changes, alternative treatments and self-care techniques you decide to implement.
Here’s the low-down on the Integrative Approaches to Pain Management Series. If you want to skip the recap, scroll down to where it says “Blog 6…”
Blog 1: Addressing Pain with Less & None
The Integrative Approaches to Pain Management blog series started out with a disclaimer and then rolled onto the most important thing you can do to help your pain: breathe.
After a few deep breathes in and out, we moved onto what we can stop doing. Theoretically, it’s easier and cheaper to not do something that to do it. Theoretically. In real life, it takes time, patience and practice. The blog talked about what food additives and dietary habits to kick to the curb. It ended with a brilliant bit on not poking bears.
Blog 2: Using What You Have to Start Healing from Pain
In the second blog we took all that room in our lives we’d opened up by getting rid of bad habits and toxic additives and filled it up to the brim with delicious, nourish food and behavior. Yeah!
We laughed, we cried, we got hooked up with great recipes and even deep financial insight on why ginger is a great investment crop. Holla at your stock broker and cut me in on the deal.
Blog 3: Approaching Pain with Massage & Yoga
Massage therapist, yoga instructor and owner of Om on the Range, Alaina Binfet shared her beautiful insight on self-care and yoga. This blog would be the best reading material in doctor’s offices. The hour long wait time could be used to stretch and laugh it out. Your pain might be much better by the time you got called back.
Blog 4: Giving Chiropractic Care a Chance
Chiropractor and co-owner of Desert Valley Chiropractic, Dr. Katherine Iacuone demystified chiropractic care in her interview and made sure we knew to go to a chiropractor who practiced the activator method. She also gave advice on caring for yourself in addition to your treatments.
Blog 5: An Eastern Approach to Pain: Acupuncture & Herbs
Acupuncturist Stacy Davis, owner of Peak Oriental Medicine, made the idea of paying someone to poke you head to toe with needles seem like a great idea instead of scary. She also gave insight on how to make acupuncture and herbs most effective. Her insight and soothing tone in her interview will have you heading over to AAAOMonline.org to find an acupuncture professional near you.
You’re reading… Blog 6: Being the Boss of Your Pain
Giving all of the blogs in this series a once over, a few things came to the forefront. First, the incredible professionals that contributed to this series did a great job and they deserve glitter drenched thank you cards for their efforts. Big thank you to Alaina, Katherine and Stacy. You will be fully glittered when you least expect it. Bwahahahaha!
Second, there was a common theme that rang true throughout the entire series: self-care is both vital and priceless. Too often do we turn our health, conditions and care over to someone else and allow ourselves to give up control of our own quality of life. Not to mention, we drain our bank accounts in the process.
Dude! I am not saying to not go to your doctor and completely ditch your pain meds. Oh hell, no! I would never say, recommend or imply that. Take a minute to revisit the disclaimer.
What I’m saying is the same thing Canadian rapper Drake said on his hit 2013 album Nothing Was The Same: Own It. It’s your health and your pain – own it. It’s yours. It’s yours. It’s always going to be yours. The best way to do this is to care, advocate and research for yourself.
Take a priority list to your doctor’s appointment.
Pain does some loused up things to our brains, including tricking us into believing we’re not in control. It’s really hard to feel in control when a jolt of pain knocks you down to the ground or when severe pain keeps you from grabbing your coffee cup. Repeatedly pain pops up and tries to run the show. Your self-esteem and positive mindset go down the drain.
Take them back. You own both your pain and your happiness. BOOM. I’ll give you a moment to collect the bits of your mind that have exploded everywhere when that truth bomb went off.
Glad you’re back! That went faster than I thought, but I’m not judging.
Let’s use the example of my teenage self to explain exactly how to NOT approach your doctor’s appointments. It’s been about 20 years since I started seeing doctors for what would eventually result in 13 fused vertebrae. I feel scoliosis is stupid and I wish that everyone could have the luxury of a beautiful, healthy, straight spine.
At that point in my life I chose to show up to my doctor’s appointments with an empty stomach and a mind full of rage and angst. I’d proudly boast to my doctor that I didn’t follow through with anything he’d recommended because he was stupid and I was super superior. The physical therapy he recommended hurt because it was all wrong and not because I was a malnourished, out-of-shape, scrawny young woman. The pills he’d prescribed didn’t work because again, he was a stupid-head and I had special needs for special meds… Yeah.
Let me tell you where all that got me. I ended up in EXTREME pain. I missed the majority of my high school years due to surgery, post-surgical recovery and, again, debilitating pain. When I was in class or with my friends, I was blitz out of my mind on pain pills. The pain pills made me mad sick to my stomach, which sucks on a whole new level when you’re a self-conscious teenager.
At the doctor’s office they had a special chair for me to wait that was at the end of the hall and slightly around the corner to the right, because my teenage-tantrums were upsetting to the other patients and mortifying to my parents. Also, I was lonely and depressed AF.
Now let me tell you about the best doctor’s appointment of all time – ALL TIME! In college, my back pain was at it again and after nearly failing my morning class due to pain issues and a horrible, apathetic professor, I traveled to see a highly recommended spine doc in Spokane, Washington.
My appointment with the doctor went fabulously! For the first time in my life I had a doctor take an hour and half to explain my condition and what I needed to do to feel better. In that time, he professionally and politely explained to me that I was in debilitating pain because I was not taking care of myself, plus living in a climate that wasn’t right for my arthritis. He answered all of my questions and gave me homework - which was self-care.
This ONE appointment with this doctor went so well that I followed through with everything he’d given me to do and felt a little better each day. I went from the hollering hoo hidden at the end of hallway to a happy, recovering patient. That awesome appointment profoundly changed my life. Because of that appointment, I decided to dedicate my entire career to helping others with pain through nutrition and lifestyle changes.
I only met that doctor once and a year later when I opened a letter from his staff notifying me of his passing, I cried exhausted toddler style. He’d given me the gifts of his time and my accountability for my health, all while secretly battling cancer. That’s hero level stuff.
What happened in the years between the first and last doctor’s appointments? Maturity for starters. Maturity and ownership. I was a busted, broke college student with a busted, broke skeleton. I had to pay those doctor’s bills and take time off from work to go to those appointments. My mama and her wallet were 800 miles away.
Before that doctor’s appointment, I grabbed a couple things I already owned - paper and a pencil. I wrote down the FACTS of my current condition. How long the pain been going on. When was it at its worst. When it hurt the least. What made it better and what made it worse. What I had tried. What had worked in the past. Then I wrote the questions I wanted to ask the doctor. Finally, I reviewed all of that and made a logic list of facts and questions to ask the doctor.
I put a blank box at the beginning of each one to put a checkmark in once the doctor answered my question fully. Boss. I was paying for that appointment and dammit, I was getting my money’s worth. Aside, I didn’t have all day. I had tests to study for and two jobs to get to.
I don’t recommend living a life where you take on more than you can physically, mentally or financially handle. What I do recommend is taking a well thought out list to your doctor’s appointments. Remove the emotion from it and keep it factual. Think through the results you want to see. That helps you reframe your questions with a health oriented goal in mind. You got this!
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