Uh Oh...The Therapist Needs Therapy!!
"What? This can't be happening."
"Seriously? But I have to get Liam to school and go to work."
"Not now!! I really want to go to that exercise class tonight!"
"But I have dinner plans with my friend tonight!"
"OK, I hear you. I will rest."
This was the conversation going on between my lower back and my brain. I wish I were joking. Isn't a Physical Therapist and Movement Expert supposed to be able to prevent this from happening??? I wish!! I'm supposed to be the one to GIVE therapy, not the one who NEEDS it!! Argh!!!
You may think that I am lucky since I know how to treat myself when I get injured. In theory, I do know how, but as soon as my body starts to give me signals that something is wrong, my educated, experienced, body-working self completely checks out. I'm utterly clueless as to how to even begin helping myself feel better. Even I go through the stages of acute pain that may be all too familiar to you.
“This can't possibly be happening to me right now. I'm just going to keep moving slowly through it. I'm sure it will go away soon.”
“What about my "to-do" list? How can I help others move better when I can't even move myself!?! How did I let this happen to me?”
“Why does this always happen to me??? What kind of example am I being to my clients? I had a full day scheduled!!! Now I'm going to have to contact everyone and cancel my day!! Argh!!!!”
“What if this doesn't go away in a few days and I become a chronic pain sufferer? Is this a herniated disk? What if I need surgery? Do I have a tumor? It stinks getting older!! Oh, whoa is me!!!”
“Take a deep breath. Rest is not for the weak. You've felt this before and it eventually went away and likely will again this time. You are going to get through this. What would I tell my client to do right now? Time to take your own advice.”
“What can I do now that makes me feel a little bit better? Lie down. Epsom Salt soak, hot shower, essential oil massage, gentle movements, get up and walk, lie down again. Ice pack. Hot pack. Drink water. Repeat.”
“What does this experience teach me? What message is my body trying to convey? How can I respond differently next time?”
It is times like these that I tell myself, "I'm going to take better care of myself so that this doesn't happen to me again” or "It's time I learn to accept help from others and let them help take care of me." I know there is always a positive message to be learned from every challenging experience. Having more empathy for my clients as they experience similar experiences as the stages above helps me to be a better practitioner.
(Fast forward one month...) Once I got over my initial pity party last month, I bucked up and re-prioritized my self care. I took more walks and rest breaks, avoided sitting, really started to think about my nutrition choices, became more mindful of my emotions and feelings, received some bodywork treatments, utilized some powerful healing essential oils, explored new aquatic exercises and isometric activation techniques, and began thinking and feeling better.
As I finish this blog post, I am now back to being pain-free in my lower back (Thank Goodness!!). I still have to work at keeping my self-care a priority among the other responsibilities I juggle, but am going to do whatever I can to avoid this from happening again as I move forward.
All the best to you as you also keep moving forward, my friends!