Monday, November 22, 2021

Gratitude is the Best Medicine


"BOOM!" The sound of the collision between my SUV and the Minivan that crossed over into my lane haunts me to this day. 12 years ago this month, a roll-over car accident changed my life. For the first time in my career, the Physical Therapist became the patient. The same muscle techniques we now use to help YOU move and feel better were successfully employed by MY Physical Therapist to help rehabilitate my neck and shoulder injuries. This experience validated that venturing outside of the traditional physical therapy box was the best decision for me as the patient, and for all of my future patients, and for that I am truly grateful! This experience also helped me appreciate the little things in life that I had once taken for granted. I was lucky and grateful to be alive!! 

My client just came in this morning and said "I'm not doing well today." I assumed she meant because our session last time was too much for her, but instead she said, "I just found out that my friend's husband died as a result of injuries from the Waukesha Christmas parade event yesterday." My heart broke for her and the many people and families affected both physically and emotionally by the horrific incident so close to home for many of us! Life is such a precious gift that can be taken from us at any time without warning. She expressed gratitude that her friend's injuries were less severe and that she has a strong support network to lean on during this difficult time. 

Last week, a client who has been severely sleep-deprived due to the pain of his dislocated shoulder, was grateful that he was starting to improve. Even though it was his non-dominant side, he realized just how much he really needed it to function better to get through life! And sleep deprivation is no joke!! Those of us affected by that because of pain or other issues in our life can surely relate.  His gratitude for even a little better sleep, and a little better function gave him a new perspective and he was starting to feel more hopeful. 

No matter what is going on in our lives, having gratitude always helps. This time of year always brings gratitude to mind, as we are about to celebrate Thanksgiving this week. We all have so much to be grateful for, but sometimes our gratitude can be lost amongst our pain and life's stressors.  

Even though it may feel like a nuisance to change your schedule to get to and from therapy appointments, at least there are answers to your pain problems to be found.  Even though doing your home exercise program takes time away from other daily activities, it may be helping to support those daily activities. It's annoying to have to make changes with how we do things when pain and other limitations don't allow us to do things the normal way, but at least our bodies were designed to compensate so we can still keep going.  Having gratitude that our bodies have a warning signal system in place when we feel pain or that something isn't "right" with our bodies is actually a huge blessing!! It allows us to take notice and find better ways to move, whether on our own or with the help of a professional. Being able to FEEL our body means that we are alive. Sometimes it is hard to find the blessings and have gratitude when we don't like what we feel, but the alternative (not being alive...) is worse! 

I am so grateful to have each of you in my life! It is such a HUGE blessing to enjoy coming to work each day. The opportunity to help each and every one of you move and feel better is so important to me, and I thank you for committing to this process, allowing us to work together to solve your unique issues, even if it takes some time to get to the root of them. I know what it is like to be limited by pain, problems moving how we want to be moving, sleep disturbances, and having to keep working at home exercises to feel better. I'm grateful for every session where we can help your body shine your light on the world a little brighter! Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of your healing journey! 

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and that you can focus on all that you are grateful for in your life, no matter what is going on around us. God Bless You!! 






Monday, October 18, 2021

Tootsie's "TWEET:" Don't Wait Until It's Too Late

It's me again, Emily's alter-ego, Tootsie, "Queen of the Posture Police."  I'm tired of Emily being so nice to you all!! I'm here to keep it real and offer some unfiltered advice so you feel better & STAY better!!  I'm here to blow my whistle and make another citation for crappy posture! 

TWEET! Don't Wait Until It's Too Late!!  

It's so annoying!  That lingering, dull ache when you bend or reach. It's been bothering you for some time now, but you just keep hoping it will go away...eventually. But it is still there. It's not convenient, but you move on. It doesn't seem to matter what you do, it is still there. You've tried stretches. It's still there. Your Chiropractor gets your alignment straight and you feel better for a little bit, but it's still there. Your Massage Therapist tries to untie the knot in that area, but it tightens back up. Then all of a sudden, you move the wrong way and your body locks up completely!! You have to cancel all of your plans and let your body calm down for who knows how long!! Again, not convenient, but this time you can't move at all!  Now, what are you supposed to do??

Good question. I know the answer. (Emily is too nice to share it, so here I go!) DON'T WAIT!! That little annoying ache, that all of a sudden turns into an emergency could have been dealt with much better in Emily's office when it was a molehill, rather than a mountain. You know how it goes on Emily's treatment table..."Move this way...Hold here...Ready, RESIST! Roll over, lift this leg, Hold, Ready RESIST! Now roll back over. Stand up. Sit down. Move this way, Ready RESIST!" Good luck trying to do any of THAT when your body is in crisis-mode, crying out in pain! 

Here's the deal. When your body has trouble MOVING or you can't MOVE a certain way, your muscles are involved. When you feel tight or have a "knot," your muscles are involved, but I'm here to tell you, those stretches won't help! When your posture and alignment are out of place, your muscles are involved; when your alignment is put back into the ideal position, if the muscles that hold it there aren't on board, your crappy alignment will shift right back to where it once was. It is as simple as that! Fortunately for you, YOU happen to have your own personal Muscle Specialist. You know who to call when your body is starting to send you the uncomfortable messages. You know NOT to wait until it is too late.  

A few weeks ago, Emily got a call from a client she hadn't seen for several months. All of a sudden, this client reached out in crisis mode. "I NEED to get in for a session! My body is ANGRY!!" Unfortunately for this client's sake, Emily's calendar was full of clients who had already been on her schedule for weeks, committed to working on the process of moving better after their body gave them subtle warning signs. This client waited until it was too late! She waited until her body was screaming at her!! Not only would she have been miserable on the treatment table, trying to move into the range-of motion positions needed for Emily to figure out the best way to help her, but the hands-on and exercise treatments themselves would have been more painful to endure as well in her inflamed state. 

Even though she is a PT (which some people think stands for "Pain & Torture"...), Emily truly does NOT like to hurt her clients!! Seriously, she doesn't!! She knows that it will be painful for her clients to be treated when they are in an active crisis mode. Of course, IF she is able to help, Emily will see her clients in whatever state they show up to the session, but it goes much more easily for everyone involved if the sessions are focused on promoting wellness rather than doing damage control. (But she's too nice to say anything, so that's why I'm bringing it up!) 

So, in summary, listen to those body signals, people!! Even if the message seem just like a little "whisper" right now, these quieter messages are important indicators that something may get MUCH louder if you wait too long to have your muscles checked! Maybe you've been told by a friend or family member that your posture needs help, or you've noticed uncomfortable sensations in your body with all the stress & changes you've been through since 2020, or you've been dealing with a chronic, nagging ache for years and you just keep on plugging away. Now, bring your mole-hills in to see Emily before they become mountains!! 

DON'T WAIT!!! Call, Text (414) 405-3956, or Email 1212bodyworks@gmail.com to set up your next session! 


Monday, September 13, 2021

Tootsie's "TWEET": Stand Up Already!


It's me again, Emily's alter-ego, Tootsie. I introduced myself last month as "Queen of the Posture Police." (If you didn't get to meet me yet, hop back to the last blog entry and find out more about me). Basically, I'm tired of Emily being so nice to you all. I'm here to keep it real and offer some unfiltered advice so you feel better and stay better!! I know you have better things to do than go in for treatments all the time! As Queen of the Posture Police, I'm here to blow my whistle and make another crappy posture citation. 

TWEET! Stand Up Already!! 

I'm all for standing up to crappy posture, but this time I'm serious! Sitting is the new smoking, or so it's been said. Sitting is one of the worst things that you can do for your body, especially when you remain sitting for long periods of time. Chronic sitting leads to many detrimental health effects including 

  • Decreased Digestion
  • Stifled Breathing
  • Heart Disease
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Dementia
  • Cancer 
  • Muscle Fatigue
  • Muscle Tightness
  • Muscle Weakness
  • Pain (Neck, Back, Shoulders, Hips, Pelvis, etc)
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Sciatica
  • LE Swelling/Edema
  • Varicose Veins
Sounds awful, am I right? And this is only some of the bad effects of sitting. So what do you do about this problem? There are some easy solutions. Emily will go into more details about all of them next week in a Free Zoom Seminar, but for now, here are some ideas for you:
 
1. Set a timer to get up every 30-45 minutes
2. Get a Standing Desk
3. Choose to have a walking meeting instead of at a desk
4. If you have to sit, sit correctly
5. Avoid sitting as much as possible
6. MOVE!! 

See, it's really not that difficult to break the cycle of sitting. Wondering what correct posture is all about? Curious about which exercises or movements are best to negate the effects of sitting? Well, you're in luck! You can join Emily next week on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 9am for a Free Zoom Seminar called "Take a Stand Against Sitting." You'll learn more about why we should be getting up off of our keisters more often, what correct sitting posture looks and feels like, and what exercises you can incorporate to keep yourself from adding any of those bullet points above to your life!! 

Interested in joining in? Drop Emily an email at 1212bodyworks@gmail.com, or send her a text to 414-405-3956 letting her know you are interested, and she will send you all of the details for the seminar including the Zoom link. (I might just be making any appearance at the seminar...TWEET!!)

Now, don't just sit there!! Get up off of your keisters and contact Emily already! 

Friday, July 30, 2021

Meet "Tootsie:" Queen of the Posture Police



You don't know me, but I know you! You know that sweet, muscle lady who keeps your body working? Well, I'm the alter ego inside her head, Tootsie. Emily is nice, and I'm mean. She's the bubbly-coffee-shop-barista, and I'm the cranky-waitress-at-the-50's-style-diner. She's a squirrel, I'm grounded. Because she's a "people pleaser," she usually filters me out--that's why you haven't heard of me before. It's time to keep it real and sneak in some of MY advice now. 

So many of "our" clients have crappy posture!! That leads to arthritis (joint inflammation) from head to toe, pressure on organs (no-go, or gotta go, gotta go right NOW!!), and immune dysfunctions (I know...blah, blah, blah!). I crowned myself "Queen of the Posture Police." It's time to stop being nice, stand up to crappy posture, and set it straight once and for all!! It's Citation time, people!! I have a whistle, and I'm not afraid to use it! (TWEET!)

TWEET!  Go Barefoot Already!!

You don't need "support" from a shoe! Or a shoe insert. Our feet are designed to hold an entire body up for a lifetime.  If you have been told by a professional that you are an "over-pronator," have fallen arches, or that you should NEVER go barefoot, here's another side of the story (from the Black Sheep of the PT family...) Barefoot is best! (Disclaimer...a transition is needed!) Honey, get ready to kick off your ugly, orthopedic shoes, break up properly with your dang inserts, and get your tootsies MOVING!! 

What? Your feet hurt, or don't move like you want them to move? Need help letting go of tightness? There's hope! "Muscle Magicians," like our girl Emily, can easily restore LIFE to your muscles.  She Locates limited motions, Isolates the weakness, Facilitates weak muscles, and Educates on how to stay active and keep you out of our office!! We ALL have better things to be doing, am I right!?! 

Human bodies are tricky: pain in one area doesn't always mean the problem is there. Your feet may be attempting to compensate for your weak hips, or some other place for that matter.  Plantar Fasciitis, Bunions, and Hammertoes resolve when we get your whole body moving better. Here's what you can do right now: when barefoot or not, start moving your feet, ankles and toes EVERY day, every chance you get! (You'll thank me for this!)

It's SOOO simple: moving your body is helpful for so many reasons. You know who to see when your efforts to move better on your own are not cutting the mustard, sweetheart! Together, "we" can locate the source of your unique weakness and teach you a better way to move. (Tell Emily I sent you!) 

Since this is our first meeting, I'll let you off with just a warning...but only this time!

Until next month, 

Tootsie

                     ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Just to be safe in avoiding future citations, Emily is offering a Free Walking Analysis with every session for the first  2 weeks of August. It's amazing how much better you can feel with even a few tweaks to your walking posture and alignment! Get yourself on the schedule as appointments are filling quickly these days. Call, text (414) 405-3956, or email 1212bodyworks@gmail.com to connect. 

Thursday, June 24, 2021

I cried today...

Law of Attraction. Dealing with being Discouraged.

"I've been told by so many practitioners what is wrong with me." 

"Nothing else has worked and I'm not sure that this will either."

"I'm feeling worse, not better."

"I don't feel like doctors or therapists understand my problem."

"I'm depressed because nothing I'm doing is helping me feel better."

What a day it was! 4 clients in one day, and ALL of them are discouraged. I can't blame them at all. They have all been on a healing journey to try to find answers to their various health challenges. They have worked with multiple practitioners, have invested in supplements, cleanses and special tests, had surgeries and other treatments to try to "fix" their structural problems, only to create more pain and movement dysfunctions to overcome. It must be so frustrating!! These quotes are familiar to me, as a PT for the past 20+ years now. Usually I try not to take things personally, am strong and try to stay positive and encouraging with my clients, but today I cried. Not in front of my clients (although I did that once last week...) but at the end of my day. 

Working with the human body is no joke! As owners of our human bodies, it is enough to make any one of our heads spin trying to keep up with all of the messages our bodies share with us each day on what we feel, what we need, what we want, and what is best for taking care of ourselves and moving and feeling our best. And then actually following through on it is a whole other ballgame! Recognizing these messages, doing what we can to make changes ourselves, and then discerning when it is time to ask a professional for help can be additional challenges.  Each individual comes with a unique history, concerns and goals, and even though our bodies "mostly" look like the medical charts we study as bodyworkers, no two humans are exactly alike. This makes the healing process a challenge, to say the least.  

It is a huge blessing to me to be invited in to someone's healing journey to try to facilitate positive change. I have made it my mission to help clients in a unique way to figure out their movement imbalances, reawaken muscle contractions, and educate them on how to keep these areas active and firing. As a Physical Therapist, I know the physical anatomy and how to enhance its function very well. Some of my clients call what we do here "magic" as we help the nervous system improve its stability almost instantaneously, which can have a positive impact on reducing pain sensations. However, many of the clients here also have layers of emotional pain tied in with their physical pain. Whether this emotional pain comes from abuse or trauma from childhood, physical trauma due to injuries, medical treatments or surgeries, mental exhaustion from dealing with chronic pain, family stressors, workplace demands, or life transitions, this emotional pain needs to be addressed before full resolution of body pain can be achieved. I WISH I could wave a magic wand to make THAT kind of pain disappear, but that is not possible. 

Physical Therapy is a wonderful modality that can be added to enhance one's healing journey. It is never the "end all be all" as there are many other factors in life that need to be addressed in addition to your balanced posture and movements. PT can be a wonderful adjunct to eating a healthy diet and staying hydrated, taking supplements, getting Vitamin D from the sun, exercising, seeing a Chiropractor, Acupuncturist, Massage Therapist, or other Holistic Practitioners. I understand that some people will move and feel better with my help, and others may not. Some may even feel worse! That is the risk we both take when entering into a working relationship. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees that the process I use and the individualized plan that I devise, based on each client's assessment findings, will actually take all of their pain away. My heart breaks for the number of clients who have seen multiple practitioners and are still left wanting more relief. My heart breaks again when the work we do here isn't enough for them to see positive change and they have to move on to yet another practitioner for help. I'm grateful to know that there are still a lot of other wonderful, healing avenues for clients to pursue if this process is not the end of their journey. 

As much as it was a tough day for me emotionally to hear all of my clients discouragement, I am still more encouraged by the wonder and resiliency of the human body and its ability to heal, to move, and feel better.  I am still grateful for the opportunity to try to help as many people as possible and teach them what they can be doing for themselves to facilitate healing. I'm choosing to bless and release those that are not a good fit for my services and embrace those of you who are still willing to take the chance to move forward together along your healing journey. Thanks for your trust in this process and for understanding that what we do here is just one piece of a HUGE healing puzzle. 

Friday, May 21, 2021

Problems Sleeping? No Problem!! Try THIS!


Let's face it, having trouble sleeping really stinks!! Not only do sleep issues affect how you feel during the time you should be sleeping, but lack of sleep can greatly impact your mood, work abilities, and daily activities during the time you are awake. According to a Sleep Foundation article, sleep experts report that 10-30% of adults live with some form of insomnia. Some of the types of insomnia include: "Sleep-onset insomnia" occurs when people have difficulty falling asleep, even when they are tired. "Sleep maintenance insomnia" refers to difficulty staying asleep during the night. "Mixed insomnia" is a hybrid condition characterized by sleep-onset and sleep maintenance insomnia symptoms. There are many reasons why people have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and there are equally as many treatment approaches to try to help resolve these different issues. This article could be a BOOK if we went into all of that! Instead, we'll focus on how to position your body and best support yourself to optimize your ability to fall and stay asleep comfortably. 

My clients often ask "What is the best position for sleeping?" I believe the best answer to that is "Any way that YOU are comfortable!" That might not be the answer you were expecting. Truly, sleep positioning and comfort is such an individual thing. Some people can sleep flat on their backs, some prefer side-lying, while others prefer stomach sleeping, or even sleeping in a recliner chair. Unfortunately, body pains often get in the way of sleep tolerance no matter what your position. Overall, being in a position that YOU find comfortable and supportive is the best one for YOU! 

To best align the spine and allow the body to fully rest and restore itself during our sleep, there are some recommendations based on positioning.  It is best for our spine and muscles to sleep on our backs.  If you are able to sleep on your back, it is ideal to place a small pillow under your head and neck, not your shoulders. In fact, if you are able to pull the corners of your pillow up over your shoulders, this provides even more support to the small curvature in the bones of the neck. Keeping your legs straight is ideal to rest the hip flexor muscles on the front of the pelvis and minimize tightness throughout the night. Some people can sleep on their back, but they need some type of bolster or pillow support placed under their knees to take pressure off of their back. Others have the fancy, adjustable beds that bend to provide an elevated head or allow the knees to be supported in a slight bent position or even with the feet elevated. These are all acceptable positions especially if you find them comfortable and can fall and stay asleep without issues. 

For side sleepers, it is important to have support through your hips and legs to keep tensions minimal through the pelvis and spine, and it is helpful to have your head, shoulders and arms supported to minimize tension through the neck or prevent your arms from falling asleep. Personally, I am a side sleeper and I can't do it as well without my trusty "Body Pillow." Many of you have heard me sing the praises of this lovely, simple support for my body. This long pillow goes between your legs to keep your top leg supported, instead of having the weight of the the leg pulling down with gravity, which creates tension through the pelvis and lower spine. This pillow is long enough to support you between your lower legs and feet as well, which further supports the natural alignment of the legs, pelvis, and spine. The top of the pillow comes up to about chest height, allowing space for your face to breathe, and a nice place to rest your top arm and hand. As for your head, it is best to have a medium pillow to take pressure off of your bottom shoulder and support a neutral neck position. Propping your lower arm and hand on top of the pillow in front of your face is a better option than tucking the bottom arm underneath your head pillow, as this second position really pulls on the shoulder rotator cuff and stresses the nerves that run through the front of your shoulder. I usually alternate between resting my bottom arm on the head pillow and hugging the body pillow in front of me. (I'm getting sleepy just typing this...) If you are looking for a good body pillow, HERE's the one I recommend. There are so many fancier options available, but this simple one seems to do the trick for me. 

For those of you who are stomach sleepers, don't worry...I'm not going to tell you NOT to do this. Many practitioners do caution people to avoid this position as it can create undue stress through the neck and upper back. As long as you don't use a huge pillow (in fact, opt for NO pillow at all) and you are comfortable, you might be okay. If you can try any of the other recommended positions instead, your spine might feel even better. 

Another question often asked is "What type of pillow or mattress should I be using?" This is another very individual thing based on your body size, preferred sleep position, budget, etc. A firm mattress is best to support the spine and a small to medium pillow usually does the trick to support the head and neck. Personally, I sleep on a firmer memory foam mattress and love it, but I can't stand the memory foam pillows I've tried! I prefer a medium density, medium sized pillow since I am a side sleeper. Some of my clients love their Sleep Number beds as they can find their preferred comfort level and so can their significant other. A pillow topper can help to make a mattress that is too firm feel a little more comfortable, or a memory foam topper can do the same thing if your budget doesn't allow for a full memory foam mattress. Some clients have always slept with a feather pillow, while others are allergic or like more support. The right mattress and pillow is based on what feels best to the individual sleeper! 

As simple as some of these suggestions seem, they can really help your body to have the support and comfort it needs to relax, restore, and allow for a better night of rejuvenating sleep. Let me know if you have any other positioning advice or what sleep comfort aides have worked best for you, as I am always open to learning more and having more suggestions to help others.

Sleep well!  

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Celebrating "Women's History Month" in a Unique Way

Mothers, grandmothers, wives, sisters, family, friends, child-bearers, caretakers, cooks, educators, entrepreneurs,  and more...women are some of the greatest Superheroes we know!! It is amazing to see how far women have come and how they have shaped our world throughout "Her-story." It is great to have a whole month to celebrate all of the amazing women in our lives, especially those who brought us into the world! Of course, most great women have tons of support from great men in their lives (thanks fellas!), as it takes all of us to make the world go around! So, if you are reading this and you are a woman, or have women that you love in your life, please read on!! 

One of the greatest concerns that women face is caring for their bodies so they can continue to care for and nurture others. October is "Breast Cancer Awareness" month, but I like to refer to it as "Breast Health Awareness" month. We're ALL aware of the rates of all sorts of cancers, so instead, I like to switch the focus to "What can we do to prevent breast cancer or holistically treat it?" I'm bringing it back for National Women's Month as breast health is so important yet often goes overlooked until there seems to be a problem. A lot of people don't realize that movement is key in preventing and treating breast cancer. 

Breast tissue is imbedded with many lymphatic ducts and channels, which are part of our immune system and allow for waste removal. Gravity pulls us forward naturally, but the increased use of computers, cell phones, and other hand-held devices keeps us flexed forward even more, putting added stress on our neck and shoulders, and limiting the flow of the lymphatic fluid throughout our neck, chest, and armpits. That is NOT good, as this can lead to cystic and cancerous tissues to form. 

For the rest of March, I'm offering a "Breast Wellness Check" as part of each treatment session to assess mobility and tissue health for the muscles of the neck, shoulders, chest and armpits. It's amazing how easy it is to locate compromised tissue areas with some simple movements, and these specific movements can really help to keep tissues healthy and fluids flowing naturally to boost your wellness. Instead of only having your monthly breast self-exam to do, you'll leave your session with some customized and super easy movement exercises to add into your daily routine to help keep you healthy!! 

Call, text (414-405-3956), or email (1212bodyworks@gmail.com) today to schedule your "Breast Wellness Check" appointment. I'm happy to help keep women as healthy and happy as I possibly can so that they can continue their work as Superheroes and continue to shape "Her-story" for YEARS to come!!

Keep Moving Well!