My First Massage
by Will Forrester
I think I was on a romantic weekend getaway when I had my first massage – one of those couples massages where you’re in the same room. I was crazy nervous, not used to being mostly unclothed in front of strangers, and also sharing this experience with my new bride. At first I was chatting away nervously with the massage therapists, peppering them with lots of questions, till finally my lovely wife gave me a kind look as if to say, “It’s time to relax and be quiet now.”
Before the massage therapist
got to work, she asked if there was anything in particular I had been struggling with. I said no, I was doing pretty well, not too much tension or anything. It was only a few minutes into the massage when both my therapist and I realized that I was at best fooling myself and at worst lying! I was UNBELIEVABLY tense! I can’t remember the exact conversation, but she began to ask me if I had been experiencing a lot of stress lately. I honestly didn’t know what to say. I thought I had been doing pretty well with life, but even I could tell that my muscles were in rough shape. I needed a lot of work.
The therapist also helped me notice some PAIN in my hip.
I had a tremendous knot, and when she hit it, I flinched a bit at first. “Oh yeah, I guess I have had some pain in my hip from time to time. I guess I didn’t think about that.”
Quite honestly I don’t remember much else about my first experience with a professional massage therapist, other than I felt like I could melt into a puddle of relaxation afterwards, and that I was completely out of touch with how stressed I was and how it was affecting my body.
When somebody asks YOU how you are doing, what do you usually think about when answering that question? If you’re like I was, you think about how you’re thinking mentally and feeling emotionally. But how are you doing physically? How much stress and tension are you carrying in your muscles? The truth is, how you are doing physically, emotionally, and mentally really can’t be separated. If you’re mentally and emotionally stressed, you’re going to feel it physically. And if you get some relief physically, it’s going to help you out mentally and emotionally as well.
Now is a perfect time to do yourself or your friends and family a favor. There is a new massage therapist right here in Pooler at Dr. Ranicki’s Creating Wellness Center. The holidays can sometimes be hectic and even stressful, so why not give yourself an early present and relieve some tension? Or you can knock one of those gifts you need to buy off the list. Come on…who doesn’t want a massage gift certificate?
Back Pain RELIEF
by Will Forrester
Years ago I used to experience some pretty terrible back pain. Right in the middle of my lower back, particularly on stressful days at work, by the end of the day I would be looking for opportunities to get alone and try to stretch it out, put some heat on it, something. And I was used to it. I always told myself it was because I was really stressed and out of shape. Of course, when I would try to get in shape, the throbbing would get even worse… for a while. If I stuck with the exercise regimen, I would notice it would improve slightly. Which would only confirm would I (wrongly) believed, that I just needed more exercise – even though exercise wasn’t completely eradicating the problem. Oh, and I also took Advil and Aleve and other meds like that. I guess I figured this was just what people who worked out did.
This went on for a few years, and interestingly, my back pain improved a bit on its own. I didn’t notice it so much anymore – only when I exercised, which was less regularly, so I didn’t have to deal with the pain. Not good. Finally my back problems shifted I supposed and I began experiencing sciatica.
Which finally drove me to investigating chiropractic care for the first time. As I’ve written previously, my sciatica improved in short order. In the process of getting treatment, I began to actually experience back pain from time to time again – my back problem had become so severe that I was actually numb—this was why my pain had seemingly gotten better! In fact, I was in danger of having very severe back problems which would only get progressively worse.
And today, my back pain is no longer an issue
. I can exercise all I want. I never--NEVER—have to (or want to) take any pain killers or anti-inflammatories any longer. I don’t need them.
If you are in the Pooler area, I would highly recommend making an appointment to see Dr. Ranicki for an evaluation. How I wish I could have gotten help for my back pain years ago, rather than allowing the places where my spine was misaligned to continue untreated for so long! But even if you, like me, have endured back pain for a long, long time, it’s never too late to begin to bring some actual relief to the sites where the pain is coming from! It’s so much better than just popping a pill to tell your brain to pretend the throbbing or ache it is feeling isn’t there.
Are You Sitting Down?
by Will Forrester
Are you sitting down? Seriously, are you sitting down right now as you read this?
Well, if you’re a typical American, you are. We Americans love our chairs. We like them big and comfortable and we even put things like “lazy” in the name of some of our chairs. We are big on comfort. And you know what a lot of typical Americans experience as well? Back pain. And the more we sit, and the longer hours that we typically work, and the more we stare at screens (usually while sitting), the more back pain we experience.
Yes, there has been many improvements done in the types of chairs available so that we sit with better posture, but in some ways those comfortable or
ergonomically designed chairs can actually work against us. Because we can sit LONGER and still “feel comfortable.”
Comfortable. Sitting. A lot. Sometimes all morning. Or even all day. But what feels good in the short term can lead to massive back pain later. We know heavy lifting and car wrecks and carrying too much weight contribute to experiencing lower back pain, but did you know that sitting too much is bad for your back? “Sitting puts nearly twice the stress on the spine as standing; slouching while you sit increases the pressure even more. That's because hunching forward pushes the back into a convex or C shape.”
“Yeah, but with my job, I have to sit a lot.”
Really? According to whom? Increasingly employers are recognizing the need for their employees to be able to perform at optimum levels, and most businesses are more than willing to accommodate people who want to do their work well while also maintaining optimum health. And you can do it.
But like any change, at first it can be touch. You have to break the habit of wanting to sit all the time. So, are there ways you could “fool yourself” into having to get up periodically as part of your work?
One thing I have done is gotten a cordless phone at work, and if possible I take my phone calls while walking outside with a pad and paper to take notes. I’m walking while I’m working. Other times I put my laptop on a higher surface so I can work while standing for part of the morning. Not only do I feel much better at the end of the day, but I’m also actually getting more done! My brain feels like it is firing on all cylinders as I allow myself the ability to experience more natural movement during the day rather than simply sitting.
So… are you still sitting down? Why not move around? Your back doesn’t get and stay healthy by being in one position all day long, particularly not sitting. We were meant to be on the move. So get up and get busy!
Job Stress and Lower Back Pain
by Will Forrester
1. Does you experience lower back pain?
2. Do you have a stressful job?
For me, the answer used to be, yes and yes. Well, I still have a stressful job, but we’ll get to that in a minute. I came to Ranicki Chiropractic as a patient at first because of sciatica, but what I had forgotten until I started paying more attention to my body and how I was doing was that I regularly battled lower back pain. And I was pretty certain it was stress-related. Because when I had a more stressful day at the office, my back would hurt. And over time I would notice it, this pattern. Now I would assume that it probably had to do with sitting too much or standing with poor posture or something like that, but deep down I knew the truth: when I was stressed I experienced more lower back pain.
What I love about Dr. Ranicki is that at each visit, while making his assessment and making chiropractic adjustments, he is always asking great questions. Frequently he has asked me how I was doing and the answer was, “I’m pretty stressed.” Then he follows up with more questions about why I am stressed. Sometimes I don’t want to face up to all the reasons I really might be stressed!
But then he gives helpful advice on how to reduce physical, chemical, and emotional stressors in my
life. And it has been amazing! Am I still stressed sometimes? Absolutely, but not nearly as I was before. And even better—RARELY do I experience lower back pain anymore. And I used to battle it weekly. Taking Dr. Ranicki’s advice, not just on posture, but on diet, exercise, and how to face some stressful work situations, I have become much, much happier in my work, less stressed, and therefore, experiencing less lower back pain. And this really shouldn’t be surprising to me, because research indicates that one of the leading indicators of lower back pain is job satisfaction.
So if you’re experiencing some lower back pain or stress at work (or just with life in general), why not contact Ranicki Chiropractic and Wellness and start working on both! Dr. Ranicki gives more than just great adjustments. He offers great advice on how to live well.