May Update

So, it’s gonna be May! (bonus points for who gets that throwback).

2016, so far has been an interesting one! I had made some big decisions in 2015, and was uncertain about what direction life would take me. I try never to have regrets and accept the road I have to travel. So far, it seems I will have more decisions to make in the upcoming months, but I’m going to take the spring and summer to just go with the flow,  and hopefully the best answer will present itself.

So what has Dr. Jen been up to?  I have been very fortunate to be asked by Sportside Medical Services to help out at some of their events. Here are some highlights:

Working  back stage and ringside at pro-wrestling events (photos by http://andreakellaway.com/)603675_584135091762323_2073303755295474094_n.jpg1918183_572711206238045_219114101651761453_n.jpg

Meeting Kurt Angle! (He’s super nice, guys!)13010634_10154162154659445_2438925943918419810_n

Watching rhythmic gymnasts contort and flex in ways I can only dream of, at the Salut Cup International Competition.

Here’s hoping to a just as eventful summer!

40 Days

Today is Ash Wednesday, marking the beginning of Lent.
The traditional, or rather most common method of observing this religious period is by fasting, or “giving up” something that they consider a vice.

Over the years, this has become somewhat secularized, and even non-Catholics will observe the custom.

I thought about it long and hard, and I could not think of anything I wanted to “give up.” I felt that this would be too easy of a challenge. I thought about things that I wanted to change or accomplish, and decided that this year, I would be using these 40 days to commit to bettering myself.

The past few months have been very stressful; I made some important career choices, and have been struggling with both mental blocks and physical injuries.

I feel it is important to write down goals in order to achieve them – if it’s out there, it’s got to happen!

For the next 40 days, I am committing myself to scheduling 60 minutes of “me time” in which I am to better myself – progressing my workouts, reading a book or all the saved journal articles on my computer, or meditation (which, if you know me, is extremely difficult for me).

Day one has been pretty good so far. 39 days to go!

#challengeaccepted

Anatomy in Motion

For the past week, I immersed myself in learning about human motion, gait, and biomechanics.

Anatomy in Motion, with amazing individuals Gary Ward and Chris Srithraran, changed the way I looked, both at myself, and other individuals, with respect to movement and motion.

I think the quote that hit home for me was from Chris, when he said “human movement in trained, human motion is not.”

I learned so much this past week, and I woke up this morning feeling energized. Did a few 3D exercises as part of my morning flow workout (seriously, the chronic hip pain I’ve been hacking away at with conventional training for the past 2.5 months has almost disappeared since learning these exercises last week), packed my clinic bag (not forgetting my new tools (wedges)), and embarked on a new journey to practice what I learned and hopefully affect my patients.

I was nervous to put into play this new knowledge. It was all so brand new, but I knew that I could only improve my skills if I practice them!

My first success came today with a patient with chronic adductor strain. We’ve been working together for a while, training, manual therapy, taping, etc., he’d get better, and lo and behold he’d go back to playing high level sports and I’d be getting another phone call.

He came in today, limping, and I was ready. I did my normal assessment, and then “zoomed out.” I basically walked across the room and watched my patient move. I saw something right away – something I would have never seen if I had focused on the chief complaint. Experimented a bit with the wedges, encouraged some eccentric loading, and after a few reps with some manual guidance, he took a walk and his eyes bugged out his head – he was walking without pain at all, and I barely touched his hip or adductor!

As Gary would say, we were both totally “chuffed.”

I can’t wait to continue learning, experimenting, and practicing. This has been a total game changer, and I’m looking forward to having some fun.

On a more personal note,  with some fat snowflakes making an appearance, I’m looking forward to a pain-free ski/snowboard season! #rideharderlongerbetter

#foreverchanged

Balance

elephant-balanceIn The past few months, I have been burning the candle at both ends. Work commitments have me either running around the city, or glued in front of a computer screen.

It wasn’t so bad in the winter time, but this weekend, with the beautiful weather, I didn’t even have energy to enjoy it.

I knew it was really bad when, trying to finish some work off today, I forgot I had to attend an event I was looking forward to the entire week until my 10 minute reminder went off on my phone. (Too late!)

In my clinical practice, I am always promoting balance. It is the delicate line between work and play, physical and spiritual, and the yin and yang, that makes for a healthy, happy, and functioning individual. I have been neglecting this balance for a while and it is time to re-focus, and work on recreating the balance that is so essential.

The easiest way to start doing this is to create some goals:

Goal 1: Carve out some “me” time in the schedule and stick with it. It is just too easy to work into or schedule something else into that time slot. Must refrain from putting the self last.

Goal 2: Learn to say “no.” Sometimes our own demise is of our own making. We all want to be helpful and useful, but is it driving you crazy?

I will be trying to stick to these goals for the next week, and hopefully I will be able to achieve a little more balance in my life!

Don’t be “THAT” guy.

annoyedThis weekend, I was taking a course. It was a very well run, very professional, very informative, and educational. The instructors were funny, had great practical stories, and really facilitated the learning process.

The only thing that marred the experience was “that” guy (well it was a female, but I digress).

“That” guy, is the person who believes he knows everything. He is always making comments, is always interrupting, showing off their assumed vast experience, and always putting his two cents into every conversation (usually  some personal experience or anecdote). He essentially WASTES EVERYONE’S TIME.

I am always looking to learn. I don’t care how old you are, what letters you have behind your name, or what profession you are. Everyone can teach me something. I will never know everything. But when I’m paying good money to take a course, I want to learn from the pros that are qualified to TEACH the course.

So to “that” guy – I respect your wealth of knowledge, but there is a time and a place. Be respectful of other people’s learning.  I cannot emphasize that enough. Comment when it is relevant, or when it adds to discussion. Opinions needs not to be shared and advice should not be given unless people ask for it.

Don’t make other people want to punch you in the throat.

Don’t be “THAT” guy.

Missing a Key Player?

Good reasons why a well-chosen chiropractor may be a necessary addition to your primary healthcare team: READ ARTICLE

Neck and low back pain are leading causes of morbidity and health care utilization, as well as one of the leading reasons for workplace absence and disability. A recent study showed that “Individuals seeking care for neck or back pain have worse health status than those who do not seek care. Patients consulting chiropractors alone report fewer comorbidities and are less limited in their activities than those consulting medical doctors.”

While I appreciate the pro-chiropractic message of the study, I have always believed in an integrative approach to healthcare. There is always a time and place for everything. My educational background is in science – biology, physics, and microbiology. I understand the need for research, and practicing evidence-based medicine. I am also a natural healthcare provider and clinician, and sometimes what works in the clinic for a patient cannot be proven through random-controlled trials or experiments. Maybe in that sense, the fact that something cannot be proven outside of patient-reported outcomes makes some medical physicians skeptical.

While chiropractors have the ability to diagnose and are well versed in differential diagnoses (including medical conditions), and treatment options, I would never suggest that a patient not be followed by their medical doctor. While 99% of my practice is generally neuromusculosketal complaints, there is always that 1% that may need more detailed imaging, or referral to specialists.

Therein lies the reason why a good working relationship with the patient’s medical doctor should exist and why an open-dialogue between all healthcare providers is very important. A well-chosen chiropractor can make a huge difference in the outcome of any neuromusculoskeletal complaint.

It is very difficult to communicate treatment, diagnoses, and prognoses if the patient’s medical physician is against chiropractic or has advised their patient not to seek alternative forms of healthcare. I have found that in most occasions, many physicians do not understand what chiropractors do. They hear “stories” and just generalize the profession as “quack” medicine. Most of the time when I am talking to those physicians, I am trying to educate them on what I do, how I practice, and how chiropractic care can benefit their patients.

I am not “reversing degeneration” or “re-aligning the spine” or “curing  illness by removing subluxations.” I do not believe that chiropractic is the “answer to everything.”

This rhetoric, unfortunately, has perverted our profession and it will be a long while before this will change, but I digress.

I know this post is a bit lacking in flow – initially this post was much longer, and sounded more like a rant, which is not what I intended this post to be so I  had to pare down some paragraphs which affected the overall flow. The main point I wanted to make was that having a well-chosen chiropractor may be a necessary addition to any primary healthcare team; and echoing the author of the first article:

It is my hope that someday in the near future, the primary care community will work hand in hand with primary spine practitioners engaged in a spine continuum of care pathway in order to bring about value-based spine care reform.

 

The Winter Blahs

winter-bluesThis is a bit of a more personal post, and vastly different from the material I usually write about but I felt like sharing as I’m sure many people are feeling the same, and it is important to discuss issues of mental health, no matter how awkward or embarrassing it may seem.

I’m pretty much suffering from the “Winter Blahs.”

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