I'm on a journey to find health and happiness through a more holistic and green lifestyle.

I find the world to be abrasive. =) That is to say, I feel the need to armor myself, physically and emotionally, in order to face life. Don't we all? Maybe. For whatever reason, it has become a priority in my life to rid my immediate environment of irritating things. And I'm sensitive! So there is much work to be done. But. I have thought for a long time that the things I come in contact with every day, and the stuff used to clean and maintain these things, need to be gentle and non-toxic. I have had eczema my entire life. For a long time I just dealt with it, and accepted that sometimes it's bad, and sometimes it's not, and that it will fluctuate a lot. Gradually over time I have come to find that certain things, fabrics, cleansers, materials, are more irritating to my skin than others. Stress can exacerbate it. In more recent times, I have realized that every aspect of my life improves when I improve conditions for my skin. Hah! What a concept! Thus my (long time) interest in going green, and my more recent desire to live a more holistic lifestyle. (I think I've felt a desire for a long time to live in a harmonious way with myself, my surroundings, and nature, but didn't have a name for it.) Anyhow, this blog is a journal of my trials and errors, and basic crooked path to find a balanced and peaceful existence for myself and my family. Thanks for your interest! I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pain in the neck - literally

I posted previously about an ache that has developed in the back of my neck. I have been doing some research on various practitioners and methods of pain relief. I've read about chiropractors, reiki, massage therapy, acupuncture, healing touch, and on and on. I tossed some ideas out to the Holistic Moms email loops. Quite a discussion resulted, focused mainly on chiropractic. There is definitely a chiro positive team, and a chiro negative team. The skeptics question the need for constant chiropractic care, up to three times per week. The pro team argues that it is simply maintenance, arguing that we go to the dentist every six months to take care of our teeth, why not our spine? And so forth. Reiki, a totally new concept to me, involves energy flow in the body, and comes with its own pro team and skeptics. Wikipedia reports that "There is no scientific evidence for either the existence of ki or any mechanism for its manipulation, and a systematic review of randomized clinical trialsconducted in 2008 did not support the efficacy of reiki or its recommendation for use in the treatment of any condition.[7][8]"
Hm. But it's not hard to find practitioners, who manage to stay employed... Massage is a fun idea, but does it heal? The woman I spoke with yesterday at a holistic practice seemed to think so. Though she used to be a massage therapist, so... Acupuncture. I haven't researched this too much yet. It is not my first choice. I'm a little squirrelly about people touching me anyway, and to stick little needles in me...well, I just don't know if I could deal. Even the thought makes me squirm. But I know people who feel it is a good thing. Healing touch has something to do with helping people to deal with emotional issues through touch....no thanks. Then someone I know was telling me about kinesiology. I had heard that word before, from the Holistic Moms loops, as something that some chiros practice. But this person was telling me about kinesiology as a practice all its own. She had seen someone for fibromyalgia pain and other stuff. She found this treatment, provided in a woman's home, to be more helpful, overall, than any other she had received. And she says she's "done it all." Hm.

They can all sound wonderful, and they can all sound questionable, depending on who you ask. So what is the result of all this?

I'm back to square one, confused by it all, and unable to pick a direction to move in. So I'm going to divide myself into practitioner and client. And give myself a treatment plan.

Dr. Me: What has brought you to yourself today?

Client Me: Blah de blah ache in my neck blahblah two kids blah de jump on me yaddayadda body hurts blah lack of sleep yadda

Dr. Me: Oh poor you! You work SO hard and you're terribly depleted. You deserve a week-long caribbean cruise! I'll write you a prescription right away!

Client Me: Blad de blah attachment parent blah don't like to be away from my kids for too long yadda

Dr. Me: Oh! You're one of those self-sacrificing types.

Client Me: (humbly) Yeah...

Dr. Me: No brainer. You need good sleep, exercise, outdoor time every day (sun exposure combats seasonal affective d/o and generally improves the mood,) yoga to ease sore muscles and release stress, time to yourself alone and time with friends, a healthy diet.

Client Me: I like the cruise idea better.

Dr. Me: Alas.


  1. You crack me up, Dais! Love the dialogue.

    I love your approach to making a decision for treatment. OK, so you don't know which way to go with it, but I like the process of thinking/researching it all that you created.

    I always say I wouldn't care to be rich. One of the few times I disagree with this statement is when I've been treated to a massage. I am so convinced of its healing power that I wish I could have one every week or more often! How about baths/hot tubs? Had whole-body aches so bad once and like magic, a bath made it go away. I'm not a bath person, but I will always remember how it helped me.

    Hope you find relief soon!

  2. You're right. Baths are wonderful. It used to be my emergency relief for cramps if nothing else worked. Heat in general is a great healing tool. I was reading about hot stone therapy/massage, and oh! that sounds so nice. I love the idea of massage. It's just a matter of the touch thing. But I did find a place in town that looks interesting...

    The problem with my approach to finding treatment is that I find too many options, psych myself out, then ultimately do nothing. But maybe that's ok too!

  3. Hilarious! I like the cruise idea! Also love your research ways and how you make it work for YOU.

    One thing I sometimes do when faced with a problem is "bang on all the doors," which means try it all. There may be more than one answer, and you won't know until you experiment with different things. One great thing is that all of the treatments you mentioned are harmless and not permanent, (not like surgery or something). The only harm, as Melissa pointed out, would be to your pocketbook. Maybe decide how much it's worth to you to be out of pain, how much it's worth to your kids to have a mom in peak condition ( okay, so I'm getting melodramatic here, but you get the idea!), make a budget and a few appointments, and see how you feel. You have nothing to lose!

  4. My husband has back pain problems and goes to a combo of acupuncture and chiro. He swears by both methods and goes when he feels like he needs a fix. So, sometimes that's often in 1 month and sometimes months will go by with no appointments. He also claims that when he gets a cold, he goes to the chiro and the cold goes away. That could be another plus.

    I took a Yoga/Reiki class (pretty cool, huh?) for 2 years. While the Reiki was tremendously relaxing, I did not think it had the healing powers it claims to have.

    Good luck with your decision. Please let us know what you end up doing.

    Your OLD friend, JSN (my sign off to you)

  5. I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I'll throw it out there just in case it might help. I had bad neck pain a few days after a surgery (abdominal -- to remove fibroids -- fertility treatment). I guess I had strained my neck when I was trying to avoid using the abdominal muscles after the surgery. Anyway, I don't do very well with pain medications, so usually try to avoid them, and I couldn't find a comfortable way to arrange my pillow because of the neck pain, so couldn't sleep. So I finally thought to try my dad's favorite remedy for muscle pain (he's had lots of it after taking cholesterol-lowering medications for years). He recommends stretching. I know -- it sounds like it couldn't possibly help, and if it did, why not go to a professional to let them show you how to do it right... Anyway, if you want to "try this at home", here's what I did: I sat up, then tilted my head forward, very slowly and gently, not putting any pressure on anything. (My neck hurt.) Then I did the same thing, very slowly, tilting my head slightly to the back, to the right side, and to the left side. Then I repeated everything very slowly. Eventually I rotated my head clockwise, then counter-clockwise. It's hard to believe, but this did actually work! My neck pain was gone for a couple hours, I got some sleep, and then I had to repeat the whole thing a couple times over the next day or two, and the neck pain was gone! (Was I ever surprised:)

    If your pain is from stressed muscles, then maybe this will help. You could also get checked for thyroid problems (which can cause neck pain, feeling cold, feeling tired), or you could look into getting an X-ray to check for compressed vertebrae. If it doesn't go away, I would say that you should probably see a conventional doctor just to rule out all of the things that they can check for.

  6. Liz-

    Thanks for your thoughts. I very much believe in stretching. My favorite form of exercise is yoga, which I have always found to be healing and relaxing. Even with the more intense workouts I've been doing lately (Wii fitness) they typically involve neck stretches at the end. Thyroid - that's a good thought, though I only get cold in my home. If my discomfort continues for a while, I will seek professional guidance with it. My posture is not the best, and my shoulders are uneven, most likely due to carrying heavy backpacks and the like on one side only. I am hoping my increased attention to my health in general will help. I got pretty depleted - thus my journey back toward better health and happiness. Thanks for your message!