Planning a Pain-Free 2019

Hi Friends! Thanks so much for tuning back in.
I’m writing today’s post from the comforts of my couch, carefully propped up on an assortment of pillows and cushions, trying not to make any sudden movements.
The last 24 hours or so have been rough. I have a recurring back injury that causes sudden, stabbing, and radiating pain, and completely locks down the function of my neck. I can currently only look about 40 degrees to the left and sorta-sometimes down. Right and up are non-options. Yay! Fun fun!
The most frustrating part of this injury, aside from the fact that I don’t have a solid, clear diagnoses, is that it often flares up without warning, or any identifiable trigger. This time around, however, I completely wiped out in a hotel shower on a gig in WI, so my one silver lining in this scenario is that I can point to a likely catalyst.
Another frustrating aspect of this injury is that this type of pain is not something I can push through, no matter how stubborn I do pride myself on being. This injury presents itself with a pain so intense that deep breaths, crying (which I do a lot of), and really any movements slower than a snails pace, become impossible. I feel helpless and trapped in my body. 
I do promise this post is going somewhere…as much as I do appreciate you attending my pity party, let’s get to it:
What the hell do we do, when we feel entirely helpless?
Much of this post is therapeutic for me, logically talking myself down and into a better headspace, but I hope you can relate on some level too, and apply the right now, this week, and moving forward method to your own unique brand of crazy. 
*Right now* I can:
  1. Take time. I took the entire day off yesterday and am doing the same today. Despite the frustration and loss of income, I’m doing what I know I have to do. Last time it got this bad, I spent three days in bed on muscle relaxers and pain meds, so I have to honor that, and do what I don’t want to do: REST.
  2. Let go. And by let go, I simply mean “stop fighting what is”. I’m in pain. I’m angry. I have emotional baggage attached to this injury. I’m not in less pain because someone else has it worse, and I’m not weak because someone else would have pushed through and gone to work anyway, etc, etc.
  3. Reach out. Writing this blog post is part of that process for me. Leaning on my fiancé for help, letting employers know what’s going on, regardless of how I worry it may make me look, are all important parts of getting through this thing.
*This week* I can:
  1. Do as much as possible while couch-bound and/or moving slow. I’m not a big subscriber of “everything happens for a reason”, but I DO acknowledge that maybe I needed to be slowed down this week. I can use this time to get caught up on a lot of things I’ve been putting off, like taking more steps to get my business into motion, finally writing out our Christmas cards, etc.
  2. Be grateful that this isn’t happening at a time when I need to perform. My next big gig is on NYE and requires little to no dancing. I know I have time to heal and will heal.
  3. Set tangible steps in motion, to feel more in control in the future, see next steps:
*Moving forward* I can:
  1. Once the pain has subsided – put a standard back-care regimen in place and do it EVERY DAY, regardless of how I’m feeling. (I’m guilty of being like, “I feel great! I’m cured!” and totally neglecting proper day-to-day care.) A couple at-home ideas I’m going to implement are:
    1. Ice and/or heat after every workout.
    2. Foam rolling after every workout AND classes taught.
    3. Daily mild neck stretches.
    4. Acupressure relief mat to lay on while meditating.
  2. Continue to build consistency in my training routine. Aside from my fall, in the past month or so, I had gone from working out once or twice a week, to working out 5x a week, and changing up my workouts at the same time. I’m going to honor that maybe this change also triggered my flare-up, and am going to get back into my fitness routine with a more mindful approach. I.e. not working out when I’m exhausted and being okay with it.
  3. Continue to clean up my diet and eat in a way that fuels me, with the right balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. This means eating out less, tracking my food on the My Fitness Pal app, and monitoring my mindset to make sure my emotional relationship with food stays balanced and healthy.
  4. Work towards bigger goals like becoming a certified personal trainer (a 2019 goal I hope to talk about more soon) and being assertive about finding a Doctor or team that will listen to the whole story and help me move closer to a solution. 
Alright, that’s a wrap for now! 
This post wasn’t planned – doesn’t come with any cute pictures or on-brand content…but I feel a little better. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest. 
Let me know if you have any similar experiences with recurring injuries, if you have anyone you swear by in Chicago, etc. 
I love you all for tuning in, 


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