Friday, 23 January 2015

The Importance of Self Care

Self care means different things to different people. I'm pretty good with my own Self Care. I nourish my body with good foods. I get regular massage treatments. I try to go to bed early and I've become really good at saying "No." 

But a recent acute injury has left me questioning the depth of my Self Care, and the strength of my will and stubbornness.

As mothers, we tend to power on and put ourselves at the very end of the line, allowing our offspring and partners to step forward and get nurtured first.

About 10 weeks ago, I noticed a tightness in my left hip, right on my sitting bones. I would feel it as I went out walking with the pram (part of my Self Care). As a Massage Therapist of 15 years, I know about tight muscles, and went about stretching and using my foam roller and spiky ball to massage out the knots. 

Being a Massage Therapist of 15 years, I know too much, and spent too much time self treating the muscles in my hip. Which made it worse. So I got some Chiropractic care, which helped somewhat and continued on pushing through the pain. The pain and weakness in my hip, was steadily getting worse. But my stubborn self said, It was ok. Just keep up with remedial massage, walking and stretching. Go, go, go. In time it will get better. 
Well, in time, it got worse, WAY worse. Especially if I had moderate periods of standing. I couldn't stand upright by the end of the day. My lower back would go into spasm and I began to experience sciatic type pain, shooting down my buttocks, hip, thighs and calves. But alas, I powered on. 

After an intense remedial massage and chiro treatment, I went home and decided everything needed a really good stretch, followed by a brisk walk. WRONG! Oh so wrong. what I need to do was rest. The following day I was in excrutiating pain. A couple of ibuprofen and a goodnights sleep would do the trick I thought. But no, this did not help, and then I drove for 3 hours in the car to the city with the 3 kids in the back, as Junior Hoges had a cricket camp. That week, my pain was intense. I had three natural drug free labours and deliveries and this was a thousand times worse. But I still refused to take myself off to the GP. My stubborn self decided I knew best and could rest it off.

Every time I walked I was in pain. Pick up the baby, pain. drive the car, pain. I now have a new founded appreciation for chronic pain sufferers, for whilst I was experiencing an acute flare up of sciatic pain, my condition was chronic. It had been ongoing for 10 weeks or more and slowly getting worse. I made the decision to meditate, begin very gentle Feldenkrais exercises and get myself to Dr as soon as we got back from the city. 

The meditation and Feldkrais helped. The pain began to ease, and with the help of regularly icing the area in my hip, the inflammation went down. I was able to reflect and see that my stubbornness had prevented me from being truly Self Caring. I went to the Dr, got a scan and some strong pain killers and anti inflammatory medication. The sciatic pain has almost somewhat subsided and I have a physio appointment next week to treat the muscle imbalance in my pelvis and start working on strengthening my pelvic floor and core. Twice a day I lay on my yoga mat and go through my Feldenkrais sequence. I rest when I can and ask for help with lifting the baby where I can. Junior has been a big help. He is old enough to wear Baby P in the Ergo and helps with getting her in and out of the car. I've stopped my self treatments and packed away the foam roller and spiky ball. I might try a gentle walk on the weekend, if my hip feels ok. 

Self care is SO important for your health and wellbeing. Listening to your body is part of self care. I am grateful for the pain and restriction I have recently experienced, as it has given me a timely reminder that I need to look after myself more so that I can look after others. 

Here is the link to the Feldenkrais exercises that I now use everyday as part of my Self Care. 

Nic Nurtures

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Your post couldn't come at a better time. People are overworked and rather beaten, with the pressures of work piling up amidst an increasingly rapid economy. Yes, we should keep up, but we should also get our internal batteries charged. Moreover, we should get ourselves into absolute best shape. That's the only way we can go further forward in these times, when we are well enough and more than able to move. Massage therapy is extremely helpful for that purpose. Thanks for sharing!

    Joan Stevens @ Stringer Chiropractic