By Dr. Sabrina Noel
So frequently I hear from patients that they themselves or they know of someone who suffered from back pain during pregnancy or had postpartum back/sacral pain. This is an area where the use of Osteopathic Manipulation (OMT) is so helpful. Often I find that pregnant women or nursing moms are reluctant to take medications because of the possible impact it might have on the growing fetus or newborn. When medications are of limited use or a patient doesn't want them, this is when OMT can often be very helpful.
In pregnancy especially, there are a lot of changes that a woman's body must go through to support the growing fetus. If we just focus in of the structural changes that happen: the increase in weight, the shift in where the weight is gained, and as pregnancy continues, the protrusion of the pregnancy belly. These things all cause the body to have to respond in way that it is not used to. Often, women are already struggling with back pain and these changes often just seem to make things worse. OMT works to help a woman's body better adapt to these changes. During pregnancy, especially during the months of more rapid weight gain and body habitus change, more regular appointments can make the transitions that need to happen so much easier. Gentle techniques that work with the body are the focus of treatment and can be of great benefit and the treatments can potentially completely eliminate the need for medication.
Postpartum back pain or sacral pain is not normal. After delivery, a woman's body tries to return to its previous level of functioning and often it succeeds just fine. However, if you, (or someone you know) is suffering with: back pain, migraines or incontinence that started after delivery; OMT could be help by addressing some structural issues that my be present. Sometimes, the postpartum period is talked about as the 4th trimester of pregnancy. It is important to remember the body that did all the work to bring the new baby into the world. Make sure you get back on track and be the best mom you can be by taking care of yourself too! If any of this sounds familiar, give Resilience Heath a call. We are happy to answer questions you might have in regards to how we might be able to help you. If you are interested in more information, here is a link to our Facebook page with a study on low back pain in postpartum women.
by Dr. Sabrina Noel
Find out more about how we store trauma in our bodies with this in depth interview by Krista Tippett. Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, a psychiatrist who has done extensive research in the field, discusses how trauma gets trapped in our bodies and some of the different approaches you can try to help move beyond it. Interestingly they mention Cranial Sacral (an offshoot and simplified version of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field) but not Osteopathy in the Cranial Field itself. If the simplified version can help, imagine what the more profound work of Osteopathy in the Cranial Field has the potential to do. We see trauma in our patients bodies often and help relieve it. Maybe we should start to talk about this more as a profession and as a society.
Click on the link below to listen.
by Dr. Sabrina Noel
So, what is the key to New Year’s Resolutions? How do we seem to set the same or similar ones every year and then 5-10 days in, we are overwhelmed and exhausted with all those changes we are trying to make at once?
Personally, I think there are a few keys to success for resolutions and here they are:
1. Choose one thing to change.
2. Be specific.
3. Commit to the change for 30 days.
This may be old news for some of you, but hopefully it is a good reminder for us all. When I say choose one thing, I really do mean that. Sometimes we get carried away with wanting to commit to making all the changes that are going to make us a healthier and more successful person at once. The most common one being: "I'm going to exercise more," probably closely followed by, "I'm going to eat more healthily." Let's just stick with these examples since this is a blog about building resilience after all, and because they really are the resolutions that I hear the most often. They are excellent resolutions! So, why don't many people succeed at making those changes? Let's try applying the keys listed above.
Applying guideline #1: Choosing to exercise more or eat more healthily is fine but make sure you are only choosing one and not both of these (or even more).
Applying guideline #2: This is where the example resolutions lose traction, they are both too general. If we are going to succeed in making either of these changes, we need to be more specific. So, here is an example, instead of, "I'm going to exercise more," you could say instead:
a. "I'm going to go for a 20 min walk every morning before work."
b. "I'm going to go to the gym after work each day and run on the treadmill for 30 min."
c. "I'm going to go to 3 yoga classes per week. M,W,F at 5:30pm."
And instead of "I'm going to eat more healthily," you could say instead:
a. "I am going to try and eat 3 meals a week without meat."
b. "I am going to add probiotics to each meal."
c. "I am going to start eating breakfast daily."
Applying guideline #3: Do it for 30 days. That is easier said than done, but it is one of the keys to making lasting change. We are creatures of habit and you are currently trying to change a not so great habit to a better one. In order to create a new habit we have to commit to doing something for at least 30 days. At that point the new activity that we have been trying to incorporate into our life starts to become part of our routine. During that month, when you run into your own brain trying to talk you out of your resolutions because, you are too tired, or too busy, or whatever, you have a very specific resolution to fall back on. It makes it easier to remind yourself and talk yourself back into that simple sentence. You can more easily tackle and re-commit to your specific goal than a vague resolution, or an extensive list of them.
Lastly, there is some evidence that says that not sharing your resolution makes you more likely to stay committed to them. It seems counterintuitive, but it might be worth trying especially if you are still having trouble staying on track with the guidelines above.
Good luck on building your resilience through making specific resolutions and committing to the change. If you need ot start over by re-setting your goal, go for it! But most of all, remember to congratulate yourself for even trying! Positive change is difficult and something we will always strive for here at Resilience Health.
by Dr. Sabrina Noel
Like life, health is a journey, not a destination.
I don’t know about you, but for a long time, I kept thinking something like: “If I just do this next thing, I’ll feel healthy.” I think this came from my exposure to our culture of expectation that the next pill or fad was the solution for me to feel better. I’d like to be able to say that I remember the moment that I realized that health and wellness is a journey and not a destination, but I don’t. The realization seems to have evolved over time and is one of the best lessons I could have learned for my own well being. My hope is that this post will help you feel better about your own health journey with all its ups, downs, twists and turns.
As I mention in my website, I believe that there are many components that go into being healthy and that resilience is the result of a good balance of those things for each of us. It might take some time to think about what aspects of your health you might need to give some more attention to, but it’s worth doing. Keep in mind that what you need now might be different than what you needed in the past and what you might need next week.
For some their exercise and sleep are most important, but they can mostly eat whatever they want. For others, they have to take care of what they eat and be mindful of their thoughts but can get away with less exercise. Some people really need naps and downtime or alone time to be at their best. Think about your needs and maybe make a list. What is your biggest priority for you to feel healthy? Keep in mind the components of health to keep in balance: nutrition, motion, connection, spirituality, restoration and creativity. What is the lowest priority for you? Have you dropped one of your most important components recently? My last blog post was: "A time for restoration," and was about building resilience through restoration. Could you use more restoration?
While you are giving this all some thought, be gentle with yourself. It’s OK if last week you didn’t eat right; today is a new day and your opportunity at another chance to do what is best for you. One of the great things about our bodies is that they too are built to be flexible, or have plasticity. You may have heard this term used in brain health. Our brains can learn new things and the more you use a certain part, the more attention it gets and you can rebuild pathways and connections in the brain. The same is true for your physical body’s flexibility, your muscle strength, and even your creativity. If there is something you want to improve, just start working on it and work on it a little more each day. If the thing you are trying makes you feel better, consider giving it more bandwidth in your health journey.
Osteopathic Manipulation will help your body function at its best, no matter where you are on your journey. Consider trying to add it into your health journey and keeping it on if it helps. Regardless of whether or not you choose Osteopathic Manipulation to be part of your health journey, I wish you luck in becoming your best self.
by Dr. Sabrina Noel
During the months of Autumn many of us have a desire to spend more time indoors as the weather turns cooler and the days get shorter. We crave evenings by a fire, warm foods and sometimes quieter activities. In our fast-paced 21st century lives, it is sometimes hard to feel like it is OK to take a break and enjoy these restorative times. Or maybe the turn in the weather and the darkness is a great excuse and it comes at the perfect time when we are exhausted from our busy summers. How do we allow ourselves to slow down and take the time to connect with ourselves, our community and simply be?
Our bodies need to to heal, not just from injuries but also from the physical and mental activities of our daily lives. Periodic restorative activities are important for our bodies and minds, as are our daily restorative habits. I look at a restorative activity as anything that helps to replenish your "energy tank" and that can be different things for different people. While we all need basic daily restorative practices like: sleep, eating good food and staying hydrated; we each have things that we know are helpful for giving us the energetic fuel we need. If you are an extrovert, you may enjoy getting together with a group of friends and connecting through conversation and laughter. Or, you may be an introvert and prefer quieter solitary activities such as reading, meditating or walking with a partner or friend. Whatever your restorative activities are, I would encourage you to take some time this Autumn and Winter to make them a priority so that your body and mind gets some much needed attention and restoration. Noticing when we need a break is just as important as getting exercise, eating well, connecting with your community, your spiritual/religious practice and creativity. Keeping your restorative practices a priority and practicing them mindfully helps you build resilience and stay healthy.
Here are some collected restorative ideas for you to peruse:
Walk or play with your pet
Play with your children
Hike (by yourself or with friends)
Take a bath
Meet up with a friend or a group of friends
Try an art project (doodle, paint, draw, collage)
Dance, Yoga or other activity class
Get a massage
Enjoy a cup of coffee or tea
Read a book
Take a short nap
Stretch your body
Do you have other ideas? Is there one you can do today? Or maybe even just once this week?
What's your practice? I'd love to hear about your most helpful restorative practice.
by Sabrina Noel, DO
There are more and more events that seem to be popping up in communities all over the US that are focused on helping us have a closer relationship with our food and those who grow it. One in the Willamette Valley that was started 6 years ago is Fill Your Pantry. This is one local event that you'll want to experience for yourself. You can order online ahead of time or wait until the day of to experience the energy and excitement of the farmers and supporters alike.
Good food is one of the cornerstones of health and building resilience. Healthful food gives our body the energy and nutrients it needs to keep us going, repair injuries and prevent disease. Organic food is grown in soil that is not treated with chemicals or pesticides and represents a healthier way to grow food. When our food comes from a healthy source, we are healthier ourselves. While no one diet will fit everyone, we can all support our health by choosing organic and locally grown whenever possible.
The Fill Your Pantry event is an opportunity to meet farmers from all over the Willamette Valley. You can buy directly from them to stock up on vegetables, legumes, grains and other items that are either dried, frozen or otherwise stable to keep your family fed through the Fall and Winter. If you are not in Eugene, check out the different dates for Corvallis and Portland. If you can't make it, hopefully you support your local farm stand, have a CSA or know your local grocer. These are important relationships for all of us to seek out and maintain; great food and meaningful connections in our communities are excellent ways to build resilience.