Find the cause of pain

This post started as a blog about my current running program, but has morphed into my own story of aches and pains! I think this is a good place to start, stay tuned for more on running injury- and pain-free!

Pain is a major problem faced by all kinds of patients. Inevitably, if pain is on a patient’s list of concerns, it is at the top! That’s because living with chronic pain is consuming and impacts all other areas of health. Pain relief is therefore a major industry. With so many options, how do you know what to try? I have definitely not tried everything, but I thought that sharing my own experiences might be helpful.

My story

When I moved to Toronto in 2003, I started running. A few months in, I started to have knee pain, so I signed up for a Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room with the hopes of improving my form and eliminating pain. When I started the clinic, I suddenly had much more pain and had to pull-out until the winter. I saw a sports medicine doctor and physiotherapist at Athlete’s Care and was treated for iliotibial band syndrome and patellofemoral syndrome. With the help of exercises and stretches prescribed to me, I did my Learn to Run clinic at the start of 2004 and successfully completed a 5km race! However, I was hardly running effortlessly and pain free…

In 2006, I still had pain while running, so I saw a chiropractor and got orthotics, which helped me run with less pain. However, I still struggled and in the fall I started having hip pain that made walking, sitting, and running incredibly difficult! I saw another physiotherapist, Danny Kuzmich. In my first session, Danny adjusted my sacroilliac joint and eliminated my hip pain! Working with Danny got back to being able to run regularly. However, I was still limited in the distance I could run without pain.

After preceptoring with osteopath Robert Taylor and hearing about osteopath Carla Delange from him and several other people, I sought osteopathic treatment in 2008. After just one session, I was able to increase my running time without pain by 10 minutes! After the next session, I added another 10 minutes, and within a couple more sessions I was up to running for 60 minutes without pain! These results also LASTED which was encouraging to me. I can’t speak highly enough of osteopathy from my own experience and I’ve seen equally great results with patients I’ve referred for osteopathic treatment. I now see osteopath Ben Besse-Bergier and I highly recommend him.

Most recently, I have been implementing Chi Running (al) in preparation for running the 10km Zoo Run on September 24, 2011. I’m going to write more about this in a separate blog post… And, next up on my reading list is The Mindbody Prescription (al) by John Sarno.

What to do about pain?

Look inside your body

I cannot count the number of patients with pain that have seen remarkable results from naturopathic treatment! Nutrition, supplements, herbs, and homeopathy are all powerful resources to reduce and heal pain. Everything going on inside your body (digestion, inflammation, hormones, neurotransmitters, etc) affects how you feel! Naturopathic medicine is a fantastic choice whatever kind or source of pain you feel because it is deep, gentle, personalized, and addresses the CAUSE. Wouldn’t you love to eliminate and prevent pain naturally?

Look inside your mind

Have you been told “it’s all in your head”? Well, whoever told you that may have meant that you aren’t really feeling pain, which is incredibly UN-helpful when you ARE in pain! However, there is value in using your head to treat pain. Mind-body medicine isn’t just a trend, it is the key to truly holistic treatment. Did you know that mood disorders like depression and anxiety can actually cause you physical pain? That’s just one example of how your mind interacts with your body. Meditation, stress reduction, affirmations, and lots of other treatments exist to get your mind and your body working together to help you feel better.

Seek a second (and third, and fourth…) opinion

There are so many practitioners that can help you with pain, don’t be afraid to seek more opinions! Naturopathic doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, physiotherapists, acupuncturists, and massage therapists can all offer you a different perspective. Empower yourself with information, it’s worth it!

Surgery is a last-resort option

Surgery is something you can’t undo and I see so many patients who have had surgery and regret it. Surgery is always there as an option, just make it your last option. Explore the full range of health care available to you first!

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