Creating Balance

Managing your sciatic pain doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass. (pun intended!)

Managing your sciatic pain doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass. (pun intended!)

Spending the last 18 years specializing in pain management, out of the thousands of clients I have helped, at least 80% of them came in for either Sciatica or Migraines. Since 40% of adult Americans experience sciatic pain either chronically, or acutely in their lifetime, I felt this an important topic to share a few tips on. Sciatic pain occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes compressed causing severe pain in the low back, hip and often also shoots down the length of the entire leg. The pain can almost knock you over, as you feel like you’re losing your footing. Most people can manage their symptoms without medical intervention by receiving regular massage therapy, stretching, self massage, herbs/ supplements, and hot and cold therapy. I speak from professional expertise, and from having personally experienced sciatica during both my pregnancies, and on and off since my minis were born as well. 

 

Malikah Karim of PURE Wellness and Coaching tells us that “I understand sciatic nerve pain can be really painful, I have had it during both my pregnancies. It makes people believe something is very wrong, and movement seems to make it worse, so they sit more, and reduce activity, but I know the opposite to be true. Research shows that activity actually helps reduce the pain and duration of pain for people suffering from sciatic nerve pain. So please take it easy during a flare up, but as the pain subsides stand, sway, shimmy, and walk as much as you can to avoid long periods of sitting and sedentary behavior that has been proven to worsen sciatic nerve pain outcomes.”

Massage Therapy– Creating openness in the muscles around the sciatic nerve can significantly decrease that pain, by decreasing the compression. My favorite techniques for treating sciatic pain are sports massage, trigger point therapy, and neuromuscular therapy. By combining the deep assisted stretches, and the repetitive stripping of those same loosened muscles clients tend to feel increased range of motion and less pain. With regular massage therapy maintenance (every 2 to 4 weeks), most people are able to resume their normal activities with rare or no flair ups. I think it is very important to note that this type of massage therapy is just that; therapy, it is not your relaxing, fall asleep massage. It hurts, it is not pleasant, but my goal is not to give you a nap, it is to help you actually get relief long term. I tell my clients that what you get on the table with me is an hour of pain, to hopefully live pain free for a few weeks, or months. No pain, no gain. 

 

Herbs/ Supplements– I’ve outlined a few tried and true homeopathics below:

 

Turmeric- Turmeric is widely adored by naturopaths for its anti inflammatory properties. Clinical trials have proven its efficacy in treating back pain. If you like indian food, eat up and load up on this awesome plant, if not you can always purchase it in supplement form from your local herb shop.

Yucca Root- Yucca Root also fights aches, and pains with its anti inflammatory properties. Yucca is packed with resveratrol; a powerful antioxidant phenol, which fights inflammation and free radicals. I like to make yucca fries out of fresh or frozen yucca, because they are delicious and nutritious, however yucca is also available as a supplement if yucca fries aren’t your jam.

Devil’s Claw- Devil’s Claw is an herb that has been used by naturopaths since approximately 1904, it is said to be one of the best remedies for pain or swelling in the body.

Self Massage– For those who may not have the time, or budget to see a licensed massage therapist regularly, no worries, this one you can easily DIY it! My favorite tools for at home self massage are either a tennis ball, or a massage gun.

Shannon Somogyi of Mobile OM Yoga & Wellness tells us “My favorite treatment is a combination of two things. One is from my Yoga Therapy practice, using tennis balls on the feet to “roll and stretch” the fascia and muscles out. Many do not know that the sciatic nerve runs along the meridian line from your feet to your low back. I often times like to show my Yoga Therapy clients this technique to help stretch out their feet and back. (Also great for plantar fascitis) What I like to call, “A Two-fer”. My favorite yoga pose is either version of pigeon. It just depends on how I’m feeling that day.”

Tennis Ball– Using a tennis ball on the feet, and in the hip to roll and stretch out the fascia can be incredibly helpful. I found these videos on you tube very informative and easy to follow:

 

https://youtu.be/TJJlrs_z41A

 

https://youtu.be/YVCMzPJa8eY

 

Massage Gun This literal power tool annihilates the fascia, muscles, and I can almost feel the vibrations deep in my soul. Think of a jack hammer, with a soft rubber end piece digging deep with vibrations into your tight as concrete muscles. If you have not experienced the massage gun yet, let me know and we incorporate it in any massage session at no additional cost to you. Or if you wanna just check it out and self demo before you purchase one for at home use, just shoot me an email and we can set up a time for you to stop by the office and give it a test drive. 

https://youtu.be/rUt3zoIbZh0

 

    

 

Hot and Cold Therapy– Try warm epsom salt baths before workouts, and ice packs after to control the vasodilation, and vasoconstriction to the hip and low back area. By controlling the circulation to the area, your body can naturally speed up recovery.

 

Stretching– I saved the best for last! Stretching is always the one I hear folks struggle with the most often due to lacking time or energy, or simply forgetting. As a busy mom, wife, business owner, and blogger I understand your struggle. However it costs you less of your time to spend 20 minutes per day stretching than if you have to take a full day off of work because you are in pain. Aubrey Eicher from The Well Personal Fitness tells us that Massage and Stretching are the best remedies for sciatic pain, she created a video for ease:

So please I urge you, make time for this. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite sciatica pain relieving stretches below:

  • Pigeon pose- 

https://youtu.be/M1gEGLtF1p0

 

  • Cobbler’s Pose-

https://youtu.be/s5265rtPTMg

 

  • Cobra Pose-

https://youtu.be/XU0wJ0OTopU

 

  • Eye of the needle pose-

https://youtu.be/MQ9JUY_c3-0

 

  • Pyramid Pose-

https://youtu.be/ldJsEyxA5cI

 

  • Seated Spinal Twist-

https://youtu.be/ciGK6HyYqV4

 

  • Extended Triangle Pose-

https://youtu.be/tj8E3ibD2KM

 

  • Happy Baby Pose-

https://youtu.be/Ppku7i3ypGM

 

  • Rag Doll Pose-

https://youtu.be/7L7bS5jGuVI

 

  • Camel Pose-

https://youtu.be/W6ts23PqPiY

 

Try these out and discover what combo works best for you! It will take work, but you will get there!

And as always, I am here if you need me, brandi@oldmechanicsvillehealthspa.com

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Four Steps to Restoring Your Health and Well-Being in the Time of COVID

 

Four Steps to Restoring Your Health and Well-Being in the Time of COVID

 

Now that we’ve been dealing with COVID-19 for a few months, changes that once seemed temporary have turned into a new reality. If this new reality is starting to weigh on you, we know how you feel! It’s not easy dealing with the ongoing stress, anxiety, and uncertainty of being in a pandemic. That’s why it’s so important to have healthy coping strategies right now – because when we don’t take care of our health, we all run the risk of letting that stress and anxiety spiral out of control.

 

#1  Keep Up Healthy Habits

Many of us had good routines for physical and mental self-care before the pandemic (think everyday activities like exercising, eating a balanced diet, and making time for hobbies like yoga). The trouble is that gyms closed down and schedules changed, making it hard to keep up with those healthy habits.

 

If you’ve gotten out of these habits, you may find that your physical and mental health have started to suffer. Fortunately, you can find easy solutions for getting back into these habits. Restart your yoga practice by joining an outdoor session at Old Mechanicsville Health Spa, try some new healthy recipes, and get your heart rate up with a high energy home workout.

 

Of course, these are just a few of the many everyday health habits that you can still do – even in the time of COVID. The great thing about restarting these habits is that they benefit your health in more ways than one, so you’ll have more energy, sleep better, AND have a better handle on managing stress.

 

#2  Create a Healthy Home

Even if you’re a complete introvert, spending months at home gets old after a while, especially if you have family members who are also feeling trapped. This feeling can bring everyone down, leading to disagreements, complaining, and all sorts of other frustrations. The solution is to cleanse your home of all that negativity!

 

Start by clearing away clutter, and if you need space in your home for work or exercise, take the time to set up those designated spots. Once you’ve gotten rid of the clutter, give your home a thorough cleaning to get rid of dirt and grime too. You may even want to let in some fresh air and diffuse essential oils to help balance everyone’s mood. Remember that your environment plays a major role in how you feel, and taking these small steps can make a huge improvement for the whole family.

 

#3  Get Outside Some Too!

Most of our everyday routines take place at home these days, but don’t let that keep you from getting outside too. If you live in an area where the population isn’t too dense, simply taking a walk or jog around the block is a safe way to get some fitness along with Vitamin D from the sun.

 

However, if your favorite park or other outdoor spot has gotten extra crowded lately, follow Pop Sugar’s tips to maintain social distance, wear a mask around others, and choose a time of day when fewer people are out. Just be sure to protect your skin from the sun when you go outdoors. Being in nature is great medicine for mental health, but the sun’s rays can be harmful if you aren’t careful to wear sunscreen.

 

#4  Reach Out

Last but not least, everyone needs to stay connected to others, even as we stay physically distant. The Mayo Clinic recommends using technology to stay connected, along with making time to do special activities with the people who are in your household. It’s also perfectly acceptable (and in fact, a really good idea!) to reach out to friends, a professional counselor, or a spiritual advisor if you’re still struggling.

 

Some people call what we’re going through a “new normal,” but there’s nothing normal about life these days. Since normal isn’t in the cards right now, the best we can do is adapt to the reality we’re living in. This means keeping an open mind, trying some new ideas, and most importantly, making your health your top priority.

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout. 

Photo credit: Pexels

Training for a 5 K on a budget!

Photo by Derick Santos from Pexels

Guest Article by: Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com | info@fitsheila.com

Budget-Friendly Ways to Train for Your First 5K

 

If you’ve decided to sign up for a 5K race, you’ve made a good decision. Training for and running this roughly three-mile trek is a great way to quickly get in shape, support charities, make friends and so much more. Plus, 5Ks don’t require you to spend a lot of money. 

 

Whether you’re just starting to run again after a long hiatus, or you’ve never run more than a half-mile in your life, training for a 5K race can be challenging. But training is also the most beneficial part of the whole process, and doing it well is what will help you achieve your goals. That’s why we’ve put together this list of cost-effective tips to help you prepare and make the most of your 5K experience:

 

Gear up through promo codes. 

 

When you start running, having the right gear is critical for staying healthy and avoiding injury. Buying gear can also be the most expensive part of running, which is why it’s important to find deals before you make a bunch of purchases. Look for Rakuten Coupons, promo codes, or cashback opportunities on anything from running shoes to technical socks and clothing. 

 

Sign up as early as possible. 

 

When you sign up for a race early on, it can help motivate you to start training and give you more time to prepare. The act of signing up alone moves you from talking about running a 5K to committing to it. Local races are typically easy to find, registration is usually free or inexpensive (expect anywhere from $5 to $40), and portions often go to charity. If you currently pay for a gym membership, canceling it can help you to cover the cost of registration (and maybe even other costs like gear). 

 

Set a healthy goal. 

 

For your first race, try to think of yourself as the only competition. If you’re not an experienced runner and your race is coming up in a few weeks, it may not be a good idea to shoot for a 20-minute finish time. Instead, focus on improving during training, preventing injury, staying healthy and doing your best. This will set you up for success and help you avoid hefty medical bills. 

 

Find the right training program.

 

A 5K race generally takes 15 to 45 minutes to complete. In the grand scheme of things, that’s a very short amount of time compared to the training leading up to the event, which is why most benefits come from training. If you research online, you can find countless training programs for 5K races—some of which are free. Find one that challenges you, but make sure it’s realistic. Your training program should motivate you to get fit and have fun, not discourage you. 

 

If it’s been a long time since you engaged in any physical activity, shoot for 20 to 30 minutes of jogging/walking three times a week. From there, you can gradually increase your pace and add a day—then two—to your weekly regimen. 

 

Stretch before and after running. 

 

Finally, stretching before and after your runs will go a long way in preparing your body and avoiding injury. As part of your pre-run routine, do dynamic stretching, which includes movements like walking lunges, high knees and butt kicks that help to get your blood flowing and prepare your muscles and joints. After each run, cool down by walking for a few minutes and doing static stretches for your hamstrings, quadriceps, back, hip flexors and groin. You can get ideas for stretching on free apps like Flexibility, Stretching Sworkit and Kaia. 

 

Running a 5K race comes with tons of benefits, and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Be sure to get all the gear you need, and register for your race early. Also, make sure your goals and training program are challenging but realistic, and stretch appropriately before and after each run. Most of all, enjoy the journey of preparing for your first 5K, and don’t look back!

The Power of Mind Maps and Written Goals

Have you ever used a mindmap for your LIFE?

What IS a mindmap? In this example, it is a tool for mapping out life, in visual pictures. To give life to the vision of life we wish to be living. The more visual we can be, the more compelling the vision, pulling us towards the actions that create that life and thus giving us those results that we want: in fitness, career, and overall life success.

We define what success is to us personally in our lives. It really is different for each of us as individuals.

I love to use mindmaps both personally and with my clients. It’s a wonderful visual representation of the life you wish to have, in all areas: fitness, career, life, and more!

We emphasize all areas of life! There is no work/life “balance,” but rather, work/life “harmony” within vision and goal setting because they are all inter-connected. Each area affects the other areas. You cannot have one without the other.

Join me as I work through my own mindmap from Sept 2017 as well as go through the goals worksheet I have created to help you to fully align yourself with the vision and goals you wish to see in your life.

Downloads of these worksheets are available here!

Facebook Twitter Share

P.S. I know we could all benefit from an immune system, wellness or mood boost during these crazy times. That’s why for a limited time I’m offering 15% off of ALL of the Old Mechanicsville Health Spa online products. You can click here to shop, and use code VIP15 at checkout.