What It Feels Like To Reverse Your Scoliosis

Untwisting Your Scoliosis Is Now As Easy As Going For A Walk.

You read that right, my scoliosis is reversing. Since childhood I have been told and read that my twisted spine was going to get worse every year and while it has slowly progressed in a bad way and I do experience chronic pain, it hasn’t been as bad as they all said it would without surgery. That being said, there is very little hope or positivity in the journey of my scoliosis. 

A few years ago I started having a regular premonition that my spine was magically going to get better in 2018. While that magic has been me wearing a specialized exercise suit to make that a reality, my scoliosis has been getting better!  Instead of my spine getting 1-2 degrees worse per year as the statistics say my spine should get, my spine reversed 6 degrees during six months last year. 

Earlier this year I started using one of the latest innovations in scoliosis treatment, a Scoliosis Activity Suit.  I had been researching this suit for a while and finally decided to try it out based on the testimonials of other people with scoliosis who were wearing it.

This stand alone treatment checked all my boxes; it wasn’t spinal fusion surgery or drugs but a simple device that one wears when walking or doing anything active. What does it feel like to train your spine to untwist? It feels like a lot of things.

Number one, it feels good and it feels like hope. When I first walked in it, I could tell that it was working parts of my core that would not normally get activated from any other activity that I do. Walking felt easier albeit awkward at first. 

Next, it feels like a little bit of work. While walking may be easy enough, you have to ease in to how much time you spend active in the suit because it literally is like wearing an exercise machine for your spine. I quickly learned that if I wore it too long my deep spinal and ribcage muscles would be very uncomfortable or sore for a few days after. If I wore it just enough I would experience an overall decrease in pain, improved range of motion in my spine, and better sleep. 

The Scoliosis Activity Suit has been monumental this year in changing my spinal health. Although the suit has given me the most dramatic results, I would put my experience with the suit in a similar category as learning pilates and yoga; it has lifted and empowered me to move and take control of my health.  Plus, I can also take it anywhere with me. 

The very idea that all I have to do is put it on and go for a walk to not only experience relief in the moment but also for hours and days afterward is very positive for my mental health as well. I don’t have to wear it all day but the more I progress with it, the more my spine is being trained to unscrew from its very rotated position. 

Other challenges that have come up are similar to maintaining any exercise routine. Sometimes I find myself making excuses or skipping days so I don’t have to wear it. I’ve gone through phases this year where my use was very irregular (1-3 times per week) and I still experienced some benefits. 

Another honest challenge is that the suit makes me feel vulnerable in public. Like I am walking around with my disabilities showing. Then I remember that I am walking with ease, I get a little taller, and I don’t care so much what people see. Walking slow, in pain, or with a limp is much worse. 

I will say that the suit does sometimes make me feel athletic. I have come to  find it a most useful tool during hiking, walking, household chores, and extended activities that have you moving on your legs. It is definitely not a sitting suit.  

I have experimented by doing all sorts of activity in it such as yoga, pilates, strength training, walking, hiking, core/balance work. I don’t find it effective to wear the suit during my floor work but I usually do find it effective during cardio. I have felt the need to keep up with additional stretching and core/balance exercises, with or without the suit, to stay in tune with my body and keep a balanced movement routine.

 I’m not sure how far the suit will be able to straighten or de-rotate my spine. My double curved spine has been dwelling in the 60-degrees range for so long that going to a 40, 30, or even less of a degree still feels a bit like a pipe dream. I know there is potential for much more improvement but how many years will such a thing take if that is possible? Only time and my personal effort will tell. 

If you, or someone you know is looking for a treatment for scoliosis I highly recommend researching.

Reefer Madness Was Wrong, Cannabis Can Help Prevent Suicide

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“People don’t commit suicide, they complete it.” – Patrick Kennedy

For the many people who have ever been told and still believe that cannabis is bad, unhealthy, addictive, and might make you crazy until you commit some kind of murder or rape, this failed propoganda could not be further from the truth.

(If you need help right now, please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-8255 or click the suicide hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/)

As a medical cannabis patient who has been using it daily for the past 7 years I can tell you that it hasn’t had a negative effect on my life. I haven’t actually found anything but wellness and healing from taking it.

One of the serious reasons that I take cannabis is for depression. I’ve especially found that during my darkest mental moments, I only experience peace and more life when I use cannabis.

Cannabis is one singular, but very substantial, thing that I use in multiple ways as part of the healthy lifestyle that I strive to live. In the big picture, all of the things I actively do to keep my whole self healthy appears to be paying off.

For example, a few weeks ago something significant happened, suicide was taken off the table as a life option. Since then my mental health and wellbeing made a positive turn.

Repeat. Suicide was mentally taken off the table as a life option.

From the age of 12 I have privately found some kind of deep dark comfort in the fact that if things got too bad, I could just off myself and all problems will be solved and my pain will disappear. This, my friends, is mental illness and depression at its most honest place. 

For some reason, I woke up one morning and said I no longer accept suicide as a life option. It was a new, strange voice inside of me saying that killing myself is not something I truly want or ever need to resort to. Ever since then, when I catch myself having dark thoughts this new voice emerges reminding me I don’t think that way anymore, it’s off the table.

I have to admit that more than once since then I have actually found it annoying to have my comfort of a suicide option taken away. Quickly, I remind myself what that means and how far I have come in my mental wellness work. After decades of mental anguish, I no longer want to kill myself. It makes me smile inside and out to feel free of such heaviness.

While all of this is super positive, I’ll be honest and tell you that it has also involved some  sleepless nights, necessary outside walks, and moments of sobbing out my soul. The dark racing thoughts and deep seated anxiety are some of the things that I have found soothing relief from with cannabis.

I’m not so presumptuous as to think I’ll never struggle with suicidal thoughts again but I definitely have to take this moment and celebrate it for all it’s worth.

It is not easy to write and share this stuff but I know that there are many people out there who deal with depression too and I think it is important to talk about it as easy as we talk about going to lunch. A mental health and wellness lifestyle is something to be embraced not just to keep from killing oneself, but to create true, positive change.

I write about cannabis and depression as often as my sensitive heart can because personally knowing how the two work together changed my perspective on mental health and my long term health treatment plan for managing depression and chronic pain. 

I also write to give hope to the many people out there who deserve better than to dwell under heavy clouds of despair that hold them down.

If you need help right now, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline- 1-800-273-8255 or click the suicide hotline: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

 

Let’s Get Real About Depression, Real Healthy

People, like myself, who chronically experience states of mental depression in various lengths and intensities must have coping mechanisms in their mental wellness toolbox to return to a state of wellness.

Following is a list of a few of the big things in my toolbox that I have relied on to get me through depression. They seem simple, but they do help to keep healthier mental wellness.

1. Exercise- Regular physical activity boosts feel good hormones and also makes you feel more at ease and relaxed in your body. Complete something routinely physical for at least 20-45 minutes each day such as walking, swimming, cycling, dancing, hiking, or yoga.

2. Sleep- Having a regular sleep schedule is monumental in giving your brain regular time each day to clean itself and process your day while you rest. Going to bed around the same time each night with a relaxing shut down routine and getting up around the same time each morning with a positive wake up routine will do wonders for your mental health.

3. Water- Hydrate your brain and help your digestive system function optimally. Have a glass of water ready when you first rise in the morning to get your daily hydrating needs off to a good start.

4. Fresh vegetables and fruits- Eat them at each meal for the fiber, vitamins, and minerals that allow your body to function well, heal as needed, and digest food properly.

5. Friends/counselors- Make an agreement with a trusted friend that you can call on each other when you need to talk about depression. Also, seeing a mental health counselor who acts as a neutral sounding board can be helpful in supporting your mental wellness. Especially if you are contemplating suicide, build a tribe you can turn to when things get too dark. You don’t have to be in this alone.

6. Cannabis- This natural, non-toxic plant helps to bring the mind and body into a balanced state of homeostasis, lifting your mood and producing a feeling of wellbeing. Cannabis is my choice over pharmaceutical antidepressants because it is not addictive and does not require being on it for a while to see if it works or take months to wean off of it- it works right away and I can stop using it anytime without withdrawal.

7. Amino acids- Getting enough healthy protein is necessary for your body and brain to function well as a unit. What you feed yourself determines how well the bodily systems and brain will work. Eat hemp, chia, beans, seaweed, or animals to get adequate amounts.

8. Fatty acids- Healthy fat is imperative for a healthy brain. Take unrefined fats that provide plenty of Omega3 fatty acids such as walnuts, hemp, chia, moringa.

9. Sunshine and fresh air- Get some sunshine everyday and Vitamin D3 if that is not possible. Moving in fresh air and out in the elements will lift your spirits especially during long bouts of winter weather.

10. Pets/plants- Have a pet or a plant or a project to nurture, bring you joy, and remind you of being alive outside of your depressed head.

Wishing you sunshine and wellness this holiday season.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

5 Ways Cannabis Can Help Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain is a condition like no other.  It’s a horrible ailment, actually.

I am one of those people who will always have issues with my spine. While I have been dealing with this stuff since I was a child it wasn’t until my very early 20’s when every doctor I saw started freely prescribing me synthetic drugs to manage my spinal condition.

I’ve tried to avoid taking too many synthetic pills too often because they always end up making me feel like crud, they mess up my digestive system, I don’t ever want to be addicted to them, and the idea of having to take them from now until I die as a way to cope with pain is not a future I am about to roll over for. There are better options to consider.

When I first explored using cannabis as part of my long term pain management I honestly thought that it just worked by acting more like a mental mask or a distraction from the pain. I didn’t fully understand how beneficial cannabis would be for managing the enormity of my chronic spinal condition. Turns out a lot of people I know still believe that cannabis only provides a happy distraction for pain, so, for you I write the following… 

5 Ways that Cannabis Helps Manage Chronic Back Pain:

1) Cannabis is a natural pain killer. Cannabis doesn’t just mask pain or distract you from it, it works with your body to relieve physical pain. One of the biggest plusses of using cannabis (for me) has been the pain relief without the unpleasant synthetic drug side effects or the potential risks with long-term use of synthetic medications. When you’re looking at a potential lifetime of chronic pain, you tend to take the  long term side effects of pain medication very seriously. 

2) Cannabis acts as an anti-inflammatory in the body. Having aches and pains caused by inflammation is a miserable experience and over time can negatively impact your overall health. Cannabis brings inflammation down to relieve pain and discomfort. Ideally, your pain management program will also be able to find what may be triggering inflammation in your body so you can address it from all angles.

3) Cannabis acts as a natural muscle relaxer and suppresses muscle spasms. Back spasms take chronic pain to a whole new level. I used to take muscle relaxers regularly to deal with muscle spasms but now that I have been taking cannabis regularly, muscle spasms and super sore overactive back muscles hardly ever happen.

4) Cannabis calms anxiety. Experiencing chronic pain creates anxiety, stress, and tension in the body. The anxiety, stress, and tension in the body create more pain thus building a vicious cycle of pain that never ends. Using the right strain of cannabis can significantly reduce or eliminate anxiety altogether by calming down the body and nervous system. Once you break the cycle of anxiety from creating stress and tension in the body, less pain will follow.

5) Cannabis helps to lift the depression that can come with chronic back pain. Being in pain every day and dealing with a debilitating back condition is one of the most challenging things a person can go through and there are predictably going to be dark spells along the journey. Pain can create a physical depression and depression can create more physical pain. Cannabis can lift the depression that will benefit not just your body but also your mental health.

Cannabis: The pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxer that also acts as an anti-anxiety and an anti-depressant. One plant working naturally and synergistically in the body to heal, calm, and create well-being.

Pain is supposed to be one of those things in our body that is there for our benefit. It is our job to listen to what it has to say,  respect it, and do what is necessary to relieve it in the healthiest way possible. Cannabis is one effective option and worth considering if you are somebody dealing with chronic back pain.

Peace.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

21 Days Of Health Blogging- Day 1

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21 days of blogging…

My life’s passion of pursuing health, wellness, and happiness while motivating and helping others do the same runs thick in my veins.

The first time somebody asked me why I work out (I was 18 and being picked up on in the middle of my workout) triggered an immediate answer, “I workout for life.” While the answer came out as a forceful deflection (#metoo) that served its purpose it also cultivated a voice of dedication to my body and health as not only my present self but for my future self in the same body with the same chronic ailments.

‘I workout for life’ is still a motto of mine. The major physical pains, migraines, and muscle spasms along the journey have shaped my workouts and health habits. This body has kept me humble in so many ways.

My spine has been a rollercoaster of chronic pain and physical challenges that has been so tough the very act of just living with it has made me stronger. I have held firm to the mindful part of doing activities that are nourishing my body not just for now but so I can walk as long as I live and have a higher quality of life because I’m super mindful of my health habits.

It has been 18 years since the first doctor told me to accept the fact that I would be on pain medication my whole life. My response was to go to library and get smarter then to the gym to get stronger. I’m proud to say that I have found multiple ways to manage my scoliosis, migraines, and other ailments without spinal fusion surgery or pharmaceuticals.

Healthy mindfulness takes work and dedication…and its really tough to do all by yourself. This brings me to the 21 days of blogging…

I want to do more here.

I started this blog in order to support and give back to my health conscious tribe with a regular dose of motivation and that is what I intend to do more of. I also started it as a way to progress my own healthy living as an art.

In an effort to reset my content creation habits I have challenged myself to blog daily for the next 21 days. Watch for Motivational Mondays, healthy holiday recipes, and the launch of two projects I am super excited to roll out.

For the 299 people who subscribe to this blog, thank you all so much for supporting my words, passion, and free speech by tuning in. You are the reason I have big goals for this blog in 2018!

See you tomorrow.

 

 

Using Cannabis For Depression

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Talking about depression is tough. Even just writing about it right now is making my skin uncomfortable but I still feel compelled to get out that this is one of the most beneficial things that cannabis has helped me with on top of the chronic pain that I deal with because of ongoing health issues.

If you were to ask the people in my life to describe me they would use words like “bubbly, optimistic, happy, or funny.” Most people don’t know about my very dark side, the depressed one that dwells in a secret closet under a very heavy black cloud. I prefer not to share this part of me to the world. But the reality is that I do deal with depression and anxiety which is very connected to experiencing chronic physical pain and discomfort.

I have never taken prescription drugs for depression or anxiety but I have been using cannabis specifically for my scoliotic spine and experienced the added bonus of relieving my depression. When I look back I can see that I totally have been using cannabis during the blue times in my life, I just would never have admitted to being depressed at the time.

To be really honest occasionally I feel kind of guilty about whether I am using cannabis solely for pain management but also recreationally. I had always associated the getting happy part of marijuana use as recreational largely because that was its purpose as a recreational user until I got my medical cannabis recommendation. I mean, is it ok for me to use cannabis just to brighten my mood when I am feeling blue? The answer is yes. 

The compassionate (and logical) side of me has realized that it is totally ok and beneficial for using cannabis for the depression and anxiety. It kind of all goes together. Pain gets worse when you are depressed and stressed. I know that first hand. For me, depression has nothing to do with the fact that I have a good life and I am grateful for every single person, thing, and experience in it.

Cannabis is simply one tool that I use to keep the dark clouds parted so that I can see sunshine too. I also use regular exercise, a healthy diet, meditation, a practice of gratitude, journaling, and positive peers to keep my spirits lifted. Add cannabis to the mix and I become much more equipped to handle what this little body of mine is throwing at me on a daily basis.

There is no shame in saying you deal with depression or anxiety but it can feel that way when the person you are talking to either does not relate or is not open to listening to you talk about it. There is also no shame in saying that you use a non-toxic, natural plant with no risky side effects that not only relieves your pain but also keeps your spirit lifted so you can experience life on a happier level.

In fact, the more that we talk about depression the less power it will have over us and the more compassionate we can be to ourselves during times of darkness, we just might make it through.

Stay lifted my friends.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com  

The Positive Sides Of Scoliosis

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Scoliosis is bleak, every single part of it. If you are somebody who is inflicted with this challenging health condition you already know that living with a twisted spine can be scary, daunting, defeating, debilitating, and lonely. I feel all of that.

Since age 12 I have been repeatedly told I need surgery and have been prescribed and given samples of pain killers, muscles relaxers, and anti-inflammatories because of my scoliotic spine. I was once told by one doctor never to hang and told by the next to hang everyday. I have spent more time than I care to count wasted in physical therapists and specialists offices who did nothing for me besides tell me to keep doing what I am doing with pilates, yoga, and as a fitness trainer. They like to tell me that my spine will get worse with each aging year, until it eventually crushes my heart and internal organs and potentially collapses on itself. Like I said, bleak.

Scoliosis is much more than just a twisted spine. It is a neuromuscular disorder that may also manifest with other health conditions such as digestive disorders, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, migraines, etc.

I put a lot of effort into the function of my spine and have since I was a teenager because I realized at an early age that I would always have to be mindful of my special back, it was never going away. I think about how I want to move as I age and move accordingly. More than once I have completely changed my livelihood, activities, and/or my food in order to manage it holistically without surgery or prescribed medications.

One of the toughest things about scoliosis is how lonely it can be. I have a lot of energy and rarely ‘complain’ about my back pain and focus on healthy things so on the outside it looks like I am a super health nut doing just fine with my spine. People don’t see the pain or discomfort that I am generally feeling because I keep it to myself. That’s no good.

June is Scoliosis Awareness Month

What is the positive side of Scoliosis?

  1. I’ve become very in tune with my body. Pain, discomfort and constantly needing to think about standing straight or straightening your clothes will do that to a person. On another level, when I’ve tuned in with with meditation and exercise I’ve been taught by my body how to cope and move through the world.
  2. I’ve been forced to be a ‘healthy person’ to function. Living a healthy lifestyle is not an option like it seems to be for most people and it can be really tough to be the only one at the party not drinking booze or eating sugar. But hey, you’re at the party! While it is tough, living healthy is a good and positive thing to keep as a priority, always.
  3. I look at body image much differently. When I am able to embrace myself as different I am also able to let go of what I think I am supposed to be and love who I am, imperfections and all. I tend to be very grateful for all I can physically do no matter how small.
  4. My spine contributes to me being highly sensitive, empathic, and wise. I can’t explain why but it just does. Spiney senses.
  5. I’ve become a powerful warrior of chronic pain with special strengths and coping skills that makes me strong enough to handle not only my own pain but also help others handle their pains. My spine is the reason that I started teaching fitness as a teenager and the reason that I went to Institute of Integrative Nutrition in 2010, I have a deep desire to help people feel well.

I am participating in Scoliosis Awareness Month by writing this and sharing a picture of me beside an X-ray of my spine. Funny, it was much harder to post a picture of my bare back than to post a picture of my X-rays. I worked through it.

Sending out much love and double hugs to those who live with or support somebody with scoliosis.

Pam Dyer is a Holistic Health Coach who trains people with scoliosis and chronic illness how they can improve sleep, gut health, immunity, and brain function to live full and hurt less.  To book a consult with Pam please email:  butterflysessions@gmail.com