Sunday, May 30, 2010

Why I've been MIA

The following is a post I just wrote for my weight loss blog The Skinny, but I'm re-posting it here for two purposes.  The first is to explain why I haven't been posting lately.  And the second is because I'm trying to scrounge up any advice I can on how to feel better.  So, please, if you have any suggestions for me, please share them in the comments.  I would really, really appreciate it.  
Truth be told, I'm really not feeling so peaceful at the moment.  Mostly it's because of my body.  I feel like I'm falling apart.  See, I've been having headaches for a little while now (a couple of weeks?) almost daily.  And I'm not the kind of person that even gets headaches weekly... usually.  And on top of that my back and neck and shoulders have been sore.  And I've had some toothaches.  So I figured it's probably time to see the chiropractor.  And the dentist.  Well, I still haven't taken the time to find which dentist I can see on our oh-so-lovely (not) student health plan.  But I did go and see the chiropractor on Thursday.  I really liked him a lot.  He seemed to have a really comprehensive approach on what's going on with my body which won him a lot of points in my book.  I have a hard time believing doctors when they start going on and on about what's wrong with me, but haven't taken time to learn all the facts--that I have mild scoliosis, that my left leg is slightly shorter than my right leg, that I have orthodics, that I have a child, that I'm breastfeeding, etc., etc.  Anyway, basically what the chiropractor said is that I need to do a few things to help my body get back to where it needs to be.

Right now my body is overworked trying to function because things are out of whack.  So in order to get back in whack I need to see the chiropractor a couple of times a week, have some acupuncture done at least once a week (he does that too, which is part of the reason I went to see him), have some deep tissue massages to help break up all the knots in my back, get a good cervical pillow (he suggested one like this, but I think since I sleep on my side a lot I'll probably get one like this) which will help my neck to stay supported while I sleep instead of forcing my neck to go flat, and--ultimately--work on my posture.  He said that the core of my problems are structural, meaning that my spine is becoming... not the shape it's supposed to be.  Which is chiefly due to my slouchy posture and leaning forward to breastfeed and look at the computer.  And, according to the chiropractor, this bad curvature in my neck/spine and my body/nerve endings being overworked is causing a lack of blood flow to my brain, which is causing the daily headaches.

Needless to say, I came home on Thursday very concentrated on trying to keep my shoulders back and my head held so that my ears are aligned just over my shoulders.  And I was trying very hard not to pop my own joints since the chiropractor said that when you pop your own joints it usually just puts added pressure on the ones that already have too much pressure on them, rather than releasing pressure in between two joints that are stuck (which is what chiropractors can do since they know what they're doing).  I was trying very hard to focus on these things and try to be better.

Then, on Friday at about 3:00AM I woke up feeling absolutely terrible.  It felt like someone was taking my stomach and trying to wring it out like a wet towel.  Finally around 3:30AM I was in the bathroom violently throwing up for a while.  I feel fairly certain that I got food poisoning from some spread that I had eaten on a roll as a snack on Thursday evening.  Finally around 4:30AM I got back to sleep, feeling absolutely miserable.  Bryan came home from work early to take care of Olivia since I was still feeling so sick I could hardly do anything.  I slept the majority of the day.  We already had a babysitter lined up, so we went out for a really low-key date on Friday night during which I "walked like a 90 year old woman the entire time" (according to Bryan).

I woke up yesterday (Saturday) feeling a lot better, but really sore.  I had thrown up so violently the day before that the whole frame of my upper body felt bruised, especially my ribs.  I skipped lifting weights (just the thought of doing the chest press made me feel exhausted) and we took it easy going to some yard sales, babysitting our friends' kids, watching a movie at home on the couch, and later playing games with friends.

But you had better believe that any efforts to sit up straight and not pop my back have flown completely out the window.  I've been in so much pain the past few days that anything that makes me feel even a little better has been up for grabs.  Which may have already come back to bite me in the bum.  Because I woke up this morning feelings so, so stiff.  My whole back/spine from about my waist up feels extremely stiff and sore.  I am definitely far worse than I was when I went to see the chiropractor on Thursday.  Which means I'm definitely going to need to go again this next week.  Which, I'll admit, stresses me out a little because he seems really good, but, quite frankly, he's too expensive for me to see on a regular basis.  So I had kind of already made up my mind not to go back and to just try and do things on my own as much as I can.  But clearly these problems with my body are beyond me.

Any ideas?  Any advice?

I hope you're all having a nice Sunday.  And even though this probably wasn't the most uplifting post for you to read (if you even made it this far), it does make me feel a little better to get all of my "poor me"'s off my chest.  So, thanks for the vent.  And, please, I would really appreciate any advice.


Jamie said...

I bought myself one of those pillows. (like the 1st link, but mine was temperpedic) I think it has make a difference with my neck and backaches and tmj. I sleep on both my side and back. Once I broke it in, it works great for both... good luck

Holly Mayer said...

Oh Katie, I am sorry to hear you are feeling so unwell. have you tried nursing lying down? that might help with having to support O and not having to lean forward. Also we have a yoga ball that has helped my posture. I will almost always sit on it when on the computer, that way I am more centered and not leaning as much. I hope you eel better!

JuliaKoponick said...

Are you taking ibuprofen around the clock? When I have muscle and joint pain gain, I find that not missing ibuprofen doses does a lot to keep form waking up the way that you did. Without talking to a doctor you can take 600 mg (3 pills) every 8 hours. A doctor can give you a prescription for the 800 mg pills if you need it.

I know that my migraines are more under control when I can afford to go for regular chiropractic care and massage. Unfortunately it isn't covered under our current insurance, so I try to get a massage a couple of times a month and do the best I can. When we lived at an apartment complex that had a hot tub, 30 minutes soaks in that 3 times a week helped a lot to. If your gym has a hot tub, that might help.

This may seem overly obvious, but not getting too cold at night, or too hot makes a difference too. If you are cold your muscles will tense up. If you are hot enough that you are sweating while you sleep, it will make them tense when you get up, since the temperature changes too quickly which causes them to tense.

As for nursing positions, have you taught Olivia how to sit up on your knee and nurse that way? I had to learn with the twins how to do that when they got bigger, and it was MUCH easier on my back than having them lay across my lap.

Good luck Katie, we are praying for you!!

PTK Designs said...

I have a chronic pain and understand how you feel. There are 2 things that have helped me. The first is a topical ointment called Eucalypamint (not sure if I spelled it right). It has a strong smell but does an awesome job. It helps your muscles relax. The second is a microwave heating pad. I used some strong fabric to sew squares or rectangles to the size I need. Sew around the sides leaving an opening. Turn right-side out and fill about 2/3 full of rice. (Do not use Minute Rice!) Sew the opening closed and microwave for approx 2 minutes. I wrap mine in a hand towel and apply where needed. You can also take it to bed with you, unlike a traditional heating pad.
I hope these tips help and you feel better soon.

Dorothy said...

Dear Katie,

I'm so sorry to hear about your pains. The suggestions that have been given here are good ones that will probably help in alleviating your discomforts, but I'm wondering about a different pathway, in addition.

Many times when we are stressed our bodies react in difficult ways, such as the symptoms you described. Maybe you (and Bryan) will want to have a discussion about the kinds of things that are adding stress to your life and eliminate those that are not needful at this time.

I think you are on the right track when you ask how to find "peace". Take some deep breaths and re-evaluate what is necessary and what is not and make changes if necessary. I'm sure your body will respond appropriately and that much of the pain will diminish.

Good luck. You are loved. :)

Anna said...

Oh Katie. I have absolutely no advice. That sounds miserable. I think you are awesome and I hope you feel better soon.

The Jessee Journal said...

Oh my heavens that sounds miserable :( I think you've received some good advice. I have terrible (really scary) posture so I'm taking this post as a serious kick in the pants to be more mindful of that. Breastfeeding and computers are my bane as well.
As for your toothaches (which could be contributing to your headaches) my only suggestion is taking a good calcium supplement. Whenever I get a toothache or headache I take some calcium and it solves the problem. I don't know if you're experiencing migraines becuase I'm told those are different ... but with headaches, it works for my husband and myself every time. Good luck.

Polly @ Pieces by Polly said...

Sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well Katie! When I breastfeed Rebecca while at the computer, I do it from our glider rocker, so we're all more comfortable and I use a nursing pillow. I definitely agree with re-evaluating stress and things in your life and those exercise balls are good for posture I've heard.

Sew Much Ado said...

Hey Katie, I'm so sorry you're having all those problems! That's no fun, especially when you're a mom and can't just take a day off. Here's my two cents that may actually only be worth one, but I'll give it anyway. Do you get seasonal allergies at all? Or do you think your headaches could be caused at all by sinus problems? I'm asking because I was (actually I can say I AM, because I'm still licensed) a dental hygienist and often patients would come in with "toothaches", when it was really their sinuses making their teeth ache, not any problem with the teeth. Just thought I'd mention it since you're having both a toothache and headache at the same time. I hope you figure it all out soon and get feeling better :).

Sew Much Ado said...

Oh, and I love the cervical pillows. They've made a world of difference for me and neck pain.

Sew Much Ado said...

Okay, I promise this will be my last comment, but I wanted to mention that headaches and toothaches can also happen together if you're grinding or clenching your teeth at night.