Sharing my latest experience with inflammation, diet, exercise, chronic pain, and my adrenal function, and how I can help you in your journey to healthier living.
For years I woke up with debilitating lateral low back/upper hip tightness. There was significant inflammation from poor food choices, and I also had muscle imbalances from injury and over-strengthening/over-stretching various muscles without knowing it for many years.
My pain was reduced by about 50% after adding in concentrated plant powders and plant-based omegas from 35 different plants every day to an already anti-inflammatory diet. These addressed the remaining inflammation, and if that was as good as it got, I honestly would’ve been satisfied.
I still found myself creating occasional problems with unintentional “over-exertion”, even when I didn’t feel like I was overdoing it. This was particularly true if I was combining strength and cardio in a HIIT class or a heated power yoga class. Let me emphasize that these are both GOOD things, just not for me at that time. My guess is that as I would get fatigued and my heart rate felt a bit frantic, my breathing became shallower, my form suffered, and my back would kick on 🤷♀️.
The problem was that I wouldn’t feel any discomfort until the next day so it was difficult to realize when I had pushed too hard until it was too late. And I’m the type of person who pushes myself to my limit. I’ve made a lot of progress here but I still have miles to go 🤪.
By “accident” (divine intervention), I discovered some adrenal dysfunction back in early March. Honestly, I was shocked — I already felt pretty damn good because I ate pretty damn good, I move my body, I sleep well, I have a deep connection to God, amazing relationships, and I love my job. So of course I felt good! I had plenty of energy and very few other symptoms, but my lab work showed otherwise. My doctor said it was because of how well I ate that I didn’t have any other symptoms (yet), but it would eventually catch up with me.
He advised cutting out ALL intense exercise (walking only) as well as adding some supplements and making a few tweaks to my intermittent fasting regimen. Over the next few months, I noticed these simple changes optimized my feelings of wellness, particularly my “window of tolerance” or my frustration tolerance and I felt less edgy and irritable. The best description I can come up with is that I stopped feeling like I was living in a slightly fast-forwarded state. Everything just slowed down and I was better able to manage stress and respond without reacting. I don’t know if that makes any sense?🤷♀️
I would have thought that a 4 month hiatus on intense exercise would have had some impact on my remaining low level back pain but it did not. In fact, it may have even gotten slightly worse, and I was slightly concerned that might be due to muscle loss. So at the end of June mu doctor approved a gradual return back to a specific strength training protocol, but without significant elevation in heart rate.
This time I decided to do it with a trainer to make sure I wasn’t doing anything to further aggravate the problem, and I’m so thankful I did! It’s funny to watch my old patterns pop back up — He is constantly reminding me to SLOW DOWN and BREATHE!
As I’ve been strengthening my hamstrings, glutes, and core under careful supervision and attention to very specific form adjustments from @joe.l.averett I’m waking up with even less pain these days! And it’s yet another reminder that just like with chronic disease, we must have a multi-faceted approach to chronic pain: we need the proper food, the proper movement, and the proper experts!
How are you moving your body today?