I live with chronic pain.

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

How I nutritionally, spiritually and holistically support my body NOW, but I never use to. Here is my story.

By:Deedra Helenna

Holistic Nutritionist & Reiki Practitioner

 

Today is a bad day for my pain, I knew it was coming the last few days and I tried all my tactics to try and avoid a day like today, but it happens and they are a lot less than they use to be. Today I feel defeated but I need to remind myself where I am coming from.


Here is my story,


I've always been a mediocre athlete and enjoyed playing and participating in sports such as soccer, gymnastics, cheerleading, volleyball, wakeboarding etc.... Over the years I've sustained dozens of injuries from a sprained ankle, jammed and dislocated fingers ( soccer goalie), torn intercostal muscles, fractured foot and ankle and a few concussions ( soccer and wakeboarding). But the one that takes the cake is the one that happened in High School cheerleading practise in 2007. Our team was on fire that year and we were attempting some intense stunts.


I was a third (backspot) in the stunts. This incident happened in two separate stunts in one week that rocked me in the head. The first time it hurt a lot but that was normal for cheerleasing was to get rocked a few times a practice. This stunt was a kick double basket toss and my top ( flyer) spun too late and I had to use my whole body to catch her still spinning which knocked me pretty good in the jaw and neck. I felt it for a few days but hey I was 16 and young right, I would be just fine. The next practice a few days later is what finally did me me with a Lib heel stretch with a double down ( you can google these haha) and again I got knocked in the jaw by my top doubling down too late. This time I immediately burst into tears and knew something wasn't right - I couldn't close my jaw.


Well I left the practise and drove home to tell my parents I knew something wasn't right and because it was already late I went to the local ED department with my younger sister who wanted to come for company. There I waited 4 hours for my jaw to be palpated (medical terminology for touch) and was deemed by the physician they didn't seem to think it was broken but no x-rays were done .... so to make this story a little but shorter lets just say from then on life's been a pain in the fucking jaw!


I had so much pain in my jaw and neck those next years and still do! But those first years were the most debilitating. I couldn't chew or even open my mouth more than 11mm, I suffered the most severe neck pain and migraines that left me crying in pain for days. I couldn't sit in a classroom where I had to have my head turned, I couldn't enjoy a movie theater because of the seating and angle my neck had to be in to watch the show and if I go somewhere I have to bring my own pillow still today or game over.

In that next year and a half I would see several physiotherapists and orthodontists and physicians. It wasn't until my mom pushed for a ear, nose and throat specialist (Otolaryngologists) a year and a half later that I finally got my answers but they weren't really going to change anything. This physician finally ordered some imaging! No one else had yet to this day even taken a fucking x-ray. So the x-ray showed arthritis in my TMJ ( temporal mandibular joint) so then came a MRI which showed that the ball (condyle) of my joint had damage and that my meniscus was shattered in pieces and jammed at the front of my joint- hence why I had limited movement. The impact of the cheerleader into my head caused my joint to crush my own meniscus causing it to shatter and now is just bone-on-bone and to boot I strained all the muscles in neck and even caused some to unattached from the base of my skull with 3 herniated discs as well.


FUN EH!


Even with a diagnosis not much could be done, my joint was flushed and I was advised to get injections which I never followed through with. I was 17 and in college and broke, I had no money for physio or massage but eventually I started to go to a chiropractor which cost me a lot of my money and when I didn't have money my doctor gladly prescribed me with T3's, percocets, harsh anti-inflammatories and steriods for the pain and most days those didn't even touch the pain and just made me psychotic, high and gave me all types of abdominal and digestive issues.


It has been A LOT of trial and error over the years seeing DOZENS of different physiotherapists, physicians, trying acupuncture, massage and medications, supplements and more and I am continuing to try and learn new ways to support my muscles and nerves because the injury is old it is now just because the nerves are damaged not activating the muscles so activation and reducing my exposure to my triggers so my nerves stay cool is the KEY to living with reduced pain and discomfort.


Here are the MANY ways I support my body and hopefully one day get to a time where I don't remember what it was like to live in pain. It's a work in progress but I believe as I continue to learn and educate I will one day find what it is that works for me and I know I am on the right path.


  1. Active Release Therapy Literally has changed my life. If you're local check out Active Relief Centre in Hagersville and ask for Jill!

"Active Release Therapy (ART), also called Active Release Technique, is a non-invasive manual therapy technique that works to correct soft tissue restrictions that cause pain and mobility issues. The goal is to break down scar tissue and adhesions in order to optimize function in the body. The technique can be applied to both acute and chronic conditions involving the muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves and fascia. During treatment, a trained physiotherapist will position your tissue so it’s “active.” For example, to treat an injured muscle with ART, the therapist puts you in a position so that the muscle is shortened and then applies hands-on tension. Next, they’ll instruct you to lengthen while they hold the tension in place. They may apply this combination of tension and motion to several different areas before you feel the full release. It’s kind of like massage but with motion and stretching, except the physiotherapist will use small, targeted contact points rather than broad strokes. The technique can feel quite intense as it increases your nervous system’s tolerance for stretching the muscle. Many describe it as a “good pain.” "


2. Massage Therapy

When I finally years later after my injury booked my first one I couldn't believe I waited so long! What a game changer. It can take a while to find your person that you know gives you what you need haha! I also go to the Active Relief Centre in Hagersville for this to see my girl Stefanie!


3. Drink Tea

There is literally a tea for everything. Soothing and relaxing with amazing medicinal qualities especially for nerves, tension and pain! My favourite are adaptogen teas such as holy basil. Feverfew, peppermint, ginger and chamomile.


4. Supplementation/ Nutrition

I try not to take your typical analgesics and anti-inflammatories such as acetaminophen and ibuprophen although some days warrants it. I try to stick to ensuring I am keeping my inflammation down through diet and reducing stress. I also take magnesium and use tumeric a lot in my cooking or enjoy a tumeric latte time to time. I also supplement with a vegan based omega capsule and its a GAME changer for my joints and also my nails and hair. I also ensure that I have a diet high in antioxidants such as vitamin c, spirulina and chorella as well to reduce stress and inflammation. I also use many pain reliving products such as essential oils , magnesium baths, magnesium rubs etc…


Fun fact : Did you know headaches and food sensitivities go hand in hand! Just thought you should know :) This is something I have dealt with since the age of 5 and a MSG intolerance. I'm sure I will blog about that someday soon.


5. Cold Showers

This is just something in the last year I have added to my routine and I know when I have stopped doing them for a while because my pain immediately comes right back! When I say cold shower I mean like as cold as your shower will allow you to go. It is all a mindset, don't chicken out or tense up. Breathe, relax and release tension. It can be quite enjoyable and liberating.


6. Release tension/ energy / stress

Read in my blog Is your anger leading you to a life of liver disease?

Here I discuss the well known science that the emotions we suppress, the trauma we are exposed to is directly linked to our health and symptoms. For my case this is 100% true! I carry my stress and burdens in my jaw and neck. When I am stressed my pain is there to wake me up and slow me down and stop me. This is a work in progress because sometimes I try to push it out of the way, I don't want to deal with it. Well then my pain gives me no choice but to sit in the discomfort and figure out what it is I need to release or deal with.


7. Move

The past year I noticed my pain has been worst than previous years. This past year all my sports have been cancelled, everything has been closed and I have been extremely inactive than I am use to and I am feeling it. Sitting more on a couch, starring more at a screen than I am outside kicking a soccer ball or at a baseball game that's for sure!

So slowly I have been doing yoga, breathe work and stretching but I definitely need to be more consistent.


Again it is all a work-in-progress and one day I know I will live pain free.

I just ordered a infrared light for healing and cannot wait for it to come in and tell you how it works and how it feels! So stay tuned.


Remember healing is a process and can take many avenues and paths withs up and downs. But one day the ups become more than the downs and that there is worth all the work in the world


sending love, light and healing,


Deedra Helenna

healing@deedrahelenna.com









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