Monday, July 21, 2014

How Do You Feel About Alternative Healing?

I recently injured my back. It kind of exploded, actually. Without warning, it went into crazy spasms. The pain was so intense that I couldn't move. I'd never felt pain like that. I didn't even know people could feel that kind of pain.

At the hospital, I was prescribed prednisone, muscle relaxants and pain killers. For two weeks, I was high. But I still couldn't move. I couldn't drive. I couldn't sit up for any length of time. I spent most of my time on my back crying. I'd figured out that a traumatic experience had triggered the event, but I didn't know what to do about it. I called the doctor and asked for help. But they told me the treatment was the steriods and pain killers.

My friends had been driving me to a trusted chiropractor who was helping me do physical therapy. Slowly, I started to move a bit.

After about six weeks, for the first time (other than doctor visits), I went out. I met with my critique group. The first hug sent me spiraling into tears. And one of my fellow writers said she knew a therapist who specialized in healing trauma.

I started seeing that therapist. She gave me a surge of hope. I then met with a chinese herbalist who mashed up a brew of herbs that controlled the crying, anxiety and stress and minimized the inflammation. Next, I visited a neuromuscular re-education massage therapist who's been working every muscle in my body every week since. Seeking some more hope, I got a psychic reading. Then I had my chakras and energy cleansed by a reiki master. Just a few days ago, I had my first rehabilitative Pilates lesson. I couldn't do much of a workout yet, but we did identify the areas we really need to work on.

I still can't sit up for long periods of time. But I can walk. I can do the dishes and I can drive. I'm not crying all day every day anymore. I have hope.

But what if I had stayed with the doctor's plan of prednisone and pain killers? What if I hadn't tried multiple types of therapies? Where would I be?

How do you feel about alternative healing? What types of nontraditional healing have you tried? How did it work out for you?



  1. Hi there, Suzanne! I'm with you. I'm all for alternative therapies. I think traditional and alternative diagnostic tools and treatments used in combination are very powerful. Did you have an MRI? I'm a little worried about the sudden and severe way it started. I'm really glad that you decided to go beyond addressing the symptoms superficially, and instead are looking toward healing. I'm hoping you feel better soon. Always hope!

    1. Hi Cheri! Thanks for visiting and commenting. I love your blog. I'm thrilled to have found it. :)

      Yes, I had an MRI and I have a herniated disk. We think it might have been lingering for a while, but the sudden stress triggered the explosion. It's amazing how closely connected the mind and body are.

  2. Like Suzanne, I have actively searched for alternative approaches to better living and mental health. And, fortunately, have found Chinese medicine to be a great option. Know your body, understand your options, and be involved with your decisions. Just because a medical professional starts his name with "doctor" doesn't mean he has all the answers. Best of health and life to you Suzanne.

  3. It's so easy and efficient to just order the prescriptions--much more time consuming and thorough to explore the whole realm of possible lifestyle changes. I'm a fan of the alternative, though in a thoughtful way, not expecting any fast cure. I'm glad you are getting some relief!

  4. I'm so glad you're asking questions again! I missed it!
    35 years ago I had a back injury in a car accident. I seemed to be allergic to meds and physical therapy wasn't helping much. The best give I gave myself was finding a great chiropractor, a psychologist who specialized in hypnosis and visualization for pain relief and an amazing Reiki Master. I ended up getting certified for Reiki I and II. I still use all of my tools when I get a flare-up.

    1. Wow. That's amazing. Congratulations on your Reiki certification. Isn't cool how events lead us to our calling? I went to a Reiki Master but I didn't really feel like it did anything. Too bad you're not in So Cal, I would visit you. So nice to know an expert!

    2. I just went to check out your blog. Are you not blogging anymore? And thank you for visiting and discovering I started the questions again. :)

  5. It can be so challenging to find the combination of solutions that will work for your specific situation and condition. Great job in keeping up the search for yours! Constant pain is so mentally challenging. I found the hardest part was working through the fear I may never get better. But you will. Keep reminding yourself of that. Once this immediate need has passed, I hope you find a way to stay well. For me there were two keys: 1) remove/minimize the stressor source and 2) find a self-healing way to stay well that's not wholly dependent on providers of any sort. I was amazed when I realized that after practicing yoga somewhat regularly I wasn't visiting the chiropractor any more. Well wishes!


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