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January 1, 2019

Do you know your ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) score? Take the quiz and find out. The score is 0-10. 

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

Interesting fact: having a higher score can cause all kinds of health issues in middle age. The top diseases include liver damage, Fibromyalgia, IBS, GERD, muscle pain, chronic fatigue, cancer, kidney damage, ulcers, high blood pressure, insomnia and more. 

What happens is glucocosteroids trigger the sympathetic nervous system without you knowing it. That sore shoulder that never seems to find relief from pain could be from tension spiked by a chemical response in your body while you sleep. Withou...

September 4, 2018

I read an interesting article the other day on Medium about PTSD. The writer opined that PTSD has changed from the war torn soldier facing demons from what they encountered during operational duties to one that affects many people in day to day lives, and how this change causes people to react differently to someone who has PTSD from abuse, a serious medical injury, severe emotional bullying from parents or witnessing horrific acts, or being made to particiapte in horrific acts, from someone who has PTSD from being in the military or a police officer.

Interesting as I was just talking to my husband about this very topic last week. The typical spin on PTSD, or, as it is called in the military and RCMP, an OSI...Operational Stres...

May 12, 2018

There are challenges we all face in life whether it stems from childhood issues, trauma, medical or financial issues and more. The thing is, sometimes we feel we have done a good job of being self aware, discovering our gaps and we take proactive measures to ensure we don't fall down the same rabbit hole again, only to discover we are back where we started. 

But are we? Healing is a journey. It has many paths and it takes us to many places. Hopefully we make healthy choices on how to cope. Unfortunately, some of us do not. That does not mean it is hopeless. Far from it. 

The choices we make, the actions we take are because we are human, and we are reacting to an abnormal situation with normal responses. 

Take a moment and let...

December 8, 2017

Mindfulness has become a buzz word around mental health and yoga communities in the past decade, and now, it has shown up in the police force. 

In March of 2016, Calgary City Police hired a yoga instructor to come in and help out with stress in the workplace. According to the Calgary Herald [1], yoga and other classes are being offered year around. Whether this is still happening, I am not sure, but, it is a step in the right direction. 

Whatever can help reset the brain to help increase resiliency is worth looking into. And that is the most impressive part of our brain: neuroplasticity. The ability to rewire the brain so that it does not respond to stress, anxiety, and trauma in the way that it is used to.

Think of your brain as a...

October 27, 2017

There are a number of things you can do to help relieve yourself from a stressful situation, while having a panic attack or while experiencing anxiety. The key to these coping skills is to catch the anxiety or panic before it gets out of control. Once you have passed those 90 seconds of being in Lizard Brain, it may be too late to rein it back.

Poster from http://savvyschoolcounselor.com

BREATHE: take ten long, slow deep breaths for a count of five. Inhale for a count of five through your nose, hold for a count of one, exhale for a count of five through your mouth.

Place your hands on your ribs, just under your breast tissue with the thumbs in the front and fingers in the back. Breathe and see if you can feel your ribs move. Do thi...

September 17, 2017

A lot of people hold tension in their shoulders, which over time can carry stress and aggravation into the trapezius, rhomboids, pecs and the sternocleidomastoid muscle. This can cause intense pain, headaches, tension headaches and stiffness and tension. Over time, if these muscles keep in the contraction phase, this can cause major pain, lead to irrititability and depression. 

There are a few techniques that you can try on a daily basis to work this tension out. One of my favourites is using a tennis ball. I stand against a wall with a tennis ball in the area of tension and I move my body up and down, side to side and dig in where I feel the pain. I hold that position until I have had enough, and then slowly roll the b...

August 18, 2017

I have been thinking about all that is happening in the world and how it seems we are in a state of flux. We have riots, hate crimes, people looking for connections, but feeling lost, broken familial bonds, angst and unrest. 

What a list! I don't know about you, but I get exhausted just reading that first paragraph. I've begun the habit of hiding posts on FaceBook because it hurts to see what is happening out 'there'. I did the same thing in 1991 when the Gulf War was on TV. I was glued to the set while going about my day as a stay at home mom of three children. I knew I was in trouble when airplanes flew overhead and I would start to panic and scream from the anxiety. I stopped watching news and reading the paper. 

My stress leve...

February 28, 2017

PTSD has been around for decades, although the name has gone several incarnations and the trauma list has grown as well. A hundred years ago, it was shell shock and was attributed to acts of aggression seen or done in WW1. A hundred years later it relates to anyone who witnessed or was a survivor of a traumatic event, and our normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

Think about that for a second, a normal reaction to an abnormal situation. A normal reaction. Not a weakness in character, a flaw in your design, not crazy, not lazy, not, not being enough of a man, (yes I am an editor and yes I used a double negative) not being a coward, not making stuff up, not looking for attention. NOT. It is a normal reaction. 

I have compound co...

February 26, 2017

Do you suffer with chronic neck pain? Chances are, you are also dealing with occipital neuralgia or migraines[1], insomnia, stiffness in your shoulders, pain when turning your neck and a host of other issues. If the cause of the pain is compressed spinal nerves or spinal stenosis, you might also have pain in the tricep, deltoid or bicep muscle of your arms. 

First, see your doctor. Get a complete check-up, including X-rays and an MRI[2] of your neck. Find out what the issue is and get a complete list of options to try to manage the pain. The doctor might recommend physiotherapy, but likely you will also need some medication such as a muscle relaxant or arthritic pharmaceuticals to manage the pain. This might be enough to all...

February 19, 2017

KNOWLEDGE

Chronic pain is a debilitating illness that affects a staggering 19% of the European population according to the European Journal of Pain. [1]  If we agree that European life and Canadian life are similar, then we can assume 19% of the Canadian adult population suffers at the same rate. One out of five people have chronic pain and most of them will not seek treatment, or will have treatment that fails them.

First, most people turn to over the counter medication. Most often, this band aids the problem, but with time, chronic pain returns stronger than ever. Next, people will see a doctor, chiropractor, acupuncturist, physiotherapist, massage therapist and more. They will pay thousands of dollars, and get partial relief. T...

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