I’m working to add information and resources to these pages, but with a baby underfoot, the going is slow. Have you subscribed to my email newsletter yet? (You can do so in the sidebar to the right.) That’s the best way to get my latest blog posts and updates to the website.
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Back Pain (Chronic)
Bladder Infection/Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
Joint Pain (Chronic)
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction (hypertonic/too-tight, weak, incontinence, prolapse, etc)
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)/Bladder Infection
Chronic Back Pain
Here are my top suggestions specific to back pain, but please also see information about systemic inflammation, which can contribute to pain levels.
Back Sense: A Revolutionary Approach to Halting the Cycle of Chronic Back Pain by Siegel, Urdang, and Johnson
After trying many other therapies for over a year, I finally reduced my chronic sacro-iliac pain by 75% three years ago by applying the techniques from this book. The authors, all former chronic back pain sufferers themselves, address the fear-tension-pain cycle without ever suggesting the pain is “all in your head.” I’ve further reduced my pain since then by exploring other methods of healing, but this book was the turning point. Applying the ideas gave me my life back.
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)
When some muscles don’t fire correctly, other muscles compensate, and then unnatural loads are applied to your joints, including your back. This causes inflammation and pain in the joints. A competent MAT practitioner (and believe me, they’re not all competent!) can quickly identify which muscles aren’t firing correctly and then “reactivate” them using a precise manual massage technique. Healthy people will only need 2 or 3 sessions. Certain people with autoimmune conditions may chronically de-activate the same muscles and will need continued treatment to receive benefits. For me, a chronic “de-activator,” ongoing treatment was still worthwhile when my pain level was still high (until I found biomechanis & natural alignment, as I mentioned above; now I need much less MAT). The pain relief is just astonishing for me. It usually takes 24 to 48 hours for the inflammation to subside, and then I felt GREAT until the muscles de-activate again. The relief is far better than prescription pain meds and is completely side-effect free. Most people will experience lasting relief. I see Jim Guillory in Houston, TX. Check the MAT website for practitioners in your area.
Restorative Exercise by Katy Bowman
I think I’ve finally found the missing piece to the last of my back pain solution. I feel amazing. Visit Katy Bowman’s Aligned & Well website for information and read all you can on her blog. Then buy her DVDs or online courses, or best of all, find a graduate of her program who’s either in your area or willing to work with you via Skype. Debbie Beane in the Houston metro area (Magnolia) has done me a world of good.
The BFF I Don’t Talk About
Here are my top 3. For more product ideas, see the Potty Talk article link above.
Next to Nature — a potent, plant-sourced regularity aid for alleviating symptoms while also addressing underlying causes. Tablets can be cut into pieces for milder doses. (not safe for pregnancy)
SolveEczema.org — a website created by a mother who cured her child’s eczema through eliminating detergents from their home. This may not be the primary cause of your or your child’s eczema (I don’t think it’s ours), but it could certainly be a contributing factor. She offers lots of information on the difference between detergent and soap, and why detergents are generally irritating and probably best phased out of any household’s use.
Cort Sym Gel by Energique — a homeopathic anti-inflammatory gel that really seems to help kill the itch. We get from our homeopathy specialist, Dr. Patrick Massie, but you can also order it online here.
Homemade Coconut Oil Salve — pure oil doesn’t lock in moisture, but oil + beeswax is a winner for my baby. I’m not much of a DIY gal, but this recipe is so easy, 100% pure, and works better than anything I’ve bought. I use it just like regular lotion most of the time, but for maximum moisturizing, I apply it liberally within 3 minutes of taking him out of a lukewarm bath (oatmeal or baking soda in the water), and zip him up head to toe in cotton PJs. This salve is fabulous for the bum area too, since coconut oil is naturally antimicrobial. Use the highest quality virgin coconut oil you can afford.
Oatmeal Bath + Vaseline + Cotton PJs — Desperate times call for desperate measures. As a last resort before steroids, I bathe baby in an oatmeal bath, then slather him with petroleum jelly within 3 minutes of removing him from the water, and zip him up in cotton PJs. This protocol can turn red leather skin into baby-soft smoothness overnight.
Chronic Joint Paint
I think the possibility of systemic inflammation in the body should always be considered with chronic joint pain, but here are a few options that are specific to joints.
Biomechanics & Natural Alignment & Movement Training
Our civilized lifestyles are murder for our poor joints. Even if we aren’t chronically inflamed from toxic modern diets, the wrong loads on our joints applied over decades must take a toll. Stop the madness. Learn how to restore your body to the alignment and movement it was designed for. Even if you’ve reached the point where you truly need joint replacement, correcting how you move and align your body can ensure the long-term success of your artificial joint. Visit Katy Bowman’s Aligned & Well website for information and read all you can about your issues on her blog (careful, though, it’s addictive). Then buy her DVDs or online courses, or best of all, find a graduate of her program who’s either in your area or willing to work with you via Skype. Nothing replaces working with a trained eye on your body. Debbie Beane in the Houston metro area (Magnolia) has done me a world of good.
Muscle Activation Techniques (MAT)
When some muscles don’t fire correctly, perhaps because of trauma (falls, accidents, sports) or overuse, other muscles compensate, and then unnatural loads are applied to your joints. This causes inflammation, damage, and pain. A competent MAT practitioner (and believe me, they’re not all competent!) can quickly identify which muscles aren’t firing correctly and then “reactivate” them using a precise manual massage technique. Normal people will only need 2 or 3 sessions. Certain people with autoimmune conditions may chronically de-activate the same muscles and will need continued treatment to receive benefits. I see Jim Guillory in Houston, TX. Check the MAT website for practitioners in your area.
Yup, chiropractors don’t just work on backs. I think chiropractic is best used in conjunction with movement and muscle re-training (see above). Get a good referral if you can. All chiropractors are not equal. (My Houston metro favorites are on my Practitioners list.)
Plantar Fasciitis & Other Foot Pain
Fixing the Underlying Problem
1. Rehab Your Feet
Every Woman’s Guide to Foot Pain Relief: The New Science of Healthy Feet by Katy Bowman
Not just for women, this book goes way beyond what you’ve likely been told in your podiatrist or chiropractor’s office. I’ve done things the podiatrist’s way for years (ice, basic calf stretch, & orthotics way), and now I’m doing it the holistic way by gradually restoring my feet to full functioning, not just covering up the symptoms of poor foot health. I am not yet able to wear barefoot shoes, but I’m well on my way–long out of orthotics, into negative-heeled shoes, able to go barefoot at home. You can do a bit of pre-reading on the author’s blog by perusing over 78 posts that relate to foot health.
2. Correct Systemic Inflammation
Read my entry about Systemic Inflammation here.
While you almost certainly need to rehabilitate your feet from a lifetime of positive-heeled shoes and lack of real use (see above book recommendation), you may also need some short-term help reducing inflammation and pain. Rehab is a long process, and chronic inflammation only hinders healing, not to mention destroys quality of life. A podiatrist or chiropractor may put you in orthotics or highly supportive shoes, and this can be a useful crutch while you’re healing your feet. Here are some more options:
Acupuncture & Chinese Herbs
I was absolutely shocked by the total relief of my plantar fasciitis pain with acupuncture and chinese herbs (especially since 20 sessions of acupuncture didn’t do squat for my chronic sacro-iliac pain). It didn’t last because I hadn’t yet changed how I was using my feet or addressed the mechanical imbalances, but the temporary relief was exquisite. I asked for another bottle of the herbs before going to Europe, where I knew I’d be walking many miles a day. I saw Kathy Tang in Houston, TX.
You may have heard of digestive enzymes, which help break down your food, but you can also take certain enzymes between meals to do other things in your body. Proteases/proteolytic enzymes (protein-digesting enzymes) can reduce inflammation (inflammation=pain) and are even used by athletes to improve recovery time after training. I confess that I don’t know just a ton about it myself, but I saw enough improvement in myself to recommend it as a possibility to others. Again, this is not a true fix, just a band-aid for relieving symptoms. Ask around or Google for enzyme therapy practitioners in your area; make sure they not only sell the enzyme products, but actually specialize in them (or at least use them often).
Pelvic Floor Dysfunction & Painful Sex
Articles I’ve Written
How I Recovered from Postpartum Painful Sex, Part 1
How I Recovered from Postpartum Painful Sex, Part 2
Physical Therapy for Painful Sex & Pelvic Floor Dysfunction: What It’s Really Like
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) / Bladder Infection
Now Foods D-Mannose Powder
Forget cranberry pills or juice, d-mannose is an absolute miracle cure for UTIs. It works fast without side effects. A sugar in cranberries that doesn’t affect blood sugar, d-mannose causes bacteria (e. coli) to slip out of the urethra. Once I even had blood in my urine, but the d-mannose nixed the infection before I could make it to my doctor’s appointment. Take doses every hour at first, then every 2, then every 3, etc, until your symptoms disappear. Take it 3 times a day for 2 or 3 days, then KEEP TAKING IT at a maintenance dose for 3-5 days after that. If you stop too soon, your symptoms will return. For people who have chronic UTIs, d-mannose can be taken at a maintenance level indefinitely, though I certainly encourage you to investigate the underlying causes of frequent UTIs.
Two, among many, possible causes of frequent UTIs: a hypertonic (too-tight) pelvic floor (see this page for some healing resources) or general poor health and immunity. I experienced frequent UTIs from the latter until my health improved dramatically through nutrition and homeopathy (see the Houston practitioners page for Dr. Massie’s contact information.