By Dr. Katie Ray, DC
In my last blog I discussed what may sometimes feels like a paradox in chiropractic. While our goal is never to “fix” your pain and symptoms, chiropractic often has the side effect of improving your pain and symptoms as we reprogram the nervous system.
“Then how will I know it’s working?” a reasonable person might ask. If a pain or symptom going away can’t be the litmus test for whether your nervous system and spine are getting healthier, what is? I remember when I started in care in 2005, with so much pain in my neck and back that I couldn’t sleep at night, I felt pretty clear on what “getting better” meant.
If you had told me that my pain wasn’t THE problem, I wouldn’t have believed you. But as time went on, and I had the repetition of experiencing my nervous system and spine differently, a bigger picture and a whole new me gradually emerged.
As your chiropractor, I can tell you if I think you’re responding to care and if your nervous system is getting healthier. I’m trained to know the spine by assessments, observation, and what I feel with my hands. I share these observations with you as you go through care. It’s one thing for me to be telling you the care is working, but how do YOU know it’s working? It’s one thing for me to tell you, but how do you know for yourself?
Here are my top 3 ways YOU can know main things that your chiropractic care (and that form is Network Care if you are in care in my office) is working in your spine and body.
1.You get to experience a new version of yourself
When we first start in care, these moments might be fleeting. We’re laying on the table during a session, perhaps zoning out. Or perhaps thinking about something we’re going to do later that day. Perhaps we are vaguely wondering why our chiropractor doesn’t seem to be working where our pain is. And suddenly it hits us– we feel completely heavy, relaxed, and peaceful. Or maybe on the table or shortly after a session we suddenly have the urge to shift our hips to the side, and immediately feel our pain or tension release. “Why couldn’t I just do this myself all week?” we wonder.
Both in these moments, as well as through time and repetition we begin to notice that there is a different way of feeling and a different way of being when we are functioning in the updated nervous system “operating system.” We can be more peaceful and focused. We have awareness of other feelings in our bodies besides pain, and a focus on aspects of our experiences besides the “problems.” We sit up taller. All of this (and more) is what it feels like to have a brain and body that are communicating freely and clearly, without interference by blockages in the spine and tension and irritation in the nerves.
2. We know differently, even during difficult times
As we continue in care, we have the opportunity to notice ourselves over time. There may be ups and downs in our process of getting healthier, and we may be getting frustrated at times. Still, we now have the perspective of knowing by feeling whether our nervous system is in the clear, peaceful pattern or in the painful, stress-based pattern. As your chiropractor, I can’t “control” your body any more than you can. I also can’t control what you do outside New Day. What I will continue to do is assess your spine at every visit and work with you accordingly. What you can continue to do is have the perspective, based on now having experienced this newer version of yourself, that what you’re experiencing doesn’t have to be permanent, and use that as a way to be present.
At a seminar once, Dr. Donny Epstein, chiropractor and creator of Network Care, shared with us a story where he told a frustrated patient, “Your healing is not about you feeling comfortable or having a predictable experience.” For most of us, this would have been alarming to hear early in the process. But the peace that we help your nervous system learn in the beginning of your care ultimately helps you during times when we come face to face with some of the things that might need to change in our lives to support our health and healing. “We need to make sure all the parts are in place,” says Donny, “In order to have a wild ride.”
3.As time goes on, you feel more of the “we” and less of the “me”
It has been said that the difference between “illness” and “wellness” is the difference between “I” and “we.” The more we get to experience ourselves as having a healthy nervous system, in our feeling in our bodies, as well as how we experience ourselves in the context of our lives, the more we get to feel connected to those around us. Being part of a “we” is a powerful way to heal as you contribute to the healing of others. This is why we create so many opportunities at New Day for you to experience yourself as someone who contributes to someone else’s wellbeing, by just showing up.
This is never something I thought through as I was creating New Day, just how important it would be that we are a “we.” Events and workshops seemed like simply a fun way to add to everyone’s experience and knowledge and to create outlets for the larger Lincoln Square neighborhood to get to know us. Over time, I have come to witness in myself and in our practice members that “community,” Stage 12 of Donny’s “12 Stages of Healing” is the ultimate in wellness. This is when we get to experience ourselves as a stand for health, peace, contribution, and understanding in our lives, easily able to be with and be there for others, because we can be with and for ourselves.
Thank for reading! I’d love to hear your experience of chiropractic care that seems to work, or that doesn’t. To learn more about my care, a form of chiropractic personal development guru Tony Robbins has called “One of the most powerful forms of healing I have ever seen or experienced,” please check out my website to www.newdaynsa.com If you call or email to schedule an initial visit at my office (4308 N Lincoln in Chicago) I have a special discount for Women Belong members.
Content provided by Women Belong member Katie Ray