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Little Story 237 : My First and Second Sessions with a Chiropractor

After the long physical pain, in desperation, I finally booked a session with a chiropractor. I didn't know what else should I do, the vertigo lasted for 4 days and I was worried that it will take longer than that if I didn't do anything about the neck and shoulder strain.


From the website, I chose a date and the time, with no specific doctor in mind (they have several). I didn't even do deep research about the center, just enough until I read several positive reviews (I was really desperate, mind you).


Photo by Meta Zahren on Unsplash


My first session lasted for about 50 minutes. It started with a consultation, I told the doctor about when and how it started, how much pain, what did I do afterwards, and the location of the problematic areas. Then the doctor explained to me about what he will do. What he did was locating my problematic areas, releasing (accupressure I think), and the adjustments (I had back and neck adjustments).


Right after the session : None of the processes were painful, the cracks sounded scary and loud though. He helped me to sit and I was still feeling the slight vertigo but much less than before the session. My neck and shoulder were finally released from the stiffness. I was a bit light-headed but I was glad for the upper body release - no more pain. I went home, and I was tired so I napped for an hour.


That night : The vertigo stopped, my body started to feel sore all over.


The next morning : I was excited to try out my body, we had an outing, I was famished. Fun morning without pain or migraine or vertigo after the long 2 weeks of agony. 


Around 24 hours after the session : I felt fatigue, like extremely tired. I can't do anything because I was too tired. My body was sore and I started to feel worried. I read online about what the first session of chiropractic would do to your body and fatigue is pretty common because my body was finally in an improved posture, after the adjustment it released a lot of trapped toxin in certain areas, my body was detoxing and adapting to the new posture (so it took a lot of energy). 


I also texted the doctor and he confirmed that it is normal to feel soreness and fatigue especially after the first session because my body was adapting and my back had a long history of being misaligned and was not treated for awhile. 


I rested again, it took about 4-5 days of soreness. The fatigue improved after 3 days.


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My second session (a week later), I told him about the improved condition and that I mostly don't feel any pain but only soreness. He did the acupressure thing (where he put pressure on certain areas to check whether I feel pain). None of pain from the upper body areas, only soreness. But he still did the crack thingy and it still make sounds but not as loud as before.


Next, he did back adjustment and also lower back adjustment. I had a problem with my lower back for years and the pain come and go every year. After the adjustment, I do feel the tiny "hello I'm still here" from my old pain which I'm a bit worried about. But maybe due to the adjustment, my body is adapting to the improved posture and the old pain is just there to say good bye.


The doctor asked me to do stretches every day, to move every 30 minutes and start light exercise to test it out for 2 weeks, and we will do a followup after that. 

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Cost :

  • First consultation : RM 100
  • Chiro session : RM 130 per session

I went to Elite Spine Chiropractic Center in Seri Kembangan.

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Honest opinion : I wish I went to a meet a chiropractor every time I had problems with my body in previous experiences instead of going to the normal clinic. The normal doctor never treats these properly, they will just give medication to soothe the pain and make the symptoms go away. While chiropractor make an adjustments to problematic areas (especially if it is misaligned for awhile). Treating the core problem instead of putting a bandage on untreated wound, you know.

As a designer/illustrator, I do have a bad posture and bad working habit, so I know these pain will always come and go when I ignore the proper body management (stretches, good posture, exercise, good working habit, etc). 

Since the session, I sit properly (or I try to), I finally invested in a proper ergonomical working space and also better pillow. I also stretches every day when I wake up and before I went to sleep. I started practicing yoga again. I also drink hot ginger tea every single morning to reduce inflammation. 

My conditions are improved - still sore a bit but no longer in pain. 

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My sessions :
1st session
2nd session - a week gap
3rd session - 2 weeks gap
4th session - a month gap

Little Story 236 : The Back Pain is here


Every time I fell sick I'll be reminded of how less time we have, how much I've ignored my good health, how much I've forgotten to stretch my body or walk every morning, how much I took things for granted. 



I will come back to this blog to refer to my previous conditions, how many days it will take for the pain to slowly goes away, how much pain tolerance did I have before giving in to the modern medication, how much cries, how much pain ? I will eventually forget, I always always do. 

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This time, I just 'simply' miscalculated my step while cleaning up Sofi's mattress, I stood up too fast, my lower back is now frozen, and it just that. The sharp pain is there now, every wrong movement, every change of position. I can't do anything yesterday, I just sat stiffly. We tried ice pack at night, it didn't worked. I cried when I have to stood up after I laid down, because it is just too painful. Aja stayed here since yesterday and she had to see me sobbed uncontrollably when I tried to stand up (she was the one helping me last night and Af helped me this morning). Both time I suddenly cried loudly - I don't usually cry, mind you, it is a rare event.  


I'm in agony, again. Like I always do, when my body isn't cooperating.


So we walked to the clinic, I needed the pain killer. I don't usually like modern medication, but this is just too much, so I had to give in. The doctor decided to give a painkiller jab because he saw the condition I was in and he gave more home-medication for anti-inflammatory, muscle pain, pain killer and analgesic patches. He said maybe it will last another 2-3 days, top. Give my body a rest, walk slowly to exercise if I can, stretch my body when I can. 


Maybe this is due to stress or anxiety or lack of movement, we've been indoor for far too long. I miss the nature so much.

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I need to update this post for my future reference (because this happens more than I thought it could - at least once a year either my neck or my lower back) :


Day 1 : It happened, I rested the whole day, sitting stiffly. We tried ice patch at night. I cried when I had to stood up after I laid down because it was so painful. I slept badly, I woke up every time I needed to change the position, slowly roll-in to find a 'comfortable' enough position to continue sleeping.

Day 2 : It is still as bad, I cried more than intended again, every time I need to stood up after I laid down. We decided to go to the clinic for pain killer (or anything to make this less painful while it is slowly healing - because I needed to move to heal, but movements are too painful). Got a jab, the pain killer lasted for 6 hours, in the mean time, the doctor asked me to eat the medication he gave (stated above) and use the patch he gave to reduce the inflammation. The patch is called Ketotop, the number #1 pain relief patch from Korea. 

Day 3 : Surprisingly,  it got much better (I think the medication worked). I can pull up my body slowly from laying down, and even laid down myself when needed. I tried to cook that evening, but it eventually got a bit painful after awhile so Af helped to finish it up. My whole body was sore from the stiffness that I've been controlling due to the fear of triggering the pain. But, yes, it got a lot better than the day before.

Day 4 : I tried the whole day without pain killer and just ate the anti-inflammatory and muscle pain medicine in the morning. It was no longer 'painful', I can move around - but still stiffly and very limited. My body was sore (neck, shoulder, back, and thigh) I think due to my bad posture caused by the limited position I was in.

Day 5 : I didn't eat any medicine, no longer in pain but my body was still sore, tho :F Neck, shoulder, spine, leg - not sure whether it is because of the cold weather this week or the injury itself. I slept in at 10 pm and woke up at 6.30 am, had a long night rest the whole week. 

Day 6 : Same as day 5, my body was still sore all over but no longer painful. I ordered epsom salt and ginger massage oil to help reduce the soreness and heat up my body internally because I've been cold and everything hurts :F 

Since day 4 - 13 : I've been having a neck & shoulder muscle tension, everything is stiff and I couldn't release it (it is not painful but it is very uncomfortable). I've been massaging it daily with ginger oil, do stretches and taking warm shower with herbal mix since the second week. 

Day 12 - 13 : I've been having migraine. The pulsating throb on my right head (behind the skull and ear). I think everything is connected since the back pain. 

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Note : 

  • Doctor said not to put any ice/hot patch because we don't know the exact injury (for fear of making it worse)
  • No massages, just light stretches when I can. Stretches and movements help with the healing. 
  • Time and rest will decide how long it will take to heal completely. Most of the time it will take around a week, more than a week, need to get a referral to go to the hospital. 
  • So, rest well and stretch. 

Super note for myself : Please do yoga stretches EVERY morning and walk daily from now on (if you can). 

Little Things 247 : I'm Tired of the Negativity

I got vaccinated last Friday.


I hope I have given my mind a tiny bit of hush. That this will slowly but gradually be better. That this rising Covid cases will soon decline. 


https://unsplash.com/@lmtrochezz


I do not have the habit of pointing fingers to the whole institute of our government to blame. 


I read that some people claim that the ones that do not think/feel about the government's incompetency are among the 'privilege'. Honestly, I've been surviving since the pandemic, I can't do classes, I can't do events, my sales at the physical stores are plummeting and I am jobless since January. I now have anxiety, due to the stress but I am managing it. But not once, did I blame the government or others for all of my misfortunes. 


I feel like this is just another repetition, not once did Malaysian feel proud about its prime minister and the government. Do you remember all our former prime ministers during our teenage-adult life and the drama behind them? We keep on pushing and pushing, we told ourselves that none of these people are competent enough, we mocked them, we punished them, we forced them to resign, and we didn't even respect them. We forgot that these are human that can't really run from imperfection. That these are human just like us.


We are in a crisis, the pandemic is something totally foreign to all of us, no one is winning. We are all scared, we are all surviving, and yes, dying as well. But have a little faith, instead of mocking, fighting, blaming others, pointing fingers, let's just help one another. One step at the time. 


We are in a dire need of love and understanding. Focus on helping each other, focus on compassion. Always focus on the positive energies.


"That is why, with compassion, understanding is possible. When you look at aggressive people, you see that they suffer. They have violence in them, they have anger in them. They don't have much joy and compassion; that is why they suffer." - Thich Nhat Hanh

 

Let's stretch a bit more, let's hope the vaccination program goes well and everyone is protected soon. Let's remember that this as a test for us, in reminding us about what's important in life. I wish people will notice that we can't fight hate with hate. What you project to people, is who you truly are inside, so remember every time you mock, disrespect, or hate people, all those come from you.


Note : Yesterday it marked the highest Covid19 cases yet (+11k) and at the same time, we reached the second highest daily vaccination rate in the world, over 300,000 jabs administered daily. If you noticed, no one is looking at the positive side, everyone is only focusing on the negative part of the story. 


I just wish people can see both sides, I wish people can see that the government is also trying so hard and I can feel the exasperation when everything trending is all about the negative story. I don't agree with everything that is happening right now, but I try not to focus on poisoning my mind with the negativity during time like this. 


Despite all this, I just wish people can see the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

I wish you well, take care. 

Books : About My Choice of Consumption and the Current Crisis


Before this, I love reading non-fiction books on heavy issues that talk about moral and ethics, sometimes books from thriller or even horror as well. Books that make us question our choice if we are in that situation, or books that make me jumpy or scared.


But lately, I can't even read the simple ones. I keep on reading positive-motivational light reading, and it is an interesting change. When I read or listen to certain triggering topics, my heart would feel heavier, I will feel a bit stressed out, jittery, and anxious. 


It is likely that this is due to the pandemic, the stress and anxiety that I've been accumulating since early 2020. We are in such a unique situation where we are living in a crisis for a healthy life, for a financial stability, for our own sanity, and those things make me so sensitive towards 'any' triggers. So even reading fiction can now trigger my thoughts. 


So I had to 'pick' my choice of books.


Before this, I was living in a bubble of comfort. I'm a very sensitive person and my safest way to live a different life is by reading books. I'm always interested to 'know' on the surface level, about how other people are living their hard lives. By far, I've been avoiding hard topics that can trigger my emotions  due to my incompetency to manage it. I'm always curious about how to manage these whirlpool of emotions without having it affect my life.  


How to learn about the genocide, the war, the children/women trafficking, the global-warming, the effect of our unhealthy consumption, the diseases, the cruelty, the unfairness, etc without having to be sucked in the black hole ?  Without having to fall into endless anxiety and depression ? How do we feel the empathy towards the world without spiralling ? 

I don't understand how people can do that.


For me, it's either 'you feel' or 'you close your eyes'. I don't have the solution to feel about a topic and not be wholly affected by it. I do feel too much at times and it gives be anxiety and because we are at this moment in a crisis, my mind wouldn't tolerate any triggers at all without crumbling to pieces. 


For the past year, I've been reading a lot of books on anxiety and coping with over-thinking. It all mentioned about being mindful, meditation, and deep breathing. Yes, all these are very helpful during hard times, but no one is telling me how to manage these emotions when I 'choose' to feel. Yes, I feel too much but I don't want to close my eyes to the world forever. 


I have this quotation in my journal, that reminds me :

146. How can there be laughter, how can there be pleasure, when the whole world is burning ? When you are in deep darkness, will you not ask for a lamp? - The Dhammapada

Since then, this has always been a reminder for me that the darkness is here in this world, but we can't give up on hope. I think it's okay to find solace in positive messages and reminders for now, at least until the pandemic ended and I can find calmness in my mind back again. 


Note : Today is the day I'm taking my first dose of vaccine and I've been having these thoughts at 5 am when I woke up, so I decided to type this down. I hope for the best, and please wish me well ♥ 

Books : About Books I Read in the First Half of 2021 & Existential Crisis

@elifrancis


Lately I've been reading a lot of books that is in the same group. In more than 25 books that I've read in the past 6 months, here are the collected books according to their category :


Soul searching / Journal / Self-reflection :

  • The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho - I still don't quite like his style of writing in this book. This book is supposedly a book about his pilgrimage, but I just feel like it is a bit staged. If it is a self-discovery journal, I think he is supposed to write like writing a journal, but when we wrote it like he was telling a story, it is just feel like it is a bit exaggerated and fake because normal life is not like this. He wrote it like how people want to read a good story and I just feel like he should have just write a "fiction based on his pilgrimage journey", instead of 'his recollection of his journey".
  • Journal of a Solitude by May Sarton - This is a solitude journal that I've enjoyed while I was cooking (I took several days to finish listening to the audio book). This is a good journal about self-discovery, the messiness of how our mind works, the life of an introvert. I can connect with her thoughts and writings, because I'm like her most of the time. 
  • Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh - It is simple book, a practice into mindfulness. I listen to him when I feel jittery. 
  • The Dhammapada - This is a collection of the saying of Buddha in short verse form. 
  • The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran - I've read this 2-3 times, and still, I'm lost. Ha ha ha. 
  • You, A Bike & A Road by Eleanor Davis - It's a novel graphic based on Eleanor's biking journey. I've reread it several times, and I still enjoy reading her journey. She showed her vulnerability, it makes her journey more relatable. 
  • The Book of Manuals by Paulo Coelho - Another book that I've reread, but still can't quite like. I don't know, I just maybe don't like him as a person and I can't get over that judgement after reading his biography several years back. 
  • The Art of Living by Thich Nhat Hanh - Same as his other book, I listen to him when I feel jittery. 
Self-help / Motivational / About Life / Parenting :

  • Achtung Baby by Sara Zaske
  • How to be Fine by Jolenta Greenberg
  • The Rural Diaries by Hilarie Burton Morgan
  • How to be Happy by Eleanor Davis
  • Everything is Fucked - A Book About Hope by Mark Mason
  • The Upside of Being Down by Jen Gotch
  • Hoe to Stay Sane by Phililla Perry
  • Ikigai by Marie Xue
  • Your Sacred Self by Wayne W Dyer
  • How to be The Parent You Always Wanted to Be by Adele Faber
  • Heart Talk by Cleo Wade
  • It's Okay to Laugh by McInerny Purmot

Fictional:

  • Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
  • Two Stories by Sally Rooney
  • Normal People by Sally Rooney
I've always love to listen to self-help/motivational books. A lot of people feel like these books are a bit preachy. But for me, I've always needed the reminder especially since I've become more anxious about everything. Listening to their soothing reminders help me a lot on daily basis. You can try listening to Thich Nhat Hanh while you are jittery and you'll know what I mean. 

These books are more direct in telling us something, you don't really have to use your imagination. It's like being in a conversation with someone that cares or try to care. You can either listen and accept or just reject them, it is as simple as that. 

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When I'm feeling okay, I prefer fictional stories with deeper messages about life in general. Finding books in this category is a bit hard. I haven't found good books in this category yet this year. Example of books :
  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • 1984 by George Orwell
  • Siddhartha by Herman Hesse
  • The Little Prince by Antoine Exupery
Honestly I think I'm having an existential crisis. I'm questioning everything in my life, the meaning of it all, whether all of these are just a futile effort for us to be the best version of ourselves, whether I'm having enough time, whether I'll be lost forever. That's why I started having anxiety. I know I've been 'searching' for almost all my adult life, but the difference between then and now is, I have such an abundance of time to focus on this crisis because now I'm not working and I'm only focusing on taking care of Sofi, so I don't really have other distraction. 

In managing my anxiety and the 'searching' process, these are the things that help me :
  • You can try to listen to Russell Brand's youtube channel to watch his interviews with great people that talk about this. Not all of his content is 'good' because he talks about so many issues, but you can choose to be open-minded and pick yourselves the topics that you are interested in just to hear other people's thought on it. 
  • I try to meditate at least 10 minutes after my prayer, deep breathing and calm my thoughts down.
  • I listen to soothing reminders for example from Thich Nhat Hanh (from Scribd) or Therapy in a Nutshell  (on Youtube)
  • I don't take caffeine anymore, limit my sugar intake and anything that will upset my stomach (like dairy foods because I'm lactose intolerance)
  • I try to walk at least 20 minutes per day / I do yoga stretches for 30 minutes / or HIIT training for 15 mins
  • I try to sleep in by 11 pm, I don't do all-nighter. My anxiety gets really bad if I sleep poorly.
  • I read before sleep and I put on my oil diffuser with chamomile and lavender, to wind down. I turn off my phone's wifi at night as well. 
  • I read a lot nowadays. 
Reading gives me a sense of purpose. I can't wait for libraries to open and I want to borrow a lot of classics because these books usually offers the best philosophical fictions, plus, I don't want to collect books anymore. Except for books that I'm going to reread. 


I hope you've been reading too.