It's Time To Reprioritize My Health
15 years ago, as I was driving in to the gym early one morning before work, I hit black ice on 91. A week later, I was lying in the ICU at Dartmouth with a ventilator. I don’t remember any of it. They had cut my chest and stomach open to stop the internal bleeding and I had broken pretty much everything from my waist down.
I started at Cioffredi’s with Kate Leiser, PT and had to learn to walk again. Coming from being in such good shape, that was the hardest thing. Some are more hard-wired for patience than others, but I certainly was not. As I recovered from my acute injuries, I transitioned into the reality of living with chronic pain. My brain just doesn’t work as quickly as it used to and if I sit, stand, or do anything for a lengthy period of time, things flare up and I feel it for weeks. It’s honestly exhausting to have to constantly remind myself to walk that tightrope of doing enough, but not too much.
Becky’s Advice? Talk to people.
It can be so isolating, like you’re on an island. You don’t realize that there are so many others that are going through similar things until you start opening yourself to others. Whether it’s here, a therapist, or just talking and realizing that there’s others out there that are in the same boat... it’s huge.
Even though I have all these debilitating things going on, insurance cuts you off at some point. I needed to be doing something though; working out at home wasn’t enough and I found that boot-camp style exercise classes were way too much. So I decided to reprioritize my health and started doing Private Pay Physical Therapy with Kate Leiser, PT. And that’s been a real game-changer.
It’s a more holistic approach. Coming down once a week not only keeps me on track physically, but we also talk about sleep, we talk about food, we talk about everything. And it’s all focused on what I need, from brain to foot, not what the insurance is telling her she needs to do with me. It’s been a huge help to go beyond just the injury perspective to work on managing the whole picture. My gains have even allowed me to do some light jogging periodically, something I told myself I would never be able to again. This has been a huge mental win for me. Just knowing I CAN do it even if it’s not at all what I was doing before my accident is so rewarding.
GET OUT OF THE BOX
“Our lives don’t always fit into the box or model that works for others. It became clear that the typical insurance model of care wasn’t helping Becky engage in her family and daily activities the way she wanted. Now we work on our own timeline. We set goals together that really support her goals, not the goals that the insurance company feels are important.” -Kate Leiser, PT
Now my goal is to just feel good. See, I still have pain all the time. And I’m able to kind of manage that. But when it goes above the norm, when things are on fire, it affects my whole life. It affects everybody in my house. So I try not to let it get to that. I prioritize working on my pain management so I can be present with my kids. Working with Kate has kept me from having major set backs which I was experiencing quite regularly before. And ultimately, that’s why I come here. Because that’s what’s important.
Becky’s Case Study
When we saw great benefits from using the NEUBIE, which has a strong effect on the autonomic nervous system, we started to investigate utilization of Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measurements in the clinic to get a better sense of her nervous system’s function as it relates to the stressors of daily life. As it turns out with Becky, as with many people with chronic pain, her Autonomic Nervous System was running in a state of high sympathetic drive, the equivalent of spending way too much time in “flight or fight” mode. We integrated strategies to decrease the drive, which included evaluating her eating and sleeping habits, modifying our approach to exercise and activities, managing emotional and psychological stress, and supplementing with specific NEUBIE-based treatments. Now Becky can monitor trends in her daily HRV in order to help her prioritize activities for the day, and focus on recovery if she’s trending in the wrong direction. This has been a huge part of her success, ultimately enabling her to increase strength, manage pain levels, and (most importantly) better participate in and enjoy time with her family.
-Kate Leiser, PT
The NEUBIE for Chronic Pain
Becky monitors how well her body is managing stress with HRV measurements and uses the NEUBIE Master Reset (photo) in response to help calm her system down. “I don’t think a lot of people know that you can have that information and then be able to act on it. I can get an objective reading on what my body is actually telling me and it’s allowed me to reach more of my goals.”
This article first appeared in the January 2023 Cioffredi & Associates Newsletter. Read more here:
Keeping Hope Alive -Billy Cioffredi, PT