Real Food + Back Pain Freedom

I’ve had back issues since rowing in college so needless to say, I’m no stranger to lower back pain.  I’ve had countless MRI’s, physical therapists, chiropractors, and massage therapists in my life, all accompanied by chronic pain.  Only about half of this has to do with my body, and the other half is undoubtedly linked to my occasional inability to listen to my body and take a day off before the pain begins.

Two weeks ago I took on an over zealous workout schedule while we were in Charlotte, and when paired with the 5 hour car ride home, my back went on strike.  On Wednesday I did Dar’s bootcamp in an already borderline state of incapacitation, and by Thursday morning all bets were off.  I could not sit, I could not stand, and the idea of bending to any degree made me feel instantly sick.

By 9am I already had appointments set up to receive treatment, and by 9pm Friday I was passed out in a somewhat relieved state.  I ended up at Atlas Chiropractic on Thursday afternoon, a very similar facility to the Maximized Living practice that I had become familiar with when I was living in Charlotte.  (If you ever get a chance, ask Dar about Dr. Matt.  She’s obsessed.)

When I got in for my first appointment they took my scans to figure out exactly what was causing my pain, which sections needed adjustments, and which points were at the most risk of further injury.

This scan shows the most impacted areas.  Green is the lowest, blue is middle, and red is severe.

This first scan shows the areas out of alignment, with pressure and damage, causing pain.

val back: shot 1

The one below shows the exact points and degrees of pain.

val back pain

What was amazing to me was that this was the first time that an assessment correctly diagnosed a portion of my back pain as being the result of a previous neck injury, and accumulated scar tissue from all of my back injuries.

What makes this whole story relevant was what happened after Dr. Hawk walked me through my charts and was talking me through my plan. He asked me what I was eating.

What am I eating? ‘Well, I said, currently I’m only eating things that were grown in the ground, or fed with grass.’  I walked him through the 28 to Life challenge – no grains, no dairy, no legumes, no sugar, no ANYTHING that came from a box or contains any ingredients that I can’t pronounce. Oh, and lots of local grass fed meat.

As soon as it came out of my mouth, Dr. Hawk smiled and said ‘Great! That’s exactly what you should be doing.’  It’s a tough concept to really grasp that what you put into your body, and exactly where it came from, will impact not only how your body is fueled and how your energy is generated, but how you recover.  After he did some hard work on my back, Dr. Hawk asked me to make sure that I added brussel sprouts to the menu that night to help calm the inflammation as we work to rid my back of all the bad scar tissue that has accumulated over the years, and regenerate the good healthy tissue.

As we move forward with meal planning, we’ll add in posts about these amazing restorative foods and supplements (like omega-3/fish oil) and how to incorporate them into your life to keep a healthier functioning body.

As for me I’m on a 4 month plan to recover from my nearly blown back, combining my real food and back pain freedom campaigns into one lifestyle of strong and healthy living.


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