What I learned from fracturing my back!!

In 2008 I had a ski accident where I landed on a frozen mogul at high speed. I happen to also have a scoliosis. The force went up the spine and compressed a vertebrae at a place where the natural curve changes directions, T12. It is a more vulnerable segment due to it’s position and it buckled under force. I soon realized I felt too vulnerable and tender for my typical adjustment. My muscles were guarding to protect the area. My spine was in lockdown and how to reset it?

I learned to sense and listen to my body in a more attuned way out of necessity. What exercises I responded well to changed. Positions I could sustain for any length of time were different. Basically it was like coaxing a scared cat out from hiding to get my muscles to realize they could relax. It took patience, trial and error and trying many styles of soft tissue treatment, many different styles of chiropractic, acupunture, physiotherapy, prolotherapy,  and trauma therapies. It actually took years before I could sit in a chair for more than 1 hour before having to get up and stretch due to a progressive muscle spasm and joint pain. The architecture of my spine was compromised by both the scoliosis and the fracture.

I needed to figure out how to get the best function out of a compromised physical structure that felt permanently altered for the worse. This was invaluable learning for my chiropractic practice. I have direct experience with the body in trauma, and with anatomical limitations. It is possible to find a language/ technique that puts the nervous system into safety, the muscles relax and the joints are able to move. The many approaches I tried along the way inform how I work with the spine and my respect for the intelligence of our bodies. I can now sit for multiple hours( though I try not to), I have found exercises that lengthen my spine vs compress it, make me feel better immediately after and not sore for days because I’m training wrong for my body. I realize many people have more versatility in how they exercise and that’s great. We need to train for our individual goals with our limitations as our allies.

 

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