Most of us want to be healthy or know we should be. But what is health and how is it measured? When do we know that we have achieved it and how can we achieve something that we haven’t yet defined? We can’t. My…
For many years, I have been feeling like there is so much more to the body and our experience of pain than muscles, ligaments and bones. For most of my patients, I feel silly treating them musculoskeletally when I know that their pain is just one symptom among many and only a sign of a much bigger problem. Sure, there are musculoskeletal impairments to be addressed and that is what I continue to treat but I feel as though I’m managing their pain, managing a symptom, and never actually addressing the root cause.
I first turned toward pain neuroscience. Knowing that our brain determines our experience of pain, I thought all answers would lie there but once I started asking questions about all the other systems, it became obvious that pain, even if construed by the brain, wasn’t the whole picture and definitely wasn’t the most significant symptom. Gut problems, thyroid issues, sleep disturbances, autoimmune diseases, chronic stress, mood disorders, miserable peri-menopause…all of my patients have at least one, if not all of these. It makes their low back pain seem almost insignificant within the bigger picture.
But I didn’t have the tools to address the big picture. I started to attend functional medicine conferences, read textbooks on sleep and hormones but mostly search for a functional medicine practitioner who was invested in figuring out the true cause of my patients’ symptoms. After more than a year of searching, I decided to become the person I have been looking for. In October of 2019, I enrolled in the Functional Medicine University and aim to attain my certification as a Functional Medicine Practitioner by July 2020. I cannot wait to have the knowledge to get my patients over the plateau of chronic pain and into a life full of wellness and absence of disease. All disease.
Fast forward to September 2020…what a year it has been. The above all remains true, but what I have since learned is the means of delivering what I once called functional medicine, is best done through health coaching rather than tests, labs and supplements.
I made it most of the way through the functional medicine program to find that after every lecture, the speaker would comment on how none of the details mattered if sleep, nutrition and stress management weren’t addressed. This realization paralleled my own experience of pain and gut issues being more influenced by stress than anything else.
I began to dive into pain research with a functional medicine eye to understand all of the factors that go into the status of our nervous system and its connection to our overall well-being and health. I also read up on the psychology of change and what makes it so difficult for each and every one of us.
I started offering health coaching services in June and ran my first group through the Conquering Chronic Pain program in August. I will soon have testimonials to reflect the experiences of my first clients but for now I will say that I am loving being a health coach. It’s easy for professionals like myself to tell patients what to do but there is minimal to no follow-through with whether they actually do their home exercise program. I think this is a major gap in our health care system and this is more apparent to me now than ever.
The success my health coach clients have attained in such a short time period is astonishing. I believe it is through addressing all aspects of health in a way that considers personal life situations, struggles, barriers and goals in addition to patient empowerment, serving as an accountability partner and assisting individuals in discovering their own solutions and best selves.
I am confident that health coaching is the service to get people beyond any plateau, out of any yo-yo cycle, achieve permanent change and reach any goal. If you’re wondering whether health coaching is what you are looking for, book a free 30-min consult below and let’s chat about it.