Author Archives: Sallie

Negotiating with My Child - The Why and How

Negotiating With My Child – The Why and How

Negotiating with My Child - The Why and How

When Caroline was little, redirection worked amazingly well. However, when we reached the point when distractions and redirections no longer worked, I realized I needed to figure out a way to come to some kind of agreement with this child who had an iron will and a mind of her own (from the womb). Thus began the negotiation phase of our relationship.

Pinterest is full of pins that link to articles about why people don’t negotiate with their children. Some people call a child’s persistence nagging. I never thought of persistence as nagging. I chose to think of it is a trait that is going to serve my child incredibly well as an adult if I can find a way to channel all that focus and energy in a positive direction (and survive the process)!

Some people will say that they don’t “negotiate with terrorists.” Well, guess what? I don’t either because my child is not a terrorist. If you have allowed your child to develop into a terrorist, you have far greater problems than negotiating with them.

I do believe negotiating is an important part of a parent-child relationship. Here are three reasons why I negotiate with my child.

Reason 1: My Child Is an Individual

My child is an individual and I do not rule the world, not even my child’s. Unlike some people who teach that a child’s world revolves around them, I don’t. If I want my child’s world to revolve around anyone, it is Jesus. And I am not Jesus.

I don’t rule her world or try to strip her of the individuality God gave her. I am guiding her on a journey to maturity, one day at a time. (Or, in the case of toddlers, one minute at a time!)

She is an individual with her own complex make-up of needs, desires, fears and gifts. My responsibility as her parent is to figure out the best ways to steward those gifts and help her understand her unique wiring until she can take over that stewardship on her own.

Reason 2: Negotiating Is an Important Life Skill

Learning how to negotiate is an incredibly important life skill. What better place to learn it than in the safety of the home with people who love and support you?

And when is the better time to start laying the groundwork for how negotiating takes place in your home? When your child is five or when your child is fifteen? Caroline is currently nine and a half. By the time we start hitting the higher stakes negotiating topics, we’ll already have (hopefully) established a solid foundation for give and take in our home.

Which leads to the third reason.

Reason 3: I Do Not Want to Raise a Compliant Adult

If you raise your child to be compliant all the time and constantly yield to you, how do you expect her to be a strong adult who is able to take care of herself once she leaves your care? Parents who constantly demand that their children obey them immediately are doing their children no favors, especially as their children get older. Instead, they are setting them up for a catastrophic adulthood. (Emotionally fragile children of helicopter parents, anyone?)

How will they make decisions for themselves when no one is there to tell them what to do? Or, worse, what happens when they end up in a marriage or job where someone is more than happy to tell them what to do all of the time – even when it is wrong, abusive or evil?

If I want my daughter to be a strong adult, it starts when she is tiny. It is important to me that my daughter have the the ability to stand up for what she believes. I want her to call out evil when she sees it. I do not want to raise a compliant adult. In my mind, that starts with teaching her how to negotiate with us in our home.

So what are some of the guiding principles in our negotiating?

Establish Boundaries, Routine and Rules

The easiest way to win a negotiation is to not have it in the first place. We’ve established certain routines, rules and boundaries in our home that eliminate the need for negotiations in those areas. We rarely negotiate to go outside those except on special occasions.

For example, no sweets before you finish your lunch and no sweets after 3:00 (because it disrupts sleep). I can only imagine how many treat negotiations we’ve avoided simply because we have this rule in place.

Think Win-Win

One of the overriding principles in our parenting is thinking win-win. How do I help my child express her desires and also influence her choices with the wisdom I have that comes from experience?  That’s where win-win comes in.

Recognize Her Feelings and Wishes

I’m amazed at how many parents think it is optional to recognize their child’s legitimate feelings and wishes. Pretending they don’t exist or ignoring them will not make those feelings go away. It only makes the situation worse. Your child learns she cannot trust you to take her feelings seriously.

We try to affirm that she is feeling a certain way. We try to understand why she feels that way. We acknowledge that her feelings are real and there are reasons behind them. At the same time, we try to help her understand more about how her feelings fit into the big picture of her life, our family and the world.

Sometimes what she wants isn’t possible and we try to explain why in the context of acknowledging her strong desire or emotions. Sometimes we reach a compromise. Sometimes we say yes. But we always try to leave her with the knowledge that she was heard and her perspective was considered.

Avoid Torpedoing Negotiations Preemptively

The first mistake of negotiating is answering the child’s request too quickly with a negative answer. If you immediately say no, you put yourself in a bad situation if you change your mind again and again. Then you aren’t negotiating. You just look like a weak pushover who gives into her child all the time.

You are far better off stopping for five seconds and thinking before saying anything. Even getting in the habit of saying, ‘Hang on a second. Let me think about that” before discussing it can help so much.

Promote Communication Now For Rewards Later

A couple of weeks ago Caroline made a comment after a bedtime heart to heart talk. She said, “I’m so glad I have a mother who understands me.” I could have burst into tears. She has no idea how much prayer and effort went into her life and mine for me to hear that one brief statement. Years and years worth because she is a complex child. It was all worth it in that one moment.

If you shut down your child when she is four and when she is eight and when she is ten, why in the world would you expect her to come to you when she is thirteen, sixteen or eighteen? If anything, you have taught her that if she really wants something there is no point in talking to you and her best option is to sneak behind your back.

I won’t tell you that everything is going to be perfect as my daughter continues to grow up. I have no way of knowing that. I only know that today I have done what I could to make sure tomorrow is good. And tomorrow I will do what I can to make sure the next day is good. And, by God’s grace, we’ll get there one day at a time.

Negotiating all the way.

Getting Started with Geocaching

Getting Started with Geocaching

Getting Started with Geocaching

Geocaching is the intersection of old-fashioned treasure hunting and space age technology. Using a special geocaching app on your smart phone, you seek out caches hidden literally all over the world. The caches range in size from huge to micro. Getting started with geocaching is super easy!

geocaching smart phone appThe geocaching program shows you which way to walk. When you get within twenty feet or so of the cache, the programs dings to let you know you are close. Then you have to figure it out from there!

geocaching hunting in woods

Caroline and David started geocaching as soon as the snow melted this spring and they love it! Fortunately they didn’t have to travel far to get started. There were geocaches right in our own neighborhood and a zillion of them all around our area. They could probably geocache regularly all spring, summer and fall this year without needing to go more than a twenty mile radius from our home.

geocaching first findWhen you find a cache, you can take something from it and leave something for someone else.

geocaching large container contentsSometimes the caches are smaller so you either leave something very tiny or just sign the log.

geocaching capsule in apple tree

This one was hidden in an old apple orchard not far from our home.

geocaching small capsule from apple tree

Sometimes they can be hidden under bridges or boardwalks.

geocaching looking under boardwalkSuch as this one…

geocaching under the boardwalkTa da!

geocaching under bridgeAnd sometimes they are hidden in very unexpected places…

geocaching found the benchAnd are very tiny…

geocaching tiny casule under bench

One of the benefits of geocaching is it gets kids outside, even kids who aren’t naturally drawn to the great outdoors. It also makes it possible to discover all kinds of new things such as this spring David and Caroline discovered not that far from our home.

geocaching natural springI highly recommend checking out geocaching, especially if you have kids who need to get outside a bit more. It’s a fun way to get a lot of fresh air and exercise without even realizing it!

geocaching in the woods

Realistic Expections in the Age of Pinterest 2

Realistic Expectations in the Age of Pinterest

Realistic Expections in the Age of Pinterest 2

I feel as though I straddle two different worlds. My childhood was during the 1970s so I remember life before the technology we think of as essential today: computers, answering machines, VCRs, video games, calculators, cordless phones, cell phones, remote control TVs, etc. I can put myself in that time and know what it was like to need change for a pay phone, have no way of getting in contact with someone quickly, and watching only three television channels. I learned to use a computer my last year of college. I didn’t own a cell phone until I was in my thirties.

But now I make a living via technology along with the husband I met via technology. I’m the older mom of daughter who is currently in elementary school. She truly has no concept of a world without technology. I am surrounded by parenting peers who grew up with technology. It is a natural part of their lives. It’s like another world.

For all the benefits of technology (such as sharing life with those who read here), I think it is also incredibly harmful to many women today. I think I can see it more clearly because I know life without it. The expectations we put on ourselves due to the constant stream of unrealistic ideas we see paraded before us… It’s craziness. I think this goes for both moms and teachers.

Childhood Crafts from the 1970s

The crafts below are from my 1970s childhood. They are all things I made in public elementary school (except the square candle which my younger brother made). My mom had saved these in a box and passed them along to me.

Elementary School Crafts From 1970s Childhood

What’s striking to me is that I remember making all of them. It’s also striking that my mom saved them all these years. I remember them and she saved them because we didn’t do crafts all the time. It was a special occurrence to do something like this. I can think of a couple of other crafts I did that aren’t in the picture, but that’s it.

Milk Box Candle Craft 2 - Elementary School Crafts From 1970s ChildhoodThis is a candle made in a milk box from a school lunch. The teacher probably collected the milk cartons from the kids who bought their lunch or bought their milk. This candle, decorated with glitter to make it special, was a gift for my mom.

Kiln Glazed Candlestick - Elementary School Crafts From 1970s ChildhoodThis is a candle holder I made in art class that was fired in a kiln. (Fancy!)  Those are the beeswax candles we dipped. I believe this was a Christmas gift for my parents.

Homemade Stamped Tissue Wrapped Paper - Elementary School Crafts From 1970s Childhood

Christmas tissue wrapping paper made at school.

Ice Cream Cone Candle Craft - Elementary School Crafts From 1970s Childhood

A candle made in a ice cream cone. With more pink glitter. The glitter was a BIG DEAL, FOLKS! That was a special project to add GLITTER. We did not have endless crafting supplies at our disposal. There was no Hobby Lobby or Michael’s or Amazon. Glitter was special and carefully hoarded for very. special. projects. I don’t think I personally owned any glitter until I was in a sorority in college. This was also a gift.

(Do you notice a pattern that crafts were for gifts? They weren’t for just because the kids need something to do.)

So why do I share this?

Mommy Guilt and Unrealistic Expectations

In this age of Pinterest, we are constantly bombarded by over-the-top (and often expensive) craft projects. We feel the subtle pressure that we should be doing these things as well. We have moms (and teachers) running around thinking they are epic failures if they don’t have fancy crafts for their kids to do every week. They think every unit needs to have a “culminating project” or it’s a bad unit. Homeschooling moms get the double dose since they are responsible to be not only mom but teacher as well.

It’s truly not necessary.

I wrote a few years ago about how I don’t plan crafts for Caroline. I don’t. Because she is very creative, I do make a lot of materials available to her in a well-stocked craft cabinet. I will buy her craft kits if she requests them, but I have planned almost no crafts for her. I refuse to buy into the mommy guilt and expectations paraded before me all the time.

I’m thankful for the perspective of a non-technological childhood, something that is rapidly becoming lost to history. I’m thankful that it allows me to see beyond the ridiculous expectations and pursue a simpler approach to parenting.

If you are tempted to feel burdened or overwhelmed in this area of your parenting journey, I encourage you to resist as well.

Realistic Expections in the Age of Pinterest 1

 

Chiropractic Care and Brain Fog

Chiropractic Care and Brain Fog

Chiropractic Care and Brain Fog

Over time I realized that physical therapy alone wasn’t going to solve my issues. I got to the point I was so desperate to get well that I was willing to try chiropractic care. I say that because I was highly skeptical of chiropractors. So no one is more surprised than me to be here writing about how essential chiropractic care was to my recovery. (In fact, I was going to need to use a three pronged approach to my problems when I also added in the massage element that I’ve already written about here).

Bad Experience with Chiropractors

When I had previously suffered with a severely herniated disc, I went to a chiropractor seeking some relief while I was waiting for weeks to get in with the specialists. (I was quite literally flat on the floor, blind with pain. That’s not a saying. That really happens.)  I now know that that chiropractor did everything wrong for me. There are so many different ways to approach chiropractic care and what I got the first time around was all wrong for my needs. Needless to say, it didn’t leave me with a positive view of chiropractic care.

That’s why I have to write this post with a big old caveat. There are bad chiropractors out there just like there are bad painters, bad plumbers, bad doctors, and bad teachers. In addition, not every method works well for every person so even the chiropractor your friend loves might not work for you. It took some trial and error.

Chiropractor Who Uses Activator Method

After we moved to Cute Little Town five years ago, I asked around and found someone I was willing to try. The chiropractor did the various tests and exams they do when you start. I was a bit of a mess as you can imagine. He clearly told me this would not be a quick fix and it was not. But I can say that after a couple of years, I am in a maintenance situation and I only need to go in about once every four to six weeks. (Sooner if I do something stupid and put myself out of alignment.)

The difference is I found a chiropractor who uses an activator. It’s a small metal instrument that delivers a very precise adjustment. (If you aren’t familiar with activators, here’s a website with photos and information.) The activator is really the only thing I can tolerate. Some people can’t tolerate the activator. It makes them sick. I can’t tolerate the traditional chiropractic twist you into a pretzel and jerk method. One time I was desperate for an adjustment so I saw my chiropractor’s associate. He did the traditional method on me and I was so ill from it I could hardly get up and thought I was going to puke.

So chiropractic care is about finding the right person for you.

Now, on to the brain fog.

Debilitating Brain Fog

If you are a woman of a certain age, you start to hear about brain fog. I never experienced it until after I had Caroline. I’m not sure if it was the pregnancy or turning forty, but it’s been downhill since then. LOL!

But brain fog is a real issue, especially if you are a homeschooling mom who writes and thinks for a living.

There are lots of things that can contribute to brain fog. It can be diet related. It can be thyroid related. It can be due to dehydration. And, as I discovered by accident, it can be alignment related.

It took me a couple of times before I realized that there were a few alignment issues that would render me basically mentally useless. I couldn’t focus. Even if I wanted to sit down and work, I literally could not. I was restless and incapable of extended focused thought. But after I was aligned, it was like my head cleared and a cloud lifted. It was remarkable.

I asked my chiropractor about it and he explained what it is. It’s something to do with the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. I’m not even going to try to explain it since it is way above my pay grade. All I know is that I’ve experienced the before and after. It’s profound.

ADD/ADHD, Focus Issues and Chiropractic Care

I also asked him if he thought this could have any kind of impact on ADD/ADHD children. He told me has has worked with a number of children who were like different kids once they were aligned. I’m not saying and he’s not saying chiropractic care can “cure” ADD/ADHD. But it can be a tool to use in management of the ADD/ADHD.

In addition, if you have a child who struggles with focusing and you can’t come up with any other reason, it might be worth checking out if he/she has alignment issues. If I were a child during one of these episodes, I would be the totally inattentive kid in the classroom who couldn’t answer a question when called on. I’m an adult with a job to do and I can barely force myself to focus when I get like this. How much worse is it for a child who hasn’t learned advanced ways of coping as an adult and never gets any relief? I cannot even imagine what my mental state would be if I had these alignment issues and never took care of them.

So chiropractic care was totally unexpected for me. I’ve learned a lot about my body as a result. I know when I’m out of alignment. It’s very obvious now that I know what it feels like to be aligned. But I walked around for forty plus years with no idea how bad it was. Now that I know what “normal” is supposed to feel like, I make every effort to stay that way.

5 Health Choices That Changed My Life (and I'm not pitching essential oils)

Fluoride and Other Bodily Poisons

Fluoride and Other Bodily Poisons

Fluoride and Other Bodily Poisons

We live in a time of information overload. A significant portion of that information overload tells us exactly what is going to kill us and why. It’s often conflicting information. Coffee will kill you and save your life. Fat will kill you and save your life. Eat more of this and less of that except someone else says exactly the opposite. It’s easy to start doubting everything you hear and read because it must all be hype and hot air. That was how I felt about fluoride until I had a very powerful experience with it.

Fluoride Side Effects

Long story short, I had a less than stellar dental appointment a while back. I know what caused it. I was sucking on throat drops because of my EoE and it definitely did a number on a few of my teeth. My dentist wanted me to use a high fluoride toothpaste and gave me a prescription. I put it off and put it off because I hate trying new things since my body seems to like to react to everything.

I finally started using it. I think I used it about a week or two. I had to brush with it for two minutes and leave it in twice a day (no rinsing). Once had to be at bedtime so it would have extra time to work. Since I didn’t have any immediate reactions to it, I didn’t think much of it.

A few weeks later I became incredibly ill. I could barely get out of bed. I mean I literally could barely get out of bed and I can count on probably both hands the number of times in my entire life I did not get out of bed because I was ill. I had a lengthy list of crazy mostly new- to-me symptoms, but I knew I wasn’t sick. It wasn’t viral or bacterial. It was different. I felt terrible, but knew I wasn’t sick.

Since my diet was pretty limited at that point, I knew it wasn’t a dietary change. And I knew I wasn’t sick.

And then I remembered the fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride and Other Poisons

I started looking online and sure enough. The fluoride was killing me. Okay, I don’t know if it was literally killing me, but wowza.

Could toothpaste with lots of fluoride make me that ill that quickly? Yes, it was in all likelihood impacting my thyroid which was throwing my entire body into chaos.

I stopped using the toothpaste, all of the symptoms went away fairly soon after that, and they’ve never occurred again since.

This experience forever changed my mind about how I view the “harmless” things that go in my body.

When the dentist asked if we wanted Caroline to receive a fluoride treatment, I said absolutely not.

Because of my EoE, over the past couple of years I’ve had to learn to read how my body responds to everything. I’ve kept a food diary at times so I can document reactions to foods. I’ve discovered that both gluten and soy have a negative impact on my body. If I am right that I am reacting to them, they are literally poison to my body.

Most people don’t take the time to figure out what is poisoning them. The process is slow and oftentimes our bodies are so overwhelmed by so many things we don’t even realize it until we remove them and then attempt to add them back in.

There is no one sure answer for everyone. I’m sure some people use that high fluoride toothpaste with no (discernible) issues. But I’ve realized that even though it’s a pain to sort through all the information overload out there, sometimes our health truly does depend on it.


5 Health Choices That Changed My Life (and I'm not pitching essential oils)

Medical Massage versus Wellness Massage

Medical Massage versus Wellness Massage

Medical Massage versus Wellness Massage

Sometimes bad things happen that turn out to be blessings. This was the case when my massage therapist dumped me. I learned a powerful difference between medical massage and wellness massage.

Using Massage for Medical Reasons

I sought out a massage therapist since I had determined that massage was also going to need to be part of my long-term recovery process. (I had never had a massage in my life before this.) I tried a few people in different locations and finally settled on one particular woman. She was doing deep tissue massage on me. Sometimes it worked well and I felt a lot better. Sometimes it left me worse off. I always gave her feedback so I had the best chance of moving forward. (She knew of my long medical history and knew I was doing massage for the medical benefits, not to relax and take a nap.)

Well, at some point I must have offended her because she “suggested” I select another therapist in the office that I might be happier with. (Truly, this came out of the blue for me and very little comes out of the blue for me.) This was after I had been seeing her a couple of times a month for quite some time. Well, if she didn’t want to see me I wasn’t going back to that office so I had to look for something else.

Medical Massage

After doing some research, I decided to see a physical therapist who had left the place where I had my dry needling done to open her own therapy center. She was also offering massage. Since I knew she was a trained physical therapist, I was confident she knew more about the body, trigger points, etc. than the woman I had been previously seeing.

So I saw this new woman for what were basically medical massages.

Oh. my. word.

I’m so thankful my previous therapist dumped me.

The difference was profound. In retrospect, I believe the other therapist was actually aggravating some parts of my situation and making me worse. Since I started with the PT who does medical massage, I am much better off and am able to go only once a month for a massage. There were stretches with the other therapist I was going four times a month just to cope! (Can you say cha-ching?)

There is a difference in the way a medical massage therapist works. She expects you to be part of the process, offering feedback and answering questions while she is working on you. While therapists who do wellness massage might ask a question, their real focus is giving you a relaxing massage. It might sound like a small thing, but the difference is significant.

I thought I had carefully chosen a massage therapist, but discovered even more along the way. Medical massage has made a real difference in my life. If you have been getting regular massage, but it doesn’t seem to be making enough of an impact past a day or two, you might want to investigate medical massage. Your doctor can even refer you if it is medically necessary and you can run it through your HSA or insurance (if covered).

5 Health Choices That Changed My Life (and I'm not pitching essential oils)

Dry Needling for Myofascial Trigger Point Pain

Dry Needling for Myofascial Trigger Point Pain

Dry Needling for Myofascial Trigger Point Pain

Dry needling was the proverbial silver bullet I was seeking. Over time I had made a great deal of progress, but I had plateaued. I would feel better for a bit and then slide back. This was the treatment for my myofascial trigger point issues that made the difference. Although this might be the first time you’ve heard of it, dry needling is being used in increasingly diverse places including the NFL.

What is Dry Needling?

Wikipedia describes dry needling this way:

In the treatment of trigger points for persons with myofascial pain syndrome, dry needling is an invasive procedure in which a filiform needle is inserted into the skin and muscle directly at a myofascial trigger point. A myofascial trigger point consists of multiple contraction knots, which are related to the production and maintenance of the pain cycle. Deep dry needling for treating trigger points was first introduced by Czech physician Karel Lewit in 1979.[17] Lewit had noticed that the success of injections into trigger points in relieving pain was apparently unconnected to the analgesic used.[11]

Proper dry needling of a myofascial trigger point will elicit a local twitch response (LTR), which is an involuntary spinal cord reflex in which the muscle fibers in the taut band of muscle contract. The LTR indicates the proper placement of the needle in a trigger point.

Dry needling is not acupuncture. The principles behind it are different and the use of the needles is different. And as the name says, it is dry. No liquids are injected into the body during dry needling.

Dry needling can be painful. One woman described it as the most painful thing she’s ever loved. For me, some of the needles weren’t painful at all. Some of them required a lot of concentrating and breathing through the pain. You are, after all, putting a needle into a part of your body that is already incredibly irritated and dysfunctional. It does hurt – a lot – sometimes. But the payoff after the recovery period is worth it.

Does Dry Needling Really Work?

Does it really work? I can only share from my own experience. The way my physical therapist described it to me was dry needling can accomplish more in a few minutes than a highly skilled PT can accomplish by hand in twenty minutes. Many of the trigger points are very deep and challenging to manipulate by hand. The needle can reach and work on them much more effectively.

Dry needling is not without its detractors. Some people are highly skeptical. I only know that it worked for me. I had a number of sessions, went back several months later for a few more, and that was it. I still have to get massages, but since completing the dry needling, I’ve never needed the same level of intervention again.

Finding a Dry Needling Practitioner

Physical therapists are most apt to be using dry needling although there are doctors, chiropractors and other health professionals who use the technique. As you can imagine, it takes specialized training so it won’t be available everywhere. However, if you are living with long-term pain that doesn’t seem to respond to traditional treatments, it is definitely worth looking into.

If you would like to see more, here is a video explaining and doing dry needling.



5 Health Choices That Changed My Life (and I'm not pitching essential oils)

5 Health Choices That Changed My Life - Trigger Points Therapy

Trigger Points Therapy

5 Health Choices That Changed My Life - Trigger Points Therapy

Discovering trigger points therapy changed my life probably more than anything else I’m going to write about in my 5 Health Choices series. I say that because it unlocked my understanding of how the body works.

The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook is used more than any books in our house except the Bible and the Calvin and Hobbes anthologies (and some graphic novel series Caroline is currently obsessed with). If we go out of town, it is on the packing list. It’s my go to book. It’s probably saved us thousands of dollars in medical treatment over the years.

Trigger Point Therapy Workbook

What are Trigger Points?

Trigger points are described this way in the book:

Travell and SImons describe a trigger point as simply a small contraction knot in muscle tissue. It often feels like a partly cooked piece of macaroni, or like a pea buried deep in the muscle. A trigger point affects a muscle by keeping it both tight and weak. At the same time, a trigger point maintains a hard contraction on the muscle fibers that it is a part of. In turn, these taut bands of muscle fiber keep constant tension on the muscle’s attachments, often producing symptoms in adjacent joints. The constant tension in the fibers of the trigger point itself restricts circulation in its immediate area. The resulting accumulation of the by-products of metabolism as well as deprivation of the oxygen and nutrients needed for metabolism, can perpetuate trigger points for months or even years unless some intervention occurs. It’s this self-sustaining vicious cycle that needs to be broken.

Although it sounds straightforward, it isn’t. The book explains:

The difficulty in treating trigger points is that they typically send pain to some other site. Most conventional treatment of pain is based on the assumption that the cause of pain will be found at the site of the pain. But trigger points almost always send their pain elsewhere. This referred pain is what has always thrown everybody off, including most doctors and much of the rest of the health-care community. According to Travell and Simons, conventional treatments for pain so often fail because they focus on the pain itself, treating the site of the pain while overlooking and failing to treat the cause, which may be some distance away.

Let me give you an example. You have a ache across your back where your bra strap goes. You feel like you need to crack and stretch your back. Guess what? The trigger point is not in your back. The trigger point is probably in your abdomen. What you are feeling is referred pain. You can get a back message and it won’t take care of the problem.

This is what makes trigger points so fascinating while also driving you a bit nuts in the process.

What is My Problem?

When I was going through my original health issues, I had so many weird symptoms and no one could figure out what was wrong with me. I had tests. I saw multiple doctors. I eventually ended up in the ER via ambulance because I was so sick. Like ERs do, they ran all the tests to tell me I wasn’t having a stroke or a heart attack and then they sent me home.

People, I was desperate to know what was wrong with me. I had a little girl who needed me. I couldn’t even pick her up. It was ruining my life.

After getting back from the ER, I got on my laptop and started searching out my weird combination of symptoms. And there in an obscure health discussion board in some dusty corner of the internet I found the answer. I found my tiny little tribe of people who had the same problems and knew what was wrong with me.

It was my neck.

My neck. One of the few places on my body THAT DIDN’T HURT OR BOTHER ME.

My neck didn’t hurt. But my neck muscles were like concrete, riddled with trigger point problems, and it was sending a virtual tsunami of problems to numerous parts of my body.

Long story short, I ended up in physical therapy and that was the beginning of my journey to understanding trigger points.

Trigger Point Symptoms

Trigger points can cause symptoms that mimic so many other health issues it’s truly mind-boggling.

  • appendicitis
  • migraines
  • angina
  • lightheadedness
  • restless leg syndrome
  • sinus pain
  • chest pain
  • sleep problems
  • tinnitus
  • frozen shoulder
  • eye pain
  • leg cramps
  • menstrual pain
  • gum pain
  • acid reflux
  • TMJ
  • chronic fatigue
  • emphysema
  • sensitive teeth
  • dizziness
  • bladder problems
  • nausea
  • lower back pain
  • tooth pain
  • shoulder pain
  • breast pain
  • arthritis
  • carpal tunnel
  • rapid heartbeat
  • eye twitches

If I were in charge of the world, learning about trigger points would be required as part of a high school education. I can’t even begin to guess how much money this country could save in health care costs if people understood trigger points and were able to self-treat.

How To Treat Trigger Points

I would be willing to guess that almost every person reading this has multiple trigger points in their body right now. Most people probably have a lot of them. Oftentimes trigger points are not painful until you push on them. Then they can be excruciating. You wonder how you walked around with that kind of dysfunction in your body and weren’t even aware it existed. But a few minutes under skilled hands can leave you breathless and in tears because those spots can hurt. A lot.

Obviously I have to say this – I’m not a doctor. Nothing I say here should be taken as medical advice. Don’t do anything health related without consulting your physician first. But I highly recommend looking into trigger points. The best approach is to find a physical therapist who is skilled in trigger points who can evaluate you and teach you how to manage them. It could very well change your life.

Next up will be another step I had to include in order to get the most from my trigger point work.


5 Health Choices That Changed My Life (and I'm not pitching essential oils)