My boyfriend and I were talking the other day, and he told me something people might want to read about on the blog is what can you do at home to help with healing? He said as people get older, they start to have health issues that come up more frequently. He wants to know some simple things he can do at home to help with healing, and he thought others may want to know that same information. So here are a few things you can try.
Heat or Ice??
Something you may be wondering if you have strained a muscle or a sprained a ligament is should I use heat or ice? I suggest you try both and see which feels best for you. Most people gauge what feels best by how they feel WHILE using the heat or the ice. However, that isn’t what you should pay attention to, focus instead on how you feel AFTER using the heat or ice, even up to an hour afterwards. Often, heat will feel good while it is on, but it is actually increasing your inflammation, and after you take the heat off, it exacerbates your problem.
Typically, I find that ice is better in most situations. I think people turn to heat because it’s more comforting (especially in the freezing MN winter!) but it could be making your problem worse without you even realizing it. Experiment and find what works for you.
Your Daily And Home Habits
Something else you should pay attention to is how you’re treating your body throughout the day and at home. Sometimes I’ll have a patient that’s coming to see me, and I can’t figure out why they’re healing so slow. Then, I’ll hear about what they did over the weekend, for example, and suddenly it won’t be such a mystery to me why they’re healing so slowly.
Things to avoid, to speed up healing time:
- Drinking alcohol makes your immune system less effective and increases inflammation in the body. So just know if you’re consuming alcohol while you’re trying to heal something, you’re prolonging your healing time.
I had an intense cold last week and I was doing a great job of managing it: doing things to help heal, and avoiding things that would prolong healing. Then last weekend, my brother and his fiance were in town and we went to Oktoberfest; I knew if I had some cider, healing from my cold would take longer. I decided to do it anyways, but I knew the consequences. So it’s a choice you have to make.
- Here are some things sugar does in your body:
- Suppresses your immune system
- Upsets your mineral balance
- May contribute to hyperactivity, anxiety, depression, concentration difficulties, crankiness in children
- Can promote increase in LDL (bad cholesterol)
- Can reduce HDL (good cholesterol)
- Contributes to weight gain and obesity
- Speeds up the aging process
- The list goes on and on
- When you eat sugar, not only does it suppress your immune system, it takes your immune system 4-6 hours to recover.
- Here are some things sugar does in your body:
- Sedentary Lifestyle
Many people have a fairly sedentary lifestyle these days, but our bodies were built for movement, so of course they function better with movement. Some of the benefits of movement include: stronger muscles, flexibility and balance, better sleep, decreased inflammation, lower stress levels, better organ health etc. etc. etc. To find out more of the many benefits of exercise and read a few more details about them, check out this list!
Your diet HUGELY affects your healing abilities and your health. What you eat matters! A LOT! So pay attention to what you’re eating! If you’re trying to heal something, eat lots of dark leafy greens, i.e. spinach, kale, chard, broccoli, arugula etc. You can make salads or throw them in the blender to make a juice or a smoothie (just don’t add a bunch of sugar if you’re making a smoothie). Eat lots of these!
This should really be a lifelong habit anyways, so once you heal, keep doing it!
For a great explanation of the acid/alkaline balance, listen to this video of Tony Robbins, he does a great job explaining it. The video quality isn’t very good, but you can just listen to what he’s saying. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6SU6ipUDNY The only information I wouldn’t follow from the video is his green drink, I think there are better green drink options. At my office, I have a product called Dynamic Fruits and Greens that has 20 serving of fruits and vegetables in it and can help to alkalize your body, it comes in several different flavors, espresso flavor is my favorite. I also have a standard process product, SP Green Food that can help to alkalize your body. Feel free to ask me about these products!
*Standard Process and Nutri Dyn are both companies that you are only supposed to get products from your doctor. If you see these products online, it is sourced from people who are selling them illegally. Standard Process has staff whose full time job is to catch the people selling online. Just so you know 😊 The reason for that is you should talk to a doctor to help you find out which supplements are the best for you. They can take into account your health history to make recommendations and can steer you towards the reputable, safe brands.
Back to acid/alkaline balance: Essentially, our bodies are supposed to have a certain pH. However, the vast majority of Americans are WAY too acidic which wreaks all sorts of havoc on your body. Listen to Tony’s talk to hear what the effects are and how you can make your body more Alkaline. One easy way to get started is to drink water with fresh lemon squeezed into it every day. While you may think lemon is acidic, it actually has the effect of making your body more alkaline.
If you have musculoskeletal problems, you should think about getting custom orthotics. I use them in my shoes always, because I have pronated ankles, which means my ankles tip inwards towards the midline when I’m standing or moving. Overtime, as you can imagine, this wears on your joints, and can cause problems all the way up the body. I.e. if my pronated ankles went untreated, it could cause knee problems, and then hip issues, and then back issues etc.
My boyfriend was having lots of ankle issues, which was preventing him from running and climbing like he would like. He was walking with his toes pointing out to some degree instead of straight ahead (very common in men), which was creating strain on his ankle, and he didn’t have good enough foot support. He started to walk with his toes pointing forwards and got custom orthotics for his shoes and now his ankle feels much better! Next step, exercises for his ankles!
My brother’s finance is a nurse and works very long shifts at the hospital, spending many hours on her feet on hard surfaces, she got custom orthotics to help her feet feel better throughout the day.
My brother works at a grain elevator and spends time working inside, but also has worked on trains, and unloading trucks etc. He got customs orthotics to help him during his workday.
If you’re interested in learning more about these, let me know! I use a brand called Foot Levelers at my office. They are molded specifically for your feet. And there are lots of different options to fit your shoes and your lifestyle!
Foot Levelers are expensive, but they last for a SUPER long time. It’s not uncommon to use them for 10 years! You can even get foot levelers shoes or sandals (with your custom orthotic built in!)
I was a gymnast for 10 years, and because of that I had super weak ankles. I sprained each ankle somewhere in the realm of 3-6 times, so my poor ligaments had been through a lot. The more ankle sprains you get, the easier and easier it gets to sprain it again, because those ligaments are weaker and give out more easily. This continued to be an issue for me.
Until I started to teach yoga and go to yoga class. Because I teach yoga and do it for exercise, I typically end up doing yoga 4-5 times per week, sometimes more. I noticed after doing yoga this often, that my ankles have gotten A LOT stronger! I do lots of balancing poses in yoga, and over time my ankle ligaments have strengthened. Cool, huh?
This is something you have to do on a consistent basis to get this benefit (as with most things in life 😉) But it doesn’t need to take tons of time. If you prefer a different kind of exercise, maybe just craft your own routine that will be most beneficial to you and do 10-15 minutes/day.
I know I say this one a lot, but that’s because it makes such a difference! It would be nearly impossible to get all the minerals and vitamins you need from your diet today, unless that was a huge focus of yours and you were also willing to eat organs and make bone broths etc. on a consistent basis.
Due to this fact, it becomes necessary to supplement our diet. Not just short term, but on an ongoing basis. Guys, I take a lot of supplements every day. I know there won’t ever be a time when I’m not taking them, because it helps improve my health on a massive scale. Here’s just an example of what a few of my supplements do for my health: improve my vision, are working to kill off my parasite, help with my PMS symptoms, help with my word recall and memory, a multivitamin that also supports women’s health, improve my immunity, give me essential fatty acids for brain health etc. The list goes on and on!
For supplements, BRANDS REALLY MATTER!! Like a TON! The stuff you can get over the counter is low quality, doesn’t absorb well, may have some chemicals, and may not even include the active ingredient listed on the bottle. I can easily taste the difference. I got a terrible cold once when I was traveling, and I hadn’t brought vitamin C with me (silly), so I had to go to a drugstore to get some. Guys, it tasted so bad. As soon as I got home, I threw it out and took my normal vitamin C instead.
Talk to a health care professional to get a good brand. It can really improve your quality of life. You may be surprised how much they can improve your health!
I have a long-term patient that came in every visit with an extremely tight shoulder, and neck that was causing her pain. I did nutrition testing on her, and she started on a supplement regimen specific to her body. Ever since then, she no longer gets that neck and shoulder pain! She still almost can’t believe it! But it’s gone! Now she just comes in for wellness adjustments, how cool is that?!
That's A Wrap!
I hope this gave you some insights into how you can help to improve your health at home! Mostly, if you just think about your health a little, and pay attention to your habits, you may start to notice why you’re having some health issues. We make choices every day that effect our bodies and our health. What choices will you make?