|Photo by Megan Morgan, Manouche Photography
Do you have a tough time making it to the end of the day without feeling tired and sore? Do you envy your patients because they are in good shape and you’re not? Do you talk about wellness with your patients, but you’re not “well”? When patients tell you about their problems, have you ever thought “You think you have problems, move over on the table and I’ll tell you what real problems are!”? Does the quote “Dr., heal thyself” apply to others but not to you?
Because life is perception, perhaps we need to take a better look at ourselves – and I mean that literally – and determine if we truly are leading the wellness revolution. Are you doing this primarily with your words but not with your actions?
What am I talking about?
Think about this; how are we supposed to lead the wellness revolution if you can’t make it up the stairs to your office without stopping? Are you telling your patients to lose weight, start exercising and eat better but you haven’t done any of those things in years? Have you become under-tall for your weight?
Gandhi once said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If we are to lead our patients we should do this by example. We need to eat well. We need to sleep well. We need to exercise regularly. We need to look well!
My dad once said “Never take financial advice from poor people!” In other words, if you’re telling people about how to live the chiropractic lifestyle, but you look like you live the exact opposite lifestyle, what do you think the patient is thinking?
Now, please don’t shoot the messenger. I’m not telling you to go out and get a tummy tuck or a face lift or spend hundreds of dollars at a tanning salon. I’m just asking you to take a good look at your lifestyle and see if it is congruent with what you are telling your patients. If it is, terrific, keep up the great work. However, if it isn’t, you have some work to do.
This issue is devoted to you and your staff. It is a compilation of the “best of” ideas, advice, exercise, etc., on how to stay well in the office. The tips come from other chiropractors – your colleagues – and other friends who care about you. Please use this information, and share it with your staff and patients. The critical thing to remember here is that you must do something.
Hippocrates, the ancient Greek physician, known as the “father of medicine” once said, “A wise man should consider that health is the greatest of human blessings, and learn how by his own thought to derive benefit from his illnesses.” Lance Armstrong is arguably the best cyclist of all time. Much of his success is attributed to his physique, his training regimen, and his cancer. Yes, his cancer. After facing possible death, he meets every mile, every hill with all the strength he can muster from every last cell. And his will to win is as strong as his will to survive.
Resolve today to dedicate the rest of your life to perfect your health – and like Lance, do it as if your life depends on it.
Because, my friends, it does. •
Dr. Pierre DesLauriers graduated from CMCC in 1987 and has worked as a health care trends expert, specializing in wellness care for 12 years. He has lectured extensively all over North America including two years on the post-graduate faculty of Palmer Chiropractic College in Davenport, Iowa, where he lectured on patient education and health. DesLauriers has been in private practice with his wife, Dr. Kim Greene-DesLauriers for the past 21 years.
Caring For Chiropractors Contest Winners
The following are Canadian Chiropractor’s winning entries for the Caring for Chiropractors contest. Congratulations to all three, and many thanks to all of you who submitted your work, as well!
To view the winning submissions in full, visit the Current Issue section at www.canadianchiropractor.ca.
First Prize – Dr. Sara O’Neill
How I Made Time Work For Me
I’ve been in practice for nine years. I include a number of things in my personal wellness plan so that I can perform at my peak potential. Above all, I get adjusted and get adjusted. Then I meditate and pray, do yoga, exercise in and out of the gym, eat right and take supplements. But the number one strategy in my wellness regime is time management. Since I organized my schedule, and began sticking to it, I now enjoy a clarity of mind and an ability to be present in what I’m doing unlike before.
I’m a solo practitioner and I have a two year old son and a two year old practice. You do the math. In addition to that, my husband commutes about an hour and a half each day, and is gone from early morning to about eight o’clock each night. S,o if it’s going to get done, it’s me who has to do it!
About six months ago, I found that when I was with patients at the clinic, I wanted to be with my son and when I was with my son I wanted to be with patients at the clinic. If I was doing one thing, I couldn’t focus because all the other things that needed doing would intrude and clamor for my attention. I felt as if I was going insane – it became impossible to be truly present in any moment. Every part of my life was suffering.
So I sat down and listed out every activity that I needed to do in a week. Patient adjusting time, new patient time, report times, marketing, planning, staff meeting, time with my son, time with my husband, exercise, laundry, make dinner, paperwork time, workshop time, relaxing having fun time. You get the picture. Then I put everything into a weekly schedule and stuck to it.
The “sticking to it” was the hardest part at first. But then magic started to happen. When playing with my son, if thoughts of work not yet done floated across my brain, I just dismissed them telling myself “That’s scheduled for Thursday at 2pm. I don’t have to worry about it now. I have lots of time.” All of a sudden, I had all the time in the world for everything I wanted to do in my life.
Now, I want to be doing what I’m actually doing. My stress levels have gone down considerably. My effectiveness has gone up and I’m doing more. I’m exercising regularly - I’ve lost some weight. I have more energy. I sleep better. My patients are happier and my patient visits, per week, have actually gone up.
I can’t actually leap tall buildings in a single bound but I am making time work for me.
Second Prize – Dr. Elaine Dembe
After 31 years in private practice in Toronto – and still going strong at 60! – I discovered many years ago that, as practitioners in the health and wellness domain, we need a simple daily practice to stay balanced, energetic and strong – something that allows us to find renewal, fulfillment and harmony so that we can be our personal best. I created an acronym called SELF. Each letter represents what I call the four roots of wellness. The S stands for SPIRIT, the E stands for ENERGY, the L stands for LOVE, the F stands for FITNESS.
The question I ask myself each day is "What have I done for my SELF today? I began to make a list of components under each heading that are meaningful to me and would nurture all aspects of my being. I understand, from the inside out, that small joys can make a huge difference and that even taking one mindful, conscious breath to de-stress would qualify under my SPIRIT list. Each practitioner, and CHA, is encouraged to make their own list. I have also taught this practice to my patients.
Here are examples of what could fall under each heading:
So for me, a day that I would consider to be optimal for my well-being might look like this: I went for a run (fitness), brought a healthy lunch with snacks - almonds – to the office (energy) found an article that I knew would help a patient (love) connected with a girlfriend (love), stopped to listen to birds singing loudly in the morning as I left for the office (spirit) noticed the days getting longer and felt grateful (spirit).
Third Prize – Dr. Robin Armstrong
Burning biceps, an aching mid-back, and numbness into both hands – no, this is not a description of my last patient’s symptoms. This is what I felt years ago after my first week as a locum chiropractor. I went from seeing 12 patients in a good week as an intern, to 12 patients in a good hour as a locum doctor – and my body didn’t know how to handle it.
The reality of our profession, no matter what technique you choose, is that it demands a great deal from our bodies. And if we plan on using that same body outside of the office, then we’d better take care of it. Just as you would advise your patients to take mini-breaks from their computer, you, too, can take mini-breaks from your adjusting table.
I am fortunate to have a second job I love – teaching yoga. Here are a few of my favorite office yoga poses I use to combat the tension that builds from treating patients:
Table Warrior –Standing on one side of your table, extend one leg behind you, toes curled under, lunging into the opposite knee. Tuck your pelvis under, feeling your hip flexors open on the front of your thigh. Use your hand for balance on the table or on a deep inhale raise both arms up overhead, gazing up to where the wall meets the ceiling. Hold for five slow, deep breaths. Switch sides.
Lumbar Roll Chest Opener –Grab your lumbar roll, foam roller, or roll a towel into a cylinder shape. Place it on your table so that when you lie down it will be centered on your thoracic spine and support your head. Lie back and open your palms with arms away from your side. Allow your chest to open, breathing slow, deep breaths. Relax for two to five minutes.
C-Curve with Wrist Opener - Standing with feet hip-width apart, raise your arms overhead, interlacing the fingers and flipping the palms up. Lean over to the right, imagining creating a ‘C’ with your spine. Press down through your left foot and press up through your palms, lengthening your forearms muscles. Breathe five slow, deep breaths. Inhale, moving back to centre, switch your hands so the palms are facing down and create your ‘C’ curve to the left. Press down through your right foot and lengthen the backs of your forearms.
Back Bender – Standing with feet hip-width apart engage your lower abdomen by drawing your belly button in and up. Roll your shoulders back so that you are broad across the clavicular area. Bring your arms behind you, resting your palms on your low back or sacrum, elbows moving towards each other. Begin to lengthen out through the top of the head, creating more space between each vertebrae. Start to tip your sternum up, while keeping the lower abdomen engaged, and the lumbar spine still. Turn your gaze to where the wall meets the ceiling. Breathe five slow, deep breaths.