Special needs

Why I need to improve my physical health

After a painful few weeks Anchel Krishna is forced to take care of a literal pain in her neck.

Anchel

Anchel gets down for some quality time with Syona. Photo: Anchel Krishna

Follow along as Anchel Krishna shares her experiences as mother to Syona, an extraordinary toddler with cerebral palsy.

About a month ago, I reached for something on the couch and felt a tweak in the middle of my back. Since that time, I’ve developed some serious pain in my shoulder and the front of my collarbone area. Last week it got pretty bad, with the pain radiating down my arm, some numbness in my fingers and just a general inability to function properly with my right hand. And I did something that I bet many of you are guilty of doing: I ignored it.

We’ve been busy with family events, back-to-school chaos, work and all the things that contribute to our busy pace of life. And I’m not so great at following up with anything that requires me to visit a doctor or other health care professional. It’s completely hypocritical given the fact that we’re committed to weekly therapy with Syona and she has a roster of more than a dozen health care professionals that are a part of her team.

So with that in mind, during Syona’s weekly physiotherapy last week I was talking to her physiotherapist who works for two clinics in the Greater Toronto Area, one in the east end and another in the west end. Despite her extremely busy schedule she explained that my pain could turn into frozen shoulder, which requires months of rehabilitation and can be even more painful. She also took some time to tape up my shoulder to help deal with the pain, on the condition that I get myself to a physiotherapist as soon as possible. I have to admit I was pretty touched. She really went above and beyond to make sure I was taken care of, and it meant a lot.

So the next morning I woke up and contacted the folks at Foundation Physiotherapy in Toronto. We’re lucky because our friend is a co-owner at the clinic. He also knows some of the unique physical challenges that we deal with as a result of Syona’s cerebral palsy. Though Syona’s condition primarily impacts her body, there are carryover impacts for us as well. We spend a lot of time on the ground and hunched over performing her exercises, with lots of repetitive motions as we stretch her and carry out her home routine. There’s a lot more lifting/carrying of an almost-three-year-old, and constant lifting and moving of heavy equipment. After an assessment he told me that I had a pinched nerve in my neck, which was what was causing all this pain. I’ll need ongoing treatment to help, but the permanent fix is to correct my notoriously poor posture.

He also explained that had I not put off taking care of myself I could have saved myself a lot of the pain over the past few weeks.

My friend Louise, over at BLOOM wrote a post about the importance of setting up a “therapy fund” to take care of your mental health. I think this is a great idea, and I’m going to extend this concept to include my physical health.

I talk a lot about the importance of living the values we want to instill in Syona. Self-care and commitment to wellness is one of them. So it’s about time that I started to walk the talk. My follow-up appointments are booked, and if you see me slouching, remind me to fix my posture!

Do you make sure to take care of yourself? What are your strategies to remind you to make it a priority?