Getting It Figured Out

Something amazing happened yesterday, and I wanted to share. It’s full of personal stuff, so if you’re offended by basic health issue sharing, you might not want to read further (though there’s no blood or poo or anything, so it should be fairly easy to read).

So I’ve talked about it here on Compass & Quill before, but never thoroughly or in the greatest of detail. I’ve had a ton of different little irritating symptoms for the last four years or so that have just bothered the hell out of me. I’ve looked into why one or two of them were happening, but generally just thought that they were side effects of getting old. I thought it was just how life was going to be, and it’s been pretty sad at times thinking that I’d feel this way for maybe forever. I’ve been experiencing:

  1. Sleeplessness / hard time getting to bed
  2. Extreme sleepiness in the morning / difficulty getting out of bed before 10am
  3. Foggy brain
  4. Inability to concentrate
  5. Poor memory
  6. Inability to lose weight
  7. IBS symptoms (including constipation, indigestion, difficulty processing grains & dairy)
  8. No libido
  9. Anxiety attacks (which have for the most part gone away in the last year or so)
  10. Heart palpitations (also greatly diminished in the last year)
  11. Reoccurring head colds and sinus issues

But I kind of wrote all of this off. Heart palpitations – maybe in my imagination. Anxiety attacks – work is tough. Poor memory – my mum has had the same problem for my whole life, so I figured maybe we just aren’t the best at that. It’s the inability to concentrate and the trouble waking up that have really had me most anxious, as they affect work performance.

There’s also other thing that’s been really bothering me for the last three years now – my lower back pain. I’ve gone to the chiropractor, gotten acupuncture, tried exercise, tried muscle relaxers from the doctor, and have started getting massages and doing yoga (both of which help, but aren’t really entirely fixing me, as I just feel “weak” in that area, like my hips could go out at any time, which has made little sense to me). It was just one more of those things that I thought I’d have to live with, and one of the biggest things that has scared me about the physicality of trying to have a baby one day. If back pain is already impacting my range of motion as a relatively active person today, I can’t even imagine what would happen with an additional 30 to 50 pounds on my frame. And the pain every single day just has a way of wearing you down, making you care less, try less, get exasperated more.

So last week I ran across an article about testing for adrenal fatigue. I had heard of the term before, but didn’t know much about it, so I started reading, and took a quiz to see if it could be a concern. Every single symptom that I’ve been experiencing was listed, but it still sounded silly, like a catchall kind of thing. In fact, adrenal fatigue is not a condition that’s recognized by many modern physicians, but I honestly don’t give a shit, since I’m not interested in taking pills to fix my problems unless it’s absolutely necessary. Luckily, some forward-thinking medical doctors ARE taking note, like Dr. Kenneth Block, and integrative M.D. who gives a great overview of adrenal issues in this video on Huffington Post. I have even read in a few different places that an estimated 80% of the population suffers from adrenal fatigue to some degree. But I did some more research and decided it couldn’t hurt to at least take my vitamins every day and try to eat a little healthier.

Then yesterday I ran across the best news I’ve found yet. It turns out that another symptom of adrenal fatigue that people don’t talk about as often is lower back pain, specifically lower back pain related to pelvic shift, or “twisted hip.” Which is what my chiropractor has told me is wrong with me. It turns out that the ligaments that support the pelvis and keep it in place can be directly affected by adrenal issues, growing weaker and letting the pelvis shift. This causes lasting lower back pain.

It’s like I’m finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m going to get a saliva test done soon to see if this is actually what’s wrong with me, but it doesn’t feel coincidental at all. In the mean time, this is a much better reason to pay attention to diet, exercise and lifestyle than ever before. To think that I could have some serious clarity, energy, and range of motion restored is all that I could hope for, really. Luckily, I’ve been working towards healthy goals for years now, so it’s not going to be a huge shock to my system to eat more organic food, avoid trigger foods, take the right supplements, and get more exercise. It will take a lot more commitment than I’ve had the energy for, but now that I know that, in itself, is a symptom, I can push through and do the right thing. The biggest stumbling blocks are going to be my anxiety & stress levels as a result of family & work relationships, and my unhealthy emotional connection to food. I don’t really talk about the latter bit here, but maybe I will soon. We’ll see.

Here are some links to read if you’d like to find out more about adrenal fatigue:

How Adrenals Affect Muscles, Ligaments & Joints in the Body

Adrenal Fatigue: How I Reversed Melasma

Experience Life Magazine: Fending Of Adrenal Fatigue

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