I was in couple of cycling accidents, and then a head-on MVA the winter before the pandemic started. I’ve been busy with treatments, and my time off the bike has been limited due to my left shoulder + upper-back being in pain.
I never experienced what “anxiety” was until my first serious cycling accident in 2017 when I was 30. When accidents happen, they tend to be a spiritual awakening for many. I’ve been exploring my spirituality much longer than that but for me, it was a sign to reevaluate my life, and the people in it. I truly believe everything happens for a reason.
The last 2 years have been a strange yet enlightening journey. It hasn’t been easy but I learned soooo much about my body, and the knowledge, resilience and higher pain tolerance is worth the journey.
I consider myself a pretty strong and resilient person, and I am usually happy most out of the time (thank you, exercise!). If there is one thing I can say I am good it, it’s reframing situations, and seeing the positive in everything. However I do have my bad moments!
When my symptoms were at its peak, I was still showing up everyday (work + fitness + diet) but I would have random breakdowns. When I am stressed, I have a tendency to go-go-GO and I don’t take breaks aka stay productive to avoid dealing with the situation. It worked for a while but I had to learn the hard way what happens if you don’t prioritize self-care. My entire digestive system shutdown, my hormones are all over the place, and nothing was working properly. This was a huge wake up call for me because I’ve had optimal health and digestion in the last decade.
There were a few months where I would be seeing my health practitioners like a basket-case, if I was late or missed an appointment by accident, I would literally breakdown there crying. Fortunately I had a very good team and everyone was sooo kind. I got through this because I KNEW I was going to be okay and I always see stressors as a sign that I need to improve. Having faith and confidence in yourself is extremely important.
I had a relentless focus on progress knowing the solution will manifest itself when it’s time.
What I learned while healing after accident:
- Healing is mostly mental regeneration. It is soooo important to take care of your mental health after any accident. A majority of your healing maybe related to reducing stress and anxiety so prioritize self-care, being with friends, therapy, breathwork, meditation, journaling, sunlight, exercise, and quality sleep.
- Stay positive and optimistic and tell yourself that you ARE going to heal. Countless studies have supported the importance of staying positive and a mind-body connection when it comes to healing and wellness. Not one day has passed by that the thought of not being able to heal has crossed my mind.
- DON’T PLAY VICTIM!!! Victim mentality is a pattern you never want to get stuck in— being in a loop of feeling bad for yourself, negative self-talk, blaming, making excuses, thinking you will never heal– because your brain is listening to anything you say, and if you focus on the negative, you WILL manifest it to reality. It’s okay to feel frustrated in the beginning but the faster you switch your mindset, the less you will suffer.
- Fear is normal and FEAR IS YOUR BFF! The fear is there to force you to face it, and learn from so you can level up. Overcoming the fear of getting on a bike again, or driving again is a part of healing. Don’t let it hold you back but use it to your advantage!
- Even if it seems like you’ve physically recovered, trauma from an accident can linger and be more severe than you think. From my experience, your body truly keeps score, and all your experiences are stored in your cells. Sometimes my symptoms would come up of nowhere (after thinking I was healed) just by re-entering a place that brought back negative memories. Hence the importance of inner-work.
- It doesn’t matter how big or small your accident was. PTSD is real and even though it may show up later, it needs to be addressed.
- Look at your body as a whole when it comes to healing because it is an intricately connected system. Conventional medicine definitely has a place in society but it must be paired with holistic healing that involves your emotional / spiritual / energetic / moving body all as one.
- Implement different modalities of healing, lifestyle changes, and try all treatments available to you. There is no one size fits all solution, and not one miracle treatment.
- Choose your health practitioners carefully. Don’t be afraid to try different ones because everyone has different methods.
- A part of healing is asking the right questions. As you learn more about your body and injury over time, you feel what it needs at the moment. You should let your practitioner know, allow them to do their own assessment, and then work together.
- Your healing journey maybe slow and frustrating depending on the severity of your accident. Sometimes it seems like you take two steps forward and one step back but never give up! As with anything, consistency and momentum is the key!
- Come to terms with the fact that sometimes healing maybe a long journey. If you are mentally prepared, you will get over the walls and blocks much easier.
- Different stages of healing may require different forms of assistance. It may take a lot of time going to all these treatments and prioritizing what you need will help. I had to heal emotionally first so I gravitated towards friends, therapists, meditation, etc. When I achieved that and my body was ready for physical healing, I amped up my treatment sessions. You may bounce back and forth between treatments but it’s all a part of the process.
- Get the most out of all your treatments. All these appointments disrupt my day so I always make sure I made the most out of it. I’m not afraid to ask questions because I want to learn more about my body + healing, and my amazing health practitioners are always helpful. Hence the importance of building a relationship with all of them.
- Explore any possible emotional trauma. If you don’t heal from the emotional trauma that came from your accident, it may start to affect other systems in your body.
For example, the stress from the accident, pandemic, and starting a couple businesses at the same time caused my entire digestive system to shut down and I was losing vision in my right eye. I suffered from chronic pain + bloating from ANYTHING I ate but later, my TCM’s diagnosis was that my back was sooo tight from the tension– which was most likely from the accident. I also tend to hold a lot of stress in that area. Of course, diet + stress played a role as well. I have seen significant improvement with my digestive health with acupuncture and supplements. If your back is tight, you can imagine it restricting your stomach and organs from producing enough stomach acid and enzymes to digest your food properly. None of my western doctors even thought of that.
- Increase fish oil intake if you suffered from a concussion. Omega-3 fatty acids from supplements, wild fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, etc. are shown to enhance long-term tissue restoration and cognitive recovery. Note: not all fish oil supplements are equal.
- Stay confident. Confidence and having relentless faith in yourself is the foundation to healing.
- Actually tell yourself that it WILL get better. Everything has a weird way of working out— you just have to stay positive and stay committed.
Having the best health care professionals is important in your healing journey.
It maybe difficult navigating the system and you may have to go through a few different ones but don’t give up! It’s almost like dating— never settle, as I like to say! 🙃
How to Choose the Right Health Practitioners:
- Not all health practitioners are equal! There are professionals who are far better than others– you just have to find one that you like the best.
- Ask for recommendations from your friends and family. However who worked for them may not work for you because you have may have different injuries.
- If your health practitioners doesn’t feel right, keep on searching. You don’t have to stick with the first person you see.
- Find a good chiropractor. People often complain about chiropractors because sometimes they are greedy and you are literally in their office for 30 seconds but trust me, there ARE good ones out there.
- It’s good to get different opinions. Don’t feel like this search is a waste of time because you can often gather good insights from all of them.
- You should feel comfortable enough to ask all the questions you want. The quality of your life is based on the quality of the questions you ask. You can learn a lot if you have a good practitioner because of their clinical experience.
- They should encourage you to consider different types of treatments, not just their specialty.
- I personally like to choose practitioners whose energy matches mine. I feel comfortable around them and my sessions are always enlightening.
- Choose someone open-minded. Most importantly, I like to choose practitioners who are half conventional + half woo-hoo (holistic)! From my experience, holistic practitioners are more caring… and we have more interesting conversations! Since I spend so much time in treatment, I make sure I make the most out of it! If they use energy healing and do biofeedback, we are already best friends. 😉
Treatments to Consider for Healing:
Your body is a complex system and you must implement multiple modalities of healing.
- Sacrocraneal Massage
- RMT (Massage)
- Natural supplements (esp those to reduce stress)
Acupuncture has been a game changer for me in healing my mind + body + soul & I am obsessed!
Many insurance companies have finally realized the benefits of acupuncture and the effects of energy healing, and if your coverage doesn’t, you should try to petition them.
My acupuncturist is Tracy Chang at the Sinclair Wellness Center (downtown Vancouver), is also a licensed Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioner, which I think is important if you want to consider acupuncture. Anytime I’m about to do something bad such as eat cold/damp foods, I ask myself: what would Tracy do (WWTD)? I think of Tracy as my mom and I never want to disappoint her! As with all your practitioners, you should have a good relationship with them, and they should make you feel at home.
Want to learn more about acupuncture? Click here!
For physiotherapy, I highly recommend Elisabeth McLatchie at Sikta Physio & Wellness (downtown Vancouver). I’ve seen manyyy physiotherapists in the city and lets just say they are not all equal. Elizabeth is thorough, intuitive, and truly understands the interconnectedness of the human-body. I first went to her for sacral cranial massage but we also include IMS and muscle release for my injuries. I also love talking to her because she is super open-minded about everything including holistic healing methods.
My chiropractor is Dr. Jarrod Johnson at Pain Pro Coal Harbour (downtown Vancouver). Unlike many chiropractors where you just seem to be in and out of their office in 5 minutes, he also takes his time, is thorough, fun to talk to, and super open-minded about a variety of healing methods.
I am still looking for a good RMT (especially with availability). Since I prefer to go for a full hour, it’s hard to fit in my schedule so I prioritize acupuncture. I see massage as temporary relief while acupuncture really gets to the root of my issues.
I always prefer practitioners who believe in both conventional medicine AND holistic healing because you need to see your body as a whole rather than targeting specific areas for treatment. Some practitioners are more way more intuitive than others. I like to surrounded by well-rounded, open-minded individuals. I’m also all about good energy + good conversation so I definitely take that into consideration.
Are there any health practitioners in Vancouver you recommend?