In this episode, Stacy opens up about her struggles since her back injury last year from lifting a bag of concrete in a garden and how she is doing now. Real talk about depression, medical intervention and managing a huge life change.
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The Paleo View (TPV), Episode 204: Stacy's Physical and Mental Recovery
Intro (0:00) (Now newer and shorter!)
News and Views (0:40)
Stacy and Sarah discuss how their Seinfeld hello is not their natural way to talk to each other.
Stacy is nervous about this show, but Sarah is confident it will be amazing
Last summer she hurt her back and has had a lot of false starts and dead ends in her healing.
In the end, she was diagnosed 11 months after the actual injury.
Surprisingly, it wasn't Strongman that injured her. In fact, it was wrestling against United States Strongest Woman Viv in a different sport (MAS Wrestling) and lifting a bag of concrete in a garden that did it.
Backs like to be moved up and down, not side to side and twisting. And the MAS wrestling is a LOT of twisting.
Stacy was recovering from that original injury and lifting again, but her pride in a community garden event got the better of her and she decided to try to lift a waterlogged bag of concrete to prove a boy wrong. That was the biggest injury.
Her diagnosis in herniated discs in her 4th and 5th lumbar discs. The fifth lumbar disc is impinging a nerve on the right side. This is a very common "gardening" injury.
Because of her "redhead" mutation, Stacy has a high body pain tolerance and a resistance to many pain killers (This is true!). So part of what made her treatment delayed was downplaying how much she was in pain.
Her injury ended up flaring severely after she returned from Europe after a 12 hour flight, travel stress and unusual diet. This led to a freak out in the doctor's office, which led to her actually getting the MRI and the diagnosis.
What happens to your life when you have a bad injury that changes your life?
Stacy had really built her life around strength training. She gave talks, made friends, got a lot of benefits from it. She went from entering a competition she had a great shot at winning to not lifting for a year.
Her quality of life was severely affected. At first she tried to cope by focusing on getting to relax, but after prolonged time away from the gym, it became quite depressing to see her friends getting better and her being unable to participate.
Everyone who knew Stacy understood how much Strongman had become a part of her identity. And then the fact she couldn't do it anymore was crushing.
Luckily, her injury is treatable. It can be treated with physical therapy and other medical intervention or, as a last resort, surgery. But there are some complementary interventions as well.
Back injuries are difficult to heal because they don't take up nutrients the same way other body parts do. There is no blood flow.
She'll be doing physical therapy to correct muscle imbalance and relieve pressure on disc.
Sarah looked into nutrient deficiencies related to back issues and what supplements could possibly assist.
Because disc get all nutrients from diffusion, you have to be very nutrient sufficient.
Discs are made with very hard collagen on the outside and gooey center.
Originally, she tried to find things to increase blood flow, but realized that wasn't possible.
One of the side effects of this huge injury and life change was serious depression.
Not only the loss of her sport, but she also was upset with herself, blaming herself for being lazy and making it up to be worse than it was.
She was also very irritable and angry because of her chronic pain. He desire to binge eat returned as well.
She started seeing a psychiatrist to deal with her issues. She went on an SSRI to help with her mood and binge eating.
The diagnosis led to a lot of self loathing and feelings of failure. She cried for many days and didn't get it filled right away.
She ended up deciding to take medication because she wanted her quality of life back, she deserved it and the people in her life deserved it, too.
Returning from the doctor and confronting those feelings led her to do searches on paleo and depression. She found a worrying article (and frankly irresponsible article) by Chris Kresser about the "dark side" of antidepressants.
She was doing all the things that should help restore her and they weren't working! If you've done everything and still not feeling well, then you deserve a great quality of life and shouldn't feel guilty about taking a pill!
Going on the medication made her get her quality of life back! She now feels great!
If you're going through something, don't feel like a failure if you have to go on medication. YOU ARE NOT A FAILURE! YOU JUST NEED A LITTLE HELP!
The Paleo View always talks about how you should combine both the best of nutritional and lifestyle changes with the best of modern medicine. This definitely includes mental health as well.
In paleo, there's often a bias against medicine and doctors because people come to it out of frustration. But medicine absolutely has its place, if you use it in balance.
Sarah feels that now "old" Stacy's back lately.
We hope that if you listen to this show, you use it as a catalyst to try to help yourself and the people in your life that seem to be a little not themselves.
Stacy finally feels like she's in a good place and she can recognize that not lifting in a year isn't the worst thing that could have happened.
Thank you for listening!
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