I have been practicing clinical dental hygiene for 31 years. If you had asked me 25 years ago if I would still be practicing after all this time, the answer would have been a big NO! But as life goes, my path has kept me working in hygiene, in spite of many years of trying to do something different. Therefore, I had to find ways to keep myself in shape and have been relatively pain free, for the most part. I have enlisted chiropractors, physical therapists, massage therapists and an acupuncturist over the years as needed. I like to say that I would much rather spend an hour exercising than spend an hour (or two!) going to the doctor. I have been blessed with some great clinicians who have helped me work through injuries and repetitive stress conditions by treating me and teaching me the right exercises that I can do at home to avoid recurrence of the problem. My exercise routine has evolved over the years as needed.
I decided to promote Denise Hopkin's yoga program because a few years ago I had a shoulder injury due to poor positioning of my left shoulder while working. The pain was not constant, but was excruciating to move in a certain way. I was not able to do some of the things that I enjoyed, such as swimming and skydiving due to the pain. It got so bad that I could not sleep on my left side or get my left arm behind me to put on a bra. I tried PT, chiropractic treatment,massage and even got a cortisone shot but nothing worked. My chiropractor was worried that I was very close to having a frozen shoulder. Finally, I tried acupuncture. It took about 3 months, but it fixed my problem. When I felt the issue creeping back about two years later, I decided to try a new yoga practice before going back for acupuncture, which was expensive. I started taking weekly classes with Denise. From her, I learned some great stretches that were exactly what my shoulder needed, as well as exercises for the neck, forearm and whole body that I could add to my routine at home. While everyone's need are different, I feel sure that this practice is likely to help other hygienists and wanted to share it.
I started practicing hygiene in 1989 and soon after, took up skydiving as a sport, which is also very tough on the neck. (A story for later) A few years later I started to have extreme pain in my neck and right forearm. I had always exercised, but realized that I needed to change what I was doing to avoid making it worse. That began my journey to exercise for wellness, rather than to stay slim and look good in a swimsuit. I have come to realize that exercise is also very important for my mental health, especially getting outside to hike, bike and ski, year round. I hope that by sharing what I do, I might be able to help some others stay healthy.