"He who has health, has hope; he who has hope, has everything."
The loss of family game night.
Game night was a great way spend summer nights with my family in eastern Kentucky. One of our favorites when I was a teenager was our game of war. My stepfather, mother, brother and I would build forts out of our living room furniture then grab all of the socks we could find. Once we decided teams and retreated to our forts, we had to quickly roll up sock balls. I don't remember there being many actual rules to this game. However, I will never forget the images of my stepfather jumping over the couch and attacking my brother and I and all of us laughing hysterically.
I am so grateful for that memory. I didn't know at the time, but our games of war, monster and volleyball were quickly disappearing. They didn't disappear because we were growing up. I think we would all still happily be playing those crazy games to this day! No, the games dwindled because my stepfather started to suffer from chronic pain.
Living with pain.
My stepfather had been a dentist for over 20 years. He had several busy and successful practices, but preferred his smaller intimate practice. He often chose to accommodate his patients by working late into the night so they wouldn't have to miss work. His patients loved him as he worked hard to make each person who sat in the chair feel like the most important person in the world.
But the stress of dentistry, both physical and mental, took its toll. He would come home from work and immediately grab his TENs unit, ice and TV remote.
His body hurt so much. Not only was he not able to play our games, but he started losing interest in his hobbies. As the years progressed, my stepfather battled increasing pain and episodes of depression.
He reduced his hours at work and lost his joy for the profession that he had once loved. He considered changing professions, becoming a lawyer, a medical doctor, stock broker, basically anything besides a dentist.
Looking for relief leads to a new career path.
When my stepfather asked me to read and try to learn how to perform craniosacral therapy to try to manage his pain, I was happy to do so. Always excited to learn new things, I was also happy to treat his trigger points, perform manual traction, learn various types of massage and even some reflexology.
He had regular chiropractic and massage visits that provided temporary relief. Nothing really helped to resolve the pain.
I decided that I needed to learn more about the body and how to rehabilitate my stepfather. This is what ultimately led me to a career in physical therapy.
So began my journey and my mission.
As I became more familiar with how the body works, it was clear, that my stepfather's affliction was not a simple problem. I came to appreciate the complexity of the relationship between the dental office environment, body mechanics and pain. I learned something else too.
My stepfather was not alone. In fact, research tells us that up to 80% of dentists and 94% of hygienists suffer with muscloskeletal pain. I know that each of those dentists and hygienists are not suffering in isolation. I know that they too are missing family game nights, not playing with their kids, abusing pain medication, and doing whatever it takes to get through the day. These stories are not just statistics. They are lives. Your life and your family's life.
Mission to change dentistry.
Healthy Solutions for Dental Professionals was created so that other dental professionals do not have to suffer as my stepfather did. It started out as simply a blog to provide quality evidence-based information. However, that wasn't enough.
I want to actually change the lives of dental practitioners by improving their health. The only way to do that, was to become interactive. But how?
Healthy Solutions for Dental Professionals commitment to practical solutions.
When working with something as complex as improving the health of dental professionals, thorough evaluations leading to well designed interactive plans with practical application strategies is the optimal way to achieve the desired results.
In November 2015, Business Insider ranked dentistry as the #1 profession most damaging to your health. There is much work that needs to be done to get off that list! I am happy to be a part of it.
Podcasts, articles, blogs, webinars, live speaking events and coaching, offer both passive and active opportunities for dental professionals to gain knowledge and learn how to implement new skills to protect or regain your health.
There is hope! Healthy Solutions for Dental Professionals is dedicated to turning that hope into reality for every dental professionals who wants to practice without pain!