“I couldn’t shut my brain off, so I used to take Ambien to knock myself out.”
The vibrant hue of Jayne’s red sweater contrasts the soft yellow lighting and cushy chairs that occupy her elementary school room. In a gentle tone, fitting for a Special Education teacher, Jayne describes the severe emotional whiplash she is experiencing as a result of a series of recent events in her life. Since her divorce– anxiety, panic, and depression have made themselves a home in Jayne’s tired mind. But the most crippling byproduct of the past year’s stresses has been the amplification of her hopeless and disheartening struggle to do what comes so naturally to so many… to fall asleep.
“With Ambien it’s 20 minutes and you’re out. Wherever you take it. You could be walking up the stairs.”
Ambien was Jayne’s primary care doctor’s reluctant, temporary solution to help her get through the night following her divorce. Her sleep doctor disagreed with this method and instead suggested a treatment program for insomnia. The long-term plan was an invasive procedure where electrodes would be implanted into her neck to stimulate airway muscles for easier breathing and more restful sleep.
“One night, after taking Ambien, I woke up and my daughter was on top of me… I had no idea there was a person on me all night. That’s, like, the equivalent to being passed out from alcohol.”
That night was Jayne’s wakeup call. Sleeping pills were no longer an option; and the pending procedure was no more than a distant dream. She was going to look for an alternative solution. Still, as determined as she was, optimism was difficult. She felt she had truly tried everything. It wasn’t until she signed up for a free massage by a visiting chiropractic office that she considered the potential of chiropractic to help her.
Although she was fearful of the “cracking sounds” that occur during adjustments, Jayne called and made an appointment for a consultation.
Dr. Brian explained how misalignments in your spine places pressure your nerves causing disturbances in the brain’s communication with the rest of the body. He also observed that a curvature issue in her neck could very well be a major cause of her sleepless nights.
Jayne didn’t think she had any misalignment issues with her spine and had never been told how poor spinal health can lead to a myriad of other health issues.
“How would I have known? Nobody ever tells you about it, and it’s not taught anywhere. I think everyone is pretty misinformed about it,” she said.
Did you know that only eight percent of people who make New Year’s resolutions follow through with them? Eight percent. That means that 92% of all the cliché, overpromised and underperformed vows to change everything come January first, sputter out by February. I’ll put my health first, eat better, start working out, go to counseling, get chiropractic care, watch less TV… all distant memories to most. But not for the eight percent who see it through.
Jayne’s first chiropractic appointment was on January second.
Sleep controls everything. Lack of sleep can affect mood, weight, memory, intelligence, safety, vulnerability to disease, and overall quality of life. When the spine is misaligned, the body exhibits a stress response because your brain is unable to send signals correctly to the rest of the body. It’s like a kink in a hose. In essence, your body is put out of balance. This stress response causes an array of health issues, including, you guessed it… lack of sleep. Chiropractic adjustments realign the spine, improving flow in the nervous system, taking pressure off the nerves, and helping your body return to its proper state of wellness.
When the year began, every day was very “one foot in front of the other” for Jayne, but each week she looked forward to her visits to the chiropractor.
“I feel it’s the biggest variable that’s changed my health,” she said, “It’s the driving factor.”
Since making a pact to improve her health through chiropractic, Jayne considers herself to have drastically improved to an 8 on a scale of 1-10.
“People don’t see it as a need, they see it as an extra.”
Jayne has no intention of following up on the initial invasive plan her sleep doctor laid out for her. In fact, Jayne hasn’t seen her sleep doctor since beginning chiropractic care.
“I’ve been so satisfied with what chiropractic has done for me I haven’t even thought about other treatments,” she said, “I’m very happy with what I’ve got going on.”
Jayne’s two little girls have been directly affected by their mother’s decision to better herself. Instead of powering down in front of glowing screens, they have a mom who takes them on adventures; she does this not just because it’s more fun or because it’s healthier, but because, finally, she was able to get some sleep last night.
When her youngest wants hoisted up to see the sleeping lion just a little better, when she’s bending and twisting and yanking to reel in that trophy winner, when it’s just one more mile to the top… those are the moments that demand Jayne’s full presence. And it is quality of sleep that dictates the quality of those moments.
“Chiropractic, to me,” Jayne said, “has been comfort in a stressful year.”
That day in early January, Jayne finally gave herself permission to discover a new type of freedom through chiropractic. Freedom from pain and exhaustion. Freedom to experience what life is like when you are truly awake.