By Dr. Richard Nahas

tree with changing leavesToday is the first day of autumn and the leaves have just begun to turn.  I noticed a few yellow leaves atop a beautiful maple on my street yesterday morning. The coming weeks will be beautiful, with its crisp air, great sweaters,  warm drinks and return to work and school.  The ancient Canadian ritual of preparing for winter has also quietly begun.

For people with injuries or pain, winter can be scary.  Cold stiffens muscles.  This simple fact is a challenge.  This makes now the best time to get to work overcoming your pain.  And creating your new life.

Get some thermal underwear.  A study in Turkey found that it reduced back pain.  Wool worked better than cotton, so find good woollen shirt and pant sets.

Start taking daily walks.  Every day, unless you are sick or in a major flare.  Push yourself, even if you only stay outside for 60 seconds.  The fresh air, the negative ions, the movement and the sunlight will all turn on healing.

Take cold showers.  Our bodies are designed to adapt to brief stresses.  Chronic stress wears us down, but acute stress turns on healing.  Cold has been used as a medicine for centuries around the world.  So at the end of a nice, warm shower (which you should stretch in), turn the hot water off and brace yourself. Just for a few seconds.  Then make it warm again and enjoy the adrenaline.  It is good for you, but don’t overdo it at first.  Too much stress may trigger a flare.

Prepare to be reborn.  The first day of spring is six months away.  That is when nature is reborn.  To create the new you, you will want to let go of negative thoughts and emotions, and embrace positive ones.  Simple things like better breathing, better eating, and better movement will make your treatment more effective … And move you towards healing.

We are all on the same journey, and we are all somewhere between birth and death.  Some of us are having more fun than others.   It is said that the best way to change your journey is to change yourself.   And when we choose to change, we are reborn.

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