Fitness & Nutrition Tips

Recovering from Deconditioning Syndrome


By: Dr. Lonna Denny, DC

Deconditioning syndrome is a term used to describe the series of physical and emotional events following an injury or psychological trauma that causes you to stop exercising. I think at one time or another every athlete has experienced this cascade of events. You get an injury which leads to time that you have to rest, repair, and recover. This period of time may be a couple of weeks at minimum or last a year plus. During this time you are unable to do your regular workout and you’re also dealing with the pain and the loss of mobility this injury has caused. You gain weight, lose muscle tone, and possibly even feel depressed.

A few years ago I tore my ACL in a sparring competition and had to have it repaired. The subsequent surgery left my body weak and stressed out. It was amazing how after years of being an athlete and in great shape, deconditioning syndrome set in.  I was losing muscle I had worked hard to build and the white noise of pain was constantly in the background of my mind. Being in constant discomfort after surgery caused my personality to change, and not for the better. Most people are aware that stress in the mind causes ailments in the body. Less recognized is that physical pain sets a constant background of stress for the mind. It is a vicious feedback loop. That first three months after surgery was one of the most mentally challenging times I have experienced. It taught me compassion for my patients experiencing deconditioning syndrome and those that have been dealing with chronic pain for years.  Over time we have developed a strategy for helping patients get out of this syndrome. Here are a few steps:

  • Get off the pain meds as soon as you can. The most commonly prescribed Vicodin and other opiate based prescriptions will make you constipated, lethargic, and are highly addictive.
  • Make an exercise plan based around your injury. For example one of my patients was having bunion surgery which would leave her unable to walk for weeks. We made a plan for core workouts and arm workouts she could do non-weight bearing.
  • Accelerate your healing process and decrease your pain levels with chiropractic care and acupuncture. After my knee surgery, my back hurt from limping around in a cast and all of that bed rest. My chiropractor restored mobility to my back and hips through adjusting the spine. He also used a cold laser on my knee which literally over night reduced the bruising and inflammation from surgery. A few weeks later I saw an acupuncturist whose treatment reduced the tension and pressure in the knee. These two healers got me back on my feet and decreased the pain so I could get back to my life. Worth every penny.
  • Lastly, be aware that you are going to deal with deconditioning syndrome on some level after a serious injury or trauma. Make a plan, get help, and most of all, be patient with yourself. This is a transitory state, but how long you stay there is up to you.

Injury isn’t ever ideal or expected, but it can provide you with an opportunity to reflect and plan for how you’ll come back stronger. As with any stress, the right mindset can make a huge difference in the healing process and beyond.

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Living Well

Soak in Aromatherapy



Essential oil production is much like wine making: an art as well as a science.

An essential oil is a liquid that is distilled (most frequently by steam or water) from the leaves, stems, bark, roots, or other elements of a plant. Essential oils, contrary to the use of the word “oil” are not really oily feeling at all and contain the true living essence of the plant it was derived from. EO’s are highly concentrated and a little goes a very long way!

The chemical composition and aroma of essential oils can provide valuable psychological and physical therapeutic benefits. These benefits are usually achieved through methods of inhalation and application of the diluted oil to the skin. Simply through inhalation the therapeutic benefit begins.

​When you breath in, the olfactory system is engaged and sends direct messages to your central nervous system offering a diverse and wide variety of health benefits depending on the essential oil inhaled. In addition, when diluted and applied to the skin, these living extracts are absorbed and affect the nervous system of the body.​

Perfumes,​ ​as well as ​many household and beauty products,​ are primarily​ scented with artificially created fragrances that contain synthetic substances. Please note that these fragrances do not have living essence so they do not offer any of the therapeutic benefits that essential oils can. Always read the label and know what you’re breathing in.​

Here are just a few of the many healing properties offered by essential oils:

ANALGESIC – reducing the sensation of pain (pain reliever)

ANTIBIOTIC – preventing growth of bacteria (antibacterial)

ANTI-FUNGAL – preventing the growth of fungus

ANTI-INFECTIOUS – preventing infection

ANTISEPTIC – killing or preventing micro organism growth

ANTI-VIRAL – preventing the spread of viruses

BALSAMIC –  soothing sore, scratchy throats

CICATRISIV – promoting formation of scar tissue

DEPURATIVE (DETOXIFY) – detoxifying, cleansing and purifying blood and organs

DIURETIC – Promoting the removal of excess liquid in the body through urination

EXPECTORANT – breaking up mucus

IMMUNOSTIMULANT – stimulating immunity

PECTORAL – benefiting the respiratory system

SEDATIVE – calming the mind and reducing mental excitement

SOPOFORIC – inducing sleep and relieving insomnia

STIMULANT – awakening bodily functions

STOMACHIC – aiding digestion and acting as a gastric tonic

TONIC – restoring and invigorating the body

VERMIFUGE – expelling intestinal worms (anti-parasitic)

Bringing essential oils into your daily routine is really quite simple. Explore to learn more about the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils.

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