beResponsible Spotlight: Karen Mayer
This month’s Be Responsible Spotlight is on Karen Mayer.
Here is what Karen shared with us about her journey.
Q: Tell us about your background and how you found Back 2 Normal.
A: I consider myself a competitive athlete in paddle sports, namely stand up paddle-boarding and outrigger canoe. Originally, I believe I was simply having some tight muscle issues from overworking myself during a race with very strong wind. Unsure of the problem but having sleepless nights and no relief I went to an orthopedic, Dr. Tambay, who referred me specifically to Lisa Chase because of her unique experience and method of physical therapy.
Q: After your initial appointment what have been your top 3 goals during your journey with Back 2 Normal?
A: My initial goal was simply to be pain-free and sleep comfortably at night! Ultimately, I wanted to get back on track so I could continue competing in races and perform well.
Q: What steps have you taken to be responsible for reaching those goals?
a) To follow the home program of stretches and exercises that Lisa created for me.
b) To follow up with periodic and routine therapy to continue staying healthy.
c) To stretch properly before my training and races to prevent injury.
Q: Have you had any setbacks and how did you overcome them?
A: Last year, I learned that my new Stand Up Paddle was too tall. The old theory was to have a taller paddle. I took a clinic with a professional athlete who told me to cut several inches off my paddle. It had been causing an over-stretch and strain on my neck. It caused me to experience chronic neck pain for almost seven (7) months. I went back to Dr. Tambay, who identified inflammation at a joint high in my neck. He gave me an injection and told me to go back to Lisa Chase for physical therapy. So, I cut my paddle down and returned to Lisa for some “maintenance” work on my neck. She used her unique stretching methods and some laser therapy to help me overcome the pain I was experiencing.
Q: What would you say has been your greatest triumph, lesson, or change since you’ve begun your Back 2 Normal journey?
A: Just when I thought I was getting better and overcoming the chronic neck pain, I made plans with my church group to hike in the Grand Canyon to Havasu Falls, which included an overnight camp near the waterfall. During my training with the weighted backpack and lots of stadium climbing and distance workouts my neck experienced the chronic pain again. I ended up in ER one month before my trip. My neck tightened up and I had excruciating pain. Lying there I thought I might have to back out of my trip or would be sitting back at the cabin while everyone was having fun hiking. Dr. Tambay gave me another injection and I returned to Lisa for physical therapy. She worked her magic and had me stretched out ready to hike 20+ miles and camp out along the river near the Havasu Waterfall. It was such an incredible experience to accomplish my goal of hiking and witnessing the creation of such a beautiful place.
Q: What advice would you give others on taking charge of your health and recovery?
A: Be responsible and follow the plan that Lisa provides for you. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Take care of yourself today so you enjoy your life for many years to come.
Q: How has the Back 2 Normal team helped you in your journey?
A: I’ve learned that it’s important to continue implementing the home exercise program/stretches that Lisa designed for me. However, due to my sports there are times when it’s just smart to return for routine hands-on physical therapy to stay loosened up and healthy. The past few months I returned to Back 2 Normal for treatment from Lisa and massage therapy as I was training for a weekend of outrigger canoe races with my team in Hawaii for the Queen Lili’uokalani.