By Jo Cordell-Cooper*
LATELY, I’ve had a few clients referred my way that are stuck in a “pain cycle.”
The pain can be related to a number of things such as an initial or ongoing physical trauma that was or is indeed painful, which triggers the muscles around the injured area to tense up and go into protective mode.
Psychologically, the body has come to expect pain and the brain readies itself for it by putting the body into a heightened state, rather than a relaxed healing mindset.
It’s a stressful, depressing and at times a relentless bind that is difficult to break out of.
Now, the mind is a powerful thing and if you can convince it that everything is going to be alright then you just might break the cycle.
I’ve seen people break the cycle of pain in one session simply by exercising them in water or playing a silly game with them where they focus on other things like a balloon.
Or I might bring my dog to the studio and lower their stress levels from the start (this only works with dog lovers, of course).
The minute they start to experience movement that does not hurt, we can build on that.
We don’t talk about squatting or lunging, more about sitting and standing, reaching, pushing and pulling.
Pain cycles are no fun and for those who suffer pain day in day out, a trusted health professional may help decipher what is real pain and what is pain from the brain.
I doubt it will feel any different to the sufferer, but knowing a structure is sound is a very important step in moving beyond a pain cycle.
So, if you are reading this, what might you do about it?
Establish with your health professional whether your structure is sound – your skeleton, muscles, ligaments. It might not be perfectly healed, but fresh injuries generally hurt more.
Aim to relax generally. A long bath, playing with a pet, a massage and meditation to quieten the mind or watch a funny movie. All these will help to relax you generally and this is great for healing.
Move. Whether seated, in a pool or a gentle walk, find something that you consider safe and build on that. Bodies are meant to move and I have never met a person who has not felt better after appropriate exercise is undertaken.
Find a movement specialist that you can trust not to take you too far, too fast.
I find working with clients that are in a pain cycle are optimistic souls that are very respectful of their capabilities and are quite motivated to improve their lot.
They haven’t quite given up on their desire to be a healthier human, but they do wonder how on earth they are going to get there.
Keep trying, keep asking.
*Jo Cordell-Cooper runs the award-winning business Jo CC Holistic PT that focuses on people whose needs are not met by a mainstream approach. Make contact on 0409 862 206 or visit the website at jocc.com.au.