Remember, pain is a mind AND body experience.
Your body is a system and the mind is a very powerful part of that system. Now, this is not to say that pain is all in your head; pain is real. The “pain signal” that we feel in our body originates in the brain and spinal cord, meaning that the pain you feel in your hand does not come from your hand, it comes from your mind. So if we can change the way our mind perceives the pain, we can change the way our body expresses it. In other words, the way we think about pain can change the way we experience it.
I experienced this firsthand when I was working as an exercise physiologist (someone who uses exercise therapy to help treat health conditions and ailments). I had a client who struggled with chronic lower back pain for years and was quite discouraged about his condition, often complaining to me while lifting weights on the cable machines. I said to him, “Your body clearly isn’t damaged, look at all the heavy resistance training you’re doing right now,” explaining to him that pain was a signal and protector. Within a matter of weeks, his entire demeanor changed and he had less pain than he had in years! What did I do to make this happen? Nothing in his exercise program changed, just his mindset. This change was enough to shift his entire attitude toward pain and ultimately, eradicate it.
So.. how do I fix my pain?
Remember that pain is personal.
We all experience different pain for different reasons. Therefore, we all must address our pain in different ways. This can include changing your mindset, exercising more, heading to physical therapy, seeking chiropractic treatment or finding a masseuse that works for you.
Think of pain as a blessing.
Remember what pain really is. Pain is there to protect you and keep you safe. Without that pain signal, you may have injured yourself even more. Pain can help to reveal your weaknesses and instabilities, giving you a chance to work on fixing them! Remain thankful that your body is always functioning to protect you.
Acknowledge and track your pain
Pain is very real. Pain HURTS. Instead of wallowing in your pain, acknowledge it and keep note of it. What causes it to flare up? Is the pain dull, achy, sharp, shooting, or stabbing? How severe is it? Is it worse at certain times of the day than others? All these questions can help you and your healthcare professional understand your weakness or instability that needs addressing and start you on the path to pain freedom!
Movement is medicine in more ways than one. One of those ways is the prevention and healing of injuries. When we’re in pain, we want to stop moving altogether. However, moving the “painful” segment of our bodies is actually the best treatment.
Proper blood flow is one of the most important factors in deciding how quickly and effectively injuries and tissues heal. Blood brings fresh oxygen and healing to damaged parts of your body. If you aren’t moving, you aren’t regularly bringing new blood to that area. Movement gets our blood pumping and when our blood is pumping (especially to an injured area) it brings healing along with it!
As was mentioned in our previous post, pain is often due to bound up muscles or tissue surrounding unstable or weak areas. We tend not to move these areas because it’s painful; however, lack of movement sends additional signals to your body that its tissues are unstable and weak. Your muscles, ligaments, and tendons are strong. It takes a lot to truly damage them. Yet, your body can get confused at times, and thinks that it must work extra hard to protect them. Movement helps to clarify this confusion, allows those tense tissues to calm down, and allows you to move the way your body wants you to.
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help
While the pain you’re feeling can be very frustrating, with a new mindset on the pain itself and some help from a healthcare professional, you can start on the path to a pain-free life! Reach out to your local professional experienced in physical therapy, chiropractic, exercise physiology or massage therapy for help.
**This blog was written for and published by Got Your Back Foundation Non-Profit. See original link below: https://gybfoundation.org/2020/04/27/how-to-live-a-pain-free-life/