Archive for Chronic Pain
Ever feel like your body, brain or mind is close to the tipping point when it comes to pain?
Small injuries or minor physical setbacks might not seem like a big deal when they happen.
Yet your brain might go haywire and instead of helping, it begins to work against you.
See, your personal history of injuries (big and small), infections, emotional set backs, and traumas of all sorts can lead a brain to over respond even as a small injury heals.
The brain can go hyperactive and keeps sending chemicals of inflammation to the rescue, after the fact.
Cells called microglia acts as the immune system of the central nervous system.
To protect the brain, they swell up to create a buffer while they take care of the bad cells.
The good cells, however, can keep turning “on inflammation”, which is what we see happening in anxiety, chronic pain, headaches, fibromyalgia, etc.
In other words, when we keep getting stressed, tensed out or we repeat certain physical activities with no relief, the microglia show up and create negative inflammation.
Not nice at all.
Minor or major stress can magnify the situation and get activated.
Not a Big Deal
Even what we might think is not a big deal such as “I was standing there, holding a piece of paper, not doing anything and I moved a little – and felt a little pinch”.
Initially, this may not be a big deal, but then throughout the course of day, this little thing starts to get worse, gets tighter and tighter and become more painful.
Even to the point of later preventing us from doing a little movement.
This period of activation can remain “on” for extended periods of time.
Then this can get set as a program which can lead to medical conditions such as chronic pain becoming the norm.
Press Play, Rewind
It’s no wonder some of us struggle with discomfort, injury or stiffness longer than we think it oughta be around.
Each week I see and hear athletes telling me about how they have to stay in the game, otherwise if they are substituted out and then go back in, they’ve re-tightened up by simply cooling down for a few minutes.
Unfortunately, this has been accepted as normal – when clearly it is not even though many deal with this program replaying itself over and over.
As the program continues to go haywire–say an accident happens–followed up by surgeries, pain medications and having to cope with the stress of getting it together undermines our ability to completely get over it.
Even though we think we oughta be able to handle it, we aren’t addressing the physiological mechanism to change and reverse the course back to our more comfortable self.
This can further make us feel down and bums us out.
Getting Pushed Past the Tipping Point
One by one. An slight bump here, a little bruise there, a sprain, a spasm, groaning to get up out of the chair, feeling old before we’re there, getting old and grumpy, a knee gone bad, stress on the job, tension at home, divorce, and the internet goes down (yeah not a big deal though it could stress us out), and so on.
The sum of our life experiences add up one by one to push us past the tipping point so the brain replays its response.
We get our negative experience yet again to the point of being chronic in many ways.
Can the tipping point be reversed?
When we go back to what mother nature affords us to restore and revitalize in our central nervous system, then we have a chance to reverse the tipping point and successfully climb out.
In many cases, you can reprogram both the brain and body so it can create comfort instead of amplifying pain, discomfort or stiffness.
How To Reverse the Tipping Point
This can be done via the sensory-motor system and a conscious reprogramming act called a pandiculation.
This works with the central nervous system to reset tension levels so you can feel more relaxed, comfortable and in control of your well-being.
This is facilitated by simple to do mindful motor control exercises done where you regain control of the brain and body while at the same time, you get to feel and experience deeper states of relaxation and how your muscles coordinate more easily for freer movement overall.
Recently, the American College of Physicians have come on board and are saying “this is the first to do to relieve pain“.
So when we go about this systematically, then we can re-right the ship and help get things back in order and in balance.
Then we life throws us another curve ball, we can rebalance readily.
The reverse on-off switch to turn back the tipping point
You see, you have the inherent ability to decrease stress and lower tension by increasing it consciously using your awareness.
This concept may sound backwards or counter-intuitive, yet in practice – physically speaking – this is how you turn what is negatively “on” positively “off”.
By consciously turning “on” the central nervous system by waking it up.
You change the painful, stiff or discomforting “on” signal “off’ by detuning or fine tuning it down so you can idle more in neutral and restore tension levels back to the comfort zone.
Similar to how a thermostat works to regulate the air temperature, your nervous system can be programmed to aid you rather than keep the on going program working against you.
While it isn’t easy to live in pain, constant stiffness or with high stress levels and chronic discomforts, there is a way out.
When our normal relaxed attention and focus is taken away, you can feel it shift or you can get used to it over time even though in the long run that is undermining our ability to restore ourself.
So if you can consciously tune into what it is you’ve either become accustomed to – or what is not healing in the way you think it oughta – like taking a little no big deal tumble or not being able to sit comfortably…
That very signal is the clue and target to tune down the brain and body going haywire.
Since force won’t help, a more laser focused and mindful use of the power of the brain and body lets us reach a personal comfort zone which can be secured with a little conscious practice to hit the target of feeling better.
By dialing into the haywire signal, you can fine-tune the pain activating signal or mechanism so it can reverse course.
The resetting and recalibrating begins to happen with what some have called conscious micro-movements or professionally known as motor control exercises where you move with minimal effort while dialing into the subtle tiny adjustments and feelings or sense perceptions so change happens readily.
There is both an art and practice to get back to your former happy pain-freer self which nature has set up for you to access at any minute.
Through a series of trial and error easy, gentle movements and a systematic approach, the ability to feel relaxation returns.
The fact is you can tune down what is turned negatively “on” because the switch has been activated to inhibit and end the pain, stiffness and discomforts by starting small in order to get back to living more fully.
Afterwards the nervous system acts to continue to decrease the output or charge so relaxing feelings return. It’s like giving yourself a hot tub treatment using your brain and body.
In nature, this is how all healthy animals with a spine self-regulate to remain agile, comfortable and nimble.
Use the brain and body together to move well with daily reprogramming that most of us aren’t aware of, even though it is built into our living system to tap into.
When the human animal gets back to tuning in and restoring this lost art or natural process to calm the system, you get the:
and the knowledge you can replicate feelings of comfort.
You can do this as often as you need or when necessary to take out stress and tension from everyday life events which accumulate in the course of our busy lives.
While you can’t escape stress, you can take control of your central nervous system as best as you can and further the possibilities of a comfortable felt-sense of living.
When you remember how to do this – you can let things roll off of you like a duck ruffling its feathers.
You’ll have what appears to be an uncanny ability to regenerate.
This is how nature sets it up for us to learn how to wield this ability and not be held outta control by feeling how control needs to be regulated to move well.
Since there is evidence that your microglia cells “remember” prior assaults and turn things up painfully when necessary. They can stay on and fire up more quickly.
Same goes in the opposite direction.
The better you get at using the brain and body, you can bank on turning on those chemicals of relaxation on much faster too.
The American College of Physician have finally recognized that progressive relaxation, mindful-based stress reduction and motor control exercises are the way to go where you can even drop the acetaminophen for back pain.
According to Dr. Gary Kaplan, these 3 things seem certain:
√ The source of inflammation are tiny cells called microglia.
√ Your history of physical & emotional assaults add up and increase inflammation.
√ Chronic pain and depression are neurodegenerative conditions.
How to Reverse the Tipping Point Yourself
Knowledge is power. When you have the self-help tools to learn what to do for yourself. You can self-regulate the brain and enhance the nervous system to work for and with you.
Fortunately, we’ve systematized an approach to use both brain and body with gentle, small micro-movements (motor control) along with mindfully fine tuning coordination with a certain level of awareness to take you into deeper states of relaxation which restores the nervous system and your body’s basic feeling of comfort and well-being.
Now that you have a better understanding of the tipping point, you can choose to naturally heal, self-protect, self-learn, and have the self know-how to prevent and maintain your healthy state of living.
When we fall, our muscles go into certain protective trauma postures. We’ll go back inside of ourselves and stay there for some time until the trauma usually resolves itself. Sometimes it takes a little longer.
Can you release physical trauma?
What if we could use what nature has given us to release the protective holding of a physical trauma more quickly and confidently.
Releasing held trauma is something I know about since I realized I had been holding onto an incident which occurred while I was a young boy. Some 30 years of holding a pattern unconsciously kept me at bay – and I didn’t even know it. Until one day, I did a very specific maneuver and I was reminded of the event that I had long since forgotten yet recalled more from a conceptual level.
So here I was reliving it and at the same time “finally” letting go of it. The trauma which was held, let go. Sometimes we hold onto things more than necessary. Yikes.
Compensations such as legs which are internally rotated can be a bear to live with, though in time we can get used to moving ourself around even if we’re hung up a bit, too stiff or get used to living with too much tension.
Heck we might have even created such a held trauma pattern by having read mystery or suspense books for too long with our knees knocking. Maybe those scary mystery books led us into another type of mystery such as scoliosis, which we can’t resolve.
Scoliosis and Trauma
Many people who have been diagnosed with scoliosis or suspect they have, often compensate with a fairly typical trauma response. While each of us displays this uniquely with certain vertebrate being pulled in one direction, another or in multiple distortions away from a neutral posture.
We can safely release held trauma tension patterns. After all, it has been happening to us on an ongoing basis. Our bones are not fixed as some would have you believe. If that were true, how come your still walking? Well maybe you’re still expertly limping around.
Held trauma patterns can cause us to limp too long so we favor another body part and compensate that around the trauma. We can get very good at navigating around, get used to it… until the pains of a lifetime keep knocking on the door again and again.
Trauma Release Class
Each week I teach people how the brain can let go of tension patterns, even if we’ve lived unconsciously with them like many of us have.
This week I’m offering an online class on a trauma release for the legs & hips which are more internally rotated. You can see that by looking at knees which roll inwards or a hip which is higher than the other one… or when we feel short waisted these types of compensations can let go when our brain’s motor cortex releases chemicals of relaxation so we regain both function and are more relaxed to move comfortably about.
You can get the class live or purchase a replay and enjoy it many times over. All you have to do is listen and follow along. No worries, you’ll be able to talk with me either live or in the replay portal where I’ll help you out.
Please don’t hold onto that physical trauma anymore, we can simply let it go and your brain is just sitting there waiting to make it happen now.
Living with pain we feel in our muscles, nerves, joints, organs and even our skin which hangs around for more than six months is a doorway to chronic pain.
I lived with strange nerve and chronic pain while enduring sciatica, inflammation, tenderness, soreness and stiffness which all attributed to an ongoing state of unhappy muscles, nerves and limited painful movement. It even felt as if I couldn’t get enough breath into the muscles to move easily.
Chronic pain is a thing of the past
When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, it was a relief to learn that the uncomfortable feelings I had been having in my 20’s and 30’s had a name to it.
As a kid, I remember looking at the muscle magazines learning what I needed to do to make this skinny kid into a muscular powerhouse. Even while living in chronic pain, I went to the gyms, stretched, lifted weights, thinking this would be a way out since exercise is usually considered a good thing.
Muscles and Chronic Pain Need Not Co-exist
There are many approaches to helping people naturally overcome chronic pain. You can find out about some of those in this month’s Max Sports & Fitness where yours truly has finally made it in a muscle magazine.
Living with Chronic Pain
Our brain and body can serve us naturally to ward off the stiffness, aches, and pains we feel in our muscles and elsewhere. Through a long series of trials and errors, I stumbled onto how animals naturally self-correct and move so well.
While I believe in a natural aproach of pandiculating, the process animals use. This has been systematized as somatics exercises which offers a key to un-lock muscular stiffness, improve mobility and take us to a place of natural flexibility.
There are other complimentary approaches which can take us a step closer to a life not full of chronic pain. Being free in our body and moving well is our birthright.
Sometimes we need a little help and a plan to get out of chronic pain with the desire we can return to all the fun activities life has to offer.