chronic pain solution. Osteopathy. Chinese Yoga.

Have you been told your chronic pain is all in your head?
No matter what you do, your back pain or neck pain just won’t go away?
This article is for you!

What if your pain was actually just being overprotective?

To help reassure you; first of all, having an over protective pain system, does not mean you are weak, or going crazy or all the negative things you might be tempted to feel about yourself in this context. Sometimes it might feel like you are falling apart, and even though the feeling is very real to you; said feeling really is just plain wrong. You are more resilient and tough than you might realise right now.

Actually, what being over protective means is your system is TOO GOOD at protecting itself.

If you are in doubt, whether that is you, a good first step is to make an appointment and chat with your qualified Osteopath. They can rule out more serious conditions and make sure you are good to commence treatment.

Back to being overprotective:
Why might your nervous system be overprotective?
Well, actually it is down to a simple mechanism called practice. You might wonder what on earth do I mean. Surely you don’t intend to practice having pain?

Your body doesn’t quite see it the same way. For your body, simple repetition is practice; whether you intend to or not.

And as we all know practice makes permanent (not perfect!) or at least creates a habit that is a bit more stubborn to get rid of.

For your body repeating pain (i.e. having the same pain for a few months) is no different than learning a new skill, an instrument, a new language; anything that you repeat, whether intentionally or not.

So how do you know that your pain might serve as (over-)protection?

• You feel more sensitive than you used to (physical pain or even emotionally or even sensitivity to other things entirely)
• Your pain levels after activities are worse than they used to be
• You have had an injury a few months ago and despite it having healed, you are still in pain
• Your pain might not remain in the same spot – I call this the little ping pong ball of pain
• Your movement is slower, even stiff at times for no obvious reason

All of the above are indications your body is in protective mode- ready to pounce on any perceived (most of the time not even real) danger.

After reading this, you might feel a little doom and gloom, I don’t blame you.
Good news is, that everyone is more than capable of retraining the way their body responds and allow it to be less protective. Yes, you as well!

 

 

“How can I teach my pain system to be less overprotective?”

 

First things first, to learn how to undo something, means learning about the thing you are wanting to undo.

Step 1 learn how your pain works –  Dr Greg Lehman can explain this better than I ever could, so here are his pdf pain workbooks in different languages

 

Understanding is highly important to changing your pain. Pain changes with context, the context of what it means to you. For example, an athlete who hurts their ankle and misses an important event because of it might experience more pain than someone with the same injury who has no interest in sports whatsoever.

 

There are so many more reasons and hidden meanings to pain, this is just one example.

 

The idea is, however, you change the meaning of your pain by learning about it. Once you change the meaning, you change the pain.

 

Knowing that a protective response in the body ( via pain) can be heightened by seemingly non-related things like stress, emotions, fatigue, moods etc gives all the power and confidence back to you in learning how to change your pain.

 

Naturally you can do this by yourself, but sometimes having someone like an Osteopath or a coach of some kind by your side can be less lonely and more helpful than muddling through by yourself.

 

There is no promise here that changing a protective system to a more normal system is a quick process. It really isn’t.

 

This is no different to learning any new skill. Take the piano for example. You learn the keys, where to place your fingers, how to read notes and coordinate those with your fingers. It doesn’t happen overnight, not even over a few months.

 

What is key in changing chronic pain is taking small and consistent steps.

chronic pain solutions. Osteopathy helping with small changes.

Small consistent steps will get you to your goal faster than steps that are too large

For example,

  1. try moving a few minutes more each day than you did before,
  2. get your heart rate up just that little bit more than you did the day before.

 

Movement is fun. Osteopathy. Chinese Yoga.

Enjoying movement and having fun makes a big difference.

Try to make it as interesting and fun for yourself as possible. The brain loves fun ways of learning.

You don’t feel confident yet in moving freely? Try one of our Online Chinese Yoga and Tai chi courses to guide you through fun and feel good exercises with many added benefits to boot.

 

Make sure to appreciate that your body is trying to help you. Yes it has a funny way of showing it loves you and wants to look out for you (i.e. pain or stiffness), but at the end of the day it does it because it is on your side.

 

Your job is to show your body that there are other ways to go about it – retrain your brain to cope differently with stresses and continue living your life.

One of our favourite ways of doing this is of course Tai chi and Qigong

. It ticks many boxes all at once, physical and emotional.

 

 

chronic pain solution. Osteopathy. Chinese Yoga.

Start on your ladder to a painfree body now.
42237317 © Tsung-lin Wu | Dreamstime.com

 

This is overwhelming isn’t it? Tough? Yes, you are right, this is indeed a bit of a journey, but one that is worthwhile. Go and get your life back, one step at a time.

Make sure you are not alone in this. Let your friends and family know what you have learnt, so they can support you when you need it.

It is important that those around you believe in what you are working on and become your best cheerleaders.

“How do I know when to start moving again?”

Mood follows movement. Chinese Yoga. Osteopathy. chronic pain solution

 

Did you know that despite feeling like you shouldn’t move, it is actually one of the most crucial factors  in recovery?

Actually it is almost always safe to move even when you don’t feel like it – just don’t go mad when you are starting out.

 

Do you feel confident in reading your body’s responses to your activities? Then crack on (gently initially) and listen to when your body is telling you to take it steady.

 

You don’t feel confident in tackling your chronic pain by yourself?

The best way to start to get confident is to book a session to learn about things like-

  1. how much can I push myself,
  2. how do I learn to read the signs my body is given me (“listen to the whispers before they need to shout”).
  3. If you have any scans that you are worried about, show them to Kathi, Qibodywisdom’s Osteopath and learn that most things are actually normal even when they aren’t perfect.

 

Still not convinced? Read on.

Did you know that 50% of people WITHOUT back pain actually have disc bulges?

They are unbelievably common and actually a normal part of aging.

This is just an example of normal and often pain free changes as we get older.

If you fancy finding out what else is normal, have a read of this study done on pain free backs :

 

Do you sometimes wonder why your injury is not healing ?

Good news is, it probably already has done most healing within 2 months after an injury. If you are still in pain after this amount of time, you are likely dealing with sensitivity and chronic pain instead of “damage”.

Yes, you are not broken, just protective and likely worried about it, which is why you are still feeling an injury that isn’t there anymore.

 

Am I going to re-injure myself?

 

Ironically, having an overprotective nervous system will actually most likely prevent you from true injury. Your pain will be giving you warning messages so prematurely that you are very unlikely to encounter any real danger.

 

Think of it like a physical form of anxiety –  people with anxiety are highly likely to avoid circumstances that will bring them close to the thing or situation they are afraid of. Their fear often will kick in before the situation has actually happened. They feel the fear prematurely and never actually get into the perceived dangerous situation.

 

Pain in an overprotective system is physical anxiety. Your body won’t go where it might get hurt because your pain is preventing you from going there in the first place.

 

Naturally, there is no such thing as perfect pain or injury prevention, but let’s be honest. If you are not being completely stubborn or reckless about your activities, you most likely will be just fine in the activities that you are in control of.

 

 

Please note, resting too much and avoiding uncomfortable situations or movements actually heightens sensitivity.

Same as anxiety. If you are not actively moving towards what you are inappropriately scared of , you are actually more likely to get worse (anxiety or pain). Thankfully moving towards doesn’t have to be rushing towards, you can take teeny tiny steps and still be moving towards your goal.

 

As always, if in doubt or after you have encountered an unusually long flare up, make an appointment and get the all clear from your Osteopath.

Will I get better?

 

 

That decision is yours alone to make. Decision you may ask – yes, for the simple reason that coming out of a state of being overprotective is practice, patience and persistence.

It is an active process and takes dedication and the first step of making the decision to tackle the problem.

It is not easy, but from experience (my own personal journey and helping others) I am quite certain that the odds are in your favour, if you chose to be patient, stick with your progress and go at it slowly.

 

Most people falter, because they pick the 2 most obvious routes.

Route A – avoid any and all movement that is uncomfortable

Route B – just ignore the pain and do it anyway.

 

Sadly, both of these routes only make it worse.

 

Do this instead:

A.   learn more about your personal pain and how it works,

B. slowly increase activity and get used to doing more, life will get easier. Slowly, yes, but then, slow and steady wins the race

 

“How can I heal faster?”

 

The answer is – depends.

 

You can always help your body’s natural healing ability along by simply not getting in its way.

 

The body can only heal and adapt so fast, there is no speeding that up.

 

But most of us have habits that slow down healing without realizing.

 

Here are a few examples:

 

  • Sugar, too much of it slows might slow down your healing,
  • Poor sleep – sleeping poorly may contribute to inflammation not leaving the body
  • Mental health and stress –  daily stresses, anxiety and depression worsen pain sensitivity and contribute to pain significantly more than actual injury – crazy right
  • Some pain medication may actually stop you from healing properly – work with your doctor to slowly wean yourself off your pain medication

 

Most importantly don’t go looking for quick fixes, a magic pill or someone promising you rapid healing.

It takes time, only you can fix you, nobody can do it for you.

 

Here are some other things you can try to do.

 

  1. Learn about your pain ( have a look at this TeDx talk  to get you started)
  2. Calming Chinese Yoga 
  3.  Meditation
  4. Hypnosis
  5. Healthy eating