Hello and welcome to this week’s blog, Part ONE of two blogs… How to be Pain Free. That’s a big one, isn’t it? If I could wave a magic wand and instantly take your pain away, I’d have queues across the town.
So, I don’t have a magic wand, and I can not take your pain away instantly. However, what I can do is help you understand why you are in pain and what steps you can do manage it or remove it from your daily life.
Ever put your back out and it still hurts months and years later?
Avoid exercise because you think you will hurt more from it?
Do you avoid other activities that might aggravate a previous injury and will put you in pain again?
How to be Pain Free
About eighteen months ago I put my own back out. Just because I am a massage therapist does not mean that I am immune to painful issues.
I was lifting weights during my workout, in a squat. I remember that I had a lot on my mind that day. My schedule for the day, and the week was running through my mind, and I was not really focusing on what I was doing. I had two more sets to lift and I just needed to get it done and get out of there. On the second rep of that set, as I lowered the bar, I felt my form break. Specifically, I felt my pelvis shift forward and back again very quickly and I knew instantly something was not right. I did not finish lowering the bar, simply got it racked and got out from under it. My back was in immediate pain, it felt like spasms and the pain somewhere akin to childbirth and circling pretty much the same area.
It is no joke when someone’s back goes, it is difficult to maintain a straight thought, let alone seek help
I immediately got down on to the floor and into child’s pose from yoga, thinking this might help, and it did. Until I tried to relax and everything spasmed again. I got up again, with great difficulty and hobbled from the garden gym and into the house, whereby I knew I needed painkillers and took the last available ones. The most comfortable position I could find was to rest in was laying over the kitchen counter while my legs dangled a little bit!
I did what I advise clients to do with back pain and I kept on moving. Even going as a passenger in the car with my husband to buy more painkillers. I was bent forward like an old woman and I was shuffling, but I insisted that I needed to keep moving. I needed to lift my legs with my hands, to get in and out of the car as it hurt too much to lift them naturally.
Keep on moving
Once home, armed with painkillers and heat pads, I put an ice pack on my back and continued to shuffle up and down the living room until the evening. It was at that time I was able to assess myself with a little more sense, as the worst of the pain had subsided.
I was able to determine that it was my quads that were the source of the pain, for a variety of reasons. So I set to work to self-massage them and get them released. Because of that situation, I now know that my quads are super responsive to stimuli but also stubborn as hell to release. I stretched, I foam rolled and I kept on moving. Stretching was a little challenging for me as I am hyper-mobile in places and so it took quite a lot of stretching to get to that magic point of releasing them.
Keep on stretching
It was the next day, somewhere around lunchtime after a night with a heat pad and a morning of stretching, rolling and yoga moves, that I felt my quads release. It was the biggest relief in the world. And with that, the pain went too.
I was careful for a few days, getting help with any lifting I needed to do. In fact I had a mobile massage appointment that evening, so got help with carrying the couch and setting it up, but I was able to work pain free. I have not relapsed on that pain whatsoever, not once, and that is unusual for a lot of people. They have an event similar to what I have described and then they go on to have repeat events every few months and end up giving up hobbies, activities, and exercise because of it.
Any of this sounding familiar? I hear stories like this a lot from first time clients walking in my door and often it is a lack of knowledge about their own body that is preventing them from living their life pain-free.
Quite often the solution is down to movement patterns, lifestyle choices, or recovery from an accident or operation.
But what if it isn’t down to one of those reasons? There is another reason, and that is known as Biopsychosocial.
Check in next week to find out about biopsychosocial pain and for the second part of my How to Be Pain Free blog.
Thank you for reading and if you have any question please get in touch, see you soon,