4 minute read

Get out of pain!

1. You're lazy

Think about your daily movement patterns. How much variety is there? If you drive to work to sit at a desk and then relax by coming home and watching TV, you're living your life essentially seated in front of a screen. You need to change up the patterns: stand, run, twist, bend and move, not just your body but your eyes and head too.

2. You eat crap

What you eat has an impact on your pain levels from the point of view of your total energy system. If your diet is causing inflammation, you are spending way too much energy on dealing with your food because you're fighting what you put into your body. Experiment with adding more anti-inflammatory foods into your diet.

3. You're an emotional wreck

Your emotional state impacts your pain levels. If you go around angry, depressed, and upset all the time, you are more likely to be in pain. Put on your favorite music, hang out with friends, laugh and see how even small tweaks can impact your mood and your pain.

4. You have terrible posture

Chronic postural abnormalities can cause more pain because you're forcing your body to compensate in ways it's not designed to do. Don't think of posture as how you consciously hold your body, though. Posture is the result of how you move, on a sub-conscious level. Go back to point #1. If you don't have a varied diet of daily movement, your posture will suffer.

5. You don't sleep well

We tend to underestimate the value of a good night's sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, you need to spend more time preparing for it each night. You might even need a couple of hours of lead time to begin to wind down. Cut off visual stimulation and find ways to feel your body, not feed your brain.

6. You're stressed out

Researchers are blaming stress for exacerbating disease left and right. Stress lowers all your defense mechanisms and makes you more susceptible to illness. Pain is not an exception to this phenomenon. Look for ways to eliminate stress.

7. You have old injuries

I put this way down on the list because most people think "Pain = Injury". It doesn't. The body is really good at shutting down isolated parts to let them heal when the trauma initially occurs. The problem is that there is not reflexive mechanism for opening them back up after. Instead, you accumulate a series of shut down pieces and everything around them works to compensate. Go back and systematically open things up and you will lighten the load on everything else.

8. You're obsessed with being in pain

Seriously, who reads a list called "8 Reasons You Can't Get Out of Pain"? The more you are fixated on pain, the more you will be in pain. You become what you practice, so use these tips to practice pain-free.

Now, I hope you know from reading this that I'm being a little heavy-handed here. Some of these things apply to you and some do not. The bigger point is that I want you to move away from the notion that "Pain = Broken or Injured". It really doesn't. As much as I hate the connotations of saying "pain is all in your head", from the point of view of your nervous system, it is. That doesn't mean pain isn't real. What it does mean though, is that treating pain is about talking to your nervous system ("your head"), not dealing with a specific piece of injured tissue. And you can talk to the nervous system on a lot of different levels. All of the factors outlined above could contribute to the experience of pain -- pain is highly contextual and highly individual. If you really want to get out of pain,stop hunting for the one little broken piece and take a much broader view of your pain experience.