How to manage pain & move with easeHeidi Hadley
The biggest question I am asked as a Clinical Somatic Educator and Somatic Movement teacher is “how can I manage my pain and move with ease?” In today’s blog I will explain with some basic neuroscience how you can manage pain and move with ease.
Is pain the enemy?
Many people view pain as the enemy. Granted, if you have struggled for years with pain, you will feel it is an enemy and holds you back. However, how would you feel if I was to tell you that pain is not an accurate measure of tissue health. People can have pain and show no tissue damage or structural changes. Whereas, others can have structural and tissues changes yet feeling no pain! Pain can be very distressing for people, for instance, many years ago health professionals did not take people with amputated limb(s) seriously when they complained of intense pain. Their view was “how can you feel pain? The limb is no longer there?” Thankfully, due to Pain scientists and Neuroscientists we now have a deeper understanding of phantom limb pain. This is where moving forward with science, reading and observing the research is imperative to stay up to date with pain managment.
Pain is a protector and interestingly have you ever noticed how when you get pain, your behaviour changes? This action is happening from your brain, it is allowing the change in behaviour to help your tissues to heal. For instance you may move away from a hot or sharp object to protect yourself from further injury or pain. Pain scientists have discovered that pain is a warning signal from your brain. However, it is not just the sensory stimulation involved in this experience, there is a narrative to go along with it and it usually has credible evidence to say from your memory “this is not safe, I need to protect my body.” However, as a Clinical Somatic Educator, I see how pain can at times make people too protective, creating unnecessary, hyper-vigilant warning signs. Often a detailed story, event, thought or environment can create a layering of intense pain to the client.
If you are a regular reader of my blogs, you will know that I often discuss how we are controlled by our subconscious actions. You see, your brain is absolutely amazing and will do things without you even realising! What can often happen in the case of pain, is a conditioning of one’s behaviour. This conditioning has been known in human behaviour right back to 1901! Have you heard of Pavlov’s dog? This was one of the first really well known experiments to link conditioning to the subconscious. The scientist, Pavlov would offer food to a dog and every time the dog saw the food, he would salivate. At the same time, Pavlov would ring a bell. Over time, the dog was conditioned to salivate when the bell rang and there was no food offered!
Conditioning is one way your brain learns pain. Again, thanks to neuroplasticity, the more you practice something, the more receptive your brain and body becomes to something. However, the actions of neuroplasticity can work against you. How? The longer your nervous system produces pain, the better it gets at producing it and learns pain. The reason for this is because within your tissues you have very specific neurons that are sensitive to certain stimuli, such as chemical, thermal or mechanical. When these neurons are activated, warning signals run up your spinal cord and at times to your brain, creating something known as Nociception. The amazing thing is, this is happening all of the time but it will only sometimes result in pain. Think about ow many times during the day you have moved away from a potential danger, such as moving your hand away from a splash of boiling water as you pour yourself a cup of tea. Thanks to the warning signal and large amounts of information stored in your mind, you know it makes sense to take action and move your hand away, even though this is usually subconscious and instantaneous.
However, within my clinical practice and online, I have worked with many clients that have pain without any physical stimuli. They have often found other factors can stimulate warning signals that cause pain to feel exactly the same as if a physical stimuli was involved. The non physical stimuli often has thoughts, emotions and locations associated with it, just to name a few. That is where Total Somatics brings education in with the Online Workshops for Members. I delve deeper into the why these feelings are so. I also help dissect the various layers linked with pain. Within the online program, clients have the opportunity to have one on one clinical somatic sessions with me online at a discounted price. From the material within the online program, we use it and begin tailoring what they need individually. Using the latest techniques in neuroscience, pain science, neuropsychology and somatic movement, I help you retrain your pain system with Somatic movement, mindset techniques and other approaches to help you tale back control of your health.
On Saturday 4th July at 7pm Australian Eastern, 10am British Summer time and 5am Eastern time, I will be holding a Live workshop. We will develop on from this month’s workshop and will learn how to work with movement, emotions linked with pain, the influence of pain and sensation on a cellular level and how we can use somatic movement and other tools to reduce pain, move freely and improve posture. I will send an invitation link to members very soon. As with all workshops, if you cannot attend, it will be recorded and available to view at your leisure within the online program.
In the meantime, please check out my podcast,
Self management of Chronic Pain.
To access it, go to:
Click on ‘Support’
Click on ‘Podcast’
This podcast links well with today’s blog and I will develop on from this podcast within the upcoming workshop.
For non members:
Check out my podcast episodes with Dr Sarah Wilson ND. We have a Podcast series called Really Well Women. The following episodes are in line with this week’s blog.
If you would like to be notified of the next time we open the doors to our membership enrolment, please leave your details on our wait list by CLICKING HERE.
Have a brilliant week.
Heidi Hadley xx