Pain is communication from your body and brain that something is wrong and needs attention.
If the check engine light in your car goes on, you know something is wrong and needs to be fixed. When your body is experiencing pain, it’s similar to the check engine light. Something is wrong and needs your attention.
When the light goes on in your car, you can ignore it or even cover it up with some tape so it doesn’t distract your attention. Doing this will only allow the problem to continue and in most cases get worse. The longer you wait to fix the problem it can become more complicated and expensive to repair.
The same is true with your body. When you experience pain, instead of masking it with a painkiller or anti-inflammatory drug, pay attention and take action. Otherwise, your problem is bound to get bigger and more difficult to fix.
If you are suffering from pain in your muscles and joints, you most likely have chronic trauma. Unless you had a recent traumatic event such as a car crash or fall down a flight of stairs, the pain you feel is from damage that has developed little by little over time from constant wear and tear. If you allow this damage to continue it will get worse and more difficult to fix.
Chronic Trauma has several names:
- Cumulative Trauma
- Overuse Syndrome
- Repetitive Stress/Strain Injury
- Postural Stress Injury
Whatever name we give it, the body has been worn down and is no longer functioning properly.
Here is an example of pain caused by chronic trauma. If you sit throughout the day working at a computer or driving a car, your body encounters the same stress. Programming software, entering data, working a switch board, or maneuvering a steering wheel each keep you seated for long periods of time with your arms repetitively reaching in front of your body.
The head is moving forward, the upper back is rounding into a small hump, and the shoulders are rounding forward and in. This is what happens when you work at a desk or drive for 8–10 hours a day. You may feel some discomfort so you stretch, take an ant-inflammatory, or sleep it off and repeat. However, over time, this type of trauma builds up and eventually your body breaks down.
You can observe this in people who are walking hunched over, neck forward, and chin up, so they can see where they are going. This is not just bad posture. This is a body adapting to repeated trauma. The body no longer has structural integrity and is not able to function properly. In many cases you will experience one or more of the following; shallow breathing, headaches, stiff joints, tight muscles, chronic pain, and numbness in your hands.
This is a common experience and if caught early enough can be fixed or even prevented.
A similar situation happens in the lower back from prolonged sitting. The hip muscles get tight and pull the pelvis down in the front weakening your abdominals and creating tightness or pinching in the lower back. It can make standing or walking for more than a half hour painful. You can also have symptoms such as tight hips, back pain, numbness or tingling in the legs, stiff joints, muscle weakness and even digestive issues.
If you don’t correct the structure, then you develop poor movement patterns. Your body will be moving ineffectively, which can lead to more pain and create further damage. If left unchecked this will make even healthy activities such as yoga, exercise, weight lifting, and walking painful.
If you let this chronic trauma go untreated long enough, you may find that a sneeze can throw your back out. You may also experience that sleeping wrong or turning your head too fast can lead to your neck or back getting stiff and painful. These are each examples of your body becoming weakened from chronic trauma. The sneeze, turning your head, or a bad night’s sleep was nothing more than the straw that broke the camel’s back.
To get back to the car analogy from earlier. When the check engine light goes on, it’s time to get your car checked. The same is true for your body. The first time you experience discomfort, it’s time to take a look at what’s wrong and make some corrections. Otherwise, you will create more damage to your body and the next warning signal will be louder and more difficult to fix.
Too often people in pain are instructed on how to stop the pain which is only a symptom, instead we need to focus on getting to the cause of your problem. You can waste a lot of time and money on therapies that do nothing more than provide you with a temporary solution to a chronic problem. It’s important to stop masking the signal and get to the source of your problem. The source in most musculoskeletal pain is STRUCTURE and FUNCTION.
My solution to musculoskeletal pain is to improve the structural alignment of your body and recover functional movement. This process leads your body to overcome pain, move with confidence and experience better health.
To learn more about this and see how to fix your pain or prevent it from happening, check out my Solutions page.