When pain persists our nervous system becomes over sensitised. Neuro-scientists call this ‘central sensitisation’. When this occurs, sometimes even safe and healthy movements are perceived as painful and dangerous and we avoid them.
This changes the physiology of our body as it weakens and tightens and in turn increases the sensitivity of our nervous system further.
More importantly, if it is allowed to continue over a long period of time, we may stop doing many things and our lifestyle gradually changes, losing the very things that give our lives meaning. Our relationships and our ability to look after ourselves can suffer. We constantly try to avoid pain and it becomes our focus. We don’t have time and energy and most important of all, confidence to pursue the things that bring fulfilment and meaning to our lives. Does this sound like you? Read on….
A ‘biopsychosocial approach’ entails looking at factors such as:
- biomechanical factors such as weakness and tightness;
- habitual postures;
- movement patterns;
- beliefs about our pain;
- our emotions;
- our social situation;
- lifestyle and
- stress factors
- what gives our life meaning
By taking a more holistic (bio-psycho-social) approach, considering all the relevant factors that influence our situation, we can be helped to let go of some of our struggles. If we can calm the nervous system and begin to move our bodies, change and improvement is possible.
Mindfulness (being aware) of thoughts and movement, breathing, changing the mental focus using visualisation, sound or distraction and many other techniques can be invaluable in helping us move toward better health based on value and meaning, rather than being stuck in fear and worry.
Have a look at this quick video to gain more understanding. You may be able to relate to some of the things they say.
Mindfulness based therapy (ACT, see www.actmindfully.com.au ) can help us to understand our pain, our thoughts and our consequent stress and suffering. By stepping a little aside from our situation we can feel more empowered to manage our pain and be able to get on with our lives and enjoy those things that give us meaning, such as our relationships, work, health and fitness……….