Someone posts this meme on my Facebook wall every time it comes around and it makes me sad.
Look, I HAVE BEEN THERE. I was in severe chronic pain (9/10 on the pain scale) for years after my car accident. I was supposedly “crippled for life” and I UNDERSTAND the frustration and dark humor that arises from being in that situation. And I am the last person to try to tell you how to feel.
BUT… I also know as a professional healthcare provider, with 20 years of experience treating that chronic severe pain that you will heal better – and handle it better emotionally if it CANNOT be healed – if you are able to think of your body as a sick or injured friend instead of an enemy. Your traps and paraspinal muscles do not hate you. They are struggling.
Imagine you had plans with your friend, and they cancelled because they had strep throat. You wouldn’t be mad at them and call them terrible names. You would wish them speedy healing, and maybe bring them soup, right?
Your muscles have been damaged by injury, repetitive stress, or poor ergonomics. They are doing the best they can. What if they are screaming because they are under duress, and need your help?
LISTEN TO THEM.
Fix your posture (Lift the head and relax everything else – don’t do the forced-back rigid thing). Get some light, frequent movement. Start as small and briefly as you need, even if it’s making snow angels in bed, and gradually increase your level of exercise as you can. Weed out ergonomic problems at your desk. You want to challenge the body part instead of stressing it, which also means avoiding retraumatizing it with violent chiropractic or overly aggressive massage. Find a skilled acupuncturist and / or therapeutic medical massage specialist who can retrain your neurological and fascial systems. If you’re storing stress in your body, try to find ways to release it. Reduce inflammation, via meds if necessary, but also via your nutritional choices (sugar increases your pain). Learn to consciously relax your muscles – it’s difficult at first, but incredibly powerful when
you practice, and will change your life. Please talk to me if I can help you learn about these self-care ideas or give you hands-on care.
WHAT IF YOU BROUGHT YOUR MUSCLES SOME SOUP?
Let’s try this again…