Pain, injury and achiness can suck all the joy out of training, and daily life.
What I describe here is one of the most broadly applicable and powerful techniques I’ve discovered over the decades to reduce the pain and recover joy in movement.
This approach is quite different from the various exercise and equipment based solutions you will get from most physios or fitness experts. These have their value too, but especially if the pain you experience is chronic I expect you will find this method both flexible and helpful.
While the technique might seem a little new age on the surface it uses many components of modern pain science.
This article will start with a very short summary of the science that backs the method up, continue with the method itself and finish with some of the positive side effects that you may also experience.
Subjectively we tend to experience pain as a set of very specific sensations located in the physical space of the body. However the science of pain describes a different process.
The science demonstrates that pain is created by the brain, in the brain. That is not to say pain is unrelated to what is going on elsewhere in the body, but there are no hardwired pain circuits to create specific sensations when a bone gets banged or a joint gets twisted.
The process of pain begins when specific nerve endings (nociceptors) are stimulated in certain circumstances which send a signal to the brain. Nociceptors may be stimulated by pressure, force, temperature and chemicals. So far this runs in line with intuitive understanding.
Where the science differs is that it shows that the stimulation of nociceptors does not actually guarantee that we will feel anything. Whether or not we consciously feel pain depends on many other things that happen in the body and in the brain. The two that I want to focus on are emotional state and habit.
When people feel more secure and less stressed they tend to feel less pain. Hence the anesthetic effect of a mother’s kiss. So we can modulate pain through taking care of our emotional state.
The second factor is habit. The nervous system works in part by reinforcing the past…