Dealing with recurring aches and pains over and over again is not ideal. If you’re someone whose back ‘goes out’ every six months, or your neck is right back to stiff feeling as soon as you seem to have loosened it up, or you’re waking up once again with shoulder pain, you know how much of a disruption this is on your life.
In this article, I’m going to share a client story of becoming more resilient against recurring injuries and the most important turning point that helped them get into a new era of feeling great in their body.
Why Do I Keep Tweaking My Back?
My student, JD, has been athletic throughout her life. She is the kind of person to take up a really challenging fitness program and have fun doing it. Put another way, she’s easily motivated to workout. One of her goals when she started coaching with me was to put a stop to the recurring aches and pains that would put her out of commission for weeks at a time. They seemed to always localize to her back.
We started with the basics of building her foundation, putting together a program that built each of the Six Pillars of an unbreakable body. In her workouts, she was building key areas of the body not only to work better on their own, but to work better together as well.
Then, we added in education on how and why the brain can create painful sensations. Your brain creates pain when it perceives a threat. And, that perception of a threat can have nothing to do with if there’s actually a dangerous threat being posed to your body’s tissues. Things like stress, sleep, breathing quality and depth, beliefs, worries, and much more, can contribute to your brain deciding to sound the alarm with a painful sensation.
We actually got to test out the efficacy of these efforts when she had a stressful week and her back seized up. Rather than be out of commission for weeks as she would be normally, she was back to 100% in four days.
Now you might be thinking, shouldn’t she stop having back tweaks entirely if the program worked for her? Herein lies one of the greatest fallacies in fitness and body care today – that you can somehow make it so you never get injured or develop some kind of body issue ever again.
You are a complex being living in an uncontrollable world. Your strategies for physical training and body care must account for that.
How Do I Work On Injury Prevention?
You don’t. You work instead on improving your resistance and your resilience. My student, JD, would surely love to never feel her back go out again. But no one can guarantee that. (And if they do guarantee such a thing, they’re lying.) What we can do instead is make her more resistant to future aches and pains. And we can make her more resilient should an ache or pain occur.
Improving your resistance to injury means improving what your tissues and joints can tolerate before they hit the point of not holding up for you anymore. It also means improving the other areas of your life that contribute to whether or not you feel a painful sensation.
Becoming more resistant to aches and injuries is a form of system management. You’re making your tissues capable of handling more, thereby making them more effective. And you’re becoming a better caretaker of your life so that the other aspects of your existence are in support of your physical well-being.
Improving your resilience to injury means improving how quickly you bounce back after the thing that disrupted how you were feeling and moving.
Resilience is built by building your physical body to support you and sustain you in all that you do. It involves finding out where you have less range of motion than you need and improving that. It includes increasing your strength to adequate levels to support the kind of life you want to lead.
It might also mean looking at how you breathe, how you sleep, what you’re eating, how stressed you are, and everything else that contributes to you moving in an up and to the right trajectory in life.
Two Questions To Help You
Deal With Your Recurring Aches & Pains
Are the accommodations you’re using to move through the world working for you?
The answer is probably ‘no’ if you are reading this article hoping for answers to your aches and pains.
Accommodations are how your body strategizes to use your joints and tissues to move your body. If your hips can’t move as much as your body needs to, your body may accommodate you by moving the spine more to account for what the hips aren’t doing. This works just fine, until it doesn’t.
If it’s not working, figure out how to give your body more options for accommodating you so that you can feel better in how you’re moving.
What signals might your body need to get it to create the response you desire?
Your body is always responding to the signals it receives. Sometimes the strategy for what feels like a physical issue – muscle pain, joint issues, etc. – is not physical at all. My client JD made a big connection between life outside of workout time and life inside of workout time when she learned that non-physical factors like stress and beliefs can contribute to physical pain.
By starting with these two questions, you can head down a multitude of rabbit holes to learn further tools and strategies to help your body have better resistance and resilience to aches, pains, and injuries. If you were reading this article hoping for the one magic solution to your recurring aches and pains, I’m sorry to say that’s not how it works. Nuance is very real for human bodies.
If you’re ready to get help and support in figuring out how to sort through the nuance that is you, consider one-on-one coaching. I’ve got two spots open right now for one-on-one coaching clients. Click here or on the image below to be taken to a form you can fill out to get started.