By Becky Weaver:
No Pain, No Gain!?
Everyone will experience pain at some point in their lives. For some people, pain is persistent, constant, and all consuming. If you are living with persistent or chronic pain, movement is still necessary to complete your daily tasks. Although movement can be painful, it can also be helpful. In fact, a certain amount of movement can actually help your body heal, improve your sense of well-being, and minimize your pain!
So what is this “certain amount of movement” that we speak of? What amount of pain is safe? Follow the tips below to find out.
Find the Edge of your pain.
Move to point where your pain is present, but not distracting or all-encompassing. Now go to a place where the pain is a bit more, but still tolerable. This point is called the Edge.
You might be doing a certain exercise, or you might be doing a daily task, like brushing your teeth.
When you have reached the Edge, ask yourself: Am I safe? Most likely, you will be doing a daily task that you have done many times before and the answer to your question will be, “Of course I’m safe! I’m brushing my teeth!”
The next question to ask is, “Will I pay for this later?” This question is answered by your previous experience with the activity. Last time you did this activity, did you hurt for hours afterwards? Did the pain subside quickly? Let the answer to this question guide your decision on how much to move or exercise at your Edge.
Three things to do at the Edge.
Once you have found your Edge and you are moving or exercising safely there, do three things to help your body heal:
1. Breath calmly.
2. Minimize your body tension.
3. Keep your mind calm.
Moving at your Edge is essential to help your body heal. By frequently challenging your body just the right amount, you will be able to change your pain. This process takes a lot of practice, but with time, it is possible.
If you have more questions about how to breathe calmly, minimize body tension, or calm your mind, ask your physiotherapist for help. You can live better with chronic pain!