We’ve all been there at some point, where there seems like nothing will help and we might be stuck in pain forever.
For me, this was when I was still in high school. I had suffered a nasty bulged disc pressing on my spinal cord. When all these health professionals start to use long words to describe things you’ve never heard of it’s inevitably terrifying.
So, from sitting (lying actually – at that point sitting hurt too much) in hospital, to having a thunderous sounding MRI and a GP handing me referrals to a neurosurgeon, how did I end up now thinking pain isn’t as scary as I once thought?
Osteopathy was the route of management I ended up choosing, with the ideals of regaining movement and reducing pain.
Through seeking conservative treatment, I found an interest in healthcare as a career.
Fast-forward a few years and I’m halfway through a university degree in just that, Osteopathy. The main reason I started the course in osteopathy is because I wanted to be able to do for others as was done for me.
Now, that doesn’t mean I’m pain free all the time. I still have this fun thing called flare-ups, every so often my back likes to throw some pain into the mix of day-to-day life.
If you had of seen me 2-3 years ago when I had a flare-up you would have met an anxious person worried that this time the pain might not go away. When it happens now, it’s another story.
My studies have given me an insight into the way recurrent pain works. Its not necessarily my body that’s broken, but the alarm system.
It’s like muscle memory (dancers you’ll understand) your body learns a routine and sticks to it.
Which means sometimes if I’m trying something new that moves those joints and muscles differently to normal, they like to go into ‘protection mode’.
Uni taught me that the pain of ‘protection mode’ doesn’t mean I’ve actually done any damage.
It just means my body is warning me that it doesn’t like how I’m doing something. So, instead of shying away from pain you can use it to inform the way you act.
It’s relieving to know that pain doesn’t equal damage and we can use it to better ourselves instead.
What can we do if we do start to find ourselves in pain again then?
When the alarm does go off, it might just mean it’s time to come see us again.
Our osteopaths may help you find out where the pain is coming from and how to avoid another flare-up.
We can find out why your body may be working too hard or too little to then balance out your body posture.