ARE YOU READY TO GET OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL OF PAIN?
"I have tried massage and yoga before and while it felt nice I didn't get the long-term results I'd hoped for. How is this different?"
Enjoy A Breath
Let's back up. If you're here because you're tired of feeling stuck in your body and are ready to fix this "insert injury"! I've got news for you. You didn't "really" just wake up and... or bend over and...
Injury is not necessary for pain.
Pain does not equal injury. And injury does not always equal pain. Pain and injury are two wholly different definitions.
- Chronic and persistent pain does not always mean injury.
- Chronic pain can be a diagnosis in and of itself. There does not have to be an underlying injury or structural damage that is causing the pain.
- There is no definitive scan or x-ray or test that can identify the cause of most chronic pain, so pain patients are often made to feel that “since there is no injury, there should be no pain”.
Pain equals pain.
So what is Pain?
Pain is an output of the brain: a warning system telling us to slow down and assess the situation and maybe change up our behaviors a bit to mitigate the pain.
Your brain works like an algorithm that is constantly being bombarded with environmental feedback and raw data. This data can come from emotional and mental stress as well as from physical. Your brain decides how to respond and interpret that data, setting parameters for what it deems to be "safe". Your brain will always opt for the "safe" and "familiar" path. Now more than ever we are living in our concrete jungle and your brain is on the lookout for the next "lion" or text message. This response can include a shortening of muscle fibers or feelings of pain and numbness.
Over time your body has made many micro-adjustments in an attempt to maintain balance, conserve energy, and protect itself from the prospect of harm. From a mobility standpoint adaptations to your muscles may not be the most "functional", often resulting in a forced shortening or splinting of the overstretched weak muscles like in the mid and upper back. Energy use, nutrient flow, and waste removal is also reduced in these muscles from prolonged contraction leading to loss of muscle function, local toxicity, irritation, and further pain.
Is your neck pain driving you crazy? Are you looking to feel lighter in your body? I will work with you to establish a customized plan that you can embrace that meets your needs and prepares you for the life you want to live. You will learn to create and cultivate your mind-body connection so that you can reduce stress and prevent injury. Facilitating the body's emergence from a "state of confusion" as opposed to fixing something that is broken.
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Example: Upper-Crossed Syndrome (Hunchbackasana)
We have a client with "upper-crossed syndrome", meaning they have a postural distortion pattern that involves rounding of the upper back with rounded/forward shoulders and forward-head posture.
The massage therapist knows that a major focus of their session would be to massage and stretch the locked-short pectoral "push" muscles. Loosening the pecs would allow the client to open their shoulder girdles back into retraction for optimal stretch and release the forward pull on the shoulder girdle. But if this is all that is done, and if the retractor "pull" muscles of the shoulder girdles (rhomboids and trapezius, especially middle trapezius) are weak, the client would not be able to maintain this position of a neutral shoulder girdle retraction and would fall back into protraction.
How many times have you told yourself to sit up straight only to find yourself slumped back over once you took your mind off of it? Did you straighten up as you read this?
On the other hand, a major focus of a strength program would be to strengthen the "pull" musculature to bring the shoulder girdles back into retraction. But if this is all that is done, their efforts will be thwarted by tight shoulder "push" muscles that would not allow for the shoulder girdles back into full range of motion. These muscles are also usually in a state of forced "protective contraction." Muscles in forced contraction often trigger pain outputs which may prevent you from performing the necessary movement to strengthen the muscles.
The Chicken and the Egg
A balanced approach to treating this client might be to massage and stretch the pec "push" muscles to loosen them, release the trigger points and tight muscles in the "Pull" muscles, and then strengthen the retractor "pull" muscles with resistance training to increase the strength of its baseline tone. We might call this a yin-and-yang approach or perhaps the chicken and the egg.
Is upper-crossed syndrome caused by tight protractors, or is it caused by weak retractors? The answer is, of course, both. And if one is present, the other will develop, which will then reinforce the first, and so on, causing a vicious cycle. For true healing, we need to address the chicken and the egg.
Blog: How poor posture is affecting your ability to fully express your Yoga.
What we're doing:
We Spend most of our time sitting: Eating, Driving, Lounging, School, and Office! Sitting.
- Encourages poor posture by tightening the front body and the over-stretching/weakening of muscles in the back body. (The one's we just talked about fixing.)
- Sitting at your desk shortens your hip flexors putting the pelvis off balance, leading to low back pain and compensation in the upper torso.
- Lower-leg musculature becomes inactive. This causes less-than-ideal circulation, which leads to congested tissues and reduced performance.
- Lack of elbow support leaves the elbows floating which causes your shoulder elevators to shorten and splint to conserve energy and reduce fatigue.
- Your spine is designed to balance and evenly distribute the weight of your skull. Every one degree your head leans forward adds 10 pounds that your back muscles have to try and counterbalance in their weakened state.
This adapted posture doesn't just go away when you stand up. When you go to do your other non-sitting activities with your misaligned programming, those activities will also be originating from a place of unconscious imbalance and misleading pain alarms. This is a big reason why you may have not had the success you were hoping to achieve in previous attempts to reduce pain and increase mobility or even saw the opposite.
It is better to prevent than to cure.
- Peruvian proverb
You've already learned that to turn off the pain and stiffness that came from too much sitting, you may need to restore your tissues and joints. I do Yoga, I get a massage but?
Stress The Lion Stalking the Elephant.
How We're doing it.
Most of the time it's not just what we're doing, but how we're doing it. Are you stressed from work meeting a deadline? Do you sit down for a project only to realize hours have passed and you haven't moved from that spot?
Stress symptoms may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. Yet Stress can affect your body, your thoughts, and your behavior. Stress symptoms may be the blame for irritating headaches, frequent insomnia, or decreased productivity at work. The majority of all illness is rooted in stress.
When you feel tired or stressed your posture reflects it. Old brain outputs often caused by mental or emotional stress rather than a physical injury can manifest as pain or adapted changes in posture.
- Example: There was a time when you were in a situation where you felt nervous or stressed to meet a deadline, in the moment your body instinctively curled up into a defensive fetal posture hunching over your laptop and your adrenaline increased. Now that's in the past, weeks, months, years. But your brain is always on guard, to be ready to fight or flight the Lion. So it remembers that event so it can react and respond without hesitation the next time it happens. You probably didn't even notice your posture change when it first happened. But just recalling it or feeling a similar situation can trigger a response.
The problem is, this programming was great when we were actually running from lions. In our modern concrete jungle lifestyle, there are "lions" everywhere. Phone Notifications, Emails, Work, Traffic, Family. All triggering your brain to be on the defensive reaffirming those old brain outputs like an algorithm becoming learned responses. But that path is not always the most optimal for a functional life, guiding you towards a life of pain and limited mobility, but hey it knows this pain.
Your brain needs to relearn that you are safe mentally, emotionally, and physically so that it can come out of Stress Response and return to normal function. Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can help you manage them. Stress that's left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes. If you keep clicking the cat videos they'll keep showing up in your feed.
How this ads up.
- Reprogramming your mind and body that you're not injured or in "danger" and it's ok to let go of its compensatory splinting patterns (perceived as stiffness/lack of ROM) that were the body's attempt to stabilize painful and unstable areas. This will allow you to move back into realignment.
- Improved alignment decreases pain and improves performance. Shortened muscles are weak muscles.
- Releasing the taught fibers in the muscle can cause a measurable improvement in strength as you will have access to more muscle fibers than were available to you before.
- Since your brain is not constantly responding to the feedback loop of old output. This allows the Fight or Flight response to downregulate. Decreasing stress (the cause of most illnesses) on the body and mind.
Just having a plan and a routine to take action helps alleviate the stress of deciding what to do next. How often has this undecidedness stopped you from taking any action at all? We often get lost just figuring out where to start or get caught up in the planning we're too burned out to implement resulting in lost time, energy, and discouragement.
EACH INDIVIDUAL’S WILLINGNESS TO TAKE ACTION TO SUSTAIN AND IMPROVE HIS OR HER OWN ENERGY PRODUCES A POWERFUL INFLUENCE THAT HAS THE POTENTIAL TO AFFECT HEALING THROUGHOUT THE COMMUNITY AND EVEN THE WORLD.
- R. Jahnke
At The Root of Wellness, our focus is the restoration of normal, pain-free movement. With our adapted functional approach to Thai Bodywork and Yoga we achieve muscular effects, to provide a conscious experience of normal movement. Regular massage and yoga creates self-awareness that you can really feel, and this enables you to make better choices for your wellness. But what are my choices...?
We are here to support your journey on the path to health. My sole purpose is to provide treatment that energizes, balances, heals, and relaxes so you can maintain a healthy and vital life or recover from a stressed, injured, or traumatic state. And to provide you with the tools to empower you to break the cycle of pain and maintain a "Nutritious Movement Based" life of longevity off of the mat.
You'll be surprised how quickly we can work together to make measurable improvements and get you feeling better. Go beyond personal care massage with Cannabis Infused Functional Thai bodywork and Yoga.
Mobility Programming, Self-Care, and Life Practice Support:This is a lifestyle change and it can be hard to go at it on your own without a plan. I will work with you, your physician, or your personal trainer to establish a program that meets your needs and prepares you for the activities of your life. Once I understand your needs, I can offer a variety of therapeutic massage modalities, yoga, and self-care which can be customized into a plan that you can embrace. You will learn to recognize and take action to reprogram your mind-body connection and prevent injury.
Schedule a Call to talk and see if I can support you.