Pain is almost always a perfect storm. Rarely does pain occur due to a singular cause and effect. Instead, pain potential tends to accumulate within us until the nervous system decides it’s time to get our attention.
In order to make sense of pain, we have to understand what pain is. Pain is the body’s way of getting our attention. Chances are, before you experienced acute pain your body was trying to get your attention with subtle sensations and gentle nudges, but these may have escaped your notice.
The human body will produce subtle aches and sensations of tension, burning, numbness, twinges of sharpness or other signals that something is amiss. Often though, it takes a more acute and intense level of pain to spur us to action.
Modern medicine likes to make us believe that pain is abnormal, and if you experience pain there must be some dysfunction in your body that can be identified and treated with pharmaceuticals or surgery. We image everything in our attempts to “diagnose” pain with a singular cause. Bulging discs, degenerative discs, tendinopathy, bursitis, tendonitis, inflammation…
But pain is not singular in nature, it is a systemic experience requiring a systemic perspective for real healing to occur.
There are a lot of videos on Mobility Mastery offering you single fascia release techniques for pain like back or knee pain, plantar fasciitis or shoulder pain…but I hope I’ve made it clear over the years that these are my best “one off” suggestions for getting the most immediate relief, while stressing that the root cause is likely something else altogether.
I don’t want to overwhelm you. But I also refuse to bullshit you. A lot of people out there want you to think pain is simple or easy to “fix.” Sometimes it is. Often, it is not. But thinking it should be simple when it is not will guarantee you frustration and spinning your wheels.
Or worse, it may cause you to feel defective, because if you believe healing “should” be fast but your pace is not “normal” (a lie told to you by someone) then you’re likely to not feel normal, which can cause shame and self-blame.
If you’re willing to acknowledge that your pain feels complex, that’s a starting point for simplifying it.
Start here: try to find some patterns. Patterns can show you what is happening and guide you to the root cause, and when you find the root cause you will know what to do for healing.
Patterns can feel labyrinthian in nature, so if you’re new to pattern recognition and it’s not coming easily…then it may feel like you’re walking a maze with no outlet. But I promise (remember, I will not BS you), there is a pattern to the madness of your pain.
Patterns can be found in fascia; in your nervous system; in your lifestyle and habits, and each of these link back to each other in patterns too.
You played soccer in high school and college, then got a desk job and now you sit a lot during the week, but on weekends you mountain bike and play tennis.
You were told repeatedly as a child “don’t cry like a girl” and a few times they even used the paddle on you. Your response to this was to turn around and say “is that all you got?” in defiance, committed to never showing the pain.
The pain started in college, with sharp pain radiating down your left leg. Sciatica. You went to the doctor and they gave you a cortisone injection (which stung like crazy but whatever you have to do, right?) The injection worked for a little while, but then the pain came back. You decided to live with it since you were done with college and competitive soccer anyway.
A year into your new desk job you start feeling pain in your right knee, which gets a whole lot worse every time you play tennis. So you stop playing tennis. Hey, as long as you can mountain bike and work out in the gym, right?
Meanwhile, your marriage is experiencing a lot of tension. But you’re in so much pain physically, it’s really hard to handle this additional stress. So you spend as little time at home as possible, because those confrontations just aren’t worth it and besides…you never resolve anything anyway.
But now, despite your best efforts to avoid the triggers, your knee pain and sciatica are worse than ever.
So you take to google, and your internet search for answers leads to you a YouTube channel called Mobility Mastery. This girl is telling you that sciatica is coming from your quads?!
You have a foam roller in your closet that you’ve never really used, because…ouch! But you get that thing out and follow along with the video. Only…her method is even more excruciating than just rolling! Holy cow!
Your mind screams “this can’t be normal, is this normal? Is this ok? Am I going to hurt myself?”
Do you see any patterns? I’ve done my best to encapsulate the important elements impacting all of us when it comes to physical pain: our nervous system orientation to pain; our emotions and stress levels; our willingness (or refusal) to confront “what is”; physical patterns of lifestyle, sports and habits…
I’m not actually going to solve this for you. That would do you a massive disservice. I want you to cultivate the capacity for pattern recognition yourself. If I tell you what the patterns are, I’ll cheat you out of actually learning anything.
But…I’d love for you to share your best answers to this puzzle in the comments section below! Only one rule: no cheating and reading other answers first 😉
Your life has a story to tell. There are patterns present that can illuminate your mindset, your physical reality, your emotional and nervous system patterns, your automated behaviors…and freeing yourself from these automations is what I am all about.
Ultimate freedom is about extracting our consciousness from anything that enslaves it to habitual or automated thinking, feeling and (re)action.
Free your mind, and your body follows; free your body, and your mind can follow…
* Disclaimer: The contents of this blog and accompanying YouTube channel are for informational purposes only and do not render medical or psychological advice, opinion, diagnosis, or treatment. The information provided through this website is expressly the opinions of each author and should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease. This is not a substitute for professional care. If you have or suspect you may have a medical or psychological problem, you should consult your appropriate health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. Links on this website are provided only as an informational resource, and it should not be implied that we recommend, endorse or approve of any of the content at the linked sites, nor are we responsible for their availability, accuracy or content.
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