“I have a new pain. I don’t know what it is and I don’t know what to do about it.”
“I have had this pain for a while. Should I keep resting? Or should I exercise/stretch?”
Have you had these questions yourself too? I believe we all have before. Getting injured and getting pain (acute or chronic) is frustrating and annoying to say the least. You have problems doing your daily activities at home/work and you can not enjoy the things you like to do. You can not exercise the way you want to. Your sleep gets disturbed by pain. All these affect your mental health and other aspects of your life.
Here are some processes that you can go through when you are faced with some pain and injuries. This is an advice from who’s a licensed massage therapist for last 13 years and yoga teacher for over 15 years who has also been dealing with her own surgeries, injuries and chronic pain for many years, so these are not the medical advice that you would expect from a doctor!
Here are some questions to ask yourself first:
– Where EXACTLY is hurting? – Pin point the pain area as detailed as possible. It’s ok to move and touch the area gently to figure that out. Does the pain feel deep or on surface? What kind of pain is it, throbbing, sharp, dull, achy, constant, intermittent, etc?
– Why and how? – If you had an obvious accident/injury, this is an easy answer. However, if you do not know why/how your body is in pain, you might go back to your memory and see what you did yesterday, the day before, last week etc that could have caused the pain.
Unless it’s obvious you have to go to the doctor or ER, you decide if your pain site actually needs icing or heating instead. More often than not, the chronic pain site needs more blood flow than being frozen with ice (meaning that it will create the poor blood circulation). Some inflammation is good because that means your body is fighting and preparing the injury. Excessive icing can deter your injury from healing properly.
Do Not Stop Moving completely. Yes, you do want to rest and take it easy so that your injury/pain does not get worse, but not moving the area at all for a long time until the pain is gone will not help you get better neither. Depending on what your injury/pain is, you can still move the area carefully to facilitate the proper healing. People often say “Oh, but I’m scared of moving my body because it’s hurting”. I totally understand! When I have pain or injury, I massage the area with my hands, and move them around and see what I can still do without causing too much pain, so I know what I am still capable of doing and not. Knowing your own body is very important when you are hurt. Yoga practice can be a great way to reduce certain pain. Yoga poses can always be modified to customize for your injuries and pain so do not think that you have to stop doing yoga because one or two poses in the class hurts you. In fact, yoga relaxes your nervous system so it’s a great time to practice yoga when you are hurt.
However, if you keep hurting yourself the same spot over and over, change up your daily habits or exercises to see if that would help. For example, if you think the sitting at the desk all day is making you more pain, mix up with some standing when you work. If running is hurting you, take a break and start biking instead. If you keep waking up with pain in your neck and/or low back, change your pillow or a bed.
At this point, if the pain is not gone by itself, you probably thought about going to get a massage etc.
Yes, I recommend getting a massage to mobilize, break up scar tissues, loosen up and move the fascia, create better circulation etc.
I also recommend going to a physical therapist who can possibly diagnose what might be going on with your body. They can give you PT exercises and some other things such as dry needling.
Massage is a passive healing (massage being done to you) and PT is a bit more an active healing (you are actually doing the exercises). I believe both are really effective when they are combined.
There are so many other ways to deal with your pain. Cleaning up your diet is one of them. Reducing the inflammatory food from your diet can be helpful. Are you getting enough sleep? Are you drinking enough water?
Also, you want to look at how much you are stressed in your daily life. Do you think your stress is causing some tension/tightness in your body?
After you visited PT, did PT exercises for a while and still not getting better? You might consider going to a doctor. PT might tell you to go get some imaging (X-ray or MRI).
You can see how much you can do before you actually visit the doctor. I’m not saying not to go to the doctor. I’m saying that it’s not doing nothing or going to the doctor. There are many ways to proactively manage the pain. Don’t be afraid of your pain. Get to know your pain more. It’s like making friends with your enemies.
I’m available for
– Private Thai Massage
– Private Yoga
– Private session that anything goes (strengthening, mobility, flexibility, yoga, all customized to your need)
Except Thai massage, they can all be online as well.