Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like

Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like

In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the pain isn’t usually where the problem is and how we need to become aware of the bigger picture in order to make change. Today I’m going to be focusing on the latter, but in the meantime, if you missed that last blog post, you can go here to check it out.

Getting quiet

No matter what your symptoms are, how long they’ve been around or whether they stem from repetitive movements, compensations, injury, or a neurological/systemic condition, getting quiet is a good place to start. 

This may be as simple as starting with breath work. Finding a breathing exercise that works for you can be a powerful tool to self-soothe and moderate pain. A lot of people don’t use their full lungs and ribcage to breath. Instead, they rely on the upper parts of the lungs and the smaller neck muscles. This results in a shallow breath which stimulates your sympathetic nervous system (also known as ‘fight or flight’). 

Getting quiet can also look like meditation. Shifting your focus and lowering anxieties or stress levels can play a huge role in pain management. Plus, meditation can take many forms! It’s worth spending some time and figuring out what suits your lifestyle best.

Visualization is a great way of focusing your attention to a target area in the body as well. You can simply picture that body part being still and healthy, or you can imagine it moving in a fluid and comfortable way. This is especially useful if you’re experiencing too much pain or dysfunction in an area to actually mobilize it at first. 

Most often though, and when appropriate, I like to employ gentle movement explorations. Namely, starting with one piece of the body (usually one of the largest joints) and seeing how it moves, what sensations occur, and noticing if any other body parts come along for the ride. We can then begin to ‘follow the bread crumbs’.

Ultimately, regardless of the method, the goal is to bring your awareness to what is actually going on in your body, or in the case of people with persistent pain and long term conditions, find ways to bring some comfort back to their day. It’s amazing what we have the ability to change, influence and create, and how much we can push aside and ignore, or simply not notice because of distraction. Once you know, you can carry your new found tools into your day, and that’s when real change happens.

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The Pain is Often Not Where the Problem is

I’m sure you’ve heard this before, and in some instances, you’ve probably even experienced it, but unless you have an interest or some training in how the human body works and moves, it likely isn’t clear WHY this is the case. To help explain this phenomenon, I’ve come up with a little analogy. 

The workplace analogy

Imagine there are two employees working within the same office. One employee tends to slack off; they show up late, they don’t finish their work, they’re disorganized and they tend to leave early. Another employee is a hard worker; they see the things that aren’t being completed and take those responsibilities on in addition to their own. 

Now imagine this goes on for a while. Which employee is going to show signs of burnout? You guessed it! The employee that is taking on the extra work. 

The human body works very similarly, particularly in cases where a symptom or pain has slowly crept up over time without an obvious cause. One body region isn’t quite pulling its weight; whether there isn’t enough mobility, strength, endurance or control and coordination for a task, and a neighbouring body region steps in to help. This is called a compensation.

Now, compensations aren’t ‘bad’. In fact, it’s a really good sign that your body can find a way to get you through! The issue is when that compensation becomes your new way of doing things all the time. We start to see repetitive overuse and burnout.

So when unpleasant symptoms show up, it’s usually just your body telling you something is going on elsewhere and this particular body region can no longer ‘cover’ for it. How do we figure out where things started? That brings us to my next analogy.

The head office analogy

Let’s say the two employees from the previous analogy work for your company, but you spend your days at the head office. As far as you’re concerned, based on outcomes and reports, the job is getting done. It’s not until you start getting complaints in your inbox that you realize something isn’t quite right. And so, as an involved owner of your company, you go to the job site to see what’s actually going on. The employee not pulling their weight can be addressed, the burnt out employee can carry less load, and things become more efficient. 

In this scenario, your conscious awareness is you working in the head office, the body region in question is the separate office your employees work out of, and you physically going to the job site to observe things is a metaphor for taking the time to really pay attention to how your body is moving.

Stay tuned for next month’s post about the next step! 

If you can’t wait, book yourself an appointment! We offer massage therapy which includes assessment and home care instruction, Discovery appointments with a heavier focus on movement and some hands on massage, as well as in person or virtual movement therapy sessions where the entire focus is on movement assessment, treatment and home care education. 

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Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

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I should add that generally speaking, if a movement pattern isn’t causing symptoms, I operate under the ‘if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ methodology.

However, if you are experiencing a symptom somewhere in your body, it’s worth looking into the neighbouring joints for unconscious movement patterns that have possibly contributed to your current symptoms. For example, symptoms in the wrists might be coming from the elbows, shoulders or thoracic spine.

It’s also worth noting that biomechanics are just one part of the symptom picture puzzle. How big a piece depends from case to case. But it’s definitly worth exploring! Ask your massage therapist to help you explore your personal situation with you!

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Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

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Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

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This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the

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Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

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Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the

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Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

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This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the

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More To Explore

Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the

Stair Hack!

Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

Relationships Between Body Parts

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the

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So to acknowledge the importance of making self care fun, here’s Heather the Hufflepuff doing a little yoga…

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Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the

Stair Hack!

Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

Relationships Between Body Parts

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the

Daily Practice

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I’ve previously mentioned the impact our mental and emotional wellbeing, and our experiences, beliefs and expectations can have on our physical body and overall health.

A daily practice of physical activity, rest and movement can do wonders for the body, but we also need to take care of the mind.

Here’s a little daily practice I got from Rachel Hollis, an entrepreneur and motivational business speaker.

Hopefully it will help you focus on the progress you HAVE made, reimagine the dreams you WILL realize and provide a map for a goal you CAN control and chip away at.

Remember the post from a couple of weeks ago; “A little progress each day adds up to big results!”.

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More To Explore

Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the

Stair Hack!

Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

Relationships Between Body Parts

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the

Home Practice

Home Practice

Gotta practice what you preach!

Here’s a recent living room session I had, checking in with my body and how it’s feeling. All within gentle and comfortable ranges and positions. Also an idea of some of the things we might try together in a discovery treatment depending on your goals and symptoms!

I filmed myself so that I could see how I’m moving from another person’s perspective and thought it was a great opportunity to share!

Music provided by Bensound music

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More To Explore

Getting Quiet; What it Looks Like

Becoming Aware; What it looks like Becoming Aware; What it Looks Like In my last blog post, I used two analogies to explain why the

Stair Hack!

Do you struggle to get up and down stairs because of lower limb pain?! I sure did this past weekend! I took a fall and had to

Relationships Between Body Parts

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored some movements and stretches to address when you wake up with a kink in the