The Pain is Often Not Where the Problem is

The pain is often not where the problem is

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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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Compensations Are Normal

Compensations Are Normal

Compensations are normal.

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This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Compensations With Or Without Pain

Compensations With Or Without Pain

This is a video about when compensations are useful, when they are not, and what to do about them.

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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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Nagging Bodies

Nagging Bodies

When nagging, achey pain and stiffness just won’t go away, what your body is asking for, and how we can address it together.

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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Hypersensitivity: Small Actions With Big Reactions

Hypersensitivity: Small Actions With Big Reactions

Why small actions can cause big reactions and what we can do about it.

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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Other Sources Of Pain

Other Sources Of Pain

Biomechanics, compensations and injuries aren’t the only sources of pain.

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Make Your Self Care Fun

Make Your Self Care Fun

Anyone who’s known Heather long enough, knows she’s a massive Harry Potter fan, and today just happens to be Harry’s birthday!

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

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This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

Daily Practice

Daily Practice

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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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after

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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Soothing Hip and Spine

This clip is from a Facebook live where we explored a hip movement progression with a spinal twist at the end. This feels great after