• colinliggett

COVID-19, Stress and Your Muscle Pain

Do you realize that they are linked? You're not supposed to! Our nervous system has a built-in mechanism to distract us from stress. It's called pain, and it's very efficient, COVID-19 has this stress-to-pain mechanism working overtime.

Dr. Sarno was the first western medical doctor to popularize the mind-body connection between physical pain and mental stress, a concept that has long been understood in eastern medicine. When treating the body, you cannot separate the health of the mind from the physical body.

Dr. Sarno believes that at an unconscious level, our mind chooses to create pain as a distraction from stress or trauma. It would rather you be in pain than deal with the uncomfortable trauma from your past or current stressors. The unconscious mind does this because it believes you cannot deal with the emotional consequences of addressing stress/trauma or because it considers your response to it will be socially unacceptable; therefore, it distracts you with pain instead.

You can read in more detail about Dr. Sarno's theory in my older blog post here.

Remember those first few weeks of lockdown, walking through the supermarket and seeing the fear behind the mask of everyone you walked past? We have normalized the COVID-19 experience now, but subconsciously we are still unsure how this will end and fearful of our health and the future.

Did you bend over gardening recently and have been suffering from lower back pain ever since? Did you sit at your home office for too long, and your neck started to hurt? Did you ride your bike a little harder than usual, and now your knee is always in pain?

Dr. Sarno would disagree with your theory on the cause of the injury. He would say your nervous system saw an opportunity to create pain in a way you would conceptualize as a physical injury versus a stress-coping mechanism. Thus you would seek out a mechanical method of fixing the injury, going from massage therapist to chiropractor to physical therapist, etc. endlessly looking for that perfect healthcare practitioner who can rid you from the now chronic pain.

Meanwhile, the subconscious is quietly happy that it has distracted you from the real issue, stress. SensoriMotor Repatterning (SMR) theorizes that your brain creates movement compensation patterns to rest an injured region in your body. However, once the damaged tissue is repaired at the injury site, the nervous system should revert to the original more functional movement patterns. But, if the subconscious wants to distract you from stress/trauma, it can hold on to these less than optimal movement patterns, thus over time, causing chronic pain. It can even revert to the functional movement patterns for some time, then decide to jump back to the dysfunctional patterns in times of stress.

With SensoriMotor Repatterning therapy, non-optimal movement patterns are identified and corrected. SMR also uses complex Traditional Chinese Medicine theory to correct faulty movement patterns and access/release holding patterns within the acupoint systems linked to trauma/stress, allowing for a deeper level of recovery and a return to pain-free movement.

Three sessions are often all that is needed to see very significant changes in pain. An initial session can be booked here.


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