back pain management story

A PAIN MANAGEMENT STORY

Have you ever noticed how old injuries seem to be creeping back in to your life with greater frequency?

It’s so annoying, right??

This weekend my husband and I enjoyed another fabulous Harlem “Open Streets” dance party hosted by local legend, DJ Hard Hittin' Harry. We danced for three hours straight. On the pavement.

Which is harsh on the bones, but it was hella fun!

Until Sunday morning, when I swung my legs over the side of the bed to stand up. My ankle was so annoyingly cranky and stiff I could hardly walk.

As I shuffled rather ungracefully to the bathroom, the internal dialog went something like this, “Oh, YOU again! Ugh, why don’t you just work the way you’re supposed to? Why you causing me grief...again?!”

But I already know why that ankle is causing me grief. That pesky right ankle has been barking at me and causing me strife for...oh, about twenty years, off and on. This weekend I was reminded again, probably for the millionth time, that denial is just not a viable treatment protocol for staying healthy and active!

Those of you who’ve taken trainings or classes with me in the last few years have likely heard all about "the ankle". Despite having a laundry list of well-earned bodily injuries, it's that damn ankle that I repeatedly sprained waaaay back in high school sports that persists in causing me the most aggravation and discomfort.

Alas, the reason it was barking so loudly is probably because I've been demanding a heck of a lot from it yet not doing much to maintain it: Did I stretch or roll it before I went dancing in the streeet this Saturday? Nope. Have I been doing my strengthening exercises? Nope, not in a few weeks - even though I know better!

Can you relate?

WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?

Swelling, pain, achiness and fatigue are just some of the ways your body signals you to get your attention.

But check this out:

The amount of discomfort you feel has more to do with your relationship to noxious stimuli than the amount of damage in your body.

Please read that again, it's pretty important.

Said another way:

When your PROPRIOCEPTION goes up, your NOCICEPTION goes down

Proprioception is defined as your awareness of the position and movement of your body

Nociception is defined as your detection of noxious or painful stimuli

So...by implementing a daily maintenance routine, you can get stronger, yes, but you can also change the neuromotor dialog, change your perception and adjust your pain sensitization. So... you gain a greater sense of control over your pesky injuries as you are cultivating your super powers of proprioception, thereby quieting some of the discomfort.

Pretty cool, eh?

SO WHAT TO DO NEXT

  1. If you don’t already have a treatment plan, you can reach out to me, your favorite physical therapist or personal trainer and ask us/them to set you up with a recovery protocol

  2. If you don't already have a physio or another therapeutic movement pro that you can depend on, it's high time to find someone (or a team of someones)!

  3. Set aside time (daily or thrice-weekly, for example) to actually do the protocol

  4. If you don't know where to start, reply to this email. I can either help you directly or I can give you some tips how to assemble your team

  5. Final tip: Don't wait until you're laid up to assemble your team

WHEN

You don’t need to be injured to see your physical therapist, massage therapist, acupuncturist, me or any of the other professionals in your care team.

If you are an active, healthy human, it’s in your best interest to see someone regularly who can help keep you active and “tuned up”.

It’s not self-indulgent, it’s self-care

In terms of money, it’s better spent on prevention than trying to fix things after the fact.

As for me and my dancing feet... I already know what I’m supposed to be doing for my ankle, I just tend to fall off the wagon every now and again.

As of today, I am committing to 10 minutes of ankle care every single day for two weeks, and then I’ll see if I can pare that down to three days per week.

How about you, what’s your cranky spot?

Do you have a team you can call to help you set up a daily maintenance plan for it?

xo, Dinneen