Unfortunately pain seems to be a fairly common thing these days. A quick browse through studies over the last few years and it appears that, depending on what part of the world you live in, somewhere between 20% and 50% of people are suffering with chronic pain.

Chronic Pain is often defined as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks.

Another unfortunate part of this is that because chronic pain has become fairly common it has now started to be perceived as being normal!

An image showing a lady with back pain at work.

Now don’t get us wrong, pain and injury are certainly part of life, and depending on your choice of hobby or career could be fairly frequent, but on average these pains should come and go and not become a daily thing. There will also be accidents and illnesses that can cause life changing injuries and pains that people have to live with, but again these shouldn’t be the average.

So why do so many of us have chronic pain?

Well the answer is obviously going to be complicated, but one of the problems is there aren’t really any good “road maps” of what to do when you’re struggling with pain and if you’re not sure of where to start most people usually end up doing nothing.

To help you get started then here are some simple things to consider when trying to get out of pain.

  1. Are you injured? If you think you’ve been injured (maybe you fell over or did something playing sport or in the garden) then you should go and get checked out. If you get diagnosed with an injury, or if you already have a diagnosis, then the best things you can do are rest and rehab. Each injury will have a specific healing time and respecting the fact you’re compromised during this time is a great way to heal up faster. This means resting, eating, sleeping and moving in ways that will best help your injury recover.
  2. Get your health checked. If there is no injury in particular and your pain seemed to come out of the blue then the next place to start would be with a health check. Pain can crop up for all sorts of reasons so getting a general health check to see if there are any medical reasons for it is always a safe bet.
  3. Keep an eye on your stress levels. If you don’t have any injuries or medical conditions and your vital health signs (blood pressure, heart rate etc) are normal then it’s always worth keeping an eye on your stress levels. When stress levels get too high all sorts of things happen hormonally and when this happens all bets are off as to what might go haywire in the body. A good way to check on your stress levels is to keep an eye on the following:
    • Energy
    • Sleep
    • Motivation
    • Digestion
    • Skin Quality
    • Libido

If any or several of these factors are worse than usual for you then there’s a good chance your stress levels might be too high. If this is the case often reducing the stress we’re dealing with or upping our recovery (eating well, relaxing, sleeping enough) can have a massive impact on the pain we’re dealing with.

  1. Check your bodies movement for function. We coach a lot of people who are uninjured, relatively healthy, managing their stress and yet still in pain. At this point a great place to start is assessing how your body moves. How much mobility, stability, strength and functional movement ability does your body have and is it enough for the demands you’re placing upon it.
    • Some people just don’t move enough and this often leads to a lack of something, be it mobility, stability etc. When you have a lack of basic function it’s usually only a matter of time before pain kicks in.
    • Other people do more than enough activity but for one reason or another haven’t got enough general movement function. This often leads to the body straining and struggling, which can then lead to compensations and this will often lead to pain.
    • It can also be that you have plenty of general function but maybe not quite enough for the particular sport or activity that you do.

Once you’ve considered the above we would recommend the following:

  • Be logical. If you think you might be injured or unwell then please go and get it checked. But if you’re relatively healthy or have tried the medical route and not gotten anywhere, then start to consider stress levels and movement function. If you’re stressed to your eye balls, can’t touch your toes and have no core stability then these would all seem like reasonable places to start on your quest to get out of pain.
  • Get some help. One of the quickest ways to getting out of pain is to get some help from a person who knows what they’re doing. Often doing it yourself will feel like fumbling around in the dark trying to find the light switch.
Ross performing a movement assessment.
  • Be patient and don’t give up. These processes can take time but getting out of pain will always be worth it. Don’t be someone who just grins and bears it or lets their sports and hobbies go without a fight. There are many reasons you could be in pain, which can be daunting and confusing, but it also means there are many different solutions out there. We would encourage you to keep trying and keep seeking help until you find the one that’s best for you.

Until Next Time.

Live Healthy,
aps