Stretching Out the Pain: Feels Good But is it Good FOR You? – Stop Everyday Pain

yoga-dancer-1024x855Recently I’ve had a few questions from patients who are reading the book.  One that keeps coming up is about whether or not stretching is good or bad for us.  Stretching is a very confusing topic and has been one of scientific controversy for years which makes the answer not so straightforward.

In this first volume of my book series Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain™, Put Out the Fire I spend some time explaining that stretching is actually a mechanical stressor and therefore risky for people dealing with everyday pain.  This means that the elongation we cause by stretching can result in stress to the underlying structure.  Usually  when all things – mechanical, biochemical and emotional – are in balance, a reasonable stretch doesn’t cause any trouble.  However, when we are out of balance in any one of these areas and if we are already in pain, then stretching the compromised area is a terrible idea.

We often get away with stretching without consequences during times when we are not in crisis. Unfortunately with this sort of benign experience in mind and due to the fact that stretch-sensation neurologically eclipses the pain of inflammation, the concept that stretching is not good for your pain, is a very puzzling one to accept.

If you stretch a muscle in distress, you are basically signalling to your body that the tightening over-reaction – the one you are trying to find relief from – is indeed justified.  In this case, your stretch will perpetuate the underlying reason for muscle pain and tightness instead of resolving the problem.

The reason muscles grab and get tight is 100% protective in nature.  It is always the most reasonable response to unreasonable conditions.  You may not agree that the conditions are “unreasonable” but your brain and body’s assessment is all that matters during times like this.  If you don’t stop and find out what they’re protecting you from, there may be much worse discomfort lurking around the next corner.

Another interesting point is that the elongation stress associated with stretching can happen without, what looks to us like, a traditional intentional stretch.  Lengthening stress to muscle fibers is something that can be produced with sustained pressure on a muscle or a tendon.  When a muscle bundle is made to deform in this way it’s perceived by the brain as elongation. If that area is already inflamed, it will be a problem.  So, all of you foam rolling or ball rolling advocates beware!

A large part of my mission in educating patients is to highlight the subtleties in movement and posture that matter when we are in pain, but which often don’t seem very obvious to us.  By learning about these not so obvious contributions to pain, we can stop berating ourselves for “falling apart” and acknowledge the way forward. Recognizing the validity in our pain is a vital step towards feeling better and staying out of pain in the future.

An important part of Volume Two – Fix the Fire Damage will include information about exactly how and when to stretch safely and how to solve the problem of muscle tightness for the long term.

Click on this link for more at the original article Source: Stretching Out the Pain: Feels Good But is it Good FOR You? – Stop Everyday Pain

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A Return to Writing (Health)

A Return to Writing (Health)

IMG_3980What an encouraging 3-4 month-long “trip” this has been since the release of my first book Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain Volume One – Put Out the Fire.  You may have heard that it’s now available through Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, at the book website StopEverydayPain.com and for bookstores and libraries through the major distributor Ingram.

That first volume lays the important groundwork behind the reasons and causes for our everyday aches and pains. Now it’s getting to be time that I start piecing together the much anticipated Volume Two – Fix the Fire Damage.  This next book will continue striving to mirror the ideal experience of a typical patient under my care.  The next step after gaining an understanding of the pain is to repair and rehabilitate.  Everyone’s path looks a little different based on their individual situations but there are some common principles that apply to all of us, based on what is revealed in Volume One.

I’m excited to share those insights with more people now that I see and hear how helpful this first book has been.  There are more photos to organize and action steps to share with readers.  Another exciting feature to this next volume will be interview material that I am preparing to gather from outstanding complementary healthcare professionals.

To truly reflect the multi-pronged approach to everyday pain that I advocate for in my practice, there is just no way that I could consider moving forward with this project without reflecting the voices of a larger healthcare community.  Stay tuned for how that unfolds through some fun video sneak-peeks of my progress with willing participants!

There is also a wealth of experience and perspective that I gained while doing a short publicity tour of podcasts and radio shows over the past several months.  I’ll be sharing some of my thoughts about those in this blog feed throughout the next year or so.  The many gracious hosts who took an interest in myself and my project inspired me to elaborate further on some book matter and I’ll be addressing some of that here as well as in my next two volumes.

I am discovering how much I love wearing these new hats: Indie Publisher and Indie Author.  Creatively speaking, it’s extremely rewarding to me and I never shy away from the challenge of hard work – which it has definitely been. IMG_4113A steep learning curve but, much like what classroom teaching offered me years ago,  this process provides invaluable perspective to my one-on-one time with patients and vice versa.

The whirlwind of the past year took its toll on my self-care as can be expected.  But now I’ve had my turn at returning to my own health by applying some of the principles in my book – restoring my physical, chemical and emotional balance – I live fervently by the conviction to “begin again” without judgement or guilt any time I stray from healthy routine.  Ups and downs are such a part of life.  I embrace it all and I hope you will too.

I’m ready now, to buckle down with the creation process again and return to writing.  Thankfully this stage won’t take 5 years like the first book did.  My publishing team is firmly in place and the book production path has been forged.  It’ll be easier to find again during the next round.

Onward.