Today I want to share with you a KEY factor for helping yourself get out of pain. Movement and exercise are essential for a healthy body and mind, but HOW you go about your activities is equally, if not MORE, IMPORTANT!
In my last article I shared my own experience with chronic pain and how I was able to heal myself. Today I want to talk about one of the root causes of back, neck and other joint and muscle pain, and how to deal with it.
If you have chronic pain, massage and physical therapy can provide relief and help with healing, but unless harmful postural and movement habits are changed, the problem will probably not go away. In fact, as you do your activities or do exercises you’ve been given, you may be reinforcing the very problem that brought on the pain.
Problems occur when you use your body contrary to its design. Posture, movement and thought patterns that you aren’t even aware of may be pulling your body out of its natural alignment and compressing your spine. Muscles shorten in an attempt to compensate, leading to stiffness and pain in muscles and joints.
Unconscious compression of muscles and joints leads to all kinds of health issues. Breathing is restricted because the lungs are not allowed to move freely, and circulation suffers due to habitually tensed muscles. Some muscles work harder while others don’t do their share. Inefficient use of muscles and joints leads to joint trauma and tissue damage.
We’re creatures of habit!
The way we use our bodies is mostly controlled by habits. The brain chooses from a menu of “default” options and off you go without having to think about how you sit, stand, lie down or move. Those habits feel so normal to us that we generally don’t notice dysfunctional posture and movement patterns when we work, play, exercise, sleep and go about our daily lives. We only notice the pain and stiffness that occur as a result.
Break the cycle!
There is a way to break out of the cycle of excess tension and pain. It begins with paying attention to your self. Practice noticing what’s going on in your neck. Notice where you are bending. Are you using your joints correctly? Ask yourself if you can do less in your body.
Classes in the Alexander Technique help you to develop this awareness and ability to release unconscious, unneeded muscle tension. You’ll learn to change harmful habits of posture, movement and thought that interfere with your natural coordination.
When you learn to restore your natural alignment, tense muscles recover their elasticity and joints are allowed to move freely. Postural muscles start doing their jobs and you naturally develop what I call “Goldilocks” muscle tone – not too much, not too little, but just right! The torso moves more freely, allowing a freer flow of the oxygen needed for healing. Circulation and digestion improve as you decompress. Your mood picks up as movement becomes easier, and you become more resilient to the stresses of life. Energy and stamina increase as postural muscles are used more efficiently. Pain and stiffness tend to dissolve.
It’s a simple solution, but it takes practice. That’s why it’s not for everyone. But if you are serious about getting to the root cause of pain and stiffness, come discover ease in movement with the Alexander Technique.
I’ll be teaching in Montana June through mid-August this year. Schedule your private lesson, group class or workplace training now! Below are the details of the DiscoverEase in Movement classes already scheduled in Missoula. Watch for upcoming workshops on DiscoverEase in Body Work, DiscoverEase in Walking and DiscoverEase in Gardening!
Wishing you lightness and vitality,
I’ll be teaching group and private Alexander Technique lessons in and around Mission Valley, Missoula and Helena, MT, this summer. Click here to learn more about upcoming DiscoverEase in Movement classes.
Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a private lesson or sign up for a group class. You can also bring Alexander Technique training into your workplace.
In case you’re interested, here you can read about some studies showing the benefits of the Alexander Technique for back, neck, knee and other pain, fatigue and Parkinson’s disease.
Please feel free to forward this email to someone you think might be interested!