The language of the body: are you listening?

Every day we have individuals come to our office looking for help with chronic pain. When we begin to discuss not only where their body hurts but possible causes the idea that it is something that has just happened out of the blue seems so much more acceptable than the idea that we have been chronically ignoring and abusing our body. We eat too much or too little, or we eat the wrong kinds of foods. Sleep, rest, play and work are out of balance as well. We ignore the simple mechanics of our body putting ourselves at risk for a chronic repetitive use injury that may take us weeks or months to recover from. Unfortunately, it takes a major illness to stop some of us, despite years of warning signals sent by the body saying stop.

If you start before you’re at the point of chronic dysfunction and pain, the fix can sometimes be as simple as changing your desk or chair height, getting a speaker phone, taking a few deep breaths to break the tension you’re feeling and taking breaks to stretch and use the opposing sets of muscles that are being worked so hard.

Each body responds in its own way; there is no handbook to your own physical sensations or experiences and their relationship to what is going on in your life. And, it takes practice to begin noticing and using the information your body is providing you. Fortunately most of know when we are feeling good and when we are feeling lousy. Start there and work backwards.

Ask yourself a series of questions that will lead you back to the point where you were still feeling well and look for patterns —

Am I better at home or work?

Did I feel better before or after I ate?

Am I a morning person or are my energies better in the evening?

Have I been ignoring a health issue — even a small one?

Have I been ignoring good body mechanics (posture) while sitting, standing, or lying?

These five simple questions if used repetitively will help your thought process and the intuition of your body come together to answer and help heal the physical distress created over a very long period of time. Of course you can add to or change these questions to suit your particular situation.

Don’t ignore simple symptoms, tight shoulders, feeling cold, a knot in your intestines. Simply be aware that the symptoms are there, stretch if you can, take a deep breath, get some water and move on. Don’t be surprised if it’s back in a few seconds or moments. Once again simply note the symptoms and do what you can to release that tension. This repetitive process will eventually help you find your way out of it and hopefully prevent chronic symptoms from developing.

Each of us has a body rhythm that is natural to us. Knowing your body’s natural responses will provide the necessary clues about how to better structure your day and hopefully prevent chronic injury and pain.

Till next time, Rebecca