Not just mechanics

Medicine has known for a long time now that pain does not always mean there is damage. Experience of pain is complex and multifactorial. When you are sick with the flu do you notice the onset of old pains. You might like to read of my recent experience.

More than meets the eye..


About a year ago following some intense gardening/ digging... I developed some pain in the area of my AC joint (front of shoulder). I self diagnosed that I'd strained it and took my practice a little more gently for a few months, while it healed. After about 6months the pain was a lot less and mostly I could do my normal practice. I knew the injury was healed because I'd not done anything to cause it strain and knew I just needed to patient to let the pain settle.


So off I went to India and was delighted to experience no AC joint and no body pain during 3 weeks of intense yoga practice and assisting; and also during some travel times with poor sleep....until ....


Some of you will be aware that I developed some allergy symptoms in my last days there and on my return and you know what whammo, with this hayfever my neck got tense and very severe AC joint pain came back – worse than ever.... I knew I hadn't done anything to injure it, but the pain was worse than when I had the initial injury.. it hurt so much I was tempted to think I'd done something serious to it...


So sliding door scenario:


Door One – to the physio practice (Tam freshly graduated).

Good standard medical/physio care would analyse my body and notice all my imbalances and attribute my AC joint pain to that. Persisting symptoms due to prior injury on top of predisposing imbalance. This intereaction would teach my nervous system that this pain is a mechanical thing and perhaps this would be reinforced when the intelligent sounding, physiotherapist's massage of my neck relieved my symstoms. Given I'd done nothing to injure my shoulder again and based on this mechanical attribution, I might think my shoulder (AC joint) is a bit vulnerable and that I should be more careful... that I could injure without doing anything...


Do you have a similiar pain story?


The experienced physios and medics reading this will probably agree that this is an incomplete view of things... and will know the complexity of neurotransmitters and cytokines that could be responsible for this onset of pain mimicing that of a past injury.


Second door – treat the cause (Tam 20yrs down the track)

It's a mindfield to explore, finding and eliminating, or grading exposure to allergens and I'm simply not qualified to offer guidance in that regard (check out for more expertise in this area). So, my favourite way to deal with allergy is to rest it away... and in order not to put a disimpowering, vulnerability story in my nervous system around my body, I keep up my yoga practice with a calm, clear mind.. I don't do the things that hurt, not because the pain worries me, but just that it is unpleasant. I LISTEN TO MY BODY and allow it to guide me.


My experience on this particular occasion was that as my allergy symtpoms settled my pains went, over less than a week. Mostly I was able to keep doing my usual yoga practice, except some days I wouldn't do caturanga (push up). Now (at the time of writing this) my body is pretty much back to painfree.. except for the sunburn and the allergic rash... umhh definitely need to figure out what allergens I'm reacting too as they are loud!!


Don't miss the next newsletter where we will check in on how well you LISTEN TO YOUR BODY

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