Perception of Pain: How a Shift of Your Mindset Can Help
This is not the first, nor the last time MoveU has written about the power your mindset can have on the bodies ability to heal. Perception of pain is more an issue than the pain itself.
What do we mean by that? Well, without setting off the woo-woo and crystal healing alarms, rest assured we take a very pragmatic approach.
We have seen some truly breathtaking transformations from our MoveU members, and we often ask ourselves how to replicate their success to others. Did they will their scoliosis away to straighten their spine? Did their thoughts and prayers reabsorb their disc herniations?
Of course not. But what actually happened is they created the necessary environment for the body to heal. This is all surgery intends to do: set the body up for proper healing to take place, but often that's not what happens. Why? Because surgery takes you out of the equation. A shift in mindset can sometimes work better than surgery. There is no magic, it's just hard work and an even harder work ethic focused on improving one's posture and the way you move your body.
And it all starts with the mindset. Correct movement aligns the body to promote healing, but correct mindset helps alleviate the focus on the pain as this horribly debilitating thing. It’s simple, a change in perception of pain can help lead you down the right path to healing.
MoveU realizes the importance of physical, mental, and emotional alignment to create the perfect environment for your body to heal. Shift your perception of pain from bad to a blessing in disguise, as many of our members call it.
How do You Change Your Perspective?
What if when we get hurt, we flipped the conversation in our heads? We often say I got hurt, or I hurt myself, or my back is hurting me. But this is a victim mentality.
A fascinating example is a difference between soldiers who experience PTSD symptoms when returning home. The soldiers who were on the defensive, or in the humvees waiting to be attacked often suffer the worst symptoms of PTSD. Teams like the Navy Seals who are usually on the offensive have extremely low levels of PTSD because they are on the attack. The key difference is they are proactive towards the enemy; not reactive.
This is merely a mindset shift. Let us learn how we can be more proactive in our approach to pain.
Pain is a Lesson to be Learned
Let's say you're running late one morning, you bend over and whip your leg up to put your socks on, and POP something in your low back goes “NO NO NO, You're not going to get away with moving like that today.” In this event, we usually reach for the Tylenol or Motrin and an ice or heat pack. Maybe, if it’s awful, we begin to search for stretches or exercises to get it to go away. And then we repeat the process in a month.
But these are all reactive actions! Remember what we said about the soldiers on the front lines? Same thing, from a mental perspective.
So how can we be proactive when our back wants to play ‘Pop Goes the Weasel'?
First things first: relax! Instead of freaking out, take a second to be still. Perhaps take a seat or lie down to focus on your breathing. Send signals of relaxation to help keep things loose, as we tend to hold our breath which causes our bodies to tense up as we waddle over to the medicine cabinet. This only makes it worse.
What's one thing we know about pain? Barring a compound fracture, or traumatic event, we know at some point the pain will subside. Now it may take an hour or a week, but it will end! Remember that.
Your Body is Yours, so Control the Pain
Something that’s important to know is if you injured yourself, or just pissed something off and it needs a little time to settle. This is definitely a mindset shift. We may automatically think when we hear that pop, we’ve done irreparable damage and need to see the doctor immediately. That may not necessarily be the case. Learn to listen to your body.
Our bodies are so unbelievably resilient and adaptable you really have to be doing something wrong to be suffering from intense chronic pain. But that means that even the slightest change to your movement or posture can result in drastic changes to your pain and quality of life.
Acute injuries are different but can still benefit from a resilient, proactive mindset that doesn't succumb to victimhood. If you just so happen to be dealing with something acute or traumatic like a broken bone, ACL tear, or something else that requires serious downtime, having a growth mindset focused on daily improvements will ensure that you are on the fast track to recovery and healing!
Change Your Perception of Pain to a Proactive Mindset
Now, instead of thinking about when will it end, think about what you can do to make sure you don't do this again. That's why the longer the pain lasts, the more potentially powerful the lesson can be. NEVER WASTE AN INJURY!
As we said, we like to think of our injuries as a blessing in disguise. Your proactive mindset switches you from thinking about your pain or injury as the worst thing that’s ever happened to a lesson you can learn from.
Learning Pain's Lesson
So now that we are proactive in our approach to our tweaked back, the next step is learning from it.
Pain is a guide, and it wants you to learn how to make changes so that your body can heal. We've written about how your pain is your fire alarm before. Learn to listen to your body!
Think of pain as Yoda on your back, whispering in your ear to use the force. The force is knowledge and application. Search the internet, or learn more with MoveU to figure out the muscle you may have tweaked, then you can find out how to release or stretch it to provide short term relief while learning how to strengthen it, in the long run, to avoid reinjuring it in the future.
Don't Get Overwhelmed by Pain
Sometimes we can cause some pretty severe pain, often by things as simple as sleeping wrong, or picking up our child and putting them into their car seat. When we do a number on ourselves, daily tasks can become difficult. Remember that we're trying to shift our perception of pain here. So it's important to take that moment of injury and remind yourself you won't feel this way forever if you change your movement.
So make a video, jot something down, or put a recurring event in your calendar to do 10 minutes of stretches you learned at least 1-2 days a week while you can. Remember to do them even when you’re not feeling pain right at that moment. When you shift that focus on being proactive, you’re setting yourself up for future success.
Putting it all together
By combining a proactive mindset along with learning to align the body, we can effectively set up the perfect environment for healing within our bodies. The easiest place to start healing is by changing your perspective of pain from a negative to the catalyst needed to fix yo' shit! The MoveU program focuses on movement, mindset, and community to create a trifecta of success for eliminating chronic pain for our MUvers. Whether you suffer from recurring pain, flare-ups, or want to work on your posture to strengthen your body, the MoveU program is waiting for you!
Written by David Schroer