Pain is the body’s way of telling us that there is something wrong and, as such, should always be addressed first by a qualified medical professional in case it is indicative of a condition that requires serious medical intervention. There are many causes of chronic pain, or pain that lasts for six months or more. There are two broad categories of this kind of pain: nociceptive and neuropathic. In very broad terms, neuropathic pain happens a result of damage to the nervous system itself, whereas nociceptive pain is the nervous system telling us that something is happening that may cause damage to our muscles, ligaments, tendons and bones.
The human body is a finely balanced, resilient and adaptive system, but the practicalities of modern living put it under unusually stressful conditions, compromising its ability to support itself. Sitting in chairs every day for extended periods of time, performing repetitive movements such as working on a computer, running on a treadmill or using tools, can all throw us off our physical balance. Our bodies are then forced to work harder and less intelligently than is optimal, putting pressure on our joints, our soft tissues and on our nerves. Over time our bodies begin to stiffen and set themselves around these patterns of use, locking in the bad habits. This is the foundation of many types of chronic pain.
There are several extremely common types of of chronic pain, all of which can stem from the poor use of our bodies. Do any of these seem familiar to you?
- Neck pain
- Eye strain
- Shoulder pain
- Elbow and wrist pain
- Mid-back pain
- Lower back pain
- Sciatica (pain caused by impingement of the sciatic nerve that can express itself in the lower back, buttock or leg)
Studies have shown that mind-body practices such as the Alexander Technique and Yoga can be extremely effective in helping support the body’s ability to heal itself.
How the Alexander Technique Can Help Relieve Your Chronic Pain
Part of the problem of chronic pain is the bad habits that have led you to this point. Not only do your physical habits in the way you sit, stand and work pull you off balance, reinforcing the conditions that are causing you pain, but so do your mental habits. The way you react to the many kinds of demands of your daily life can also cause the tension, the gripping and the hardness that are comprising your wellbeing.
Taking lessons in the Alexander Technique will help you unravel the bad habits of lifetime. It will teach you both how to recognize what you are doing to contribute to your chronic pain and what to do to move yourself closer to being well.
How Yoga Can Help Relieve Your Chronic Pain
Over an extended period of time, your body adapts to the conditions you are placing it in. Some muscles harden, other muscles weaken. Some joints become stiffer while others are over-stretched. Your body literally changes its shape.
Taking regular Yoga classes appropriate to your level can help restore range of motion to your joints, increase the flexibility and strength of your muscles and improve the endurance of your body and mind as a whole.