Have you ever had so much pain that you feel like can’t move, let alone do anything about it?
Maybe you’ve woken up one morning and you just can’t move your head without getting pain in your neck?
In situations like this, it’s easy to feel like there’s nothing you can do except take a few painkillers and wait a few days – but you’d be wrong.
These three little secrets will show you EXACTLY what you can do to improve your situation – without causing yourself more pain:
Secret #1: You have pain because you don’t have movement.
Even with something like a sprained wrist, the pain isn’t necessarily coming from that site. What do I mean by that? Well, if you sprained your wrist, for example, let’s say you sprained it when your wrist was bent back too far and it’s hurting to both bend your hand towards you and to bend it back the other way.
In this situation, you’ll have sprained your wrist because it was forced into a position that was further than the tissues could cope with– in other words, you didn’t have enough movement in the wrist to be able to handle that position without injury, but a lack of movement in the wrist isn’t just created from the muscles that flex and extend your whole hand. It comes from the tightness in the muscles that control your fingers too, and your elbow and even your shoulder.
And this exact same tightness in these exact same places that would cause repetitive strain injuries in the back of your hand, your wrist and your elbow. You see, when you want your fingers to extend (lift up/open your hand), or you want to extend your wrist (move your hand away from you),the muscles that create those movements must fight against the tightness in the muscles that create flexion (closing of the hand and bending the hand towards you). This makes them fatigue much easier, resulting in pain.
Secret #2: Everything is connected to everything else.
Let’s take the sprained wrist example. It hurts when you try to move it in any direction. What can you possibly do to help when you can’t even move your hand? Well, the simple answer is, don’t move it! That might sound a bit crazy, but everything is connected to everything else.
The muscles in your fingers don’t just finish at the base of your fingers (well, some of them do), the long ones attach all the way down at your elbow. Your biceps also attach to my elbow and your pec attaches onto your arm, underneath your biceps. So, if your biceps are too short and your pec is too short, you have an internal rotation of your upper arm. This puts much more strain through your wrist and all the muscles of your fingers than they would otherwise be.
So, simply by mobilising the muscles in the arm and chest instead of the wrist and hand, you can reduce the strain on the sore muscles and therefore reduce your pain – without causing yourself any more pain because you can keep your wrist completely still!
This removes the apprehension of moving the injured area that sends your brain into a bit of a panic. Just even the thought of something creating more pain for you sends your brain into “protect” mode, which results in more tightness. The best thing to do is to give your brain a bit of confidence in how you’re moving, by keeping the sore area still. You could even wear a splint or something like that to help, if necessary.
Secret #3: Focus on what you can do rather than what you can’t.
If you have sprained your wrist, then keeping your wrist very still while focusing on moving and mobilizing your arm and your chest is a really helpful way of making you feel like you’re doing something useful and moving your body forwards.
As you loosen up all the tightness that’s feeding into an area, you’re improving the blood flow which is giving your nutrients and oxygen and all the other good stuff that your body needs to heal that problem. Just because you’re working further away than the area of pain, it doesn’t mean to say that you’re not influencing the tightness in that specific area. You’re also helping to improve the blood flow which will speed up your recovery.
Injuries can create huge amounts of anxiety, frustration and negativity but staying focused on what you CAN do to help, keeps the mind busy and helps you to stay positive throughout the process, which plays a HUGE role in speeding up recovery.
So, if there’s ONE thing you should take away from this article, it’s that there’s plenty you can do to help, even if your body is super sore.
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