What is Your Body Aching to Tell You?

What is Your Body Aching to Tell You?

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WORDS Greg Dolman

The pain industry is one that pulls in millions of dollars every year. How many people do you know who DON’T suffer some sort of pain? Obviously, the younger we are the fewer people we will know who have some sort of pain, compared to those of us who are slowly marching through the decades one year at a time.

The older we become the more pain we tend to experience. Whether it is from just getting older, excessive wear and tear, injuries, food choices, becoming more body-conscious or more aware of our emotions… the list goes on. We will all suffer from many different forms of pain through the different stages of our lives; however, two of the most common pains that I hear about through my occupation are joint pain and muscular pain.

While you are young, you can throw just about as much resistance at your muscles as they can handle. And while our muscles don’t wear out as we age, our joints do. I bet you’ve never heard of anyone getting a muscle replaced due to being overworked. On the other hand, we all know of someone who has had, or needs to have, a joint replaced.

If you are lucky enough to have not yet experienced any joint pain, please learn from those who have gone before you and keep your life’s journey as pain-free as possible. At the very least, if you experience any joint or muscular pain, stop and listen to what the pain is telling you. If you take a moment to stop doing whatever you’re doing when you experience pain, you may in fact be saving yourself from suffering an injury in the future.

These days, too many people continue with an activity even when the body signals ‘pain’. The old adage “work through the pain” seems to be the most common approach with those who are on a mission to accomplish their personal physical goal/s.

I have been involved with exercise from a young age, and have been involved in the gym environment for more than 35 years. In this time I have witnessed many others injuring themselves with exercise. An interesting observation is the sheer number of people who hurt themselves at home, or at the workplace, are actually people who follow an exercise program! This is because those of us who exercise have a more confident approach to doing extra movements away from our exercise program and the gym environment. The problem with this is, when we do a movement that usually doesn’t mirror what our exercise program dictates, we tend to load muscles or joints that aren’t used to the particular movement which then leads to an injury or strain.

So how can we learn from pain and allow it to assist us in avoiding suffering further? One simple way we can learn what muscles and/or joints may be at risk is by doing a self-analysis with a full-body stretch - and feeling which are the tight muscle groups compared to the more flexible ones. This is where you may experience some muscle and/or joint pain.

All joints have muscles on either side that push or pull on the appropriate joint/s. When we have joint pain (excluding structural damage) it is usually because the muscles that control the joint are holding tension. From my experience, if there is a muscle imbalance either side of a particular joint, one muscle will generally be taking more of a load than the other. The tighter muscle will be the ‘grumpy’ one but it is the weaker muscle that also needs some attention. This is purely an imbalance of a particular joint which usually means that we have a shorter tight muscle versus a longer weaker muscle group. So the tighter muscle group should be stretched and the weaker muscle group should be strengthened to assist with an even joint movement. If we don’t stretch the tighter muscles, they will eventually lead to a pain which could possibly lead to an injury.

Our body has its own protection or alarm system, and pain is a function of that. If our body feels an imbalance of any form, it will do what it has to, to get our attention. Pain lets us know that something isn’t right. We then do what’s necessary to ease the pain. But sometimes, in certain scenarios, it just isn’t this simple.

We also suffer from other areas of aches or pains throughout our body. We have different bodily systems that can be pain-responsive. Physical systems - such as musculoskeletal, cardio-respiratory (heart and lungs), digestive, nervous, endocrine (glands), integumentary (hair, skin, and nails), and lymph - all experience pain.

We then have an energetic system (based on Traditional Chinese Medicine practices), which consists of different meridians (organ energy lines that flow through out the body), chakras (seven major ‘energy wheels’ from our groin to just above our head), and our beliefs (generally passed down from our parents’ beliefs), which also affect our joints and muscles. Acupuncture and pressure pointing can address energy blockages within meridians that are affecting the body’s flow of energy, often also affecting the associated muscle groups. These points are generally quite painful when pressed by either a needle or finger.

Eating the wrong foods can cause pain within our digestive system, which then teaches us that a certain type of food or foods should not be eaten or mixed together. We also have emotional pain. This is usually the worst type of pain because it is generally silent and internal until it manifests in physical pain. Each organ within our body has an energetic alignment with a meridian, chakra, and/or a particular muscle group. So therefore our muscles really are keepers of emotions and any pain in a particular muscle can also be a referral of an unreleased emotion.

In getting back to the title of this article “What’s Your Body Aching To Tell You?”- if we are experiencing pain somewhere within our body, we need to stop for a moment and assess what the body is trying to tell us. As long as the pain is purely not an injury that is the result of an accident, or from illness.

Like a low fuel light in a car, pain is an indicator that something is going on in our body that needs to be attended to. So, attend to the pain like it’s a good friend who has warned you that something needs to be addressed and deal with it immediately.

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