Chronic pain weighs our days down and robs our energy and zest for life. Some may have had a niggly shoulder for more than six weeks, whilse others may have had lingering neck, hip or lower back pain that just seems to always be there.
Wherever the pain is, it can be extremely debilitating - even if the actual pain isn't too intense itself, the persevering and relentless pain signals to the body can really take its toll on us.
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This can, of course, lead to depression, altered mood, disrupted cognitions and thought processes, malaise, and just a reduced lack of desire to do the many things you would ordinarily want to do.
Chronic pain becomes this weight and burden that its sufferers constantly have upon its shoulders, and it alters one's course and lust for life.
Depending on who you talk to, chronic pain is that which has been around for longer than six weeks (some say three months) with no sign of progress or relief, and more often than not has no clear onset or reason to be there.
Although some chronic pain is connected to serious trauma, accident or injury, many instances of chronic pain 'just appear' – there appears to be no rhyme or reason for its existence, but yet the symptoms persecute our daily lives and continue to be a niggly and annoying part of our day.
Chronic pain can have us seeking advice and treatment from various practitioners. We can often go a couple of times a week for a matter of weeks or months, but yet don't really get anywhere. The pain continues.
It may be relieved from a treatment, but days later it returns. It confuses and frustrates both patient and practitioner because there seems to be a missing link, a dot that isn't connecting, a segment of information that's not making itself clear.
The practitioner is doing the very things they know should be helping, but yet it's not helping. And the patient forever has hope that each treatment they have may bring that good riddance that they long for. But yet chronic pain just will not let go of its stubborn need to stick around.
So why is this? Why can we sometimes feel like we do everything right, but yet get nowhere. Why can we seek all the advice in the world from highly qualified and highly reputable people but yet the long-term answer or solution still doesn't become clear?
It's maybe not that we're not doing the right thing – because we are. Those practitioners have our best interests at heart and sometimes any relief is better than none. They give everything they can to your scenario.
But perhaps there's a piece of the puzzle that's missing, that goes unseen or unnoticed. Perhaps there are areas or even rabbit holes where most never venture, because we tend to stick to the most trodden paths?
If you're a chronic pain sufferer I want to bring you hope. Why? Because I long to be the one to promote happier bodies by understanding the body as one global and interconnected unit. And sometimes a shoulder is not a shoulder. As the ever-wise Ida Rolf said, "Where you think it is it ain't".
We might have a sore shoulder, but that's simply just where the body's pain signals have been sent. That pain signal is a messenger from the body to alert us to something else that is going on. It's there to alert us and to make us listen. In those instances, we need to dig deeper.
Because the body has a wonderfully intelligent and inherent ability to coax itself into healing. And as one of my mentors says, "The body is under no obligation to make sense to you."
So, we may be trying to heal it, and doing all the things that seem like the right thing to do. But unless we dig deeper, and investigate those often forgotten or neglected areas, then we might find it hard to get on top of the healing and rid the chronic pain.
What do I mean?
Chronic pain can be caused by a musculoskeletal trigger (which is why we visit a physio, osteo or chiro in the first place). But it can also be caused by dietary influences, viral loads that our bodies carry, liver congestion (chronic hip or shoulder pain can often be tied back to here), emotional triggers, disrupted gut, stressful events or traumatic situations, lymphatic blockage … and the list goes on.
These seem like abstract areas to look, but through my work I see this daily. And it's when we begin looking where most don't, that we finally begin to start seeing the progress that we've sought for a long time.
• Corinne Austin is a health and movement coach - www.fitfix.co.nz .