Awareness is one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal. Especially if you are experiencing persistent pain. I don’t mean simply being more aware of your pain – while that might be useful to help you avoid further provocation of your symptoms, it can equally be problematic if you become hypervigilant about checking if your pain or symptoms are present or not.
Let’s set up a scenario that will help to explain why I think awareness is a very important part of persistent pain.
“You are a business owner. You are losing €700/£700/$700 a month, BUT you don’t know you are losing this money every month. (It might sound a bit crazy for that to be happening, but roll with it for the moment). How can you change that?”
The answer is that you cannot, until you become AWARE that this is happening. Only then can you do something about it!
When working with people experiencing persistent pain, I find that awareness is one of their biggest tools to help them transform their situation from one of regular pain experiences to getting their lives back and overcoming their pain.
If you are unaware of the many factors that may influence your pain, how can you change any of them?
What could these influences be?
Your understanding of what is happening in your body
Your understanding of what pain itself is and what it’s function is
Fear of movement / fear of certain activities
The influence of stressors on your body and how they may affect pain
Words – what people have told you about you, or about the human body
Sensitivity in your body
This list is not exhaustive by any means. In fact, each person being so unique will likely have a unique combination of these influences and will have a unique set of meanings based on these influences that may contribute to pain.
The problem arises when the influences that are acting on you are unsupportive for you, ie. inducing fear and threat. When that is the case, they will be more likely to contribute to you experiencing pain than if they were supportive for you.
Why is this? Understand that your brain and nervous system are hardwired at a primal level to be on the lookout all the time for anything that is threatening. That threat may come in the form of an injury, or in the words someone says to you, or even what you read on Google about the human body.
If you are unaware that these things matter on a daily basis for the amount of threat you experience (consciously and unconsciously), then you are likely unaware of some of the powerful influences that act upon you and will have an impact on your daily pain levels.
How does awareness help? You can change your understanding, change the meanings that you make, move without fear, and ultimately start down the road of overcoming your pain by minimising or eliminating unsupportive threat
inducing understandings about the human body, and about your body in particular. It also allows you to gather more accurate information about the movement patterns, activities and situations that you experience pain in, which will enable the person you are working with to help you overcome your pain more efficiently.
Awareness really helps. If you would like help exploring the factors that influence your pain and symptoms, please get in touch:
I’d love to help you out!
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