Are you the victim of this vicious cycle?
There are quite a few vicious feedback loops that can really make it difficult to overcome pain.
Today I’m going to briefly write about the ” loop of deconditioning” and how it relates to ongoing pain. It may be a slightly longer read than usual so grab a cup of coffee/tea and take a few mins for this one.
I’m a massive massive advocate for movement. For exercise and for general fitness. For a person in pain they are literally life savers at times. Since Covid has graced our lives, I’ve seen so many people who fall into the cycle depicted by the diagram below:
If you are now working from home then the above cycle might look familiar. My clinic and my online programme have both been really busy despite lockdowns and pandemic restrictions and I believe that a large part of this is tied to the cycle of deconditioning.
And just FYI, if you are someone that this has happened to, there is absolutely no judgement here. Homeschooling, lack of ability to travel, financial pressure, relationship pressure and all the other things that this pandemic have brought up to the surface for us all might have meant that this cycle of deconditioning has begun quietly in the background without you noticing.
(Of course there ae so many people who have used the Covid situation to get out of this cycle and begin to move more – well done if that is you!)
Once that cycle takes hold and a person begins experiencing pain, it usually becomes accompanied by worry and doubt and fear about injury to their body.
In the vast majority of cases, there is no appreciable change in the structure of the body (many clients have had MRIs due to pain before working with me, and have no findings to report), and the cycle of deconditioning is likely responsible.
Combine that with fear, increased stress levels and all the psychological associations that have been built up about pain (belief systems, labels/diagnosis, what Dr. Google says, narratives) that go hand in hand with that for the majority of people and you have a combination that can be hard to shake.
Aka, figure out what is influencing symptoms and provide them with skills, practices and tools to start walking down the path to recovery.
It’s all laid out there for them. And at the start of the process, it can look like a pitiful amount of work that the person is doing (especially when they are very deconditioned)
It all adds up over time and compounds.
Regaining movement and conditioning, leading to regaining confidence, strength and resilience is akin to paying into a pension for your health.
We do it all the time for our finances because it’s been drummed into us that we need money later in life to retire with.
That is true and whilst it’s true it’s also very simple from my perspective – We can’t use or benefit from that money without our health.
15 minutes per day = 91 hours per year!
What would your body look, feel and perform like if you made that investment from today onwards and were reaping the compounding benefits of positive change to the trajectory of your health?
I hope I have made the case in a way that clear and easy to understand. It does not have to be complicated. The key message is to begin to break the loop of deconditioning.
That could be simply getting out for a walk every day or making time to move your body in a meaningful way for a few minutes whilst working from home.
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Thanks for reading, you might have needed two cups of coffee to get through that one!