Listen to your body.
Growing up I was extremely active. I loved to play. I played any sport I could, I would run often, go outdoor adventuring, and basically move any chance I could. During my very active childhood at some point that I cannot seem to remember, I started to experience pain. Real pain; not muscular pain, which I think feels oddly great, but pain that did not seem to go away. This is when I decided pain was like a badge of toughness: a testament to how strong I was.
However, after completing 8 years of post-graduate education in osteopathy and neuroscience I know this mindset is not true.
Pain is a warning sign. It lets us know something is not quite right.
If we are good listeners, we will respond appropriately but if not; we will power through or avoid the warning signs all together. As adults we can learn a lot from children. Rarely do kids complain unless there is something wrong. They listen and verbalize their pain. As adults we tend to do the opposite.
Now pain can be purely related to the somatic system (think bones and muscles) or it can be related to the visceral system (think organs) but it can also be way more complicated and be referred pain (a convergence of visceral and somatic pain) or chronic pain (think of this pain like a puzzle).
For example: have you ever heard of someone bending over and throwing out their back so to speak, well in my world this is usually one of two things: 1) a herniated disc or 2) a kidney that is no longer sitting on the psoas muscle (hip flexor). The latter more common.
In both scenarios the pain experience may be the same: sharp and local. However, in one instance the pain is purely somatic (coming from the herniated disc) and in the other the pain is viscero-somatic coming from convergence of the spinal sensory neurons from the visceral organ (the kidney) and somatic area (the spine).1
But all of this is to say, do not avoid your pain or power through but rather seek support before your pain becomes chronic. Putting back together a puzzle takes time. If we all listened a little bit more to the warning signs, moved often and ate well we would be healthier and happier people.
Movement is health and pain a helpful warning sign to rest or seek support!
Registered Kinesiologist and Osteopathy Candidate
Leah is a Registered Kinesiologist and Osteopathy Candidate at the Canadian College of Osteopathy. She is a natural medicine practitioner and believes the body has a tremendous ability to heal itself. She uses her manual practice to help patients restore tissue mobility, position and vitality. She is a graduate of McMaster University’s kinesiology program and former varsity soccer athlete who is focused not only on short term health, but also on long term recovery. She understands that people play an active role in their recovery and recognizes the benefit of both aerobic and resistance training. She has a keen interest in cranial health due too many concussions received through sport. However, with her second degree in Gerontology she also understands the aging population.
She is currently undertaking a Master’s in Kinesiology and a Diploma in Neuroscience at York University. Her clinical research is focused on treatment interventions for concussion.
In her spare time you can find Leah spending time with friends, enjoying the outdoors or being active. She loves, to run, climb, cycle, ski or play any sport! She is a certified spin instructor and challenge course practitioner and is committed to healthy active living!
Kansal, A. and Hughes, J. (2019). Visceral pain. Anaesthesia & Intensive Care Medicine. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mpaic.2019.07.014