Acute Pain or Chronic Pain?

What is the difference between acute pain and chronic pain?

Do you have acute pain or chronic pain?

Pain is a warning sign that will tend to amplify in duration and intensity if the cause is not addressed. Of course you can mask the symptoms with medication and that may work successfully for some conditions or be effective for a long time. But ultimately for chronic pain getting to the cause and dealing with it, is really the solution for living pain free!

Medical and health professionals will generally classify your pain as either acute or chronic but you are the judge of its intensity, whether it is mild, severe or anything in between

Here are some indicators of both acute pain and chronic pain.

What are the indicators of Acute Pain?

Sudden and usually short term.
Normal response to trauma.
Sharp, aching or throbbing pain which may worsen on movement.
Cause is known, typically resulting from trauma to body tissue eg., broken bones, burns, cuts, surgery, dental problems, pregnancy and childbirth.
Expected symptoms as per the trauma identified. Physiological signs such as wincing, grimacing, sweating, rapid pulse and breathing etc., which go away with healing.
Pain usually disappears when cause is treated or healed.
If not treated effectively can develop into a chronic pain.

Acute pain is typically caused by muscle, nerve or tissue damage as a result of trauma, injury or surgery. Since the reason is obvious, it is normally relatively easy to correct or remove the source of the pain. Accordingly acute pain will tend to decrease over time as the tissue damage heals or the source of pain is removed.

What are the indicators of Chronic Pain?

Long term, typically more than three months.
May be an abnormal response in that initial trauma may have healed but pain persists. Can be a condition or disorder by itself.
A mix of sharp, dull, burning or tingling pain, often experienced frequently or daily and includes neuropathic pain where the problem may be in the nerves, spinal cord or brain.
Cause may or may not be known. May result from ongoing, degenerative, musculoskeletal, infective, malignant conditions or no identifiable cause.
Varied symptoms eg., headaches, back pain, joint or arthritic pain, nerve pain, tight muscles, limited mobility, tiredness, anxiety, anger, depression, fear, etc.

Pain receptors may become hypersensitive and too easily activated or the brain and spinal cord may be unable to dampen or decrease pain signals. 
Pain persists after normal injury healing time or there may be no known cure.
Referred pain and compensation patterns often develop.

Unresolved pain that persists past three months is termed chronic and continues beyond the normal healing time. Its cause may not always be attributed to physical tissue damage. Chronic pain can also be the result of a degenerative or malignant condition or may have no readily identifiable origin.

Chronic pain activates the sympathetic nervous system, the body’s ‘fight or flight’ automatic response. It places the body in continual stress mode which can impact on issues such as heart rate and blood pressure, constrict blood vessels, etc. It is not good for the body to remain in that heightened stress response.

Acute pain or chronic pain? Which do you have? No matter which sort of pain you are experiencing, I can help with both physical relief and mindset.

Get in touch to book your free fifteen minute consult so we can discuss what you need!

How to sit for pain free posture

Are you aware of how you sit? It might be causing you pain and creating bad posture.

Often lounge and TV chairs are made to look good, but they may not be the best for your back. They may tilt your back too far backwards and if they are too soft, you can really sink into the seating and then find it difficult to get up from that position. So while soft seems so inviting, in reality it may not be good for your back.

The ideal chair is one that allows you to keep your back relatively straight and vertically aligned. Generally you should be sitting slightly forward on your hips and tailbone – not leaning backwards with your spine past vertical. Push your buttocks into the back of the chair so you are sitting upright.

Extend and pull up through your spine – don’t sag into the chair and allow your rib cage to collapse onto your stomach and hips. Pull up through the crown of the head and rest your hands on mid thighs (not clasped together or crossed in front of your chest). Shoulders should be down and relaxed to help keep an open chest with your elbows hanging vertically.

posture chair bw.jpg

Chairs that tilt your spine back will make you (unconsciously) push your head and neck forward so that your body can find a centre point of gravity. Your body has an inbuilt balance mechanism that means when your body is tilted backwards, your head will automatically come forward to compensate. As soon as that happens, neck and shoulder muscles strain and tighten, circulation is affected and pain can be initiated or increased.

Most lounge chairs today are plush and you tend to sink deeply into the seat – I avoid those chairs because I know they can trigger my back and I want to stay pain free. Soft chairs can be a trap for people who end up sitting all day and maybe falling asleep in the chair. For many pain conditions, being ‘lazy’ and sitting all day can have painful consequences. If you have back issues, you should choose wisely how, where and how long you sit.

People also come with different leg and spine lengths so one chair design is not ideal for all. For example a too high chair can press on the hamstrings, the back of the legs of a shorter person and over time can compromise circulation and lymphatic drainage. This can result in tight calves and swelling of the feet and ankles. Pick a chair where your legs are not swinging but your feet comfortably reach the floor (or use a foot stool). Also flex your feet and stretch your legs regularly while seated to avoid circulation problems.

If you have back, hip or knee pain, and the length of the chair seat is too long, you may have difficulty getting out of the chair suddenly. Or if you’ve been sitting far back into a chair, do not stand up immediately from that position. First, bring yourself forward horizontally towards the front edge of the seat until you can get your feet firmly on the ground. Tighten your core or stomach muscles, lean slightly forward over your knees and then rise. Stand for a few seconds for your circulation to equalise and to regain your balance before you move away. Stop and visualise what you want to do next and then move – no need to rush. Do not jump up quickly from a chair that is not optimal for you.

If you go somewhere and the chairs don’t suit then stand up and walk around. Don’t allow other people to dictate that you remain seated and put your back at risk. Stand off to the side or at the back so that you can move unobtrusively and protect your back. 

You might think that sitting in chairs is simple because it is something we do all the time and often for many hours a day but it can be the number one thing that it is triggering your back or leg pain.

Do you need to improve your sitting habits?? Let me know how you go with these tips.

DIY Muscle Rub Oil Blend

DIY Muscle Rub Oil Blend

If you are feeling stiff or have tight muscles, you can personalise your own relaxing muscle rub oil blend to use on the stressed areas.

My favourite recipe uses Young Living Essential Oils:

  • Ten drops of Release
  • Ten drops of either Stress Away, Valor, Wintergreen, Marjoram, Rosemary or Peppermint
  • 1/4 cup of cold pressed, unrefined coconut oil

Mix together well and store in a small sealed container, preferably a dark, glass bottle.

You only use a small amount at a time so your personalised mix will last for many applications.

Try it out and let me know how you go!

For information about Young Living Essential Oils, please click here.

Do you have ‘text neck’?

If you are on your phone a lot, your posture might look like this and you may have ‘text neck’!

Poor phone posture can create problems like these:

👉 pain, stress and tightness in the neck and back

👉 headaches

👉 limited range of motion in the neck

👉 rounded shoulders

👉 slumped posture 

👉 respiratory problems 

Do you think the lungs can fully inflate and allow you to breathe easily if the head is down (constricting the throat and airway) and you are constantly slumped forward, crowding and compressing the lungs and organs in the trunk of the body?

For short periods of mobile phone or tablet usage, hold the device up to eye level, keeping your spine and neck straight as possible.

For longer periods, you may need to prop your device on a stand or use it at the table or desk to get it close to your eye level and not have to tilt your head down. 

Be creative, do whatever it takes to use your device in a comfortable and good posture position.

Of course, I can help your posture with Bowen Therapy too! 

Case Study: Sexy Back!

I wanted to share an interesting case study with you as this is not my only client I have seen with the problem of ‘sexy back’!

A young female in her early 20s, was having a lot of trouble with her lower back and sciatic nerve. She’d already been hospitalised several times with the pain and there was talk of back surgery but she’d been told to lose weight before that could go ahead. She’d tried other therapies with no relief and then a friend of hers (a client of mine) had told her to see me.

There was structural misalignment in her lower spine and hips – she had grown up on a property and used to ride horses, had several falls, but now worked at an office in the city. She wasn’t getting any physical exercise and her muscle tone was very poor. However she responded quickly with her first Bowen session and had significant relief.

She was very excited to be able to move with substantially less pain.

I spoke to her about needing to rebuild muscle tone to support the corrections, suggested some gentle exercises she could do at home to support her recovery.

Her second session also went well and we got further improvement to the stage where she was no longer in pain. She hadn’t however chosen to do any of the exercises or stretches to help herself. I explained again the importance of building and maintaining muscle tone to keep pain free.

Her third treatment was totally different. She came in limping and in severe pain. Her father came in this time with her. She told me she had been great, no pain and full mobility until the weekend, then something had gone drastically wrong – she didn’t know what.

Her father sat out in reception while I helped his daughter but as I came out of her clinic room he grabbed me.

“She’s been going really well coming here but it’s her husband.” he whispered.

“He works away on shifts but he came back over the weekend. A long weekend, it’s too much sex or what he makes her do. It’s happened before but she won’t listen!”

I knew it was possible and could see he was very concerned. Recent activity had made her pelvis unstable and because of her poor muscle tone and lack of fitness she was back in trouble. 

So if you are in a similar situation, just be aware of ‘sexy back’.

There are positions where you can still have fun or a loving connection but not put your back at risk. Slow and supported tends to work better than fast and rough, and honest communication with your partner is important. Be conscious of positions that hurt or trigger your lower back pain and adjust accordingly.

Typically the person with lower back pain would take a more passive role and pillows can be used to support the back, hips or go under the knees, etc. Suggested positions depend on the type of pain and the actions that trigger it but may include seated using a chair or laying on the side and spooning.

Having a hot shower before sex can also be helpful and can loosen tight muscles, easing cramp and spasm. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor or therapist for positions specific for your condition – they won’t mind, they would rather you use safe positions and stay pain free!

Are these habits giving you pain?

If you are in pain, or even once you become pain free, you should be on the lookout for triggers in your environment. Are these things giving you pain?

Some things to look out for: 

  • Have you heard the saying “sitting is the new smoking” – it’s true! Sitting for too long or in the wrong position can have major pain consequences. 
  • If you work on computers frequently make sure the work space and layout suits you. Make sure that the monitor is at comfortable eye level so you don’t have to tilt your head down and that the mouse is within easy reach (without over extending your arm/shoulder). Keep your head and spine vertically aligned – constantly tilting the head forward and down, tightens neck and shoulders muscles. Take frequent breaks to move freely and drink water!
  • When you are sitting, your feet should be able to comfortably rest on the floor (or stool) and not swing from the seat. Maybe a ‘Sit to Stand’ or ergonomic desk may be the answer for you. Test personally before you buy if possible and select a good quality chair – if you have back and pain issues this is not the time to buy cheap.
  • Poor phone posture – have you ever looked at someone (or yourself in the mirror) while using your mobile phone or tablet? Head forward and down, rounded upper back and shoulders – it’s not a pretty sight. Prolonged texting, watching movies or using Facebook etc. helps create what was called years ago ‘dowagers hump’.

Are any of these habits causing you pain? You can turn it around! Change your environment and habits and get some good body work to help relieve your pain.

Are You Feeling Stuck?

Well, this year is still challenging us all, isn’t it?

It seems relentless at times and this prolonged stress can really wear us down. Self care has never been so important.

I have made a little video to check in with you and share a bit more about how I can support you.

I always have available a free 15 minute consultation where we can discuss what help you need. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. 

My mission in life is to help as many people as possible life the life of their dreams!

Five Easy Meditation Techniques

Committing to do some kind of relaxation and mindfulness practice each day has so many benefits for your physical and mental health. It can also significantly help reduce chronic pain.

Here are my favourite easy meditation options from which you might like to choose:

  • Focus on the breath. Just sit comfortably with the spine and neck aligned and straight as possible. Preferably close your eyes and just focus on your breathing. No judgement, just observe your breath softly moving in and out. Observe the silence between the breaths. If your mind wanders, no stress, just gently bring it back to focusing on your breath and feel your shoulders, head and jaw relax.

  • Use a mantra. You may prefer a simple mantra, word or phrase to focus your busy mind. You could use “Om” as your mantra, which has a beautiful low vibrational tone and a long history in Hinduism, Buddhism, meditation and yoga. You could also use a word important to you such as “peace” or “love” or a simple phrase like “just be”. Breathing deeply, either vocalise your word or visualise and hear it in your mind.

  • Body relaxation. Can be done lying down or seated (I prefer to do this lying in bed before sleeping). Close your eyes, take a deep breath and focus and feel your feet. Be aware of the muscles, tendons and ligaments relaxing and softening. Move slowly up the body, gently focusing on each area and feeling it release and relax. Finish with the muscles in the face and around the eyes letting go and then your scalp muscles releasing. Breathe deeply and relax.

  • Positive visualisation. Get yourself into a comfortable position, close your eyes and take a deep breath. Think about your favourite place to be – your own slice of heaven or your private peaceful place. It might be somewhere you’ve been in the past or somewhere you would like to go. Imagine it in as much detail as you can and feel yourself there. See yourself as your ideal, perfect self – pain free, moving easily with energy and joy. You are happy, relaxed and grateful for all the blessings in your life. Relax your body, keep breathing deeply and visualise yourself in your perfect place. Really feel yourself there and engage the senses. Can you feel the sunshine? How vibrant are the colours? What can you hear and how does it smell? Smile and imagine yourself enjoying the activities that you do there freely and easily. If you wish, you can even visualise your perfect self, resting and meditating in your peaceful place.

  • Anchor visualisation. If your mind seems so busy and full and it’s hard to focus on only your breath, you might like to use an anchor, an image that gives you strength and stability. For example, you might visualise yourself sitting at the base of a massive tree, strongly rooted into the ground with a huge trunk reaching up into a beautiful blue sky. Or you may see yourself standing and hugging a tree which remains strong even when things are frantic and swirling around. 

Try one or more of these out and start a consistent practice. You will be amazed at the results. I would love to hear how you go!

If you would like more wellness tips, I have expanded on them in my book, Drug Free Pain Relief: The TRUTH About How to Avoid Pain… Even if You’ve Tried Other Methods!

Body Bath Soak Recipe

If you are feeling a bit stiff and sore with tight muscles, try a body bath soak!

This is a great way to ease tension and help your muscles relax.

Body Bath Soak Recipe

You need:

375 g packet of Epsom Salts

1/2 cup of fine Himalayan Salt or Dead Sea Salt

10–15 drops of your favourite essential oils

I suggest Young Living’s Aroma-Siez or Relieve It as your essential oils – they are already blended and ready to go.

How to make:

Combine thoroughly and place in an air-tight container.

Depending on the size of you and your bath, this would typically do two baths for a small adult (or around five foot or hand soaks).

Get into a warm bath with your body soak thoroughly dissolved and relax for 10–20 minutes. Get out of the bath while the water is still warm, gently towel dry but do not rinse.

Jump straight into bed and have a good night’s sleep!