Our body uses pain as a way to tell us there is a threat going on and we need to get out of danger.
Usually when we twist an ankle or pull a muscle, we have a direct cause for injury.
After a period of time, these issues usually resolve themselves and pain should diminish, letting us know the damage was just a muscular injury.
Then there are those pains that seem to linger and come and go no matter what, even if there is no direct correlation to the area affected.
This is when other factors can contribute to our pain, as our level of threats detected in the body sets the alarm system off (pain).
We could have disruption within our digestive tract, a poor emotional state from a bad day, lack of sleep, and poor movement quality to name a few contributing factors to our pain.
If you had a bucket, you can envision each of these things being a certain amount of water that fills the bucket. If the bucket overflows, then our body has hit its threat threshold, and our pain alarm will go off to alert us of an impending danger, even if there was not a physical component.
The first thing we do in the clinic is to improve movement quality and fitness levels to create a bigger bucket to handle more loads of water.
If these things are maximized, then factors such as addressing quality sleep patterns and reducing external stressors would be our next step to reduce the filling of the bucket.
Having a poor diet or eating foods that may be inflammatory can possibly leave your digestive system in a chronic baseline of inflammation, causing stress and keeping water in the bucket.
When these things are left unchecked in the background, you start with a bucket that is nearly full, so any other unpredictable stress to the body (physical, emotional, environmental) will just set us over the edge.
This is how chronic injuries that you have seems to become recurring, as your body may tense the same areas where it feels the most threatened, no matter where the threats come from (the bucket overfilling).
It is important to understand that our body is adaptable, and the more we can increase our ability to attenuate threats (bigger buckets), the better we can handle the unpredictable with less overwhelm. This is why having a healthy diet, a well-developed aerobic system, strength, and sound sleep can all help provide our body with a less sensitive alarm system so we don’t fall into a painful cascade when small accumulations of stress enter the body.
Still not sure what’s filling your bucket and need help discovering how to empty it?
Schedule a Free Discovery Call with a PT today!
Dr. Peter Dionisopoulos is the owner and founder of Dynamic Performance & Rehab. He has worked with many high-level athletes and military personnel, but his true passion is to help active adults maintain their lifestyle by providing information and potential solutions to their aches and pains so they can continue with the activities they love.