Have you ever woken up with a crick in your neck? Or put your back out by simply reaching to pick something up off the floor? Do you feel tight and achy upon waking? Feel like you can't get through your day without a pick me up at 3pm? If you want to know why this is happening and what you can do about it, continue reading.
Each and every day each one of us is subjected to stress, whether you recognise it or not modern life is stressful. We wake to the sound of an alarm clock alerting us that our day is starting despite the quality or quantity of sleep we had that night which more often than not is not very adequate in quantity or quality. We then may have to wake and prepare children for the day, which can provide enough stress to last a year. We then have to rush a breakfast down us with a chaser of coffee to kick start our body into green light mode, which can cause internal stress, we burn our toast whilst responding to emails, get stuck in traffic and all before 9am each morning. Not to mention the pressure of work, relationships, finances, the external stress of the economy and world politics and the internal stress put on our body with poor quality food.
Stress is a mechanism to help us deal with life threatening danger, a tiger is chasing us down the road we run or we prepare to fight. In both of these circumstances our muscles get ready to literally run for our lives or fight for our lives, they tense in response to the external stimulus and by running or fighting the charge is released, and our muscles can then return to pre stressful event. Our stress response hasn't evolved to know that our boss at work isn't the tiger chasing us, that the stress we are feeling isn't life threatening, it is how ever having a very real effect on our physiology and the problems arise when that stuck stress isn't released. If your muscles are getting ready to fight or run from danger even just once a day and you are just sat at your desk at work or driving your car you are not allowing the body to discharge that stuck stress from your body's tissues.
Over time that stuck stress accumulates. We have day to day stress, external and internal, we have big stressors such as moving house, bereavement and divorce and one day an seemingly unrelated event will happen where you just pull your back out, or you wake up with a crick in your neck.
Chances are you had some messages from your body previous to the event alerting you to the fact that something wasn't quite right. Perhaps you had some slight aches, pains and niggles, stiffness upon waking, feeling more tired than usual, needing coffee in the morning to get you going, wine in the evening to calm you down, all of these are signs that your body has cellular dehydration, but you chose to ignore these messages and guess what? What started as a whisper from your body gently telling you to pay attention, becomes a mighty roar that you can't ignore anymore.
Like all good fairy tales this blog post is going to end with a happy ending, pain does not have to become chronic and chronic pain does not have to be a life sentence. Cellular dehydration can be reversed with a combination of good quality bodywork addressing the fascial system, good quality variable movement, learning tools and techniques to down regulate the nervous system so it's not fired up all the time and finding ways to self soothe without the use of caffeine and alcohol.
Advanced clinical massage therapist and yoga teacher.