To recap the progression of pain and muscle dysfunction, remember that something (emotional or physical) first triggers muscular tension in a specific area. Left untreated, your body will begin using another area to compensate in order to avoid aggravating the tensed area. Overuse of these compensating muscle leads to further imbalances in your surrounding muscles, and eventually, more and more of the body becomes affected, including your joints.
When you reach the stage of global dysfunction, that means nearly your entire body is working extra hard to function through the pain, tension and compensation patterns.
The extra work required just for basic functions is physically exhausting, leading to feelings of general fatigue throughout the day. Breathing becomes harder, which affects how much oxygen is sent throughout your body. When oxygen is limited, no bodily systems can work optimally.
The constant pain and discomfort signals being sent to your brain triggers increased psychological arousal, thanks to your fight/flight response. This leaves you in a perpetually stressed out state, making it difficult to relax and sleep, and making it difficult to meet the demands of normal daily living.
Living with chronic pain doesn’t have to be a life sentence, but you will need the help of a professional therapist to intervene and address the multiple changes that have occurred.
Because of the long-term adaptations that your body and brain have learned, future flare-ups are still a risk in the scope of treatment. It will take time to unlearn the poor movement patterns and replace them with healthier, less-stressful postures and movements. But once normal function is restored, every aspect of your health improves, including your ability to breathe, think, rest, digest, and get stronger.
To conclude this series, please refer to the list of services available at Body Smart Health & Fitness to see how physical therapy can help you thrive and
overcome pain and discomfort. No matter where your health stands now, there is room for improvement. The best is yet to come.