As you know, when you have pain, it makes your thinking brain work overtime. All that overtime should be unpaid because whatever part of the brain is spending its working hours on negative thoughts? We know that isn’t worth the money, the time, or the energy. Not worth listening to. Yet, we do. We listen and we get ourselves into a spiral of trouble.
You know the internal thought routine, right? It goes something like this:
- Wow, I just woke up and I’m not sure I can roll over.
- Geeez, that’s really sensitive today.
- Maybe if I move my legs? Nope, that hurts my back. How is that possible?
- Okay, If I can just roll to one side. uggghhhhh. Accomplished. But ouch.
- Oh, I have that meeting today. I need to get out of bed.
- Walking to the shower, warm water always helps.
- Ewww… That glimpse in the mirror…. Who is that? Am I always that side bent? All day?
- I look like my grandmother. But I’m only [fill in your age]
- So if I look like my grandmother now, what’s my life going to be like in 10 years? 20? 30?
- I won’t be able to move. I’ll be in a wheelchair. How will I take care of myself?
- My husband won’t want to be saddled with this. He lives to travel. What about my kids? I’d never even tell them.
- Will I be alone? Crippled?
And this is all before actually turning the water on for the shower.
If you can relate, you either have tears welling up, or you are laughing. Both responses are good. There’s something very real and crushing about these thoughts. And if you are in a place today where you can laugh about it, then you know just how fast the brain went into overtime trying to “knowledge” its way through the problem. And that is the problem: the brain. The brain’s job is to find a solution. It just doesn’t always do a very good job. But it’s working hard! And sending out information. So, how do you know when to believe or not believe the brain? You could try asking a different question.
Solutions for Sadness and Scoliosis:
- First, ask yourself if you’re in pain. If you are in pain, you need to put all your thoughts through a truth/reality detector. If we look at the list above, where do you detect the first reality-lie? You could say it starts at #3. Moving my legs hurts my back. Is that 100% true? Or is it just moving my legs the way I was trying to move them so I could get out of bed that hurt my back? After all, I probably could roll my legs in and out and slide them a bit without pain. You could even say the errors start back at #1: “I’m not sure I can roll over.” Do you see any other false statements in the list? Can you identify your own false statements?
- Second, ask yourself what is real. You’ve identified what is not real — this should happen early and often. If you get to the point of making yourself cry, ask yourself where you could have stopped this runaway brain train earlier. Be ready for the next time. You need to focus now on what is real. Who is your support? And are they really going to be anywhere except to be there to support you? It could be a friend, spouse, child or pet.
- Third, reflect on how your thoughts change with pain. Scoliosis is a life-long condition and we can’t help to think about our futures. But you may have noticed you don’t spend as much time thinking about a negative future when your back feels good. Your thoughts could easily go from planning a greenhouse garden in retirement to who’s going to take care of you on days you feel pain. Consider the connection and how you could mitigate the spiral.
- Fourth, and lastly, reflect on how your pain changes with runaway thoughts, so the opposite of the above. Maybe you are feeling good but you found out that your curve has worsened since your last X-ray. With this emotional stress, did your physical pain increase? Yeah, it often does. But it could be any emotinal stress that is related or unrelated to scoliosis.
You can have less pain. Try this.
If our bodies have less pain, then we also feel a lot less emotional stress, and our sadness diminishes. So, can we reduce our pain in order to improve our moods? Yes! Absolutely, yes! I, and all of our practitioners, have seen personalities change dramatically as pain subsides. It’s one of the most rewarding parts of our job. To watch true personalities blossom and to watch a life evolve and bloom — it’s truly so rewarding. It of course begs the question, how do we reduce the pain. It’s not like we’ve gone out of our way to seek it out. Here are a few thoughts:
- Try Scolio-Pilates. You knew we were going to say that, right? Haha! Well, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t believe in it. It’s a career based on passion, for certain. If you want to start with our easiest option, try Scolio-Pilates On Demand. You can start now. We’ll work with you towards health any time of any day.
- The Pain Academy. I have clients that are really loving this solution. Combine it with Scolio-Pilates so that you can incorporate three-dimensional corrections into your pain solution. With scoliosis, we need to address the three dimensions of change.
- Find your way outdoors. Being outdoors has been shown to be emotionally beneficial. However, the very fact that we are getting outside most likely means we are being more active than sitting at the computer or tv screen. Getting outside will solve both issues — body and mind.
Health, physical and mental, are inexorably linked. When are moods are grey, our physical bodies struggle. And when our bodies hurt, so do our minds. Fortunately, the opposite is true. A content body can equal a content mind. Let’s use this paradigm to our advantage. Feel better physically. Your mind will follow.
Karena Thek, Founder of Scolio-Pilates
We are here to help. You can reach out today: ScolioAssistant@OsteoPilates.com