When I teach Integrative Bodywork, one of the first things that I teach is to respect the goals of the client. It is a joint venture. Usually, the therapist has to help the client to understand appropriate goals. In that process, I try to help them understand that pain is resolvable, manageable, or unmanageable. I encourage them to invest in a self-correcting body.
“Resolvable” means that you can go through reasonable activities of daily living without restrictive pain. I worked with a 75-year-old man who was unable to breathe at night without arm pain. I worked with competitive cyclist who had hip pain after riding. Their ideas about reasonable activities of daily living are very different. I helped them both to “resolve” their problem.
“Manageable” means that you need to do something regularly to stay out of pain. That might be a daily stretching routine. It could also be visiting your therapist once a week. It could also involve heating and icing or limiting challenging activities. This usually involves getting relief from Level 1 trigger points.
“Unmanageable” means that the problem prevents you from performing reasonable activities. It makes you leave work early or stop exercising. It may prevent your from sleeping or may be that lying down is the only comfortable activity. Both of those prevent you from participating participating in the reasonable activities of daily living. This usually involves Level 2 trigger points.
The Investors get to where their bodies are “Self-Correcting.” These people tell me that their wrist might be sore during push-ups but it no longer hurts for days afterward. They comment that their back might be sore after moving boxes but that it isn’t painful, like it used to be, when they wake up in the morning. The underlying thing that stops their body from fixing itself has been resolved. They get appropriate signals when they stress their bodies but now, their bodies recover. This is why they invest in bodywork beyond relief. They invest in integrative techniques. They are no longer getting by but building a better quality of life.
Is your pain unmanageable, manageable or resolved? Is your body self-correcting?
Tony Preston has a practice in Atlanta, Georgia where he sees clients.
He has written and taught about anatomy, trigger points and cranial therapies since the mid-90s.