Tips for Chronic Pain from our Pilates Instructor at CORE Therapy & Pilates

Hey guys! It’s Megan and I wanted to share with you today some tips for dealing with chronic pain.

We are getting into that cold rainy season where we’re not moving as much, we’re not getting enough as much sunlight, we’ve got high-stress levels and these are all things that can contribute to chronic pain or inflammation in the body. And so I wanted to give you a couple of things that I do on a regular basis to help keep my flare-ups down and under control.

The first thing I do is I take a lot of Epsom salt baths. I get about one to two cups of Epsom salt. I’m going to pour it in a pretty warm bathtub.

I try not to get too hot on that water because sometimes I do overheat and so what I will also do is I will grab a cup of ice-cold water and have it next to me in the bathtub just to kind of help regulate my temperature in case an overheat or something like that. That’s something that I found out long ago really, really helps with allowing me to be able to stay in the bathtub a little bit longer because you do want to soak for about 15 to 20 minutes.

A lot of times I’ll put things like essential oils in there. Something like lavender is a favorite of mine.  It kind of helps me calm down.

Each person might you might find something that you enjoy so play around with the essential oils, you might look up online and see what’s calming, relaxing.

The other thing that I like to do is I like to do breathing exercises. It doesn’t have to be any particular exercise even just being mindfully aware of the breath and the moment kind of feeling the body. Expand as you take an inhale feeling the contraction as you exhale and if I have like a certain spot in my body that doesn’t feel good, I’ll try to even send my breath into that spot.

Let’s say my low back is really hurting as they take an inhale I’m going visualize my low back is expanding those muscles are expanding with oxygen. I’m really kind of opening up that place that’s tight in my body and as I exhale I’m trying to just release any tension any tightness in the body.

I’ll also do this with things like stress so I’m inhaling and into my entire body and once I exhale I’m just releasing any tension throughout my body, any stress. And just being present with myself and my body in that moment which brings me to the next thing which is meditation or mindfulness.

This was hard for me to start at the beginning. I had a lot of bracing thoughts. Over time this got a lot easier. When it started, it was actually like a moving meditation that was the only way I could really connect my breath in my body in a nice gentle movement.

Another thing is just like paying attention to walking. If you go on regular walks in the morning just kind of feeling the body and noticing as you place each foot on the ground and as you’re walking through you’re just being present with yourself in that moment and that’s really all you need.

How that meditation develops for you is going to be different for each person. It might not be you sitting in a room with your eyes closed. You might have to find something a little bit different but again you’re just kind of allowing your brain to be present with the body in the moment connecting that breath in there which brings reach to the next one.

It is also doing a supportive exercise. Sometimes with chronic pain, if we go too hard or do too much it can result in a flare-up. Always finding a knight being safe in the exercises.

I prefer exercises like Pilates, Gyrotonic yoga, things like that not heavy flow yoga’s, nice and gentle where I’m holding the poses. And again that’s just connecting my brain my body and my breath and kind of getting out of my own head for a little bit.

It also keeps the body moving it keeps everything that rhythm kind of going and it can help in the long term although sometimes it seems like you don’t want to move you’re in so much pain but then when you get through or having started doing some exercises you notice that you actually do start feeling better.  Your flare-ups are not as intense, not as long.

And the last thing that I would recommend is just being gentle with yourself. Try not to push yourself and doing anything that you don’t want to do or you don’t feel comfortable with. Pushing yourself to go to a bunch of shopping or holiday parties all in one sitting.

If you need to take some time for yourself, for some self-care, please do because that’s the best way for your body to heal. You just kind of getting in touch with the body. Starting to listen to what the body is asking you.

It will start kind of giving you signs, okay we need to slow down, we need to stop, we need to take a break.  And that’s really what I kind of came here today to say is just be gentle with yourself going into the holidays. Be sure to listen to your body and be sure to take care of your body.

Even though this is the season for giving and sharing we also need to make sure that we’re taking some time to do that to ourselves so that we can have that energy and be able to support and provide for other people.

I hope this helps you guys. Let me know if you have any questions comments, concerns and we hope you have a great holiday..

Want to learn more about CORE, Call 512-215-4227 and we will listen to your chronic pain story…

Apply for a FREE Physical Therapy Evaluation and Plan of Care explanation https://therapyandpilates.com/free-discovery-session/

Want to see Megan for a Pilates Taster Session? Apply here… https://therapyandpilates.com/pilates-free-taster/

Megan Strawn

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