Was your pain relief getting better and better, and then stagnates and you’re still in pain?
I know this all too well.
If you have been in the place where you feel that you haven’t made any shift in your pain, know you are not alone. In fact, this occurrence is very common.
Let me start off by sharing that healing from pain is not linear and it is not an event. There is no straight shot arrow to feeling better. It is often two steps forward and one step back. You feel great for a day, week, or month, and then you wake up in tremendous pain. This is healing.
You may also feel like you are stuck in the same place in your healing process. You were feeling better and better, then it stops and your shoulder still aches, your headaches are now twice a week instead of 5 days but it hasn’t shifted to one or none, or you can walk now for 30 minutes without pain but any more than that and it comes back.
If this is you, I put together 6 strategies to help you if you are in a pain plateau.
- Do something different by changing your myofascial self treatment routine. Sometimes we have a set of stretches or use a certain self treatment tool that works really well for us but as we heal and release the stuck fascia our body will shift and change. Your self treatment routine must shift and change with it. Often a stretch you may do that helps your headaches or neck pain will no longer work in the same way. The lines of tension within your fascia has changed from the treatments that you receive and through your own self treatment. Switch into curiosity and feel around for new areas of tightness. Then stretch those new areas or use your self treatment tool there.
- Give yourself permission to heal. Our society tells us to keep going, muscle through it or we get caught up in the mundane life. Sometimes there are unconscious fears and beliefs (see my next strategy) about what would happen if you truly fully healed or we are waiting for external permission from our loved ones. But this is your life and not giving yourself permission to heal will slow your process down. It creates obstacles for you to get better, and you don’t need anymore obstacles. Quiet down your mind and if it feels comfortable for you, say to yourself quietly “I give myself permission to heal.” Another way is to write yourself out a permission slip and keep it somewhere close by.
- Examine your fears and beliefs about getting better. Deep held fears and belief are often held at an unconscious level yet affect us in our daily life. Spend some time writing out, reflecting and feeling through the fears and beliefs. What will change in your life if you were better? How would your life change if you were better? What would be the worst thing that would happen? How would your life be different?
- Reach out for to your Myofascial Release Therapist and schedule a couple of extra treatments even if it’s within the same week. While self treatment is helpful, nothing replaces the hands and energy of a therapist. Your MFR therapist will be able to identify and assess where your body needs treatment or support you to go to the next level in your healing.
- Reevaluate your goals. Spend some time reevaluating your goals. My mentor and teacher, John F. Barnes, PT says, “Mediocre goals lead to mediocre results.” What were your goals prior to starting treatment? Have you met some or all of your goals? Do those goals still feel good and exciting to you? Goals are a way to communicate with our body about what we want and where we want to go. Dare to dream big!
- Take a break. Sometimes we need a period of rest to let the good work you have been doing to process. Rest and let yourself feel through the process. There is a time in life for doing and a time for resting. Enjoy the journey and never give up, there is hope for you to feel better.
I hope these 6 strategies help you stay the course on your path to living pain-free. I have experienced these plateau periods plenty of times over the course of my healing journey and these strategies have helped me reach a deeper level of more movement, freedom and flexibility within my body.
Jessica Kaloutas, LMT, is an expert Myofascial Release therapist and teacher for those suffering from chronic pain, acute injury and trauma. It’s her calling to facilitate the body’s natural ability to heal. She’s known for blending the ancient wisdom of Myofascial Release with empathy and compassion to offer powerful, mind/body education and treatment, resulting in personal empowerment, long-lasting pain relief and an amazing, joyful life! She is the creator of the Pain-Free and Joyful Life Program.