Stress and chronic pain

This week’s all about reducing chronic pain by desensitising the nervous system. See yesterday’s email for context.

In 2015, we spent a month in Europe. We visited friends and family in Finland, got lost (and drunk) in Berlin, ate dumplings in Krakow, and felt incredible sadness in Auschwitz. Yet, one of the most vivid memories I have from that trip is front squatting pain-free at a dingy gym in Helsinki.

I had dealt with chronic back pain since 2012, and as anyone with chronic pain can testify, that shit can get debilitating. I had pain the day before boarding the flight. And I had pain the first day I got back to work after the trip.

But here’s the thing, I had zero pain in between.

We know that long-term stress and other emotional drag hurt our mental and physical health. But they can also sensitise the nervous system and make us more receptive to pain.

I’ve seen this with clients. And I have experienced it myself. Learning to manage stress and improve emotional well-being is a crucial piece of the chronic pain puzzle.

Unfortunately, we live in a society that often treats the body and the brain as separate entities. Even though we know that they’re as tightly linked as Beavis & Butthead.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take action as individuals.

I’ve written about managing stress ad nauseam in the past. This one from last year is an excellent place to start, even if I say so myself (and I do). Just sub the fat loss for pain.