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511 Saxony Place
Encinitas, CA, 92024
United States

(858) 248 2272

Reach your potential with a unique blend of Physical Therapy, Yoga Therapy, Massage and Essential Oils in Encinitas, CA with Doctor Alison McLean, DPT, ERYT, HHP, C-IAYT.

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Blog

How to Reduce Pain Without A Bunch of Crazy Exercises

Alison McLean

Whether you are conscious of it or not, your nervous system is being ruled by feelings of safety, or lack of. As parents we embody this for our children. Prioritizing their safety above anything else. However, as adults we often forget to put on our own safety mask first. Or, we don’t even realize we are in environments, relationships, workplaces etc where unconsciously we feel unsafe. Sometimes with associate feelings of safety with physical dangers or big traumas. Of course our brain will be scanning the environment for these high alert issues to keep us alive. These we don’t have much control over, and are usually a surprise, for better or worse a part of life.

Today, what I’m talking about specifically is the lack of safety we create due to the stories we run in the background of our mind, or our perception of a relationship or environment. A situation one person might perceive as being enjoyable, relaxing or safe, another might interrupt as being fear provoking or dangerous in some way. This is based upon past experiences which trigger fears, worries and anxieties. While these are not big traumas, the continuous feeling of being unsafe will keep the fight or flight nervous system in high drive.

When the nervous system kicks into protective mode, a whole cascade of physiological responses happen. These are normal and needed if we are actually in danger, however if it’s emotional danger due to fears from stories we create, the consequences of living in “fight or flight” can take its toll on the body and mind.

pain-relief-encinitas

For example, a patient I had in the office was experiencing traveling chronic pain. Sometimes in the neck, sometimes in the low back. A flare of either region could occur without warning, leading to a day in bed and inability to take care of responsibilities. After a few sessions with her we realized that she is on continuous guard, always overanalyzing situations and conversations. Due to her shy personality she has a hard time expressing her needs, and stores her emotions internally. All this lead to a rigidity in her body, tension and excess stress. She had exercises from a previous physical therapist she was doing, but felt they didn’t really provide relief or sometimes even made the pain worse. After a few sessions we started to unravel the root source of her pain. Yes there were some physical imbalances we needed to align, but the underlying issue was the continuous stress due to not feeling safe. Once we developed a self care routine to help create feelings of safety and dial down the fight or flight response her flare ups and intensity of pain also decreased as well. Then surprisingly (or not) she started doing those exercises from her old PT- and started experiencing positive effects from them, because now we addressed the cause.

I believe her situation is so common. How do we unpack all this??
It starts by slowing and creating an awareness. Where and when do you feel unsafe, or triggered? This can be very subtle. Then developing an environment and community that supports you. This week start by snuggling up with your loved ones, or items that make you feel supported. Also, notice the stories that come up as the holiday approaches. My daughter loves her cozy stuffed puppy when she feels overwhelmed. What can ground and anchor you? When the nervous system moves from protective mode and fear based stories, then the healing and living (physical and mental) can truly begin.

Questions? Just reply to this e-mail.

Warmly,

Alison

PS- For more preventative wellness tips watch this interview:


Get Rid of the Overwhelm

Alison McLean

For better or worse there is a ton of information available at your fingertips. Podcasts, google, blogs, IG, FB etc it’s endless. Yet, with all this information its easy to still not find a solution to your problem. Why’s that?

Well, it’s easy to over saturate your brain with too much info, and too many choices. Then when you go to take action you freeze, not sure which direction to go because often the information is conflicting. How do you remedy this?

By getting in touch with yourself, and truly being honest with what is important to you, and what your blocks are. That sentence took 10 seconds to write, but the actual follow through can be a soul searching process. If you are courageous here is how to start:

  1. Grab a pen and paper (or the Ignite Your Wellness Journal)

  2. Select a inspiring essential oil or blend ( I like Build Your Dream, Magnify Your Purpose, Frankincense). Place a drop of oil in your palms, rub together and then inhale in.

  3. Set your self up in a comfortable restful position. I really like constructive rest pictured below.

 Constructive rest

Constructive rest

4. While resting ask yourself, “What does my ideal day look like”. Be specific. Include, how your body feels, people you want to spend time with, work that is fulfilling, activities etc. Then expand this to the ideal week. What brings you happiness, fulfillment, how do you want your body to feel and move? What fuels you?

5. Write all this down. What you are writing is what you value, it’s what fuels your soul energetically and your body physically.

These are also the filters to decide what information to take in, and to also determine what is aligned with this big picture of where you want to go. If what you are reading or hearing does not feel in alignment with your big picture it is ok to let it go. Not all the information out there is appropriate for you. Just like one alignment cue or exercise works great for one person, and might harm another. Same is true with lifestyle, diet, work, beliefs and values. It’s what makes us human and individual. You just have to have the confidence to be different, and listen to what you need.

Repeating this meditation daily or weekly will help to keep what is important to you in the forefront of your mind as a reminder. I give you permission to let go of what doesn’t work. It’s scary to say no, but by only saying yes to what’s in alignment you will feel less overwhelm and more confident in your decisions. What does this have to do with pain? Well research says the more we are connected to our passions, and what fuels us the less pain (frequency, intensity and radius) we feel! If you want to know why just respond to this email, and I will fill you in.

In the meantime, here are some upcoming opportunities to say yes (or no!) to:

Free chemical free lifestyle class on FB with opportunity to win a essential oil Premium Starter kit

Replenish and Restore workshop 11/10 2-4 at Soul of Yoga

Release stress and reduce pain in the low back 12/8 2-4 at Prana Yoga Center

See you in class!
Warmly,

Alison

PS- looking for more tips to bring yoga off the mat? Watch this interview: