Top 5 things to do when you are in pain.
Note – this does not cover traumatic, high-force athletic or possibly dangerous injuries and medical emergencies. These problems require immediate medical assessment.
Pain. We have all felt it. It is a fantastic system when you are in danger. It is, however, designed to overreact. So it leaves us in situations where we have huge amounts of pain, but minimal or no injury. When that happens, what do you do? How do you know?
So, when you are in Pain
- THINK!!! – sounds funny, but this is haaarrrrrrddddddd. Seriously hard when you are in pain. But think it through. Did anything major cause it? Did the difficulty of the task match the pain? Can you think of any reason you could have hurt yourself?
- STOP THINKING!!! – now, please believe me, I’m not being smart. Most people skip step 1 and go to step 2. “I’ve stuffed my back”, “My neck cracked – is it broken?”, “I woke up and can’t move – it must be the bed!”, “I’m going to die!!!!!!!” Don’t go looking for reasons when they aren’t there.
- MOVE – even if you have to lie down and feel like you are going to throw up, you can still move, somehow. Moving encourages your nervous system to decrease the “freak out” and get back to normal. Find a direction or movement that feels OK, start there. As it gets easier, try a different one and try more.
- CHILL OUT – pain is an experience that triggers neural, immune and other systemic responses. Severe pain is stressful by design. Take some time, chill out, do steps 1,2,3 repeat. If you don’t think you can face work, don’t. If you think you can OK, but maybe skip kickboxing class. Not forever, but just until things cool down. Most pain, even severe 15/10 screaming pain, will improve and maybe go away after a few days.
- Get some ADVICE – it is not your job to know exactly what is going on. If pain persists, worries you, is recurring, or is stopping you doing what you want, go and get some advice. Your advice should be around pain education, encouragement to move, understanding of how hard it is and a plan for the future. If it craps on about joints “out” or discs “slipping” or all structure/tissue and scary,scary, doom and gloom, then hobble out of there and give us a call.
Print this out, put it on your fridge, store it in a drawer and if/when your nervous system flips out, get it out and do the steps.