One thing I’ve learned over the years is that most pain goes well beyond the physical symptoms, and the many medical approaches just don’t seem to help. They might relieve it for a short period of time, but eventually, the pain breaks through again, and that leads us on another attempt to find a lasting solution.
I started suffering from IBS about 30 years ago. I was a teenager then, and no one seemed to give much credit to my pain. It was chalked up to being PMS or maybe just me overreacting. Over the years I learned to manage the symptoms through foods I ate and also breathing techniques. It wasn't until many years later that I learned my natural instincts were pretty in vogue as alternative treatments to all kinds of pain, including IBS.
When I was in my 20s, I got officially diagnosed with IBS. It was after an endoscopy. “We don’t see anything wrong,” the doctor told me. “You have IBS, which really isn’t a condition but what we tell people who have nothing else.” They sent me off with a prescription for anti-spasms and that was that. The medicine didn’t work. I still found myself in the fetal position during an attack with nothing by my breath, a hot pack, and time to help ease my pain.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve come back to my initial instincts involving food, movement, and lifestyle as key factors in pain management. For my IBS, it remains a mystery. I’ve had all of the food sensitivity tests and nothing comes back as red flags. I’ve been diagnosed with SIBO, and done some treatments with little relief. Time and time again I come back to my gut - what is it telling me will help? What movements can I do? What food can I eat? What is my body asking for to heal? And so, that’s what I do.
Beyond myself, I’ve seen more intuitive and simple approaches to pain management help many of my teen and female clients over the years. Often I was presented with an athlete whose injury would not heal while using the traditional rehabilitation method. Or, the pain was recurring and constantly taking them out of their sport. In these instances, we moved away from the physical exercises and modalities and started looking inward. What was the diet like? What was going on in their lives outside of their sport? What piece of the puzzle needed to be addressed and was asking for help via the experience of pain. By tapping into some of these other factors of healing, we were able to resolve the pain, and also come up with a plan for prevention and maintenance.
Often, the path to healing resides in our gut. Many times this is literal, in that we need to address some dysbiosis in our gut to improve our physical health. But other times this is figurative, in that we need to tap into our gut instincts to see what path to take for healing. It is sometimes trial and error, but by listening to what the body is asking for, we usually uncover the path that leads us to our goals.
As a movement and wellness coach, I help you learn to tap into that message and also support your gut health along the way. We look at all of the ways that we can approach pain and injury management - the physical movements that are needed, nutritional therapy, and lifestyle coaching. Learning to trust your gut could be the solution you’ve been looking forward to bring you out of pain and back to your play. I’d love to help you on this journey.
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