BLOG PIECE by Natalie Gibellini
As far back as I can remember, I recall body pains.
After some of my injuries the pain didn’t resolve after the suggested recovery periods, and gradually the aches spread all over my body.
Pain followed me around the clock during every activity including rest.
At the time, I didn’t understand that hypermobility was interfering with my rehabilitation.
Pain in hypermobile people can be widespread or localised & associated with an injury.
Sometimes the pain can last after an injury, and then it becomes a ‘persistent (chronic) pain’.
That doesn’t make it any less real and it doesn’t mean it is all in our head.
The pain is real.
The trouble is, when we are in pain, we stiffen up.
We compress ourselves, as if we want to protect the painful bits.
This tension adds to the problem, creating more pain and it can interfere with movement.
Hypermobility disorders add further to this - creating a demand for muscles to do even more to stabilise the body and compensate for slack connective tissues, ligaments and tendons.
The Alexander Technique helped me learn how to rest more constructively, and this is now one of my aims when I work with people.
Resting is a skill which we can all learn to get better at.
It is possible to lie down for a rest, whilst being both stiff and wobbly (no wonder I was so uncomfortable when I was trying to rest!).
I was taught an important lying down procedure called ‘Active Rest’.
Practising this low intensity activity daily, with guidance from an Alexander teacher, can help people let go of excessive tension- allowing more appropriate level of muscle tone.
By experimenting with Active Rest before, after and sometimes even during intense activities you can learn to re-set the body and let go of tension - creating a tool which may help pain.
Improving the ability to rest is not the only aspect of the Alexander Technique which may help manage pain.
I am hoping to share more with SEDS about starting Active Rest in the near future, as well as other techniques for managing pain.
Do get in touch with me via SEDS Facebook Page if you want more information