Why Treating Systems will trump Treating Symptoms every Time


heal_hands_headCURRENTLY, HEALTH PRACTITIONERS continue to focus on the wrong end of the pain cycle. Their attention is on reacting to something when the body is at the end of its limits, with no other solutions but to stop all movements and/or usage. Then, once therapists clear up one problem, they end up having something else shatter or fall apart due to overwork.

This happens because we are attempting to control an infinitely adjusting supercomputer within our body. This “supercomputer” has already made changes to the body just to keep you functioning with pain until now. So when it does overload, it is because many other areas have already done many jobs they are not supposed to do until exhaustion sets in. When you clean up one area in the body, the next area begins to speak up, because it has been doing another job for so long that it now can’t do its own job.

If we continue to use this form of treatment for pain, we will continue to see the same lack of results.

The traditional way of dealing with pain is to treat the affected area with direct attention by moving it, compressing it and/or getting it to contract. This is like asking an overtired, screaming child to do their ABCs; it is hard to get the intended response. It will take a fight to get the desired action.

For instance, take those who have shoulder pain and have difficulty raising their arms. Their first instinct is to attempt to brace it, which the body is already doing naturally, thereby restricting movement. By bracing it, we actually add more restriction to an already tight area.

Some therapists will do electric stimulation or manual muscle contractions to tire out the muscle to get it to release. The downside to this is, what if the muscle was already contracting to protect itself from something else? Not to mention, a majority of people will try to just move through the pain, hoping it will change.

The reason we react like this is based on the way the brain functions. It is hardwired to protect itself, based off of fear.

For example, consider what happens during drowning. If the brain can’t get oxygen, it will override everything and force you to open your mouth in the attempt to get oxygen. That is exactly what our body does in response to pain. It runs out of compensation patterns, thereby limiting all movement, while it tries to protect itself by sending out alarms to you that something is wrong.

But, we don’t realize the body is reacting this way, because it is driven by fear. That is why we must give our body a compelling reason not to protect itself so it can begin to heal.

So how do we overcome this? We deal with the systems of the body, rather than the symptoms.

Using shoulder pain as our example again, instead of addressing the location of the pain directly, examine the bigger picture. Look at more than just the shoulder pain; look at the pain within its muscular system. Inside that system, the upper right side is compromised. That, in turn, will give you issues in both shoulders, because the body will compensate. You can work on it with whatever style you choose: massage, trigger point, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, etc. Now that you have worked with the affected area, you need to address the compensating areas: the other shoulder, lower hip and neck. That is a more efficient way of looking at and cleaning up a pain cycle.

By seeing the bigger picture, you begin to address your pain from both ends of the cycle. Just be aware that there are many systems in the body, which means there are many ways to clean up an issue.

The way we treat pain relief today is outdated and needs to be revamped. There needs to be a shift in the treatment paradigm.

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Patrick Lerouge
Patrick Lerouge is a licensed massage therapist specializing in Restorative Therapy. He graduated from the Swedish Institute in New York with an occupational degree in 2000. During his time at this 1200-hour, hands-on treatment school, he gained an in-depth understanding of the human body and assorted massage modalities such as: Swedish Massage, Deep Tissue Massage, and the Trigger Point Technique. In 2006, Patrick established his own practice, Evolve Restorative Therapy, in Westfield, NJ, where their goal is to get clients to live pain free.



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