Unhealthy Client Paradigms leading to Professional Paralysis

In addressing pain throughout my time as a movement professional I have ran into ‘professional paralysis’ countless times.  Being thwarted in my suggestions toward movement and exercise with the common response of ‘oh that hurts’, or, ‘I am going to pay for this tomorrow’.

In addressing these pitfalls I find it essential to transfer ownership to the client/patient.  I feel as though a large part of ‘professional paralysis’ stems from the paradigm that it is the role of the provider to ‘fix’ the person.  If you are seeking help for chronic pain, the bitter pill to swallow yet less disappointing paradigm to operate from, is that ‘no one can fix you’.

The good news is that ‘you can fix you‘.  The ‘fix’ happens from the inside out as with all ‘fixes’ in the body.  The path is not easy, oftentimes does not make sense, strategies will fail many times, but you will not see results by being a passenger in this car.

As a movement professional I have to be flexible often initially allowing for self-selection strategies with loose guidelines about the type of movement that I am after.  Developing this ownership and vestment into treatment begins to help break this unhealthy idea of ‘I am here for you to fix me’.

You CAN exercise.  No matter your pain state you CAN do something.  Are you falling victim to cyclical arguments that ENABLE being a ‘passenger’ along for the ride? “I can’t walk it hurts my back…” how about exercising your arms?  “I have a shoulder problem”  well how about working your ankles a bit “well I’ll try but I have a busy schedule”.

Be careful of the often caring but toxic enabling partner.  “I wouldn’t do that if I were you…” they’ll say.  “Oh, let me get that for you…” will be the response.  I have even heard the divine enabling partner, “God doesn’t give me more than I can handle”.  Continuing the cycle of being a ‘passenger’ in the chronic pain journey.

Checks for introspection…  Is this me?

  1. I am waiting for someone to ‘fix me’
  2. Cyclical arguments  that enable no change in behavior
  3. Enabling relationships

Western medicine essentially offers 3 options of intervention.  Needles, knives, and pills all utilized in the hopes of facilitating the body to HEAL ITSELF.  Your body by adulthood has been estimated by some accounts to have up to 100 trillion cells, which make up specialized tissues, which make up specialized organs, which make up organ systems, which combined create us as an organism.  This wonderfully complex system is awaiting the orders of one ‘owner’ namely you to get in the ‘drivers seat’ and direct the outcome of your current challenge.

You are in control.  You have the power to make change.  Empower yourself with knowledge and action.

Why Exercise for Chronic Pain?

Here is a hard science reason for utilizing exercise to address pain.

Beta-Endorphin.  Beta-Endorphin is produced within the body and plays a powerful role in controlling pain.  In fact it’s power to control pain is several times that of morphine.  Of the endogenous opioids, Beta-Endorphin also produces the greatest sensation of euphoria.

So how can I get prescribed Beta-Endorphin?  Through sustained exercise.

The body produces Beta-Endorphins in large amounts through SUSTAINED EXERCISE which in turn binds to receptors to produce euphoria and modulate pain.

The initial research connecting exercise to production of ‘endorphins’ involved runners participating in running for two hours.  Through imaging, there was observed a positive correlation between sensation of euphoria and distribution of ‘endorphins’ in the brain.

So how long do I need to exercise to receive the benefit?

The relationship between endorphin release and exercise seems to be related to the intensity of the exercise.  A recent study entitled ‘Opioid Release after High-Intensity Interval Training in Healthy Human Subjects’ observed a higher production of endorphin release with Anaerobic interval training.  Positive mood was noted after 60 minutes of moderate aerobic treadmill training suggesting endorphin production but not at the observed concentration that HIIT produced.  It was hypothesized that the increase in endorphin production was in proportion to the discomfort of the exercise.  ‘Feel the burn’.

Therefore as a guideline, endorphin facilitation workouts are more efficient when producing uncomfortable but safe muscular fatigue.  This fatigue occurs most efficiently during a workout facilitating an anaerobic environment.

What does this mean?  It means if you can sustain the exercise such that you do not require a rest secondary to muscular fatigue, or ‘burn’, then you  may not be producing the stimulus required to most efficiently produce endorphins through exercise.   So this begs the question.

Endorphin facilitation in the body is a natural process stimulated by many things besides exercise.  Concerning movement and exercise this post attempts to empower you though new ideas and research.  So, concerning exercises and endorphins, are you working out the ‘right way’ to achieve the goals you are after?