I want to share a note I received from a customer named Craig as it holds a couple of key learning lessons (one’s that even I need reminders of from time to time).
“Unfortunately, I’ve also been dealing with an unexplained shoulder injury for the past month and a half. It’s gotten particularly bad recently – my ROM has become very limited…I think the problem is I just tried to push through my shoulder bothering me by continuing to bench and press. This has worked in the past, but this time it seems it just kept making it worse and finally became a significant injury. Fortunately, my shoulder ROM has been improving for the past two weeks – doing some of your Intuitive Mobility stuff has probably helped.”
As discussed recently regarding the Dark Side of Mental Toughness, pain is a signal from the body that something is not right. When you receive this signal you can do basically just two things.
Back off or push through.
As Craig mentions, sometimes when you push through there is no problem. Here you don’t cross the threshold into causing real (or at least noticeable) damage. Perhaps your body simply ramps up recovery to meet the demands.
This is physical toughness. This is mental toughness. There is a time and a place for it, however, this can just as easily lead you down another outcome.
You push through and the body can’t take it. You’re causing damage. It hurts more. You can move less or only with pain.
Note that this is not just a one-time decision and one-time event. The cycle repeats. More pain…so more pushing through so more damage.
Reflecting on it now I should probably be marketing Intuitive Mobility differently.
Few people really care about mobility.
Few people care about being intuitive (especially when it comes to the body).
What everyone cares about is avoiding injury and even more so, getting out of pain!
And it is the Intuitive Mobility skillset, which involves both the understanding of moving aka mobility, with the ability to listen to your body in doing it aka being intuitive, that delivers exactly that.
I believe that that skillset could help lots of people get out of most of the pain they’re in. (Especially if combined with other tools that cover the other-than-physical perspectives of healing.)
Craig continues…”I re-read Beyond Biofeedback and started testing again – I did this for a short time a few years ago but stopped. I don’t want to get injured again, so listening more to my body’s feedback looks like the best solution.”
Earlier I said there were two options. There is pushing through and there is backing off.
Fortunately, pain is NOT the only signal. Before you get to pain there is discomfort. There is difficult. There is clunkiness. There is slowness. There are a variety of feelings which are ALL the body talking to you.
Testing (aka level 2 biofeedback) is the bridge that gets you to this area (level 3 biofeedback).
The question is…are you listening?
The better you can listen then better you know when to back off…and thus avoid getting hurt in the first place.
Not only that, but the better you know when it is appropriate to push the boundaries too.
“Thanks again for all the stuff you write. It’s like having a toolbox to go to when you need it. Unfortunately, sometimes I’m just too stubborn to go get the right tool.”
Keep that keyword “stubborn” in mind. We’ll be diving into that tomorrow…
A toolbox is a good way to think of it. Personally, I don’t do a whole lot of strict mobility work these days. But if I do have something hurting I’ll absolutely go back to that method.
Even better is to get the biofeedback signals so ingrained that they’re always present. Again that is level 3 which you can only get to with knowledge about it, and then diligent practice.
This way, instead of having to go back to the toolbox, you always have your tool belt on!
There is some good reason to have stubbornness. Even I disregard signals from time to time. There is tension between the Be Tough vs. Listen to Your Body ideas. On the surface, these seem contradictory.
However, the answer to this paradox is in better and better separating the signals of the body to determine the true signals of when to push and when to back off.