“I have that ‘normal’ back and neck pain.”
“I have those ‘normal’ headaches.”
“I have that ‘normal’ urinary leakage.”
“Everyone gets injured when they run a lot.”
These are things I hear all the time when talking with clients, friends, and even complete strangers. And my heart deflates a bit every time I hear it.
While these things are common, common is NOT normal. So many people experience these types of pains and struggles on a weekly and even daily basis that it is frequently accepted as normal. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way.
There are many factors that contribute to your physical well-being. Stress, posture, work, daily activities, sleep, nutrition, lifestyle, muscle imbalance, and overall strength and fitness all contribute to how a person feels physically. The higher the stress on the body, especially combined with poor coping and recovery strategies, the more likely someone is to feel physical pain, become fatigued, and get injured. Think about it, how often have you complained of pain or headaches while on vacation as opposed to in the office or during stressful situations?
This stress doesn’t have to be just emotional or mental stress. It can be intense workouts, training for a race, being a caregiver or parent, working long hours, lack of sleep, and the list goes on. Stress is anything that taxes the body, and there is no way to avoid stressors in life. What we need are strategies that help the body recover. Recovery can include things like proper nutrition, stretching, foam rolling, getting enough sleep, spending time with loved ones, spending time alone, mindfulness, and doing things that bring you joy.
When any of these things in your life are out of balance, it can contribute to aches, pains, sickness, and unwanted symptoms. The key is to get to the root cause of what is causing the pain and fix that.
If you have accepted your pain as “normal” and believe it can never get better, I’m here to tell you there is an alternative. That alternative is re-establishing balance in your life and in your body. This will get you on the path to feeling your best.
I will say that there are some conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, chronic pain syndrome, etc. that are associated with higher levels of pain, discomfort, and fatigue. However, this does not mean that you are destined to be limited every single day. Yes, there will be good days and not-so-good days, however there are many strategies that can be implemented and lifestyle choices that can be made to improve your physical wellbeing. I’ve worked with clients who had been diagnosed with these conditions or who had been in pain for years. Nearly all of them saw improvement by making a few changes in their health habits, fitness, and self-care routines. The same can be true for you.