Are You Ready To Change Your Pain?

Change Your Pain

Change Your Pain is a new online platform supporting those who want to reduce or recover from chronic pain.

How it came about?

Change Your Pain was born out of Pippa Cossens, Osteopath and SIRPA Trained practitioner's own recovery from fibromyalgia. In 2017 Pippa was unable to even walk her dogs around the block due to widespread persistent pain. The pain was accompanied by chronic fatigue, insomnia, cognitive disturbance (brain fog) and multitude of other symptoms that at the time she had no idea were related.

What changed?

Well in autumn of 2017 Pippa went to the SIRPA (Stress Illness Recovery Practitioners Association) conference and discovered a new, evidence based mindbody approach to chronic pain recovery. Using this approach and then training to be a SIRPA practitioner has revolutionised not only her personal journey but that of Osteopathy For All.

Discovering the key to recovery

Whilst we are osteopaths through and through at Osteopathy For All. a lot of what we do now alongside the hands on osteopathic care is helping people to understand what is going on.  The latest pain science shows that chronic pain is a complex creature and doesn't always relate to underlying tissue involvement. So whilst hands on care is still hugely helpful to change the body's tension patterns it is only part of the story. The other part of the story is how the brain is perceiving and processing pain. This part is key and the bit that is often missing in a regular physical approach to pain.

The Change Your Pain Approach

Bringing both the mind and the body together and retraining the pain patterns that have developed is a game changer. Change Your Pain does this. It is an online platform consisting of knowledge, tools and techniques to retrain your pain. It teaches you how chronic pain works, how to understand and identify what is important in your pain story. It then teaches you how to change and reprogram your pain. Not only that there are live Q&A webinars alongside a multitude of bite sized resources in the form of videos and worksheets.

A supportive community

The membership also includes a private positive support community of people who understand and get it and our pain recovery practitioners.

So are you ready to Change Your Pain?

If you are then take a look at the new platform and if you sign up before 1st June you will be eligible for a discount

Start you pain recovery journey by clicking here....


15 Minutes A Day

To Help You Change Your Pain And Anxiety

Many New Year's resolutions have been abandoned by mid January, so this year I would like to introduce a slightly different take on it. Rather than encourage you to go on a diet or take up an unsustainable exercise regime I would like you to do ONE thing and one thing only. However, I would like you to try to do it everyday for the rest of your life.

It is really very simple and you will be surprised at what a difference it will make to many areas of your life but especially your pain and anxiety. All you need to do is find

15 Minutes A Day

15 minutes of dedicated time for you to do something that your nervous system will thank you for.

15 minutes to breathe. 15 minutes to check in with how you are feeling, 15 minutes to meditate.

The activity that will help you calm your nervous system will be different to others. You might find you want to do the same thing each day or you might want to do something different. If you are not sure what to try we have lots of suggestions in the toolkit section on the website. Click here for more information...

Personally I love to walk, I love to meditate and sometimes I spend 15 minutes journaling or actually just chatting around a problem with myself...out loud. (You should try it. I sometimes actually give myself some quite good advice).

You are worth the time

It was a huge change for me to feel worthy enough of spending this time on myself. Learning to include daily activity to sooth my nervous system has made an enormous difference in reducing my pain levels. As many of you know I have a diagnosis of Fibromyalgia (my story is here) and whilst I am now almost pain free, most of the time, I sometimes have more painful days. When the pain level rises it is usually because I have not taken my own advice that day. I haven't spent 15 minutes doing something my nervous system will thank me for.

Play

Whilst calming activities such as tai chi or breathing are excellent sometimes you need 15 minutes of fun. When did you last play? Play can help to de stress the nervous system, improve cognitive function (which helps with the brain fog) and even help heal previous trauma. The help guide describes it more fully here...  

So whether you rest, relax or play... what are you going to do with your 15 minutes a day today?

 

 

Sussex-Osteopath-abd-owner-Pippa-CossensPippa Cossens

Registered Osteopath and Pain Recovery Coach


Osteopathy For All Blog Vitamin D

Are you taking your Vitamin D?

Since the beginning of the pandemic we have been encouraging our clients to look after their health and consider taking vitamin D. ( Coronavirus How to Keep Healthy ) However we are NOT nutritionists or dietitians so please ensure you take responsibility for your own health if you choose to take supplements.

Are you taking your vitamin D?

There has been a lot of mixed messages about supplements and Covid 19 but latterly the evidence for vitamin D has grown. In a northern hemisphere country with very reduced sunlight at this time of year our vitamin D levels can be very low. Vitamin D is responsible for a huge number of functions within our cells many of which help modulate our immune system.

Recent studies have shown that keeping vitamin D levels above 50 nmol/l (nanomols per litre) may significantly improve your outcomes if you get Covid.

COVID-19 Mortality Risk Correlates Inversely with Vitamin D3 Status, and a Mortality Rate Close to Zero Could Theoretically Be Achieved at 50 ng/mL 25(OH)D3:   https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/13/10/3596

(If you wish to see the full explanation of this paper then there is a video below by Dr John Campbell who reviews the data in a sensible non biased way).

More about Vitamin D

It is hard to obtain these levels of Vitamin D through diet alone and when there is limited sunshine. Vitamin D is found in fish, eggs and diary.

So to achieve these levels of vitamin D in the blood you need to be taking Vitamin D3 supplementation. This needs to be in the range of 4000 to 10,000 units (100 to 250 µg) to generate an optimal 40–60 ng/mL (100 to 150 nmol/L). This has been shown to be completely safe when combined with approximately 200 µg vitamin K2. K2 helps to ensure that the calcium produced goes to the bones.

More about Vitamin D

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-d/

And about Vitamin K

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/vitamins-and-minerals/vitamin-k/

If you are taking any prescription medication please check that it will not react with Vitamin D. You can check here....

You need to start now to build up your levels as it will not happen over night. It might be worth considering taking this relatively cheap supplement throughout the winter.

Vitamin C

If you find yourself with an infection and you haven't been taking Vitamin D. You can get an instant immune boost if you take high levels of Vitamin C or Zinc as soon as you feel something brewing. With Vitamin C you can take up to 5000mg per day whilst infectious. It has less data for Covid but is effective in many other viral respiratory situations it has prevented and alleviated symptoms. Read more here...  

Zinc

Zinc is also an important nutrient for immune health. Low levels of Zinc may be responsible for 16% of deep respiratory infections worldwide. The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are now headache, sore throat, general weakness, pain as aching limbs, sneezing and runny nose.  Most of those symptoms can be associated with altered zinc homeostasis and this paper explains how zinc might prevent or attenuate those symptoms. Read more here.....

We hope this gives you some useful information to consider and helps to keep you well.

Videos on Vitamin D

 

 


Osteopathic Practice of the Year

'A Chronic Pain Clinic With A Difference'

Osteopathy For All is absolutely delighted to have been recognised as the Osteopathic Practice of the Year. The award is given by the Institute of Osteopathy to an osteopathic practice in the United Kingdom that demonstrates exceptional patient care.

It celebrates osteopathic practices that provide excellent care, encourage and use patient feedback and demonstrate a commitment to developing the standards of their service in line with the iO Members’ Patient Charter and values.

The judges, from across the professional bodies of osteopathy in the UK, said of Osteopathy For All that it was

'Impressive - A chronic pain clinic with a difference'.

Osteopathy For All specialises in a cutting edge, evidenced based approach to patients living with chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia. All of their osteopaths have additional training in pain neuroscience and a psychologically informed approach to long term pain recovery.

Pippa said 'The team at Osteopathy For All were thrilled to have been recognised by the judges and supported by nominations from so many of their patients. Reading everyone's comments made us feel very proud of doing the job that we love.'

If you would like to see more of what the judges said then please watch the Practice of the Year award ceremony below.

The Institute of Osteopathy writes...

Osteopaths are recognised for the outstanding contribution they make across healthcare, both in terms of easing the burden on an already stretched healthcare system and through those receiving treatment. Year on year, the iO Awards have grown in reputation. The nominations we receive in each category consistently showcases the outstanding contribution that osteopaths make to patient care and public health.

If you would like to see if osteopathy is suitable for your pain then please do get in touch. We offer a FREE Pain Information telephone appointment

Practice of the Year Award Ceremony 2021

 

 


osteopathy-healthcare

More about our services

More About Our Services

At Osteopathy For All we offer a range of services and support for the whole family, treating babies to teens, adults and older adults. We pride ourselves in offering a mindbody approach, which means we treat your symptoms in a holistic way taking into consideration relevant areas of your history that could be contributing to the symptoms you’re experiencing. Unlike other Osteopaths, we believe that having a mindbody approach also means we can treat your physical and mental health as a whole and support you to either get moving again, manage your pain or boost your general wellbeing. 

Osteopathy For Adults

We treat a range of conditions for adults at all ages. Whether you have a stressful or physical job or you are running around after the grandchildren, we can help you feel more comfortable in your body and keep you moving. We provide treatment for conditions such as arthritis, osteoporosis and hypermobility. We can also support you to improve your sleep, healthy eating and exercise.  This is the type of appointment to book if you have general aches and pains, headaches, tennis elbow or mobility issues. Paul, Louise and Pippa all treat adults.

Osteopathy For Children 

We treat children of all ages, from babies to teenagers. We treat a wide variety of conditions in children and teenagers which can support them to integrate the mobility of their structure as they grow and develop. Louise and Pippa both treat children from birth to 18. One day we might see a baby uncomfortable with colic and the next help a teenager with anxiety. If you are not sure whether our gentle. cranial osteopathy is right for your child then please do contact us for more information.

Chronic Pain Rehabilitation (SIRPA) 

If you have been in pain for more than six months or recently diagnosed with a chronic or persistent pain condition we can support you to Change Your Pain.  Pippa and Louise are both SIRPA trained practitioners who can give you the tools and treatment to reduce your pain and get you moving again.  All our practitioners are experienced in treating chronic pain from a mindbody perspective and are trauma aware. We combine gentle hands on treatment with the latest in pain neuroscience to give you the tools to reduce your pain and other accompanying symptoms. Find out more here... 

Osteopathy for Stress Reduction and Wellbeing 

We can help your body to function better and help lower stress levels. If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious and stressed, we look at your whole story and what might be contributing to these feelings. When we are feeling stressed or overwhelmed by life it has a knock on effect on our body. The body can tense up or become over-sensitised causing a wide range of symptoms from pain to anxiety. Our approach is to use gentle osteopathic treatment alongside advice to help calm your nervous system. 

Courses & Classes 

We now offer a range of classes and courses in our beautiful new studio The Wellbeing Space. These classes have been created to continue supporting you between appointments. Our Osteopath Paul runs a weekly Gentle Movement Class on a Monday open to all abilities aimed at getting you moving in a gentle, nurturing way. Our Practice Manager Sian runs a Wellbeing For All session every other Tuesday, focusing on wellbeing techniques including mindfulness, meditation, chair yoga and breath-work. 

 

“I thoroughly enjoyed my first Wellbeing Session. Sian has a lovely manner and made me feel very comfortable. I left feeling relaxed and am looking forward to learning more techniques next time”. - JB

 

We currently have a special offer of one voucher for a free class when booking an appointment with Paul or Louise before 30th October.


gratitude-and-wellbeing

How Osteopathy Works

That is the million dollar question and there probably isn't a short answer but let's start with a little history to discover how osteopathy works

Osteopathy's Beginnings

*Osteopathy was founded in the late 1800s by physician and surgeon Andrew Taylor Still in Missouri. The son of a surgeon, Still soon discovered that in order to achieve the highest possible form of health, all parts of the body should work together harmoniously. His goal was to restore the body to optimum health with minimal surgery and medicine. He was influenced in part by the realisation that medical treatments of that time were largely ineffective and in some cases, harmful.

Over time he treated patients with a wide range of conditions, from dysentery to sciatica and arthritis, with varying results, but he gained a reputation as an effective practitioner. Patients from all over America flocked to Kirksville for treatment. Soon demand was so high, boarding houses were built and train routes were altered to cater for the amount of people seeking treatment.

history 1
In 1892, Still took on the first wave of 22 osteopathic students at the American School of Osteopathy (now known as the Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine). The first class of both men and women (symbolic of Still’s strong sense of liberalism) were taught over a period of two years. This included in-depth education in physiology and anatomy. He drew in full practice rights for his students, and upon graduation, awarded them the title of D.O (Doctors of Osteopathy).

British Osteopathy Rooted in Medicine

*The British Osteopathic Association (formed in 1903 as a British branch of the American Osteopathic Association) wanted a school based on American tradition where graduates practiced both osteopathy and what is known as ‘allopathic medicine’, meaning conventional medicine (Medicine Net.com, 2012). However, The British School of Osteopathy did not share the same views and went on to teach medicine and osteopathic practice.

In 1935, the BMA campaigned for a new parliamentary bill, which saw osteopathy being refused any official recognition. Osteopathy was considered to be outside of mainstream medical practice in Britain and was not a legally regulated profession until the introduction of the Osteopaths Act in 1993.  This led to the establishment of the General Osteopathic Council and the Register in 1998. Like other medical professions, osteopathy is now subject to statutory regulations and qualified practitioners need to register with GOsC in order to practice and use the title of ‘osteopath’. *(information taken from the Institute of Osteopathy website)

Osteopathy in the UK is rooted in medicine from our American forefathers. This medical training is still part of our osteopathic training today and this gives osteopaths a wide insight into how the body works and what happens when things go wrong.

Osteopathic Diagnosis

Osteopaths are trained to very high standards in anatomy and physiology as well as, amongst others, neurology and orthopaedics. So we understand how the body works and how all the systems are interconnected. We are like body mechanics. For instance we can look at your musculoskeletal system (body work) but we can also assess your lungs (air filter) and all the parts in between.

We use questioning, observation, palpation (gentle touch) and articulation (gentle movement) to assess the body to see which areas are moving freely.  We then note which areas are restricted or tense. Tension often indicates and area that is not functioning well.  Osteopaths are sometimes described as having ' seeing, thinking fingers'. It is our hands that help us to make a diagnosis.

We use this knowledge alongside your story to come to a diagnosis. We then use this to formulate a treatment plan just for you.

How Osteopathy Works

Once we have our diagnosis and we know how your body is feeling we can start the treatment.  Andrew Taylor-Still our founding father describes how the structure and the function of the body are interrelated. Let go back to our lungs and ribs as an example. When the rib cage is tight and restricted due to muscle tension this prevents it expanding. This tension could prevent the lungs from taking in enough air and therefore can cause someone slight shortness of breath.  In this instance the osteopath would gently work on the ribcage and spine articulating the joints and stretching and releasing the muscles that are attached in this area.

There are a whole range of osteopathic techniques ranging from joint manipulation to the most gentle cranial techniques.  At Osteopathy For All we don't actually do any manipulation (joint cracking) but we do use a wide range of the gentler techniques to get the body released, relaxed and moving better. David Butler, an Australian Pain scientist and physio, says 'Motion Is Lotion'.  Generally movement is what the body needs and restriction of movement is what is contributing to the problem. An osteopath's highly developed sense of touch allows them to feel when the tissues are changing and are reaching their optimum health.

Cranial Osteopathy

childrens-cranial-osteopathyCranial osteopathy isn't a different type of osteopathy but is a technique in some osteopath's repertoire. Our osteopaths all use this very gentle form of osteopathic technique. It is suitable for all ages and most people find it very relaxing, grounding and centering. Find out more here...

Our Specialist Area of Interest

At Osteopathy For All we are trained especially to work with patients who are living with or suffering from chronic pain conditions such as Fibromyalgia. We combine the most gentle osteopathic techniques with a mindbody approach in line with the latest in pain neuroscience. This approach combines hands - on treatment with our SIRPA training.  This is a biopsychosocial approach to education, relaxation and reprogramming techniques to reduce the overwhelm of the pain centres within nervous system.  You can find out more about SIRPA here...

Our Role As Allied Health Professionals

We are recognised by the NHS in England as allied health professionals.  We are also primary care practitioners which means you don't need to be referred to come to see us. This means we will look at your health as a whole and may advise you on exercise and lifestyle recommendations. As well as treatment we may advise you on breathing techniques or stretching. If necessary we may also recommend further testing from your GP.  When you visit the osteopath you get to tell your whole health story, you get safe, effective treatment and a management plan tailored especially for you. What more could you want?

Well, We Also Offer Classes!

We currently offer a Moving Towards Health , an Improve Your Mobility and a Wellbeing Class at The Wellbeing Space at Osteopathy For All.

You can find more detail about the classes here...

Currently we have an offer in place for a free class voucher when you book an appointment with Paul or Louise.

 

 

https://youtu.be/om5ma_s0ddE


What to expect at your osteopathy appointment.

We try to make your experience at Osteopathy For All as smooth as possible from the moment you contact us through your appointment and in your after treatment care.

To find out more about what to expect from your osteopathy appointment read on.

Contacting us

It is easy to get in contact with us via our reception service or via our website or email. We always try to respond as soon as we can.

Once you arrive at your appointment your osteopath will come to find you from reception.  Currently we are still observing Covid 19 protocols and are asking people to wait outside until called.

Case history - your health story

Your appointment will start with the essential contact details before the osteopath moves on to take a full and detailed case history. Understanding your full health story helps the osteopath to formulate an individualised treatment plan once they have also completed an examination. You are always welcome to not answer all the questions but the more details that we have the better the diagnosis.

Examination

During the examination the osteopath may ask to to remove or move some of your clothing. This helps the osteopath to be able to see what is happening in the area you are struggling with. They may get you to do some simple but specific movements to assess your mobility. They will explain all the time what they are doing and always invite questions to ensure it is clear.

Once the case history and examination are complete you will receive some treatment if it is appropriate. This is usually the case but if we need we need further tests or scans we may request this prior to treatment.

Treatment

The treatment is very gentle, safe and effective and 95% of patients state that the response is better than expected.

Alongside treatment your osteopath may give you some gentle exercises or self care techniques to enhance your recovery between treatments.

If you would like to find out more of what to expect at your osteopathy appointment then please watch the video...

Book an appointment

Booking an appointment couldn't be simpler. You can call us on 01825 840582 or book online HERE... 

Appointments booked before 30th October with Louise Field or Paul Harrington qualify you for a free class voucher.


lumbar-spine

New diagnosis from your GP?

Have you recently received a new diagnosis from your GP and do you need more support?

Have you recently had a diagnosis of a musculoskeletal condition such as arthritis or tennis elbow? Or a chronic pain condition such as fibromyalgia? Are you not quite sure what to do from here?

Our osteopaths are here to help. As medically trained Allied Health Professionals we are able to discuss your diagnosis and help guide you to find an individually tailored treatment or management plan.

With many conditions affecting the body there are lots of treatment and self help options. At Osteopathy For All we provide gentle hands on treatment. This is specifically designed for ‘you’ rather than just your ‘condition’.  To find out more about what actually happens during a treatment see our blog “What to expect from your appointment” 

Getting Moving

Alongside treatment we then may advise some exercises for you to do from the Exercise Toolkit on the website. The exercise toolkit consists of videos with stretching or strengthening exercises for each region of the body from head to toe. If you are not sure where to start, why not book with one of our osteopaths to get some advice?

We consider all that life is throwing at you

Alternatively we might recommend some relaxation or self care exercises if your body is struggling to relax. Stress and the overwhelm that it produces can contribute to long term pain conditions in the body. So as well as relaxing your muscles with gentle osteopathic treatment we might suggest some simple, but effective techniques, to reduce the effects of stress. The Mindbody Toolkit is crammed full of useful advice from tai chi to meditation to help achieve this.

Do you have a diagnosis of Osteoporosis or Arthritis?

Have you been diagnosed with arthritis or osteoporosis? The Wellbeing Toolkit has specific links for exercising safely with these conditions. The body nearly always benefits from movement but often we are worried about what exercises to do and whether we are going to do damage. If you have any concerns about what is suitable then our osteopaths are here to help tailor a plan specifically for you. 

Osteopathic healthcare is designed around finding and enhancing the health within your body. Also about advising you on how best you can support yourself between appointments. You may only need one session with us or you might need a few to help establish the changes and get into an established self care routine. We never keep you coming back more than is necessary. Our osteopaths are here to answer any questions you have about your care.

We have time

Having a new diagnosis can be daunting and with limited time your doctor or health care provider may not be able to take you through all aspects of your recovery. This is where our osteopaths can help. We spend at least 40 minutes with you at each consultation which gives us plenty of time to understand the whole of your health story and formulate a management plan alongside hands on treatment. 

Book for us to help you

If you are unsure as to whether we can help we offer a free 10 minute phone call to help ascertain if osteopathic care is right for you. 

It is really straightforward to book an appointment either call 01825 840582 or book online anytime.  

For a limited time we have a special offer...


My Recovery From Fibromyalgia

To tell you my story about my Recovery From Fibromyalgia I need to start in the middle in 2012.

The journey begins with ever worsening chronic fatigue.Sussex-Osteopath-abd-owner-Pippa-Cossens In 2013 it was absolutely crushing and by the middle of 2014 had been joined by chronic, persistent pain. However, with what I now know this was not actually the start of the story. I had been probably collecting the perfect set of circumstances since before birth to be very likely to end up with a chronic pain condition. Hindsight is such a wonderful thing. 

About The Pain

Let me tell you a little about the pain. The pain was predominantly in my low back to start with. The pain would vary in intensity from just an ache to a severity that felt like the muscle was being ripped from the bones. I assumed I had ‘done’ something.  Having previously slipped a disc in this area I was fairly sure it was a lasting effect from that. However, the pain then spread. Over the following 3 years I had, amongst other things,  plantar fasciitis (pain in my feet), hip tendonitis, costochondritis (rib pain), widespread spinal pain, headaches, jaw/TMJ pain and hospitalising abdominal pain. 

I had blood tests, x-rays and MRI scans and there was nothing to be found on any of them. I was still tired, had gastric symptoms, anxiety and was gradually withdrawing from all activities and social contact. Eventually I ended up with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia. At the time was useful because it helped to have a name when it came to explaining my situation to others. It made it more believable! 

The Turning Point

As I left my first rheumatology appointment I said to my consultant that I planned to get better. His response was ‘then you probably will’. At this point I had no idea how I was going to start my recovery from fibromyalgia. That all changed in 2017 when I attended a SIRPA conference in London entitled ‘ Chronic Pain - The Role of Emotions. I had attended conferences and workshops on chronic pain previously. Each time I had always come away at best disappointed and at worst really angry. However this one was different and I suddenly found myself in a room full of medical professionals who ‘got it’. 

It was here I was introduced to the concepts that have aided my recovery; TMS (tension myoneural syndrome), ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) and the neurobiology of chronic pain. Most importantly I learned how the overwhelm of stress and trauma in life can contribute to chronic pain and many other medically unexplained symptoms (MUS). However, it was more than that, there was the validation that not only was my pain real but that I was not going to be damaged by it. There was finally hope for recovery.

This day in London led me onto a whole new path, not only personally but now professionally too. What it led me to understand is that my biography was key to my biology. Everything that had happened to me since being conceived that had caused any sort of overwhelm may need to be considered. As part of my recovery I wrote out a timeline of the significant events in my life, especially in relation to episodes of pain, and this led me to realise that my pain story began much further back.  

Where It All Began

I am an adopted child. 

I have had an amazing life. I was adopted young into a wonderful family who have provided for me and supported me, and still do, in an amazing way. However, that doesn’t take away the trauma of being grown for 9 months in the stressed body of a young woman rejected and thrown out by her family due to the shame of a pregnancy outside of marriage. 

I am not sure how long I spent with her but by 2 months of age I had had various sets of foster parents and then been adopted. Don’t get me wrong I was lucky. But that doesn’t change the overwhelming experience of a young being with no way of regulating the traumatic effect of separation on her nervous system. So basically I started my life stressed and I think that pattern probably continued, at varying levels, until 2017. 

There are other significant events that I now know contributed to me developing a chronic pain condition including the loss of a child and a failed marriage. Alongside that I also had to consider who I am as a person. I now realise that my people pleasing, perfectionism personality is not only probably as a result of the early trauma but also became part of the continuing stress that I perpetuated myself.  There was a familiar discomfort in the stress-chemical soup that I was creating through a lack of awareness and the almost constant negative self-talk. 

But this is where the story changes. Starting from those lectures in 2017 I began a quest into mindbody medicine and self development. Over the last few years I am delighted to be 98% pain free. The fatigue still comes and goes but that is usually because I am pushing myself too much. 

Recovery Form Fibromyalgia

To recover I had to look backwards over the events of my life and the influence they had had. Rather than continually re-running them I needed to truly allow myself to acknowledge that they were important and had shaped my story so far. Once I started to validate my emotional response to them I was able to let them go. A lot of this work was done through journaling which I cannot recommend highly enough. 

When we process in our heads the thoughts often go round and round and we cannot resolve them. When you put those same thoughts on paper they become linear. You tend not to write the same thought twice so this leads you forward to the underlying thoughts. More often than not this reveals the true emotion that got bound up in the event. 

Sometimes it isn’t pretty either the written words or the emotions that are released.  Once they are out and they are not being held in the body anymore, the body can relax and let go of the tension that is contributing to the pain. The ‘aha’ moment of recognising the true reason why something had triggered you is truly enlightening. 

I have used this approach to identify and process the triggers from the past. Now with the added awareness I am usually able to deal with the events, or people, that trigger me much more quickly. This prevents the reaction from spiraling and causing emotional or physical symptoms. 

Looking Forwards

There also comes a point in the journey when you no longer want to look backwards and this is the point I am reaching now. I have processed much of my past and I am now aware that I am starting to be able to control my thoughts and feelings. It takes effort but I now know I can challenge my beliefs. Through writing and meditation and inspiration from many in the mindbody medicine field I have learned that I can make a decision whether to spiral into an old pattern of thoughts and behaviours or whether to stop, imagine and create a different outcome. 

I believed for many years that I was not good enough and not worthy and it limited many areas of my life and so this is what played out. The brain doesn’t know the difference between the imagination or reality and so it believed what I kept telling it and I was living in lack. Now I know that the opposite effect is true. If you truly allow yourself to be immersed in a perfect scenario, to feel all the feelings and emotions with every fibre of your body you can start to change your story and your symptoms.

I am lucky enough to be on the other side of my pain. This doesn’t mean it won’t come back but it does mean that I now understand it and am no longer afraid of it. What it also means is even though I may not have my life completely sorted - who does - and events will happen that are outside my control. However, at least I now know I have influence on how I respond. I have the tools and techniques to calm my nervous system and reduce the effect it is having on my body. I have learnt from my past and I have hope for the future and I know that how the remaining chapters of my story play out is up to me. 

There is hope for recovery from fibromyalgia.

‘Avoiding your triggers isn’t healing. Healing happens when you’re triggered and you’re able to move through the pain, the pattern, and the story, and walk your way to a different ending.’   Vienna Pharaon.


PRACTICE MAKES... A DIFFERENCE

‘You are what you practice most’ Richard Carlson

One of the things I try to do in clinic is encourage my patients to start some kind of personal practice. By that I mean taking some regular, structured time every day that you just dedicate to yourself.

What Is A Practice

A practice, in this sense, is about beginning to explore the landscape of your body and your mind in a way that interests you, and grows your ability to use them well. It’s a bit like map making – the better you understand the territory, the easier it becomes to navigate.

The amazing thing is that whatever we choose to practice, we get better at it. That might sound obvious, but what an incredible capacity that is – we can literally choose something, practice it and improve! The body-mind is so intelligent and adaptive that it will immediately start to change itself as you start something new.

Body practices usually focus on movement as a way to explore. We can practice balance, strength, co-ordination, control, balance, agility, flexibility – the list of potential improvements we can make, if we wish, is huge. And it makes no difference how old or unfit you think you are – when you begin your practice, you’re on the road to improvement.

Meditation and Self Awareness

The most popular practice for the mind is of course meditation, but, as with the body, there are lots of different aspects of the mind to develop.  We can do by just shifting the object of practice slightly. So for example we could get better at directing and holding attention or self awareness. We can practice cultivating positive states like gratitude and self-compassion, or we can practice our relational skills, like how to connect and be with others without judgement.

Many practices, like Yoga, Tai Chi and Qi Gong for example are a combination of both.

Engaging in one of these long established practices is a great way to begin, because there is a ready made framework and community to plug into. I recommend trying out different practices and different teachers to see which might fit you best.

There is now literally a mountain of evidence from studies that show how practices that incorporate mindfulness improve the health of mind and body in all sorts of ways. If you’re interested to find out more about the research, you could take a look at the work of the Centre for Mind Body Awareness, The Centre for Mindfulness Studies or more locally, the Sussex Mindfulness Centre.

Personal Practice

My own personal practice varies depending on my curiosities. But mostly I try to do a half hour movement practice and a half hour sitting meditation every day. I know that might sound a lot to fit in, but that’s just what I like to do personally. It’s the regular showing up every day, without fail – even if it’s only five minutes, that starts to build the practice.

Do get in touch with the clinic if you would like some advice and support about how to start.

 

Paul Harrington  Registered Osteopath

Paul is in the clinic on a Monday Book An Appointment Here....

Paul teaches a Moving Towards Health class and a gentle movement class. Find Out More Here.....