Have you ever experienced head, neck, and shoulder pain?
There is certainly no lack of evidence supporting the value of holistic wellbeing, and if you have ever suffered from any form of physical illness, or even a physical irritability, there is no doubt you have been privy to the effects this has on your mind and your overall feeling of wellness.
Take for example this heat! Or perhaps rather the humidity and within that the bodies inability to cool itself – it leaves one feeling uncomfortable, irritable, and it is certainly a strain on energy reserves. So too, the same such feelings of discomfort, irritability, and the strain on energy reserves can come from the experience of head, neck, and shoulder pain – something that many of us suffer from!
Last month we wrote on varied definitions of pain and similar to head, neck, and shoulder pain, we utilised the example of back pain:
“With these definitions in mind, along side the chronic ailment of back pain (remarkably in 2011, ‘back pain & problems’ were the third leading cause of total disease burden and injuries in Australia), we can concretely understand that with a repeated stress overload, for example frequently lifting heavy objects incorrectly or even poor posture, our bodies advise us of the overload, or that something isn’t quite right, through pain.
If we choose to ignore this signal, or if perhaps we hold onto the notion “no pain, no gain”, then our bodies go into a state of change whereby other body tissues are signalled to compensate. At the same time, both the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis (HPA Axis) and white blood cells are being driven by Corticotrophin-releasing hormone; thus respectively, the release of the stress hormone cortisol and stimulation of inflammation as a protective mechanism is initiated (see here for further explanation on Corticotrophin-releasing hormone as well as the connection to these systems during pregnancy and birth).
Furthermore, should we continue along this path, both cortisol and inflammation continually increase causing our bodies to go into a chronic state of physiological stress – our neuroception, sensory, and perception systems become over stimulated and maladaptive. What this means is that the additional sensation of pain now drives our neural circuits to become more hyper-vigilant, causing anxiety about how to handle prevailing situations. This hypervigilance then, once again, increases the stress hormones and inflammatory responses, which again increases the both the psychological and physiological concepts of pain.”
In short our bodies are an amazing holistic system whereby the psychological and physiological cannot be separated within the individual. Meaning, in order to attain a holistic sense of wellbeing we must look at cultivating activities that integrate body, mind, and soul.
This month Celia is offering a retreat that specifically deals with the impacts of head, neck, and shoulder pain. Joined by Samantha Lindsay-German, this weekend offers a multitude of body, mind, and spiritual therapies. Postures, poses, breathing, and relaxation techniques for upper body pain and misalignment will focus on an awareness of the body – Research has shown that “these movements are ‘intricate’ and highlight the body – mind nature of yoga that emphasizes awareness, concentration, and bidirectional communication between the mental, nervous, skeletal, and muscular system” (source).
Further, just for a little taste of what to expect, view the below YouTube Yoga Session from Celia!