Do you know what sets off your pain into a flare up? We call these triggers, and they can be different for everyone.
Knowing your triggers can be particularly helpful if you have a pain condition that has a flare/settle cycle, because it can help you avoid triggering things or situations, or help you prepare for an oncoming flare.
We often see people who don’t know what their triggers are. This can be a pretty scary situation for them, because their pain seems random and uncontrollable, but for most people there are at least some consistent triggers for their pain and with a little investigation we can usually pin down some of the big ones.
Some of the most common triggers include:
Stress – Of course! Stress and demands pulling in every direction is bad enough when you don’t have pain, but this is one of the really big triggers for setting off bad pain flares.
Over doing it – Pushing yourself too hard is probably one of the most common triggers for an increase in pain. This can look like lifting something heavier than you’re capable of, walking further than you normally can, rushing around doing more errands than usual. The trap is usually that you have a day where you actually feel pretty good and capable, so you do as much as you can while you're feeling good and then - bam! On comes the flare from over doing it!
Change in air pressure – Theres not a lot of great research on this, but I can tell you from clinical experience there are a huge number of people who get pain flares when the weather changes, particularly if a storm is about to roll in. Headaches, migraines, joint pain, nausea, nerve pain – these can all flare if the air pressure changes suddenly. Sometimes people affected by this trigger can tell its going to rain hours before it starts because they start to feel those symptoms.
Temperature – Sudden changes of temperature can also flare up some pains. This usually happens in the peak of summer or winter, especially if you go from a cool air conditioned space into the Melbourne heat wave, or getting out of your warm car into the cold air of a single digit day.
Medication – Changes to medication or forgetting to take medication can set off a pain flare up. If its from changes to medication, make sure that you note it down and let your GP know when you see them next.
Sleep – Usually it’s a lack of sleep that causes the pain to increase. Sleep deprivation can lead to feeling run down, slowed thought processes, memory issues, low mood, and can increase sensitivity to pain. I recently wrote a blog with some general tips for aiding your sleep cycle, which you can read here.
Illness and infection – Picking up a cold or virus that’s going around can certainly flare up existing pain conditions. Your body uses a lot of extra resources when it needs to fight off illness or infection, so this can be particularly involved for people who already have weakened immune systems.
Certain movements – Sometimes your pain can be increased by specific movements, like shoulder pain that hurts more if you reach overhead. As Myotherapists, we can help you identify the specific movements that are responsible, and create a treatment plan that addresses those areas so we can get you moving better and with less pain.
Food – Food allergies or sensitivities are very common, and some of these can trigger pain and inflammation. Common ones can be things like gluten, sugar, and processed foods. A Nutritionist like our friend Samantha Gemmell can help you identify foods that may be causing you to have flare ups and help you plan some alternatives.
Chemicals – Sensitivity to chemicals can also increase pain. Consider the types of dish liquid, washing powder and cleaning chemicals you use at home. If you consistently get flare ups after using these, it may be time to try alternative products and see if it makes a difference.
Body products – Similar to chemicals for cleaning your house, the products you use on your body can also trigger pain in some people. This can include body wash, hair care, skin care and make up, deodorants and dental products.
These are just some of the common things that we see. We always recommend that you keep a good eye out and become a little investigator into your own triggers. Sometimes a trigger or symptom journal can help in identifying the things that are setting you off. If you want to do this, we suggest you start by taking note each time you experience a flare up and jot down anything you have done, eaten, interacted with around the time of the flare up. This will help you start to notice patterns that your pain follows.
Some things will be easier to avoid than others – for example, not eating gluten will be much easier to do than not being exposed to air pressure. But for things like weather that are out of your control, you can make a mitigation plan by checking the Bureau of Meteorology and planning to be somewhere comfortable and safe if a major storm is predicted.
We can also help you identify some of these triggers and help you make plans for your triggers. Talk to us about this at your next appointment so that we can support you.
Have you ever found that gentle movement such as yoga helped to alleviate your symptoms, but you struggle to go to a regular class?
Here at Simple Wellness Myotherapy, we know how good moving your body can be - for your muscles, joints, tendons and ligaments, as well as your nervous system and your mind! But we also know that it can be tough to get to a class when you're feeling sore or brain-foggy.
That's why we sat down with Erica Webb, a Yoga, Mat Pilates and Somatic Exercise Coach for a chat. If you're looking to incorporate movement in the comfort of your own home, her Mindful Movement Virtual Studio might be for you.
Hi Erica! Thanks for joining us.
Could you start off by telling us a little about yourself and the Mindful Movement Virtual Studio?
Thanks guys! I’m a Yoga, Mat Pilates and Somatic Exercise Coach based in Melbourne, Australia.
As well as a mindful movement coach, I am a mother to two young boys and a writer and illustrator. At my core I'm curious, kind, committed and just the right amount of quirky!
I truly believe that movement is powerful. Mindful movement is more powerful still. That’s why I created The Mindful Movement Virtual Studio.
The Mindful Movement Virtual Studio is an online Yoga, Pilates and Somatic Exercise Studio. It allows you to do your movement practice from anywhere, anytime.
But it’s more than just a library of classes. It’s also a space where you’re supported! We talk about mindset, forming habits and other practical elements that make a home practice do-able and sustainable.
As part of the Studio, we also offer live masterclasses, weekly Q&As and more.
Who is this Virtual Studio for?
People who want to feel better in their own bodies! Many of my clients are busy women who want to feel better and know they need to commit to look after themselves and take responsibility.
It’s also for people who simply don’t get the chance to go to a local yoga class. It might be that you’re juggling around kids, or that you have pain or a condition that makes it difficult for you to make a regular class.
Is there anyone who wouldn’t benefit from this service?
I can really only think of two:
Does someone need to have experience with yoga to benefit from the Virtual Studio?
Not at all! Many people who join are brand-new to yoga. But for those who do know their yoga, it’s beneficial because we use a lot of techniques and poses that aren’t commonly used in the average yoga class.
Do we need to commit a lot of time to see the benefits?
No! Most of the classes are 30 minutes or less. There are some that are only 5 minutes, and some go up to an hour. So it’s more about committing little chunks of time on a regular basis, rather than committing to a dozen hours every single week.
Do we need to be skinny, super fit, bendy or decked out in the latest activewear to do these classes?
Firstly: you can rock up in your PJs if you want to!
Secondly, these classes are designed to be inclusive – you can be whatever size, fitness level and flexibility level and still reap the benefits.
Do we need fancy equipment?
A few of the classes incorporate props, but there are always at-home alternatives you can use. Many people use pillows and blankets as their props! However, you can always filter the classes to find a prop-free video if you need.
Are the classes appropriate for people who have pain or ongoing injuries?
If you have a condition or injury that might impact your ability to engage in physical activity, I always recommend getting clearance from your health professional first.
With that in mind, the majority of classes are gentle and have variations to suit almost any issue. For example, some of the classes can be done while seated.
Some of the more advanced classes may not suit for some types of injury or pain that affect the function of your muscles. If you’re unsure, you’re welcome to contact me directly about a specific class and whether it’s right for you.
What if we need a little extra support with anything?
I’m here to help! I make sure that I’m available for people to ask questions. Feel free to reach out if you need anything.
Ok, you’ve got us: how do we sign up?
If you’re ready to prioritise YOU, make time to move well and feel well, head to this link to join! The doors are open until Sunday 15th March.
Have you or someone you love been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis? The symptoms of this condition can range from uncomfortable to debilitating.
But the good news is that manual therapy techniques that fall under the scope of myotherapy can help to alleviate some of these symptoms.
Let’s take a look at how myotherapy can help with multiple sclerosis.
What is multiple sclerosis?
Multiple sclerosis, or MS, is an autoimmune disorder that affects the central nervous system.
‘Sclerosis’ means ‘scars’, which occur throughout the central nervous system. These scars interfere with the nerve impulses within the brain, the spinal cord and the optic nerves.
Because the scars can occur anywhere throughout the central nervous system, different symptoms can manifest.
Over 25,000 Australians have been diagnosed with MS. Most are diagnosed between the ages of 20-40, but it can occur in people who are younger or older. Women are far more likely to be diagnosed with MS.
What are the symptoms of multiple sclerosis?
Because multiple sclerosis can occur throughout the nervous system, there is a wide range of symptoms that people with MS may experience. No two cases are the same.
However, symptoms will typically fall under five main categories:
How can myotherapy help with multiple sclerosis?
This can really depend on the primary symptoms you’re looking to manage. However, myotherapy has a diverse range of tools and techniques that may help to minimise symptoms related to motor control, fatigue and neurological issues.
Some of the symptoms myotherapy may help to relieve include:
Massage and multiple sclerosis
One of myotherapy’s tools that has some promising research to back it up is massage therapy.
There have been several small studies into the benefits of massage therapy for MS. They found that massage therapy was able to relieve pain, fatigue and quality of life.
One study found that massage was more effective at relieving symptoms compared to exercise therapy. It also suggested that combining massage with exercise therapy could have even greater benefits.
Managing multiple sclerosis symptoms with Simple Wellness Myotherapy
Here are Simple Wellness Myotherapy, we have had patient outcomes such as:
Every case of MS is unique, so we cannot guarantee that you will achieve the same results. But we can say that our practitioners are experienced when it comes to MS, and will go the extra mile to help you find as much relief as possible.
Simple Wellness Myotherapy also works as a healthcare provider for those receiving employment assistance through MS Employment Services. If you are receiving employment assistance, you can have a chat with your Occupational Therapist to see if myotherapy can be incorporated into your package.
Ready to make a booking? Click here to visit our booking page.
Mel is a Myotherapist based in Ferntree Gully.