Saturday, March 19, 2016

Every Body's Guide to Everyday Pain by Ya-Ling J. Liou, DC

Got pain? You can stop it!

I am a chronic allergy suffer who has gone through two rounds of allergy shots with minimal success. The joke is on me because I am allergic to everything green and I am a Master Gardener. Moreover, I come from a line of back pain sufferers which doesn’t exactly help me when I am outside digging and moving plants in my garden during the warm months. It should be no surprise when I share that reading Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain by Ya-Ling J. Liou, DC was exactly what I needed to better understand the source of my pain and how to influence it so that I can go about my everyday life.

Liou is an experienced chiropractor and teacher. She understands pain and applauds natural methods for fighting back at pain. Chronic pain is widespread in the U.S with so many of us never getting to the real source of our pain. Like me with my allergies, we just “deal” with it on a daily basis and spend exurbanite amounts of time and money on doctors and medicines we probably don’t need.

Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain does an outstanding job of explaining pain and the anatomical processes through layman terms, comics, and pictures. She shows us that pain is the “body on fire” from inflammation and teaches us how to “cool the fire” by methods that help “fire-proof” the body. Liou’s book is the first of 3 volumes to address human pain and after reading this book, I look forward to the next two volumes!

This book focuses on three primary segments; why does it hurt? How can I make it stop? How do I keep it from happening again? Each segment offers a deeper understanding of pain and how we can all control our pain if we just take the time to understand and prevent it. Running to the doctor for medicine is a short term fix. As complicated as the human body is, we need to dig a bit deeper for pain relief.

Why does it hurt? Pain is our own built in warning system. It’s the only way that we learn something isn’t right and we need to act. Pain is caused by irritation and then inflammation. Inflammation makes it feel like your body is literally on fire. You know the feeling, move wrong and you are suddenly doubled over in pain from what seems like no reason. If you understand what triggers pain you may be able to actually get out in front of it. Below are the 3 types of pain triggers.

·         Mechanical – compression, lengthening of the muscles, and tension.
·         Chemical – the body is slammed by cellular waste or by products. My allergies are a clear example of chemical pain. My sinus headaches and thick throat are very real almost year round.
·         Emotional – how do we react to pain and try to fight it.

How do I make it stop? I must ask myself this a million times in a year especially when allergens are floating about. In order to stop pain you need to find out what is causing it. I know some of my key pain triggers so I trying to avoid them when I can. Do you have a cat? I wouldn’t be the best house guest if you do. By finding the source you can identify the fire and douse it. Ya-Ling Liou shares numerous natural ways to find your pain and release it by laying down, changing how you move, changing key positions, and stretching. No medicine needed and she has a plethora of images and photos to help you find the right moves.

How do I keep it from happening again? Ultimately you need to make yourself “fireproof” to pain. By being proactive you may be able to prevent inflammation from building up and turning into that nagging knee or back pain that has plagued you in the past. There are three effective ways to do this. Ready?

·         Physically through body mechanics. The body needs to remain in motion BUT it needs to be in a natural and healthy manner. Liou illustrates the proper way to move to prevent injury and inflammation from building up. This chapter was one of my favorites because there are outstanding pics to show the proper way to reach for things, best way to pick items up, how to sit , and even how to turn your head to prevent injury. I quickly noticed that I move in all the wrong ways and can see why I may get aches and pains.
·         Chemistry. This concept fascinated me because of my severe allergies. Any imbalance in the chemistry of the body is bad news. The body can develop an imbalance of PH which spells trouble. A gradual buildup of inflammation can sneak up on you. Fight or flight hormones can wreak havoc. My body is guilty on all three counts and I better understand how I can combat the chemicals.
·         Emotions and mindset. It’s no surprise that the mind can rule the body. When I become stressed my stomach acts up or I grit my teeth. Once that happens I need to try to take my mind off whatever is stressing me and fight off the stress. You need to protect your brain in order to “fireproof” your emotions and mind. Luckily it’s easier than it sounds and no medicine is needed. The key? Exercise and sleep are the body’s best stress fighters. They can offer up a firm punch and help the mental and physical effects of stress. In order to impact your outlook which fights pain, continually focus on developing a strong self image and positive world view. Your mind rules your body and you know exactly where to start.

What I love most about Every Body’s Guide to Everyday Pain is the practical, natural approach to identifying your pain and taking control of your pain before it controls you. The approaches that Liou offers are intuitive and address the key areas of the human body. She reminds us how powerful our bodies are and encourages us to retrain our physical and metal movements for better health.

If you suffer any pain at all or find yourself pulling muscles just by moving, this book deserves a permanent spot on your home bookshelf. Pull it out to regularly remind yourself how to identify your pain and stop it before it impacts your life.