We tend to take our good health for granted until we are reminded that truly we are all human, with all the advantages and drawbacks that accompany that. It is remarkable that we can be affected by emotion. Pain can be the result of a combination of both the physical and the emotional. It does not always take great physical trauma to experience an injury or physical discomfort. We will quite often know immediately if we have overexerted at the gym or lifted something that is beyond our natural strength or ability to handle comfortably. In these cases we kind of expect to feel sore.
I will often have people who come to see me in my clinical practice who can’t account for why they feel soreness. The reality is that that it can be something seemingly benign that triggers a bout of pain. It can be a ride in a taxi where the driver is constantly alternating between the break pedal and the accelerator. It is probably not the taxi ride that caused the problem. The chances are that the problem had been building for a while and that this latest event was just the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.
I recently experienced a seemingly benign event that caused me some mild discomfort. I went yesterday to see a Cameron Mackintosh production of Les Miserables at the Princess of Wales Theatre. The seats were their usual cramped “let’s get 2000 people into a small space.” There were moments during the performance that were pure emotionally highly charged magic. At one such moment there was not a sound from the audience, not a cough, not a splutter. It was not just rapt attention. It is as if they were all holding their breath. I know I was. Hence the pain in my upper back this morning just around the shoulder blades.
When we exercise, whether this is through a workout at the gym or doing yoga, the breath is crucial. We don’t deprive ourselves of oxygen so the in-breath is important and we usually breathe out on the power stroke. In yoga we usually extend the stretch on the out-breath.
So here was I at the theatre last night, my shoulders up by my ears to allow the people on either side of me their personal space, and I am not breathing. I suspect that there is an imbalance in my muscles - strong in some, and weak in others - a tug of war, if you like. Meanwhile, I will work further with Heather, our personal trainer to correct the imbalance and will get a massage to resolve the muscular pain.