[su_dropcap style=”flat”]I[/su_dropcap]DON’T BELIEVE I’M SAYING THIS, but these words are so familiar now, they aren’t part of someone else’s conversation, they are part of mine. “It never used to hurt when I did that!” and that’s just what this book is all about. It doesn’t matter if you’re 25 or 65, there will be times when pain appears and all you want is an explanation, a remedy now and a way to prevent it from happening again. This is the book that helps with each of those elements of every day pain. I noticed, and you might be interested too, that this book is a primer on the aches and pains common to everyone. It doesn’t address chronic pain and specific illnesses. I hope those are covered in future books, but in this Volume One of a 3-Volume set. the author discusses what she calls ‘nuisance’ pain and what to do so those pains don’t escalate to five-alarm-fire pain.
Maybe this quote from one of the endorsers is an inclusive way to describe the book.
Comparing the pain caused by inflammation to the body on fire, readers are guided through the processes of cooling the fire and fire-proofing the body.”
I tend to be a logical thinker and a visual learner. This book practically catered to my learning style. First there are illustrations and photographs that are invaluable as supporting material. Second, the book is divided into three major segments that answer: Why does it hurt? How do I make it stop? How do I keep it from happening again? When we have unexplained pain, isn’t that what we want to know? So in the next few hundred words I’ll summarize my takeaways from this practicable book.
Part 1 – Why does it hurt?
Let’s explore that. We know that pain is our body’s defense mechanism to tell us that something isn’t right. But we hurt and have pain due to inflammation. Ya-Ling Liou’s style of writing is so easy to follow and her explanations are almost visual. She says, “Irritation to bones, joints, ligaments, muscles, fascia, and skin will result in some degree of inflammation. Inflammation is like your body on fire.” That’s a description I can relate to. If my body was on fire, there would be pain. Inflammation is caused by a sudden increase in blood flow. Normally blood flow is a good thing, but when there is too much blood, it overwhelms the region and that good thing turns into pain. Persistent rubbing, twisting, straining, and stress, either prolonged or sudden and acute, causes inflammation. The body has systems in place with a network of blood vessels that can handle the blood flow, but if irritants aren’t restrained blood builds up and inflammation (pain) is the result.
This section of the book on why it hurts is like having an encyclopedia on what causes pain to begin with. We know all about injuries or overusing muscles, but I was surprised to read a full discourse on different triggers that cause pain. Mechanical triggers are structural like compression, lengthening, tension, and repetitive muscular compensation. I was surprised to learn that some of the pain producers are things we all do every single day and at any moment they can start causing pain. What about other triggers? Chemical triggers really caught my attention because I am an allergy sufferer. Chemical triggers of every day pain occur when an area of the body is overwhelmed by cellular waste or byproducts. We have a systems that rid the body of these waste products, lymph, skin, colon, bladder, and kidneys, but they can get overloaded. If you need explicit reasoning to understand that that diet and exercise are powerful tools in preventing pain, you will read it here. I wish I could share one of the many diagrams about how chemistry is a huge factor in pain both producing it and preventing it. If you get the book you’ll know why the diagrams are so valuable. Have you heard about Ph balance? Well, it’s not a fallacy or a marketing ploy. It’s real and it matters to your body along with many other chemical responses explained in this book. Then there are the emotional triggers which medicine as a whole is still discovering the role genetic code, epigenetics, and genomies play in how we feel and react to things that could cause pain.
Part 2 – How do I make it stop?
“Oh yeah, I have pain but I’m good with it,” said nobody, ever. When we have pain, Ya-Ling says, “It’s so important to respect the pain right away.” Pain is inflammation and when your body has pain it’s essentially on fire from the inside out. I like the way the author associates dousing the pain of inflammation to dousing the flames if our clothing catches on fire. Stop! Drop! Roll!
Stop! Whatever we are doing to ‘fan the flames’ must stop. The tissues of the body are compromised and in pain, already inflamed to the point where they can’t tolerate more irritation brought on by daily behaviors, over use, or positions responsible for the original pain. The first thing to do is stop.
Drop! This isn’t just an analogy. Ya-Ling definitely instructs pain sufferers to literally lie down on the floor – of course using the techniques and positions shared in the book – and counteract the compression. The key is restoring structural harmony and taking the stress off the soft tissues so the pain subsides and the inflamed areas cool off.
Roll! This part of the remedy is important after lying down on the floor. It’s the one of the most important things to pay attention to no matter where the pain is. Neck, mid-back, lower-back are areas of pain that are often helped by laying down. Then you have to get up. The key here is to roll to the side before getting up from the prone position.
These chapters are filled with outstanding photographs and illustrations that bring exceptional clarity to the text. As a visual learner, seeing the attributes in context makes the instruction much easier to apply. I was intrigued by all the drawings and documentation of various effects of sitting, standing, and lying down. I have scoliosis and I now have a much better understanding of where the intermittent pain under my shoulder blade comes from.
Part 3 – How do I keep it from happening again?
This third section is a pain-solution mecca. The author titles the chapters Fire Proofing of the three types of pain triggers.
Fire Proof Body Mechanics: There are literally photos of movements we do every day, perform improperly and risk hurting our physical bodies. Take putting your shoes on, for instance. There are five photos, and I kid you not, you will identify with every one of them. The author asks, “Do you put your shoes on like this?” and I guarantee you will say you do, but so what? So read along and find out 4 ways to put your shoes on that are far safer and healthier than your current method. That is just one of many instructional helps for minimizing your risk of pain. How do you pull a shirt on over your head? Interesting how that pain you experience later in the day could have originated while getting dressed this morning.
Fire Proof Body Chemistry: Consider that some inflammation exists for causes not related to mechanics. For example, imbalance in our body’s pH status or any number of stress chemicals called fight or flight hormones. Not everyone has the same pain, causes of pain or even the degree of pain. Chemical triggers may not even be centralized in one pain location. It’s reasonable to think that pain in one area of the body could also affect other areas. “The effect of built-up waste and inflammation could be the result of stressed or injured tissue in one area of the body yet effect neighboring body tissues.”
Fire Proof Emotions and Mindset: Mechanical triggers and chemical triggers are pretty easy topics to bring into discussions about pain. Emotional and mindset triggers, not so much. Ya-Ling says it seems to cause anxiety when the pain we struggle with is perceived as association with emotions or mindset. For some reason many of us feel like we are being labeled as defective or disabled if our pain doesn’t derive from mechanical or chemical sources and we feel the need to reconcile our worth and our physical abilities. Emotions are part of our humanity. Life experience brings us through worry, fear, joy, sorrow, anger – all of these at various times can profoundly affect pain levels, recovery, and our general health. In this final chapter, the author provides some valuable insights into pain from the mind-body perspective. Preventing pain caused by emotional imbalances are often attributed to stress reduction, exercise, sleep, attitude adjustments that shift worry to optimism. While excavating the emotional triggers and circumventing the pain caused by them, the author presents worthwhile guidance in shifts that are remedies for pain brought on my stress and outlook on life.
Ya-Ling encourages readers with one important truth and I think this is a good place to wrap up this book summary.
You can’t go wrong if you make sure to always be kind to yourself.”