Health and Wellness with Movement and Nutrition


Self Care is Health Care

Trager Talk: Caring for non-emergent amd chronic pain

At my last workshop, 7/28. we discussed how to treat a non-emergent situation. Barring the need for emergency hospitalizations, there is much to be done to reduce pain and panic, using the Trager Approach.

Consider this personal example: A new practitioner of 4 years, I stopped by to visit a friend, and I accidentally slammed the door on my own fingers. I do not remember the situation now, it was over 15 years ago. I do remember my immediate response to the extremely painful feeling I had in the 3 middle fingers of my right hand. They looked to be bend backwards, but not broken, I was in tears with pain, and alone in the driveway.

I immediately reached down for the grass. I gently slid the tips of my fingers under the roots of the grass and began elongating by slightly elevating my hand away from the earth. I jiggled and let go, then repeated numerous time. I felt some relief after a bit, and never had any bruising. It was a spontaneous reaction, and a creative one. I didn’t know what to do, but the gentle jiggling and elongating did the trick.

Staying calm when injured is sometimes difficult. Taking some breaths and going into hook-up will slow the heart rate and help you to think better about next steps. Survey the situation, and the resources for help, and make a decision. Emergencies occur when there is a threat to breathing, any bleeding or severe pain.

If you are certain you do not need help, continue with your own self-care:

1) Breathe and relax as much as possible. 2) Decrease swelling and bruising with gentle movement to the area 3) Increased oxygen means less pain. Pain is often a result of the O2 supply being cut off for too long, and the body is screaming for air. 4) Apply heat after inflammation is gone, and cold to bring down the swelling. 5) Never use extreme heat/cold longer than 5-10 minutes. 6) When the pain is more manageable use a hot washcloth for 3 seconds then an ice cube for 3 seconds, and repeat 3 times. Do this a few times a day to speed healing. The contraction and relaxation of the tissue will remind the cells how to normalize.7) Use wintergreen or sweet birch oil to decrease pain. Gentle application will soak in and create mild heat and reduce pain.8) Topical magnesium oil will speed muscle/bone cellular damage.

For chronic pain, stay with it. Learn your compensating patterns. Ask for help. You do not have to live with chronic pain. Injuries heal rather quickly in our bodies, but if you have lingering pain, there may be an unresolved emotional component to it. Seek guidance on how to get to the root of it. Treat the injury as if it just happened. Stick with it. Pain is our loudest messenger! It has some importance, do your best to listen and respond to behavioral changes, or you may keep re-injuring yourself.

Rest is important and a high protein diet will speed healing as well. Listen to your body and be a first responder. Our bodies have an innate capacity to heal itself, if put in the right condition. If you have been told there is nothing that can be done for you, attend to your own needs until you run out of ideas, then try the Trager Approach.

Judith Fasone