Why Correcting My Chronic Running Injury Might Be About More than Just Weak Muscles

Running barefoot along this Mexican beach. Finally doing the difficult work of correcting a physical imbalance in my body. It’s tedious, focussed work for sure (I walk carefully and run mindfully) but am I so lazy that I would put up with 8 years of chronic re-injury to avoid fixing it?

Obviously it would be easier to simply turn in my right foot then deal with the locked SI joint, sciatic pain that radiates down my right leg, the tight quad, shin splints, and sore foot.

Why change is so hard

The reason I haven’t faced this before I am convinced is because this pattern of physical misalignment is associated with a mental, emotional pattern that I have not, until now, been ready to own. This is one reason, I believe, many of us avoid going for massage, chiropractic, or physiotherapy. It’s easier to deal with the physical pain than the root emotional, mental memory that may lie underneath.

” Your implicit emotional memories have a physical record too. They’re stored in the neuromuscular patterns that affect virtually every tissue in your body.” —Amanda Blake

Your Muscles Hold Your Memories

In Your Body is Your Brain, Amanda Blake says ” Your implicit emotional memories have a physical record too. They’re stored in the neuromuscular patterns that affect virtually every tissue in your body.” She quotes Wilhelm Reich’s  1930’s research into armoring which showed how people employed physical contractions to stifle or fend off unwanted emotion. Tightening their chests or gritting their jaws, for example, to avoid crying.

“Contractions like these when repeated often enough, ultimately change the physical structure of the entire social and emotional sense organ that is your body.” says Blake. For whatever reason, likely when I am dealing with emotions I don’t want to face, I lock my right hip, freeze the right side of my body and turn out my foot.

Your body provides clues

My body has been been trying to provide me with gentle cues. “It’s time to release the old emotions and old ways of being,” it says. “It’s time to create solid footing in something new.”

Of course there are times when physical injury, a crash, a fall, might take us out of alignment. But for those times when aches and pains show up for no apparent reason they might be signs that we are armoring or otherwise using our physical bodies to stifle mental/emotional pain.

Get curious about how you hold your body

Want to make this applicable to your own life. Identify a chronic source of physical pain and spend a week trying to correct it. Get bodywork done. Use mindfulness to observe how you stand, sit and walk. Make consistent corrections to find alignment. Notice if these changes in your physical structure bring out memories, emotions or new thoughts. Journal daily to catch what comes up. At the end of the week you may have learned something new about yourself. At the very least you’ll have a healthier happier bod to run your life with.

Disclaimer: The opinions, information and research contained in the above is not a substitute for professional help. If you have moderate to severe chronic pain see a doctor and emotional trauma a therapist.

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