Assess Yourself

By Ross Ashcraft

!!!Why am I hurting?!!?

Is it the weather? My allergies?  My new medication?  My pillow?  My job?  My kids? My dog?  My high heels?   This last one doesn’t apply to me, but you get the idea.  It can be very difficult to deduce what causes our aches and pains.  We want our pains to be caused by ONE condition that we can attack and obliterate.  The problem is that it’s almost never just ONE thing.

1.  The best place to start is to take a look at what is new in your life.

New pillows; new medication; new desk position; new pet; new sport; new job; new kid; or new high heels

2.  Then take a look at the environment in which you spend large chunks of time.

Your pillow and bed; your desk setup at work; the shoes you wear; your study habits; the equipment you use to exercise; or the arch support in your high heels

3.  Take a look at how you do things.

The position you sleep in; your walking pattern; the way you hold your arms and shoulders while you type; how you hold your kid; your body position while studying; how you hold the laundry basket; and of course how you strut in those high heels

Consider a change to these conditions.  It might be the fastest most effective way to reduce or obliterate your pain.

Now let’s assess your muscles

A quick and easy way to deduce if a muscle is the problem is to put pressure on that muscle while you use it.  I’ll list a couple of examples.

Wrist or Finger Pain:

1.  Wrap your finger around one forearm and squeeze the muscles of that forearm while moving your wrist and fingers.

2.  Squeeze the biceps muscle in the upper arm while moving the wrist and then the fingers.

3.  Press and hold right below the collar bone/clavicle while moving the wrist and then the fingers.

Whichever muscle hurt the most while you moved the wrist and fingers should be cause of your problems.

Neck Pain:

1.  Place your fingers right behind your ear and feel for the bone you’ll find.  Come just off the bottom edge of that bone.  This place is called the Mastoid Process.  Press into these muscles while you:  1) Rotate your head; 2) Laterally flex your head from side to side; 3) Flex and extend your head by moving forward and backward.  If it hurt more going side to side or rotation, the problem is in your neck.  If it hurt more going forward or back then the problem is in your back.

2.  Place all of your fingers on the side of your neck.  Find a tender or tight area and press with medium pressure; rotate your head; and then bend it from side to side. If it hurt more going side to side, the problem is there in your neck.  If it hurt more during rotation, then your problem might be just above your collar bone/clavicle.

Now that you have figured out the where the pain is in your body, thinking about how you could change.  Ask yourself why you are holding so much tension in that area?  Look at how that area is used.  During the course of the day what changes could you make either physical, mental or emotional that might dissipate that stress.

So, I’m curious.  What do you think is the lifestyle change you could make to reduce your pain?  Post your comment so we can read your ideas.

Also, try these assessments and let me know what you discovered about your body.

Warning:  Just be sure to take off the high heels while you do them!

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