3 Ways You Are Sabotaging Your Recovery

April 5, 2017

Nobody likes to be in pain.

Well, maybe some of you might like it. Whatever floats your boat 🙂 When you are in pain you would do just about anything to get out of it. That’s the Law of Self Preservation. Ya kind of need this law so you don’t die. Dying is not a good option.

The brain and body have one goal, don’t die. It will sacrifice anything in the long term for the short term benefit of the now. It really doesn’t care about tomorrow. The brain only has eyes for RIGHT NOW. Any decision it makes now it can worry about the consequences later. Now matters more than the future.

In our quest to help the body recover from injury we make feeble attempts at lending a helping hand. We think we are so smart, well not so much. Often what holds us back are our good intentions. One of the easiest ways to help yourself get better is to simply get out of your own way and get out of your cerebral brain.

Stop thinking so much. Go to your primal survival critter brain. That brain cares jack shit about your double blind studies of what’s supposed to work. Work for who? Someone else’s body. What about YOURS. It’s different from everyone. Oh sure you may have similar anatomy but the EXPERIENCE of your anatomy is unique in the Universe. Nobody else has had it. So your back is NOT the same as another back. Treat it the same as everyone and you get can get poor results.


Research is cool. It keeps the brainiacs busy. However the single most important factor that affects movement and pain is the environment, The one you live in. And when was the last time you hung out in a research lab 24/7? Probably not so much.

So lets look at three ways you are trying to help yourself which may be actually sabotaging your progress.

  • Doing an exercise too far beyond your nervous systems safety threshold. If you can’t breathe during the movement, you don’t own the movement. You will not learn anything when your body goes into survival mode. When under threat the body falls back on habit. It defaults to protective compensations. Oh sure you will complete the movement, but will your body learn from it? Not if its under threat. If you can’t breathe, then you are under threat. Take a deep diaphragmatic breath during and at the end range of a movement, if you struggle breathing, stop and regress until you can.


Change in your habits. If you want to change a habit don’t do too much too soon.

  • Pushing yourself through painful movements. When pain is on board you stop learning. Pain shuts off the pathway for new motor learning. The brain avoids things that are painful or difficult. It likes to cheat. If it can take the easy way out it will do so every time. Pain isn’t weakness leaving the body, pain is an action signal. A signal to move in a pattern that doesn’t hurt to relearn a pattern that is. Moving areas of the body that are not in pain will feed forward into better function everywhere else. Why? Everything is connected. There is no break in the continuity of living matter. Move non painful areas more. Stop isolating on the affected area and integrate the rest of yourself.


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  • Always trying to mobilize and release tissue can make you worse. Just because something is tight doesnt mean it needs to be stretched or released. Tightness is a neurological protective mechanism of the body to a perceived threat. It restricts motion for protection. If you are unstable in movement your brain takes the best option it can and restricts motion. How? Tightness, stiffness, poor mobility, and pain. These are primitive protective outputs of the brain. Stability rules the movement road. Getting a stuck joint to move more is easy, keeping it moving is not. Stop releasing body parts without locking in stability. How? Move more of yourself on the ground in a stable environment after you release. You learned to move on the ground first so go back there to improve the now.

There ya have it. Give them a go and see what happens. Or you can keep doing more and more things with little to no lasting improvement. Sometimes the cray shit path is the best one to walk on, especially when the same old shit path stops working for ya.

Peace and share the mojo. #sharethemojo
Dr. Perry