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Hello everyone. I am posting a question that I posed and Kit answered, (on the recent AMA Reddit thread), regarding residual pain after shingles (post-herpetic neuralgia). Better late than never! (That was over a month ago now, I think). The happy news is that I am no longer experiencing this pain and haven't done so for a few weeks now. I hope this info may help anyone else who has the unfortunate experience of trouble with nerve pain. The full thread and Kit's response is below, but just to summarise the problem: - I had a bout of shingles 18 months ago - Apparently out of nowhere, in my mid thoracic area on the left side, the pain flared up very dramatically - for several weeks I could not bear to sit, even for 5 - 10 mins. It was sometimes stabbing, sometimes throbbing, sometimes itchy or burning, and very intense, like I had been in a traffic accident. But not made worse but activity - in fact, it was worst when sitting, and I felt relief when moving around. The major turn around for me was going to see Danny G who I met at one of Kit's Into the Stretch classes in York recently. We did a few stretch sessions together which helped, but the real 'light bulb' moment came when he suggested that I watch this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gwd-wLdIHjs - a 15 minute Ted talk by Lor Moseley on the topic 'Why things hurt'. (basically, the answer is, 'because we think they do.' In other words that the experience of pain is a matter of perception.) Soon after that, I attended one introductory Pilates class with a 1-1 teacher, who walked me through some exercises that I found very difficult, though they would not appear so to an outsider - subtle movements I had not tried before that required intense concentration to execute. I was amazed when afterwards I realised I felt no pain at all and it did not return for about an hour. I surmised the reason that I felt no pain was not because the Pilates was a magic bullet (though I'm sure, Pilates is helpful for back strengthening), but rather because I was focused on something so intensely besides the pain in my back that I didn't notice it was there (much like a tree falling in the forest with no one there to hear it). From then I started practising two things - one was Danny's suggestion and also in the talk, that I try focusing on the pain and trying to articulate what it really felt like. e.g rather than catastrophising every instance of pain, I noticed sometimes it felt less painful than other times. Often it wasn't really pain at all, per se, it was more a sense of 'wrongness' or something that will be familiar to nerve pain sufferers that I can only describe as 'sensation'. The other, (and this may seem contradictory) was endeavouring to be very mindful about everything else, from brushing my teeth to doing the dishes, so my brain would be too full of messages about the tasks that I was engaged in minute by minute to pay any attention to my back. Finally - and I believe this also had a big impact, though I can't know for sure - I bought a Teeter hanging device and anti-gravity boots http://www.amazon.com/Teeter-Hang-Ups-Inversion-Gravity/dp/B000M83J5I- hanging upside down is great, but I think hanging in the usual way (hands, overhand or underhand grip, in various different poses, but mostly just plain old hanging) has made a great difference. This I got from Craig's excellent hanging series. It just feels great. I now hang several times a day. I have no real routine. I just hang on my bar every time I walk by, much like a kid on a swing set. I can't rate this enough. I did also have a few sessions of osteopathy and dry needling, also helpful. But not, I feel, the cure. One more 'finally' - all this I believe has changed my attitude to movement in general. I try to do some movement nearly all the time. Rather than thinking of 'working out' for an hour per day and then 'the rest of life' the rest of the time. I think of my body communicating with the world and vice versa, all of the time. So can be found stretching at bus stops, in shopping queues, sometimes working in a squat with my computer on the floor... etc etc. I do a lot of things just because they feel good. Danny, at one point, said to me 'Free your hips and you free your mind' and that has really stuck with me (it's true! Though my hips need a lot of work!) Kit, if you are reading this, I am afraid I cannot tell you that I have cut down my work yet in any drastic way, but I have turned down various commitments on top of this, and avoided taking on a second job... hah. I have been doing far more relaxing in the past 3 months than I have the last 3 years, and a lot of getting outdoors (hiking, climbing, kayaking...) Thank you to anyone who has read this far! Hi Kit :-) it's Ngaire. I was going to do a bit more research on the forums (have done some) before posting there but since you are here now, asking. Today I've been diagnosed with post-herpetic neuralgia. I had shingles about 18 months ago and pain has flared up without rash. Mid-thoracic area left side. The skin in that area feels numb and pain there varies from stabbing to itching to tingling to throbbing and sometimes feels like I've just been hit by a truck in that one place. I believe general flexibility and strength will help so working on daily 5, hip flexors and strengthening glutes. I use a standing (adjustable) desk and have very frequent movement breaks (or move and work). Also practising mindfulness and relaxation to help with pain management. Sometimes it feels like a fire engine siren is going off on my side. It has the quality of being exposed to a loud constant noise that won't turn off. I want to avoid prescription meds for the moment. Wondered if you can suggest any stretches that relax nerves? (Or if I do the stretches that feel "neural" is that a good start?) I just put up a chin up/hanging bar in my flat and am practising Craig's hanging series which helps. Thank you!! Very grateful for all your teachings. I also do lots mobility work with resistance bands. Movement seems to help. permalink [–]Kit_LaughlinKit's the Tits[S] 1 point 1 month ago Hello there! N., the #1 route for you is to very significant reduction in your frankly insane work load (I am sure you knew I was going to recommend that!), if you haven't already. Shingles is the common term for the original complaint (adult chicken pox, one of the herpes viruses, and in many people the body remains overly sensitive following a severe episode (the "post" part). What I will suggest (the lying meditations) are not fast cures; what is needed is to calm the whole system down over time. In my direct experience (I have had the same problem) time will fix it and gentle stretching (lateral flexion, rotation, and having someone rub some nice smelling skin balm on regularly over the affected area, very very gently) will all help desensitise the area. So will naps in the afternoon. Strong stretching likely will set off the wrong neural reactions, so wait until the body indicates that this is tolerable. All this will take quite some time. Please post this (and my reply) over at the Forums; it's a more common problem, I suspect, than we think. permalink parent [–]NgaireW 1 point 1 month ago Thank you Kit :-) am going to sleep now but will post to forums. Really appreciate your response. Well, I finished writing books now but then was promoted in my day job so I am working less but still working a lot. I am about to tune in to one of your relaxation recordings (which I used to listen to in Canberra 2004 and still works a treat!). Will move this topic to forums. Thank you :-) permalink parent [–]Kit_LaughlinKit's the Tits[S] 1 point 1 month ago still working a lot The problem you describe is the residue of much stress for years; this needs to be 'exorcised!'. What you are doing is, IMHO, the fast track. And try to cut down how much you work—give a long hard think to 'how much do I really need?' and make adjustments. No one should do full time work, I feel.
Hi Every body, Last weekend Craig [Mountain Hammer] and I finished editing my VOD instructional on the basics of how I use Hanging-Stretching in my Physical Alchemy method. In this approach Hanging is fused with Stretching, Directed Breathing methods and Micro-movements (Spinal waves, undulations and spiral patterns) to facilitate soft tissue re-patterning. The video offers a few of my favorite hanging exercises, including: Hanging Spinal Waves Elevated Lateral Hanging Hanging Liver and Spleen Rib Work Hanging Upper Rib work ** The Vimeo Link is currently not embedding properly** Go to Vimeo and enter Dave Wardman and you should see the same image as I use here. In the VOD section. When I figure out what is wrong I will insert the correct link. It also includes a small section on theory and programming, which I will expand in this thread if people have questions. As Craig pointed out to me, I say 'use a volume based protocol' a lot in the clips. What I mean be this is emphasis not working these stretches intensely and or long duration in the beginning (obviously the risk of falling off the bar, but also this intensity prevents the sensory dimension we are after.). I recommend starting off doing the stretches more often and at a medium intensity. Of course, for Advanced practitioners other options become available.. Some of the stretches utilize one-arm drapes, so somewhere between the strength-endurance necessary for a two-arm hang and a one-arm hang. Some options for unweighted and changing leverage are presented, but if you have insufficient grip strength you are best off focusing on the basics shown in Craig's introduction to Hanging series - of which this VOD can be seen as a progression along a certain line (Hanging-Stretching as opposed to more strength based Hanging variants). For beginners (inability to do one-arm hangs but can do two-arm hang for around 60 seconds) who have the requisite strength-endurance and co-ordination I recommend you pick one of two of the exercises and try them either at the end of a strength or movement session where you have not completely fried your upper body and grip or work 'volume' or accumulation of time in hang through-out the day on your active recovery days. Make use of the change in leverage techniques so you are not holding the whole weight of your body up with the stretching side arm. For Intermediate (2 minute plus two-arm hang, one-arm hang 10-20 seconds) practitioners you can do the same as above in terms of programming but should have the body awareness necessary to use these stretches even after strong upper body work (given adequate rest) at the end of a workout. Doing the stretches after having heavily worked the upper body does have some advantages. You can also play with different hanging-stretching on active recovery days. You should have the strength to use some of the stronger hangs, plus breathing and micro-movements, to really get into some aspects of the ribs, lats, trunk and arms that are difficult to find any other way, and this will feel good. Hanging stretching feels good for people doing higher volumes of strength work and/or martial arts, grappling and other movement arts. You will see a lot of people intuitively hang into some of the positions I have shown, but harder ever do they fuse this with the Directed Breathing approach (and they often come out a fair few breaths before they would have got a more profound result). Advanced practitioners should view these exercises as ideas and go exploring. This is just my basic outline applied to a few stretches. There are many other stretches in this syllabus and many other little movements, supports, addition of partner traction and spiral vectors, etc., that will come out in future Instructionals - but you can probably conjure up some great stuff yourself. The Basics are: • Anyone can make the stretch stronger, what you want is to dial the stretch to strong enough to elicit the desired stretch location and sensation, whilst simultaneously being easy enough to work controlled Directed Breathing vectors into the stretch arc and use micro-movements to 'wring out' the stretching soft tissues. • Directed Breathing is a controlled, slow and aware breathing arc ballooning into the of the stretch. This induces a pulsing, 'jellyfish' movement vectors into the stretch and the brings forth new muscles and soft tissues (fascia especially) that evade normal techniques. • Micro-movements are another additional vectors added into the tissues of the hanging stretch. The bar/ladder bars/tree branch form an anchor and the distal end, you can use proximal movement patterns to 'wring out the human towel'..so to speak. Some of the main patterns used are: lateral undulations, spinal waves and oscillations (segmental rotation) of specific spine regions. Of course, this is a basic template. Advanced practitioners should try any and all movements (safely and with Awareness) in their search for areas of sensori-motor amnesia and inhibition. • I have found that the addition of Directed Breath and Micro-movements works better for me in solo Hanging Stretching than using Contact-Relax protocols. C/Rs work better in partner hanging stretching - and can be combined with Directed Breathing and micro-movements (squirming into partner resisting force).. but this will be in the Advanced Alchemical Hanging VOD! Let me know what you think and if you have further questions. [D]