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Pain-spasm-pain Cycle

Got pain? Many people I know have some sort of pain. Of course, since I am a massage therapist, everyone who walks into my office has some kind of pain. It is not just common, these days it seems like it is ubiquitous. Not just physical pain, but emotional, psychological, spiritual pain. There is more than enough to go around these days.

My most recent physical pain has been hip pain. My father has had both of his hips replaced twice so when my hip pain got so bad that I was limping, I began to wonder if I needed a hip replacement. It seems to run in the family so it seemed like a possibility. I hadn’t been getting my usual regularly scheduled bodywork because of COVID-19 so I knew that some of that pain was due to lack of attention. But still, it seemed extreme.

So when some of the Covid restrictions for body workers lifted, I went to see a massage therapist. Told him about my hip pain. He is a miracle worker because I walked out of his office 90 minutes later 80% pain free. And I was reminded of the pain-spasm-pain cycle.

The pain-spasm-pain cycle starts with pain that can be caused by an injury to the muscle, a muscle cramp, or muscle overuse. The muscle that is involved tightens in an effort to protect the area. That tightening can cause more pain. And it can cause the muscles around it to tighten, which in turn can cause its own pain. The pain caused by the muscle’s attempt at protection causes the muscle to tighten more. And when the muscle is locked into position guarding, it can’t function properly. So it weakens. And the muscles around the hurting one start having to pick up the slack and doing a job they are not designed to do. And they get tired and start hurting. And that pain causes the area to tighten, and so on. Pain-spasm-pain.

It is a cascading event. One small injury can cause a whole host of pain.

This happens everywhere in life. Not just in the physical body. I’m sure you can think of many instances where a small injury or several small injuries caused a world of pain.

The trick is to break the cycle. How? Stop the pain or stop the spasm. Either one will break the cycle. When you get the muscle to relax, the pain diminishes. When you control the pain, the muscle can stop guarding and relax. Either one of these options creates a new cycle of freedom from pain and relaxation.

If we can diminish our pain, we have space in our lives and our brains and our hearts to look up and do good in the world. We are not guarding ourselves all the time trying to protect the hurting place. If we can let down our guard, we allow the opportunity for healing to enter and then we don’t feel the need to guard quite so much.

I use Lolly Butter almost every day to help people experience a place of less pain and more healing. To bring them to a place of safety and therefore a place where less guarding is required. Lolly Butter isn’t required to break the pain-spasm-pain cycle, but sometimes love is. Let me send a little love your way. Blessings to you. May your pain lessen. May you find peace and comfort. May you feel loved.


Lolly xo

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