Leading Integrated Healthcare

Muscle pain or spasm, and tendon pain

Pain from muscle tissue is perhaps the commonest type of pain of all. The muscles are the biggest users of blood and energy in the body and account for the vast majority of nervous system activity. The whole point of having a body is to move; and this is the job of the muscles. Such constant activity needs a certain amount of careful management!

Muscle pain caused by strain and sprain (actual tearing of fibres) is rare, but heals very readily unless there is some sort of impediment to this process. True spasm of muscle is extremely rare and occurs only in underlying bone injuries that the muscle attempts to splint, and in the disease tetanus.

Both muscles and tendons (non-elastic cords that join muscle to bone) are readily injured by repetitive strain or overuse syndromes – in which case the lubricating sheaths of the tendons can also become inflamed. Tennis elbow is a good example of an overuse syndrome – these days mostly caused by computer keyboard use. However, it is interesting to note that most overuse syndromes occur when one is under prolonged stress.

Muscle tissue can fatigue, or it can be inappropriately used and damaged. Fatigue is by far the commonest source of muscle pain, but the odd fact is that most muscle fatigue is due to unconsciously over-used muscle – that is, over-use of muscle is normally the result of stress and tension. To be more accurate, muscles – especially postural, torso muscles – are used to ‘brace’ parts of the body. This is in fact a basic biological survival function when the muscles are stimulated, but at the same time prevented from causing movement. For example if you are irritated, certain muscle groups will want to work to resolve the irritation. Similarly, if you are worried, the muscles will want to work to resolve the worry. This basic biological function is fine in Neanderthal man, but in modern life we are usually trying to resolve our problems without defensive or aggressive activity. However, this frustration in the body leads to muscle tension or bracing, which, if prolonged, will cause pain due to fatigue. This kind of problem is resolvable using muscular relaxation techniques, massage, bodywork such as osteopathy, pain-relief processes such as acupuncture, and of course, other more psychologically inclined stress-management activities, including Somatic Experiencing.

Here is a fairly accurate and popular – if not quite PC – analysis of this problem:

“Stress is – the confusion created when the brain overrides the body’s basic desire to choke the living shit out of some asshole who desperately needs it” (anonymous)


Experiencing Provocative Therapy

Provocative Therapy has had a significant and ongoing impact on me. The session itself forced to the surface a few truths about myself and my life which I had previously been reluctant to admit to myself. That I found helpful and enlightening. However the real shock came when I watched myself on film afterwards. I was rather dreading having to view myself, especially in such an open and vulnerable position. But nothing prepared me for the shock I had when I firstswitched on the tape. For the first time, I think ever, I was able to view myself objectively. It was not like looking in the mirror or seeing myself on film; never before had I seen myself interact naturally like that. I was surprised how pertinent the contradiction was between the idea I had of myself and how I really appeared. This initial jolt certainly had the most impact but now I’m grateful to have the film so that I can revisit it whenever I need to. Each time it’s almost like going through another session. It forces me toreally look at myself and listen to what I’m saying and to understand that there is a difference between my own, often warped perspective, and the truth in front of me. Louisa Gamon - London