This week, I have a great chat with Jo Belton about her amazing journey from serious injury to accepting and understanding her pain. Jo identified as an active person in her younger years with a love of camping! She worked in the fire service and sustained an injury at work. It was a routine activity – stepping down from the back of the truck but this time, she felt a twinge in her hip. She continued to work and underwent physical therapy but after 5 months, the pain became unbearable. As the injury occurred at work she began a workers compensation journey which was stressful and involved long delays between assessment and treatment. After a 13 month, wait she was approved surgery which alleviated some of her hip pain.
After a medical retirement from the fire department she began to notice a decline in health due to inability to sit for long periods, sleeping difficulty, she became withdrawn from social situations and a depression sank in. A turning point came when Jo began to educate herself about pain and looked into the biopsychosocial model for pain management. She worked out what pain was and what it wasn’t. Pain does NOT equal damage. This helped to overcome her fear of movement – knowing pain was not leading to further injury and realising that inactivity was actually increasing the likelihood of injury through deconditioning. As part of her physical therapy, she found relief and enjoyment from Egoscue (yes, I had to ask “what’s that?” check is out here..http://www.egoscue.com/)
Jo still has pain but her daily routine now begins with gentle movement (i.e. cat/cow postures, deep breathing, hip circles) . Her message to those with chronic pain was to educate yourself about pain and she found that her own fears and anxieties made the pain unbearable. She prefers to focus on what matters in life – the people she loves, activities she likes to engage in, being creative – the good aspects of life! She believes that you are the only one that has to live in your body 24/7, so find the solutions from within.
Jo’s movement break included engaging in a hip flexor stretch – standing on one leg for balance and raising the knee and kicking the leg backwards. She also suggested moving the arms in circles at a right angle to body (thumbs facing forwards then backwards – and, yes, I felt that one!)
You can follow Jo’s story at www.mycuppajo.com
Instagram – check out Jo’s amazing nature pictures!
Jo recommended some video references for egoscue here
Some books Jo found useful in educating herself about pain science: