The 3 Aspects to Resolving a Spasm

March 12, 2017 – 8:55 am

After rehabilitation is complete, you aren’t finished. You only begin AFTER rehab. That’s zero point. To restore function and get off the pain management medication, begin mobility, use exhalation, and establish an internal dialogue with protective reflexes.

In the first 3 weeks, the initial 80% of the pain will be reduced, but as you continue to get to the root issue the remaining 20% will take time. As you’re in the process of healing, particularly from neck and back issues, occasional spasms will return. There is a reason for this and in understanding it, you’ll deal with it better without pain medications which conceal the problem.

When a spasm returns, it may only seem like it is not responding like when you initially resolved it, only because you’re at full flare up again; you’ll just be back to the initial step. It won’t take as long to respond to reduce 80% of the spasm.

It may recruit neighboring tissues because it feels vulnerable without the generalized tightness you’ve been releasing through mobility. This will release too. Check with your doc, as your mind will worry that it’s a secondary injury.

As you progress in your mobility (through the four steps in, you’ll be getting to the original source / root of the problem WHEN you have a flare up.

The flare ups are held, covert micro-spasms which haven’t fully released and remained under your mind’s radar but were entirely present to your brain’s stress response regions. These micro-tensions can actually only resolve over time or by being exposed from a flare up. This is a good thing.

You have to reassure your tissue that this is NOT a reinjury. And that it’s not even a re-start. It’s a continuation of the deepening process of exhuming that final 20-15% of remaining hidden bracing tissue.

In general doctors will recommend to ice the area 20 minutes on / 20 minutes off; To take a 600-800mg ibuprofen once every four hours for the day to get ahead of the inflammatory response (but for 2-3 days only).

In addition, Make sure you’re taking sufficient (orotated or chelated) magnesium: 800mg before bed.

During the spasm, keep doing your mobility drills but remember to throttle back on depth and speed. This is like dealing with a cranky child scared of the dark: it’s scared that it’s injured.

If you’re patient and thorough, you’re only about 2-3 days away from addressing 40-60% flare up. The other half of the flare up (tightness and vulnerability) will take a week.

Go back to once an hour of mobility drills smoothly, slowly and shallowly. Only go to the depth of a 3 or lower in the range of motion. Start shallower than you had been. Think “start over” (even though you’re not starting over).

Pain. Our brain convinces us that pain = injury. The ORIGINAL pain was simultaneous with the injury. This is an echo: defensive bracing that never let go. It’s a protective reflex to PREVENT re-injury but since when it’s not injured but in spasm, you have to tell it that it’s okay to relax.

This is the hard part. There is a direct correlation to what you BELIEVE are your own thoughts on the abnormality of pain, and the residual micro tension at the source of the original issue creating flare ups. Those thoughts are actually not your own, but a “doubt” (actually a fear) that you could be reinjured.

This isn’t woo-woo talk therapy but hard science.

Firstly, you have to establish an internal dialogue with the defensive bracing. Language is the only way your mind talks to your brain. If you’re frustrated, angry, scared or anxious, your tissues will receive the chemistry of those thoughts and emotions. Contrarily, if you’re grateful for your protective reflexes, but confident that you’ll be okay, if you take your time and do your movement, then you’ll receive that biochemical cocktail instead.

Secondly, you have to resynchronize the spasm/tightness to resting tone through an exhale and with the motion of the mobility drills. These are like tuning forks. The exhale is a mechanical trigger for the “rest, digest and restore your best” reflex (activating the Parasympathetic Nervous System). So only go as deep as you can keep your face relaxed and have an easy, un-pursed exhale.

It’ll be fine. Don’t worry. I’ve worked with this in thousands of clients from pro-athletes to pilots to surgeons to agents to operators.

You’re going to be good to go again in a few days. So if you can manage to avoid pain killers, you’ll keep aware of the spasm and maintain a direct dialogue with it rather than shutting the door on the crying baby. If you bang it out with harder exercise or pressured myofascial rolling, you’ll only shut it up for awhile, and it’ll return with a surprise tantrum when you’re not expecting it. You CAN “lull” it back to rest, through internal dialogue, exhalation and mobility drills.

After a few months, flare ups will become infrequent. When they return, AS they return, you’ll be able to resolve them so they’re not as significant, you’ll resolve them more quickly (within a day), and eventually they won’t happen.

Thoughts are the mental interpretation of bodily sensations / movements. Neuroscience has shown that your higher brain evolved specifically to interpret and create bodily movement. Your movement creates your thought, just as your thoughts determine your movement (such as tightness, tension, and restrictions).

Because of the power of the human brain, that’s a two-way street. You can change your mind and as a result change your movement (complexity / coordination), tension (strength / activation), tightness (tone) and spasm (protective bracing). Use the above mental shift to change your mind so you use all three aspects (internal dialogue, exhalation and mobility) to resolve spasms finally and fully.

Very Respectfully,

Scott B. Sonnon

You must be logged in to post a comment.