Is Nervous Fatigue Affecting You?

Is Nervous Fatigue Affecting You?

In our clinic, we see a lot of patients that have no one specific reason they have tight and sore muscles, joint stiffness and aches, and who are feeling tired and run down. One cause, and something not commonly realised, is nervous fatigue, and we are seeing more of this over the last couple of years. So, let’s talk about what nervous fatigue is, and what can be done to help.

What is Nervous Fatigue?

Nervous fatigue is a type of fatigue caused by excessive emotional stress – think studying or working for long periods without a break, dealing with overwhelming responsibilities over a significant period of time, living with mental health symptoms, and spending emotional and mental energy on worries, stress, and problems. While it isn’t uncommon to feel tired or even exhausted after a particularly mentally draining day, nervous fatigue isn’t something that a good night’s sleep can fix, and can have some rather intense effects.

Elements of Nervous Fatigue

According to Dr Claire Weekes, there are four elements to Nervous Fatigue – Physical, Emotional, Mental, and Spirit. Some people find that they are affected in just the one way, while others are affected in more than one way, and sometimes by all four.

Physical

Muscles rest in a state known as “tone”, a balance between relaxation and contraction. When muscles are held in a tense state, for long periods of time, this delicate balance of “tone” is upset. And this creates a build-up of the chemicals of fatigue, which leads to the aching muscles. Often a sense of muscle weakness follows as well.

Dr Weekes explains that although these bodily reactions are temporary and ultimately unimportant, a sufferer, who doesn’t understand what is going on, can become intensely fearful of these attacks. And this fear of the body’s reaction, becomes larger than the original fear of the situation, thing etc. This “anxiety state”, when the sufferer is afraid of the effects of fatigue, allows this fear to affect their life. At this point, Dr Weekes says, the Nervous Fatigue has become an illness.

Emotional

When nerves are subjected to stress for a long time, especially with strong emotions, like fear, they effectively become trained. As I’ve spoken about before, the more this neural pathway is fired or used, or higher the intensity of emotion, the bigger and stronger the pathway becomes. Therefore, it fires faster and more intensely, with even the slightest of provocations. Dr Weekes, refers to this as “Sensitisation”.

Journey to healing and recovery
All emotions can be intensified: fear, anger, sadness, guilt, as well as love and joy. What a roller coaster! All these exaggerated feelings are tiring for the sufferer. To a point, the body can adapt to the stress of the emotional ups and downs, as long as the adrenal glands can keep up supplying the adrenaline and other essential hormones. When they become depleted, it can lead to adrenal or hormonal depletion and complete exhaustion.

Mental

Most of us can flit lightly between our thoughts. From idea to idea, subject to subject. With mental fatigue, this simple act is not so easy. Their thoughts either come haltingly and slowly, feeling like each individual thought must be specifically selected, making thinking feel like a huge effort. Or they stick together, so that if they begin to think about a certain thing, it tends to feel very difficult to let it go – particularly if it has a strong emotion attached to it, like fear.

“When sensitisation and mental fatigue come together, throwing off frightening thoughts can seem impossible.”

Spirit

Especially if the unknowing sufferer has been trying to recover by fighting their way out of fatigue, they may lose their sense of purpose, and wonder if the struggle to go on is worth it. They don’t need much, a sliver is enough to begin, but it is hope and courage that they need to pull through.

“We all have this strength, this power within us, and it will work miracles if we trust it to.”

How To Overcome Nervous Fatigue

You can relieve this by releasing these 4 types of fatigue, in the same order they built up. This is something that will take time, as we have previously spoken about before, however it will yield great results.

Facing, is acknowledging that even though external guidance support can help, the cure must come from inside oneself.

Acceptance is allowing the body to loosen as much as possible. Moving into the body’s response and letting it come, rather than fighting it. Like being right in the centre of a hurricane, in the “eye” of the storm, where the storm swirls around but cannot reach them. But first they must go through the storm.

The initial instinct is fearful tension, withdrawal or rigidly pushing and forcing, which produces hormones that make the “Storm” feel even stronger and wilder. Facing and relaxing the body into the symptoms with acceptance, on the other hand, help to dampen and eventually stop them.

self care acupressure points
This “allowing” takes time. To feel and to allow. To be able to trust that it will indeed pass. When it comes, it creates peace of mind and confidence built, not in the absence of symptoms, but the deep knowing, even in their midst, that they will pass.

Dr Weekes describes floating very much like breathwork or a visualisation. Allowing the body to relax and go as loose and limp as possible. Then deeply breathing in and slowly exhaling, whilst imagining gently floating, as if on a cloud. Allowing muscles to loosen and release.

Floating creates a sense of relaxation, but it also encompasses, Facing and Accepting, with grace and gentleness.
Dr Weekes says that “Physical support can help more than just physical pain”. Who knew?

Keep it light and simple – eg going to the gym – don’t go crazy making up for time you haven’t been, like the last 4 months during lockdown. Or as a therapist, light and gentle, through to firm, but don’t go hell for leather.

Personal connection is vitally important. What a surprise, she says! Whilst sufferers can overload and get tired very quickly, leaving them to their own devices to relax etc for hours or days at a time, is actually unsupportive. That whilst they may only have the energy reserves to do some activity, some activity is actually essential. Both from the point of view that leaving them to their own devices leaves far too much time for them to fall into negative, energy draining trains of thought, where they can expect the worst, beat themselves up, and generally lose energy.

And because doing things, an exercise or activity of choice, leads to having more energy, do what you can, within your limits, for yourself. In this way, building your own confidence that you can Face the fear. Let it pass.

“One finds strength quicker when active than when lying on the couch waiting for it to come”

 

Utilise our subconscious mind, in the form of simple routines and habits. Again, less is more. Rather than trying to stay relaxed all day, choose a set time, just once a day, to relax or meditate or whatever calming activity you like to do, then let it go for the rest of the day. Don’t worry about it, don’t even think about it. Slowly this will create a habit of success – what a surprise!

Even a short daily routine, like cleaning your teeth, can work. This simple action can give you something to do, something for the mind to focus on. Particularly if you use a manual toothbrush rather than an electric one that buzzes and vibrates in your head. This can help “calm the whirlwind within.”

Journey to healing and recovery
Emotional and hormonal exhaustion aren’t helped much by rest. Only by reducing stress. This is where we must “Face” our fears. Gently and with acceptance, not defensively.

We can gently change our mood. With acceptance, with time, and by moving through them gently, “floating” and allowing. I recall Louise Hay, motivational speaker and author, used to say that if you sit with an emotion and just allow it to pass through you, it usually only takes 10 minutes. Whilst for fatigue sufferers that may seem like a life time, simply allowing, rather than fighting them, will allow energy reserves to be maintained and the emotional energy to be released, rather than held and stored in the body.

Supporting the Spirit through the process; this is the part that sufferers really need help with, as a completely exhausted spirit has no inner source of joy to lift them from inside.

  • Help molehills not turn into mountains. Don’t trivialise their issues, but help them move past them, to other ideas to focus on.
  • Help them to float rather than fight through their journey.
  • Celebrate small wins and encourage flashes of normality, as glimmers of hope to which they can cling to.

“Each of us has unsuspected power to accomplish what we demand of ourselves, if we care to search for it.” – Dr Claire Weekes

If this sounds like you, and you’re needing a little extra help with how to gain relief from your fatigue, osteopathy and massage can assist in getting you back to your usual self.

Feel free to get in touch with Sarah, who provides amazing remedial and therapeutic massage services, for some further advice and guidance, or click the button below to make an appointment.

When Will I Feel Better?

When Will I Feel Better?

When will it feel like I don’t have to keep coming back on such a frequent basis?

“When will I feel better?” – Most of our clients seeking Osteopathic treatment ask this question at some stage in their healing and recovery journey. This blog will address this frequently asked question with the aim to educate and manage expectations.

While it’s difficult to provide an exact answer, as everyone is different. We can however give you an idea of the ‘average’ recovery period  and the factors that might hasten your recovery.

Some people find the problem they came in with disappeared almost straight away. Others find it improves with each session, but over the first few weeks, it seems to keep coming back. This can sometimes feel like a boomerang, and you can become concerned that while treatment provides relief, it doesn’t appear to go away completely.

So how long does it take to get better after an osteopathic treatment?

While we know that by the 4th or 5th session, you will be well on your way in the healing process. We have also observed over and over again that it’s generally not until about the 8th session that clients really start to feel the transformation.

Can you explain why you recommend such a long treatment plan?

Within the first session or three, you will notice considerable relief and more mobility. You likely will even notice changes and improvements throughout the week. These improvements between sessions occur as your body continues to process and assimilate the changes and space created in the treatment session.

While you’ll feel some improvement, you  may find your body is feeling less comfortable again. This usually happens by the end of the period between sessions. If you notice this, we understand it’s easy to feel disheartened, and wonder whether a change is happening, or if you have to keep coming back…

Alexis Weidland Osteopath Blossoming Me Treating client

What can I do to aid my recovery?

  • Eat well – your body’s ability to heal is aided by good nutrition
  • Rest after treatments
  • Understand your body is trying to heal itself
  • Reduce emotional stress and strain as it slows recovery
  • Follow the treatment plan, do the exercises – Your daily exercises make a HUGE difference

Trust your body and follow the treatment plan

Our message to you, is this: keep an open mind, trust your body and follow the plan that we have created with you. As your body continues to heal and assimilate, a transformation happens! As stated above, this often is around the 8th to 10th session. At this point, you likely still are not “fixed”, but your body has started to stabilise. In this more stable place, your body can relax a little, allowing you to keep healing and strengthening, but simultaneously feel more resilient.

At this stage, you’re less likely to fall back into the old habits, movements and pain. And when a small disruption happens, you notice your body has more resilience, such that previously, when whatever challenge occurred, you would have been in pain for days. Whereas now, if there is pain, it seems to easily resolve itself in a day or so, or does not create a noticeable problem at all.

Treating underlying issues and maintenance

At this point, the space between treatment sessions can also increase. So that we can continue to stimulate healing and realignment, and deal with the underlying issues that contributed to your injury or compensation patterns in the first place, while allowing you to do more home-based maintenance. Allowing you to be in control of maintaining, improving, and dealing with any minor flare-ups along the way. While you focus on strengthening yourself in a more balanced way, to help you stay well and strong, and without pain.

It’s easy to forget

Some people quickly forget the problem they initially came in with. They become aware of all the other issues that they either: didn’t realise they had, didn’t realise that we could assist with. Often, in this situation, you can become so aware of the current symptom, and that it’s not as perfect as you would like yet, that it’s easy to forget the symptoms that have greatly improved or even completely disappeared. In this scenario, it’s probably not until the later stages of the first or second phases of the treatment process, around 10 sessions or more, that you begin to notice how far you have come and how good you feel – in general, and especially compared to what you felt when you began treatment.

 

Most importantly, know you can smile, and exhale, as Alexis’ caring, compassionate approach, combined with professional skills and qualifications as an Osteopath, means you are in safe hands.

If you are unsure about your response to treatment or would like some advice, don’t hesitate to contact Alexis directly, and she will do her best to guide you through.

With True Healing comes Resilience
5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

5 Reasons the Infra-Red Sauna can change your health!

Are infra-red saunas any good for you?

From the moment Alexis and I first experienced the sauna, with a remedial massage following it, we were both hooked! We found that the therapist could get in more deeply, because our muscles were already warm & relaxed, and therefore we got better results from the full treatment. Our personal experience, was our original reason for having an Infra-Red Sauna in our own clinic.
Do they actually do anything healthful themselves?
Infra-Red saunas can aid in healing specific ailments as well as improving your overall health and wellbeing. From helping you relax, to warming, softening and relieving your tight muscles and stiff joints, to improving circulation, boosting your immune system, and even assisting in weight loss.
Relaxation and mood boosting:
By triggering your body’s parasympathetic nervous system, your “Fight / flight response”, in a less stressful way, the heat from the sauna can help relieve physical and emotional tension in your muscles, warming and relaxing your whole body.
Infra-Red sauna can help lower your cortisol levels, a hormone connected with stress and stress-related health problems. As well as aid in increasing your endorphin (happiness hormone) and opiod levels (your body’s natural pain reliever). So your muscular pain and tension is reduced, you feel less stressed, more relaxed, happy and contented.
They may even improve your brain function and performance. Increasing neurotransmitters, in particular, brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and norepinephrine, can enable your brain to function better, to grow new brain cells, and to more effectively protect these brand new neutrons (brain cells) from damage. Thus helping improve your cognitive performance.

Improved Circulation:
The heat created in an Info-Red sauna can increase your blood flow, bringing your blood vessels closer to the surface of your skin and enabling them to expand, to cope with the increased flow. This can assist the cells in your body to release waste and receive nutrition more easily. Further, according to Dr Chrisiane Northrup, MD., if done regularly, over time, this expansion process can help your blood vessels become more elastic. Which can improve your circulation and decrease your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Dr Cohen agrees and further suggests that this improvement in circulation, can lead to better healing ability; especially your skin and superficial muscles, as well as relieving your muscle tension, improving muscular condition, losing weight, detoxification, clearer skin and greater immune health and generally feeling great.
Relief from sore muscles:
Muscle soreness, especially in the period 24 – 72 hours after exercise, is caused by tiny tears in the muscle fibres. Your recovery, is the process your body goes through, in healing these tears. As described above, the increased blood flow, helps rapidly clear the waste, in this instance, the debris and inflammation from the torn muscle cells, and deliver nutrients to foster healing.

Weight loss:
According to Dr. Masakazu Imamura, MD study, published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology in 2001, you can burn up to 400-600 calories in one 30 minute sauna session. That’s quite impressive, when you realise that investing that same 30 minutes in jogging or swimming, typically burns around 300 calories.

When it comes to weight loss, saunas can be very effective, as part of a health focused program. For best results that last, and are healthy and holistic, not just fast, we agree with Dr. Mukai, MD statement, that as part of a program “where you’re working on both diet and exercise, the sauna can be a beneficial component [of] a holistic plan.”

Detoxification:
Studies suggest that all of us have chemical toxins and heavy metals residing in our bodies’ fatty tissues, particularly in our liver and blood plasma. These toxins can contribute to various diseases, such as autoimmune diseases, autism and arthritis. Dr Christiane Northrup, MD, explains that whilst usually our sweat comprises of 95-97%water and the rest is salt, when using an Infra-Red sauna to induce it, as much as 15-20% of our sweat, is “made up of cholesterol, fat-soluble toxins, heavy metals, sulphuric acid, and ammonia, as well as sodium and uric acid”. This, would, indicate she suggests, that using an Infra-Red sauna, to sweat, may enable your body to excrete these toxins. Dr Cohen agrees, and reminds us, that if you actively want to clear the toxic chemicals out of your body, it’s important to mop up the sweat from your skin with a towel, or else the toxins will just be reabsorbed into the skin.
Clearer skin:
This detoxification together with the improved circulation, mentioned earlier, can assist directly, to clear out waste and toxins as well as rapidly bringing in nutrients, leaving you with cleaner, clearer and revitalised skin.

Immune system:
When it comes to the Immune System, both Dr Christiane Northrup and Dr Gini Mansberg agree that the perception of the role of heat, in the body’s fight against infection, has changed. It’s not just about creating fever, as part of the immune system’s battle against the infection. They believe, that heat does more than that. It actually “stimulates and “activates the immune system”, possibly stimulating increased production of white blood cells and antibodies. Further, they suggest that heat from Infra-Red saunas, may do this as well.

So if you’re looking to significantly improve your overall health and wellbeing, boost your immune system or enhance your weight loss program, in a relaxing, enjoyable way, you might like to consider one, or even a series of visits to a local gym, spa or health and wellness provider, for your own relaxing, healthful Infra-Red sauna experience.

Have you used an infra-red sauna? What benefits have you noticed? Tell us in a comment below!

For a Clear Mind and a Great Attitude All Day, This is A Must Read!

For a Clear Mind and a Great Attitude All Day, This is A Must Read!

Book recommendation

Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani
Sarah: I was recently inspired by Code of the Extraordinary Mind. As a massage therapist, I particularly enjoyed the section on 6 phase meditation. I’m always looking for something simple that I can incorporate into my life and existing routines relatively easily – something that doesn’t require too much time, energy or attention. When I downloaded the extra meditation audios that go along with the book, I found that I could listen to them as I fell asleep or when I was getting ready in the morning. They helped to focus my mind positively so I could maintain a good attitude during the day.
If I’m having a particularly challenging day, I will put my headphones on and spend a few minutes re-centering myself. Or I choose images and memories that put me back into a grateful, connected and positive head space.

Jaw Pain?

Jaw Pain?

Due to a number of recent client questions about the jaw, we thought we would dedicate a blog to more information (please write back if you have other specific questions) …
Are your jaw muscles tight and sore?

You may be surprised to know that the strongest and hardest working joint in the body is the jaw or the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It is almost constantly working, when we talk, chew or clench. With upwards of a couple of thousand movements each day, it comes as no surprise that some of the muscles we use in moving our jaw can become overworked and sore.

Tightness in the jaw is a common problem, and can lead to jaw or tooth pain, jaw clicking or teeth grinding, problems chewing, headaches, dizziness, earaches, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), eye pain or irritation and / or neck pain. And can often result in poor sleep, constant pain or discomfort and a general disturbance to your quality of life. 

Most commonly, the masseter muscles around the jaw and the temporalis muscles up into your temples (superficially), and the medial and lateral pterygoid muscles (inside the mouth) are the culprits.

The medial and lateral pterygoid muscles are inside the mouth and with pressure, generally are very painful.  Because of their difficult location, accessing them from inside the mouth (along the jawbone, behind the teeth; behind the teeth and backwards, towards the joint itself; and up underneath cheekbone), they are best assessed and treated by a professional.

Fortunately it is relatively easy to massage the superficial muscles yourself so long as you know where to work. And once this tension is released, headaches and neck pain etc. will often subside. A few techniques are offered at the end.
Some things to be mindful of, especially if pain continues, are that constant tension in these muscles can lead to the jaw being disarticulated, and that jaw pain can also be caused by malocclusion of the jaw (incorrect “bite”). While tension in the skull itself (from previous trauma, growth spurts and even pressures occurring at birth) can cause this, the feet and other factors affecting posture can also. These more complex conditions, can be assisted by some very specific dental devices. And the effectiveness of this treatment can often be speed up by reducing the associated tissue (membrane, ligament and muscle) irritation, supporting movement of the bones themselves into better alignment using gentle cranial osteopathic techniques and balancing postural factors using remedial massage and osteopathy and the like.

Ultimately we believe that a personalised combination of dental devices, postural and foot assessment, osteopathic treatment, remedial massage and possibly even soft proprioceptive innersoles, as well as self massage and relaxation techniques are often required for complete resolution of jaw tension and pain, especially in stubborn cases.

“Reduce Your Jaw Pain Now! 5 Use at Home Techniques”