Welcome to Moving into Balance, a site created to help those looking for information about managing long term health conditions. The site aims to explore the issues that can contribute to keeping someone stuck in a cycle of poor health and looks specifically at Chronic Pain. The self management principles also overlap with help for CFS / ME, Fibromyalgia and a range of long term health issues. We will look at some strategies which people have found helpful in moving out of a spiral of deteriorating health.
To explore and understand some of the factors that can contribute to the cycle of poor health Iwe use a spiral diagram (below). For people with persistent pain or CFS / ME there can be a variety of factors leading to the cycle. These are often called the predisposing factors ( the things which set us up for a health crisis) and precipitating factors (the 'final straw' which tips us into illness or persistent pain) We know the background factors contributing to persistent pain are complex. The same is true for CFS/ME, which is the subject of some debate and not the focus of this website. The spiral sets out to show visually how our attempts to cope may perpetuate our health difficulties.Looking at areas where we can make some changes can give us a new sense of control over some of our symptoms.
The stories I hear on a daily basis have common themes, with STRESS playing a big part. Pressures can come from external sources ( our lifestyle, job,other people in our life), or may be a result of our thinking habits and standards that we set for ourselves. Stress of this type has a measurable and complex draining effect on many body systems, most notably the immune system, making the person susceptible to viruses and illness, but also aggravating the pain response.
When a person becomes chronically unwell they have often lost confidence in their body, become unsure of what they can physically do, and begin to lose stamina and strength. They understandably begin to adapt their activity levels, usually resting more and moving less. This is particularly true with longstandng pain and CFS / ME, where sometimes the situation is compounded when the person is advised to rest until they begin to feel better. Sadly ‘feeling better’ or suddenly having more energy rarely happens in a long lasting way. Rest is very important but, over resting will cause significant changes in our physiology, described in the ‘Moving Well’ page. Reducing your activity levels cause changes which feel like symptoms, but are not purely the result of an illness or mechanical problem within our body. Unwittingly the person can fall into a ‘de-conditioned’ state and confuse how this state makes them feel, with the symptoms of their pain or illness.
One obstacle to maintaining health and stamina is cycling of over or under activity, in terms of exercise and activity, as well as in our sleep patterns and diet. This is known as the ‘Boom & Bust‘ pattern, and is the first issue to become aware of when looking at ways to rebuild your well-being. I suggest you look at that page first.
The tendency to ‘Boom & Bust’ can be manageable when we are young or in good health. However 'Boom' will often push us into flaring up our pain. Over time or in circumstances of compromised health will cause a depletion of our resilience and an increase in fatigue.. It is possible to become stuck in a downward spiral of reduced physical stamina, and less able to cope with daily life. This can reinforce the stress response making us feel less well and lead to an increasing sense of loss of control.
Recognising these unhelpful habit patterns can be the first step toward creating a steady platform on which to rebuild body confidence, stamina and well-being. Our bodies are amazingly adaptable, and really do respond to the conditions and manageable challenges we create.
Moving into Balance has been created out of a desire to share resources and offer support to people to reach their optimal potential of good health. I hope that it will be of help to those who are looking for a sense of well-being and resilience, even in the context of pain, fatigue and poor health.
The content of this site is delivered as a 6 week course adapted for those in persistent pain, in the 'Primary Care for Pain', Physiotherapy led programme at Oak View Medical Practice, Vale of Leven:NHS GGC as well as in the Moving into Balance programme: NHS Centre for Integrative Care: NHS GGC.
My name is Stephanie Wilson and I have designed this website to share resources and offer support in order that people may reach their optimal potential of good health. I hope that it will be of help to those people who are looking for a sense of well being, and resilience, even in the context of compromised health. You can read more about me and my work in the About me section of the site.
The future is not some place we are going, but one we are creating. The paths are not found but made and the process of making them changes both the maker and the destination.