Body symptoms post lockdown
I’ve been hard at work since June and busier than ever in Eastbourne.
There were a lot of modifications to make to practice and a lot of nervousness from me and patients initially but it was so good to be back. It was good to see my loyal and lovely patients, catch up and know they are OK. It was also good to welcome lots of new patients.
There seemed to be a big influx of new patients, and many, many more than I expected. Maybe all the sitting in lockdown or, conversely, all the gardening had caused a few problems. There was also quite a lot of new-exercise-regime injuries too.
What was very noticeable was that people were taking a bit more treatment than normal to get better or their symptoms were very different to their normal.
Emotional anxiety and fatigue
Even more noticeable was the deep and meaningful stuff some people shared with me. Some from patients I have known for years. Some sad stuff, some frustrations, some guilt and lots of anxiety. They may have come in to see me for shoulder stiffness, headaches, back pain, leg pain but they also needed to share some of their emotional inertia too. One lady in particular came in for pelvic pain which seemed to stem from standing too much, endlessly preparing delicious meals to comfort her stressed-out husband. We needed to talk and talk to reach this conclusion.
The pandemic has taken its toll on a lot of us. We are concerned what the future might bring and we are dogged by uncertainty and fatigue. Our physical bodies are primed to respond to threat (the fright, flight, fight response) yet we are told to sit down, don’t go out, keep a low profile. We can’t expend this adrenaline and nervousness and the physical effects sit in our body. Maybe your heart rate is raised, maybe you bowels are unsettled, maybe your muscles and head ache.
Hands on – release the happy hormone
Offloading or sharing a little of your anxieties can help, as can the calming feeling of being touched, which releases the feel-good hormones oxytocin. Hands-on treatment and a supportive ear to bend can feel very nourishing.
Maybe this might be why osteopaths are busier than ever – we’re not just supporting the physical person.