How Do I Move if I have Pain?

People come to me because they have pain, stress, balancing issues, or some difficulty moving. Some question whether they should take a class if they have pain, or a “diagnosis.”

I tell my clients that my work is the “no pain, no pain” approach. The days of “no pain, no gain” are long over. “Don’t do the movement if it hurts,” I say. But, I also say, “figure out another way to do the movement. Be curious about your pain, ask questions. If you never move it you will not ever be able to figure out how to move it without pain.”

I notice that many students in my classes tense up when I ask, for example raise your arms overhead, or turn your head to the right or left. They know that it will hurt if they move the part that is already painful. However, never moving the limb or part, or moving it into the pain, or tightening your lips, jaw or eyes will not only increase the pain but render the painful part unusable.

Moshe Feldenkrais said, “If a sick [knee] is not touched, it remains sicker and sicker. If you try slowly, if you do one, two, or three movements each time more simply and comfortably, the knee gradually improves. If you leave it, the other knee which was better (and utilized more) causes the whole body to become feeble. It becomes unstable because all the weight shifts onto the “good” leg and over time, the spine becomes a sick spine. Make the movement on the difficult side more easily and comfortably, but try.”

In Awareness Through Movement® classes we explore, we question, we discover. We use many variations, move in different ways to create a path to easy movement and to easier  function.  We use our breath to help us make movement slower and easier. We move slowly, slow enough to stop at any moment. We move with attention and care. The movement is so gentle that it can be reversed it at any moment, up/down, backward/forward, right/left. Presence is very important throughout the whole lesson. When we lose attention, we rest, then we start again.

Dr. Feldenkrais also said, “With movements that are painful, it is necessary to learn to move so it will not hurt. That is the goal- to make the difficult easy. Anyone who knows to “do”, knows to do difficult things easily. When watching a person who lifts the heaviest weight in the world that can be lifted, there is an impression that it is made of paper.”

Is it the movements that cause change, decreased pain, increased stability? Yes, it is the gentle movement.  It is the way the different movements fit together to reveal the relationships between our whole self, our parts and our feelings about how we move them.

We don’t ignore pain. We don’t advocate pushing through pain. We acknowledge our pain and explore it. Our goal is to figure out a way to move with ease.
“Make the impossible possible, the possible easy, and the easy elegant.” M. Feldenkrais

Join one of my three classes to explore and discover your best movement and your best self. One of these classes can suit your needs whether it be curiosity, pain, decreased balance, or stress.

Do you have to wait until you have no pain or discomfort before attending an Awareness Through Movement® class? The short answer is no. The longer answer is, learning how you move and options about how you could move can allow you to go through life the way you want to. You learn what works for you and to make the choices that suit you.

I hope to see you online soon.



2 Comments on “How Do I Move if I have Pain?”

  1. Hi Beth, was wondering how you got my email?
    What great timing.
    I have been looking for a Feldenkrieis therapist for years. Do you know of any practicing massage therapist trained in this?
    Not sure if I’m a candidate for your program. I have limited range of my knees and both arms dues to an accident 20 years ago
    Love to talk further

    1. Hello Francie, I am sorry but I didn’t see your message. If it isn’t too late give me a call on my cell and we can chat. 310 422 5235

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