The man who shot himself in the foot…… 3 things to help with pain.

What do we need to know about pain? 

1 – Pain is always real – A builder using a nail gun shot himself in the foot. Naturally he was in a lot of pain and had to be taken to A and E. The medical staff very carefully cut away his boot but he was in so much pain he had to be sedated. On removing the shoe they discovered that the nail had gone between his toes i.e.: it hadn’t touched him. So why was he in pain? This brings us onto point 2.

2 – Pain is there for a reason – It is a warning or wake up call, if the builder didn’t have this warning he may have kept shooting nails in his foot. So the brain was sending a message to stop, otherwise he really would cause some physical damage.

3 – Pain can be complicated – We can get ‘Acute pain’ where we actually pull a muscle or do some physical damage. The body is amazing how it can heal. However if we have pain for longer than a few weeks and it keeps reoccurring it is then called ‘Chronic Pain’  and it maybe more to do with stress and anxiety. See the video below for a fuller explanation.

4 – Pain is learned in the brain and therefore it can be unlearned, which is where Alexander Technique comes into its own. Someone came to me once with lower back pain and said to me  ‘I don’t mind what we do but don’t make me bend’ – I didn’t make her doing anything but we started to explore. Together we figured out the following:

  • She didn’t want to bend because she thought it would hurt, she was fearful, so she was already tense in her body.
  • She held her breath, gripped everything then moved – of course that was going to hurt – she was hardwiring herself for pain.

I then taught her that if she just made a couple of changes things might work better. I got her to think that she did want to do it, to be curious rather than scared. I taught her to breath out as she moved and I also taught her how to be freer in her neck. By the end of the session I pointed out that she was actually bending and she was amazed that ‘It doesn’t hurt’. I didn’t ask her to practice this but she sent a text later saying that she was able to pick up her cat and was so pleased. As long as she changed a couple of things she knew that she wouldn’t get the pain. She unlearnt it and started to wire the brain differently.

Things to help with pain:

1 – Reduce negative feelings and stress. You may need help with this. I can help you notice how you are reacting to different situations and help you to respond differently.

2 – Distract yourself from the pain. In Alexander Technique we do this by thinking of our whole body, not just the bit that hurts and we use our brain to send out new messages of what we want. Expansive messages that are in a nutshell opposite of what we tend to do when stressed or anxious.

3 – Movement – Be active – sometimes when we are in pain we can get scared to moving, in fact we may even avoid certain movements. I know I did…….. The problem is that we have a ‘use it or lose it brain’ so if we avoid bending for example because last time we did it it hurt, then when we have to bend it probably will hurt. Alexander will teach you to move in a way that doesn’t hurt. We can get curious about movement rather that scared of movement.

Check out this really great 10 minute video to help you understand your pain. It really is worth 10 minutes of your time. It helped me enormously.


I hope you found this useful. Part of the process is finding someone who has experience of pain and can help and support you. I would be happy to be that person. Try an introductory session for yourself, online booking available, find out more here