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‘Pain is not the only problem’: Parasympathetic Lifestyle

Sympathetic lifestyle (Ʃ) is an important contributor to LBP; therefore, a discussion to adapt a parasympathetic lifestyle (PƩ) should be a top priority on the first encounter, and can be addressed along with the Report of Findings (ROF.)

Eustress describes ‘metabolic harmony’; the patient’s lifestyle feels balanced, well-adjusted and satisfying. The patient is not simply symptom-free; the patient feels optimistic about their health-related outcomes even in the presence of health challenges or current diagnosis. Eustress also describes the swift ability of the patient’s biology to provide tissue repair, to maintain gut health, and to recover from illness. Emotional eustress is represented by a self-sense of genuineness, and the willingness to listen to the body’s various languages and signals. 

Stress describes ‘metabolic flexibility’; the patient’s lifestyle feels disrupted or disturbed, yet the body’s sensibilities are reactive and provide resolve. The patient is not symptom-free, however the patient feels durability about their health-related outcomes, while challenged with risk-based self-imposed behaviors. Stress also describes the cognitive imbalances that can be managed to re-establish eustress. Emotional stress is represented by a struggle with self-identity separately from tribal-identity, and the challenges to find the authority to establish self-space.

Distress describes ‘metabolic chaos’; the patient’s lifestyle is in dis-repair, mal-adjusted, reactive, seeking quick-fix satisfaction. The patient is over-loaded with symptoms and feels hopeless about regaining a stable health status. Distress also describes on-going tissue repair failures, accumulated metabolic waste, with an inability to salvage purpose while seeking approval from others. Emotional distress only serves others while self-identity deteriorates. Distress exemplifies the absence of parasympatheticity.

LBP commonly occurs alongside life-events that involve neurogenic, endogenic, emotional, and sensory responses. The clinician can aid how life events can manifest as Ʃ or PƩ responses:

Death/ Divorce + LBP:
PƩ: acceptance, emotionally process, as remedy, as release, goal setting.
Ʃ: denial, substance abuse, unresolved emotions, blame, gossip, comfort food.
Un-expected changes in relationship, family drama, abuse + LBP:
PƩ: employ a step-wise supportive approach, seek safety, seek alliance, conversation.
Ʃ: denial, substance abuse, unresolved emotions, blame, gossip, comfort food.
Job-loss and dissatisfaction + LBP:
PƩ: personal skills asset appraisal, new opportunities, networking, education.
Ʃ: dwelling, blaming self/others, low self-esteem, expect economic support, feeling ‘owed.’
Financial survival or decay, solvency + LBP:
PƩ: imagine living with less (temporarily), reduce financial exposure, ask for help.
Ʃ: struggle, over-promise, unrealistic expectations, over-exposure, over-work, rely on luck.
Chronic illness in self or others + LBP:
PƩ: ‘be in the moment’, gratitude, breath, surround yourself with healers and optimism.
Ʃ: worry, catastrophize, overly optimistic, blame, reject feeling, ignore treatment plan.
Depression, chronic anger, poor self-esteem + LBP:
PƩ: ‘Zoom-Out’, rally for self-improvement, imaging peace, self-acceptance.
Ʃ: catastrophize, worry, isolation, victimize self, self-rejection, loss of identity.
‘Appearances’, ‘Class- lifestyle’ struggles/ failures + LBP:
PƩ: imagine living with less, down-size, discover self-value, accurate appraisal.
Ʃ: fear mounting credit debt, over-spending, controlling how others think of you.
De-humanization, discrimination, ‘trapped’ + LBP:
PƩ: find your tribe(s), tell your story to deserving ears, discover touch and relatability.
Ʃ: anger, righteousness, bigotry, hate and marginalizing others, racism.

The parasympathetic lifestyle describes a calm acceptance to life events and situations where the best possible outcomes seem within reach. The parasympathetic lifestyle explores better health outcomes by practicing a lifestyle that is within the scope of improved health, and respect for the limitations of the human body. The parasympathetic lifestyle represents truth in self-growth and self-identity welcoming genuine guidance and kind support. The clinician should be able to address the importance of parasympathetic lifestyle along-side the LBP Course of Care since ‘pain is not the only problem.’

LBP Blog General information

Series Description

These articles intend to (1) re-evaluate the prevailing clinical practices thought to manage low back ‘pain’, (2) submit and debate novel low back ‘pain’ contributors and mechanisms, (3) meet patient expectations & satisfaction and clinically meaningful results, (4) recommend a conservative non-surgical course of care to over-ride ‘pain’ instantly, and (5) restore ADLs and patient confidence on the first visit at low cost. This article has a companion podcast.

Dr. Dean Bio

Forester Dean is a chiropractic and physiotherapy sports medicine doctor practicing in Los Angeles, California. Dr. Dean is a lifetime athlete, and currently teaches tennis, track, boxing, yoga. The Core X System™ Campus flagship location was opened by Dr. Dean in 2020.

© Copyright 2021 SpineSync, Forester Dean, DC
Duplication with permission only

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