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Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash
Photo by JESHOOTS.COM on Unsplash

Chronic pain doesn’t just happen to the body. It effects our thoughts and our feelings.

When pain persists beyond the body's normal healing range, 12-20 weeks (let alone over 6 months or even 6 years) it can make us worried and upset. That worry and upset can make the pain feel worse. In fact, studies now show that unchecked thoughts and feelings can hijack the body/mind setting off a vicious cycle of chronic pain.

Unrelenting stress creates wear and tear in the body. By design, stress prevents us from relaxing. A relaxed body/mind lives in a state of repair and allows us to breath more deeply and fully. Not breathing deeply and fully means that the body isn’t pumping enough blood to its vital parts, causing constrictions in those parts. Sustained constrictions of those parts causes pain in those and other nearby parts, which sounds-off more stress alarms, and round and round we go.

The body is programmed to return to wellness.

One way to mitigate pain and return yourself to wellness is to learn how to regulate your stress response. To do this, we must learn to interrupt our outdated auto-pilot programs, tune in to the present moment and get an accurate read on present danger. By hitting the pause button, we can choose a more appropriate stress response - one which matches the actual level of threat in the environment. By practicing this process over and over again we can preserve the necessary energy needed return to a baseline of wellness. To stick with the software metaphor - we have to “install" new neural programs which expand our resilience - our capacity to cope with stressors, which can break the cycle of pain.

Manage inappropriate, persistent and unwanted stress responses.

Another way to say this is, we should spend no MORE energy than is absolutely necessary to get away from, or to fight, the threat and no LESS energy than what the situation actually demands. Both is costly to our nervous system and/or body/mind. Imagine expending the same amount of energy to pick up a coffee mug as you would use to lift a 6 foot couch. Now, imagine going into a rage over a glass of spilled milk. In both cases, we waste precious energy which could be used to repair our overtaxed systems. It’s like going into credit card debt instead of paying cash. Eventually, we must pay the piper.

Why then, do we use these seemingly high level strategies for everything we do, if it will cost us our health? Typically, it’s because we haven’t fully understood the process until now, plus our culture values the “go, go, go, push, push, push” mentality. Luckily, the “new pain science” helps us understand how we can be hijacked by our systems. Until now, we didn’t fully understand how important it is to our mental, emotional, physical, social and spiritual health to pause, assess and match. We call it “regulation”.

So how do we hit the pause button on our disproportionate stress responses to help mitigate pain?

If you suspect mis-matched stress responses might be contributing to your pain symptoms, it may be time to seek out the help of an expert. Whether its outdated programming from childhood, unresolved trauma or injuries lingering in the tissue, developing some sustainable embodiment practices can help you pay off your debt.

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What Our Patients Have to Say

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Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

I can’t speak highly enough of the theapists at Femina Physical Therapy and how much they have helped me grow, discover, and love my body. I had had painful sex for my entire life, and didn’t know that there was anything that could be done about it. It was at the point where my husband and I were not having sex for MONTHs, because it was just too frustrating, and I hated feeling like I was the ONLY woman out there who had this problem, especially at my age. I finally brought it up to my doctor because I was turning 40 and my husband and I were barely having enough sex to conceive. And she brought up pelvic floor, PT. I didn’t even know this was a “thing”.

Read more: Testimonial by R.M., Age 40

Testimonial by R.D., age 38

"I had a severe tear during childbirth that was not stitched together correctly and therefore healed poorly. Even after having a surgery a year later to remove the scar tissue, I was still having pain, and no one could explain why -- there was no overt 'reason' to explain the pain. I had tried other 'specialists' and even saw another physical therapist who had me do hip / leg stretches -- what a joke! I was about to give up and just 'live with it' until thankfully I kept searching online and found Heather.

Read more: Testimonial by R.D., age 38

Testimonial by Alexandra B.

Heather is without exaggerating AMAZING! After years of trouble with a certain part of my body, in no time, she made everything change back to equilibrium and to what would be considered normal. She explains everything in detail and therefore gives you a better understanding of why things are the way they are, and how you can work towards turning things around. I would highly recommend Heather for any type of Physical Therapy. She has created her own "Method/Therapy" through years of studying (with some of the greatest practitioners), practice and breaking down the issues of her past patients, enabling her to fine tune her own system. I'm so thankful to have found her, and I'm especially grateful for the quick recovery I've achieved, after years of distress. If you cannot afford her, I recommend you purchase her book. Although it may not be Heather in person, it can still help you to get on the right path to recovery!

-- Alexandra B., 5/20/2015 via Yelp!

Testimonial by J.H.

My last appointment with Heather was over 6 years ago but I still think of her every day. I don’t take for granted that I can easily get out of bed, care for my two active and busy young boys, run, play tennis, clean my house, or sit at a desk for several hours at a time. None of these tasks were easy for me before meeting Heather. Eight years ago my car was struck from behind by a tractor trailer that was estimated to have been speeding. I spent 3 years working with different PTs and Drs trying to heal and move on with my life. When I became pregnant and the hormone relaxin that “relaxes” all the joints of the body and the additional weight gain erased all my progress and I was suddenly in a lot of pain again. My OB sent me to Heather for one last try.

Read more: Testimonial by J.H.

Testimonial by R.H.

No one could tell me why I was having pain during sex--sharp pain, not just uncomfortable, pain. I was referred to Heather Jeffcoat after researching several different options. I had seen a specialist who told me physical therapy would not help and my only option was surgery. I really didn't want to go that route, so when we got a referral, I decided to try it--it can't hurt, I thought. I am so glad I did. She diagnosed the problem right away, which was a relief in itself.

To know why I was having pain eased my mind immensely. And to hear that she could fix it without surgery was another relief. She said she could fix the problem in 6 weeks. I think it was actually 4 for me. She was very methodical, and treated me as an intelligent human being capable of participating in my own recovery. I would absolutely recommend her to anyone. She did not try to prolong my session numbers, she worked hard to accommodate my schedule (and the fact that I had to bring a baby to sessions), and she was completely honest the entire time. It is so hard to find someone with these characteristics, much less a professional who is so good at what she does. She has my highest respect.

-- R.H.

Testimonial by A.M.

Months after giving birth, it was difficult for me to go from a sitting or lying position up to a full standing position without feeling that I had to remain hunched over until a bit of time had passed to get fully upright. However, after taking Heather’s course, I learned exercises to get my body back to normal. She also showed me correct ways to lift and carry my son as well as put him in/take him out of the carseat and stroller. This class was really beneficial and Heather is a wonderful teacher who made me feel very comfortable.

-- A.M.

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