Episode #27: Can Stress & Pain Be Good For You?

July 25, 2019

Show Notes:

Speaker 1: (00:00)
Hey everybody, what's going on, Dr. Chad Wooner here I am, Dr. Buddy Allen. And this is episode 27 of the health fundamentals podcast. And on today's episode, we're going to be discussing stress and pain. And the question we're gonna be talking about is can stress and pain actually be good for you? So let's get started.

Speaker 2: (00:17)
You're listening to the health fundamentals podcast. I'm Dr. Chad Woolner and I'm Dr. Buddy Allen. And this show was about giving you the simple but powerful cutting edge tools you need to change your health and your life. So sit back and enjoy the show as we show you the path to your best life down to a science.

Speaker 1: (00:36)
So, hey everybody, hope you guys are having an awesome day. On today's episode, we're going to be talking about stress and pain. Uh, most people instinctively when they hear those words, um, shy away a little. Yeah. Yeah. I try and avoid. Yeah. And, and I think that's only natural, right? Because, uh, stress and pain have, uh, I think inherent associations with negative thoughts and feelings associated with those things. But the interesting thing is that in some situations and circumstances, the research is showing loud and clear that they can actually be good for ya. Um, and, and specifically I, uh, I think of there was a ted talk, uh, that was done by Dr. Kelly McGonigal a couple of years back. And really what the research is showing according to her is she said that your perception of stress is what determines its impact on your health and on you personally.

Speaker 1: (01:30)
That if you perceive that the stress is a signal of, uh, as a negative signal and it's, this is bad for me, this is going to be bad, then the outcome is going to be most definitely negative. Right? But she said if you can start to shift your perception that stress isn't necessarily an inherently bad thing, but rather a signal to you that what that does is that gives you feedback. It's your body communicating. It's just like anyone who has been a competitive athlete, a sprinter, a, you know, when, when the pressure is on or you say you're, you're up to bat or something like that, you feel that pressure, you can, that pressure can be paralyzing. Right? Or if you learn how to, again, use that enter channel that to channel that energy, you can actually use it to your benefit. And I think that's what Kelly McGonigal gets to talking about is yeah, how we perceive that.

Speaker 1: (02:22)
If we perceive it as like, oh, I hate this every time, every time you're probably going to have a real crappy batting average. Right. You know, you're not going to perform well under stress, but, right. The beautiful thing about it, and I would say that's probably one of the things I love most about sports, in general, is learning, feeling that stress, feeling the stress of your teammates counting on you. Right. And, and being able to kind of like work through that, learn how to make, make that an ally as opposed to a foe. Right. Absolutely. You know, and the other thing that I think about in terms of stress that most people don't associate as being stress is that's nothing more than exercise. Exercise is nothing more than stress. It's an acute form of, of stress on your body. Controlled stress, uh, controlled stress, right? 


Speaker 1: (03:05)
Cold exposure, controlled cold, well, too much cold exposure can be a stress to the point where it'll kill you. Right? We call that hypothermia death. Right. But controlled cold can be a very helpful and a very helpful thing for us and can be very therapeutic for us. You know, you look at a cryotherapy, these cryotherapy chambers are showing to be very helpful at helping, uh, people recover from injuries or athletes recover from, uh, various vigorous activity. Yeah. Um, so, so that's one. Another, another example of an acute form of stress that is done properly can be very, very beneficial for your health. Um, any other thoughts in terms of stress forms of stress that can be actually good for you? Honestly, I think, um, I think if we can really train our brain to not see hard things as something horrible, right. Again, it comes down to that perception and perception is so huge because, um, no matter what we, we're, we're struggling with right now, the hard things that we have to deal with these challenges, you know, uh, we can, we can solve all those, those problems and not still have what we want, right?

Speaker 1: (04:12)
So learning how, you know that it seems like they always get replaced with something else, right? If, if you fix one thing, one problem and other ones shows, right? And so just understanding that, you know, what, this, this is part of life and it's not necessarily bad. And it can actually, if we, if we really learn how to channel this correctly, um, it can be a very good thing. Yeah. I, you know, I think it was Winston Churchill who once said, uh, some people see the problem and every opportunity others see an opportunity in every problem. And I think one of the most surprising when we truly realize this, cause this can be something far more profound. Uh, but yet I think sometimes we can gloss over it is that our reality is not objective. We think of what we think our reality or reality cause it's not our reality, it's just reality, right?

Speaker 1: (04:59)
Cause we assume that it's the same for everybody might, right? My reality is your reality is everyone else's reality. What surprising or what should be surprising when we really think about it and almost shocking is that reality is purely subjective. 100%. Our reality is so entirely subjective. And case in point, we see examples throughout history of people who have been put in the exact same situations, circumstances and have had completely different outcomes, you know, and different memories even of the experience. You Bet. Absolutely. A, you look at a one book that really I think does a phenomenal job of kind of explaining some of these deeper concepts is a book by Victor Frankel at very famous, most people should have, if you haven't read it, it's like it should be standard reading for most people. It's called man's search for meaning. And uh, he talks about that, you know, perception is really what shaped people's outcomes.

Speaker 1: (05:54)
Uh, he was, if you're, if you're not familiar with the book, and his story was a famous, uh, psychiatrist, uh, was put in a concentration camp, a survived, and basically throughout the whole entire experience, he viewed it from the lens of clinical research. Basically, he was getting firsthand research as to how people, um, perceive the, the, the environments that they're put in, the experiences that are, that are, that they're put into or that they experience and how that shapes people's realities and how it shapes their outcomes. I was just gonna when you said that. Um, and this your wife's comment to this. So camping I think is probably one of the perfect examples. There are people and, and I love camping and yeah, it's uncomfortable. Yeah. And it's hard and there's a lot of things about it that aren't, but there are other people that can't stand it.

Speaker 1: (06:42)
Right. You know, and it's like, it's kind of funny and it's a total perception, right? Absolutely. So we kind of talked about stress, but let's maybe talk a little bit of shift and talk a little bit about pain. Because pain can be a form of stress, but pain and of itself, people again have an extremely negative association with pain thinking that pain is inevitably and always bet. Are there times when pain can be good for us? I would absolutely. And the reason being as pain as nothing more than a signal telling us that something needs to change or something needs to happen or something has happened. And so, um, you know, so many people and we see this on a daily basis when it comes to our patients, people will, um, let pain be a dictator of what they do and don't do. And I, and literally change, shape their future because they're like, oh, this makes me hurt so I don't do it anymore.

Speaker 1: (07:31)
Because, and they stop living. They stop enjoying things that they once loved when in reality, it's more often than not, all that paint is saying is that there's something that needs to be addressed. We need to figure it out and we need to move forward and it should be a motivator. It's a, it's a very powerful motivator. Um, if we allow it to push us onto actual actions, right? As opposed to inaction. Yet two things that came to mind there when you're, when you're saying that number one a pain isn't, isn't just a signal that something needs to change. It can also be a signal that we're moving in the right direction. Perfect example. You know, I, we've talked about it on previous episodes and I'm sure we'll talk about it more. You know, I've really tried to make a better habit of being more consistent with running.

Speaker 1: (08:11)
Oh. Um, cause cause running obviously has huge implications in terms of health benefits, right? It's something that I've always dreaded at something and I've never been a big fan of, but I'm trying to really change my perception of that. And the burning of the lungs when you start to run is painful, isn't it? But what's that sign that says that that could be a signal that something's wrong. You could perceive it that way. But the other perception is something's definitely right. We're starting to get things moving and working and we're starting to really stretch those lungs and get them to start really improving in terms of their function in terms of turn, in terms of improving cardiovascular endurance, right? So, so pain, you know, in, in that regard can be a signal that something is right, not necessarily that something is wrong. And, and the thought that you, you had said about some patients leaning away from it using pain as this like barrier that they can't work through and, and we're not suggesting that you work past significant pain cause sometimes you'd, like you said, you know, don't, don't take this as, you know, if, if pain is debilitating, you just needed to continue.

Speaker 1: (09:09)
Cause sometimes that's a recipe for exacerbating injuries. Right. Use good common sense here. But, uh, my brother jokingly had this old saying, you know, most people have heard of the saying no pain, no gain. Uh, my brother's philosophy for years joke, half joking again was no pain, no pain. Right. So, um, but I think this is an important subject, you know, and I think, again, it boils back down to because pain is such a subjective experience. Um, you know, the, the funny thing is when you look at all of the most in depth research, cutting edge research scientists, as much as we think we understand pain, they don't fully understand it. You know, when you really dig through a lot of the superficial and you start digging in pretty deep, uh, the science behind pain gets pretty complex. Oh, sure. You know, and, and again, it's because where do you tease out what's objective versus subjective?

Speaker 1: (10:05)
Because pain is, again, such a subjective experience, uh, for people. And so, uh, you know, maybe maybe talk about that in terms of mental constitution, you know, one of the books that, that you've talked a lot about that's shaped your, one of my kind of is, is the, it's called the obstacle is the way by Ryan holiday. Yeah. It's a fantastic book. And, and what I loved about it is he kind of goes through history from, from, you know, a thousand plus years ago, even through, um, current, uh, examples. And he just Kinda, he breaks it down. He helps people see that, you know, the obstacle, the way meaning again, generally pain and, or stress stress or things that are hard. Um, most people try to shy away from and rather he talks about not only is that, um, an incorrect, uh, an incorrect perception or our outlook, it's more of a like not only should you not go that way, but you should go towards it.

Speaker 1: (10:59)
Yeah. Cause that is, that's the very thing that would help you, help you grow, that would help you learn, that would help you improve. Um, yeah. And it's almost like, what if, I mean, and again, we see people all the time, and I'm sure we've all felt this way, but what if hard didn't have to be hard? You know, what if hard was just like, oh, this is just another one of those things. And, and when we perceive it correctly now these things that at one time maybe were just awful to us and just really stressed us out, kept us from sleeping and messed with our health and our minds. Um, and, and now all of a sudden we're like, oh, this is just another part of life. Right? What do I have to learn from this? And how do I move forward? Yeah. Um, I can't help but think about, um, when, when you were in Chiropractic College, um, did you serve at the community clinic West by Ted?

Speaker 1: (11:47)
So tonight, so one of the experiences is that we serve a, upon getting ready to graduate in a free community clinic. And one of the great lessons that one of the attending physicians taught me was this idea of helping people work through or work past what they call or they dug fear avoidance behaviors, right? And it's basically people who start to develop these negative patterns associated with their pain. And what happens is all of a sudden, if people will allow it to happen, their pain can become very, uh, inseparably connected with their identity. And it, and then what happens is they start developing what they call these, these fear avoidance behaviors where people literally become debilitated, uh, not because it's physically debilitating, but because it becomes literally psychologically debilitating for people. And so one of the, you know, because we don't have the same luxuries at a community clinic that we do at a normal private clinic, um, the prescription was almost always for most people to get moving, get active, work through the pain, push through the pain, um, stop letting those fear avoidance behaviors cripple you and hinder you.

Speaker 1: (12:58)
Do you remember if, absolutely. You know, um, so I, I think that was an important lesson for me in terms of the importance of not allowing pain and your perception of it to hinder you and your growth and your progress in life. And I think that's really what we're trying to help people understand on this episode, right, is essentially pain and stress. Those should be different. If we have the right mindset, they can be catalysts for change and improvement as opposed to avoidance. You know, I think not only catalyst for change and improvement, but sometimes even signals that you're on the right path. You know what I mean? And I think those two things, if you've, maybe you'll change your paradigm and start thinking, you know, just simply taking the time to pause. Because I think sometimes, especially nowadays, the life that the day and age that we live in, so much of what we do can become so automatic without thought.

Speaker 1: (13:46)
It becomes so easy, you know, for us to do scroll past our social media feeds and just look and just kind of all of a sudden our life has put into this very reactive state. And if we would just take the time to pause, to timeout, to look at what's really happening and gather the data and look at the feedback that we're getting and then make better decisions based off of that and maybe again, shape our paradigm a little bit in a more empowering way versus a disempowering way. What we would come to find is that stress and pain can actually be very, very useful, very, very helpful tools in our life. How would it change your mind? Honestly, think about how that could literally just change your life, change your life totally. Just, just by learning to perceive things better. Absolutely. As they really are. Absolutely. No, absolutely. So, um, hopefully this has been helpful for you guys. Share this episode. This is a really important one. I think this is such an important subject that more people could benefit from if they would just kind of catch this greater, more expansive vision of these things. So, uh, if you haven't subscribed to be sure to subscribe and uh, we'll talk to you guys on upcoming episodes. Have a good one. Thanks for listening to the health front of Middles podcast.

Speaker 2: (14:52)
Be sure to subscribe so that you stay in the loop. And in the note with all of the cutting edge health information that we share, if you know other people that could benefit from this information, please share it with them as well. Also, be sure to give us a review. These really help us to ultimately help more people. Last but not least. If you have questions that you want answered live on the show, or if you have ideas for topics that you would like us to cover, please shoot us an email and let us know at info@thehealthfundamentals.com

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