Can you really get out of chronic pain without medication or surgery? For the 100 million people who live with pain, I have good news. There’s a simple solution that you can do on your own, at home, to get out and stay out of pain.
Regardless of what initially seemed to cause your pain – illness, disease, surgery, pregnancy, injury, or perhaps you are just assuming your pain is caused by aging – I believe the reason your pain became chronic is the same for everyone.
I’ve spent more than a decade helping people get out and stay out of chronic pain by addressing the source of the problem. I believe chronic pain is caused by dehydration of your connective tissue system. The problem is, most people don’t know what this is, so they don’t know how to resolve this common issue.
What’s important to understand is connective tissue dehydration happens to everyone, regardless of age or activity level – every day. Even if you don’t have chronic pain, you’ve likely experienced what I call a “pre-pain signal.” Have you ever felt a little stiff or achy when you get up in the morning, but once you start moving around the stiffness subsides? That’s what I have concluded to be connective tissue dehydration.
Daily repetitive movements and postures cause connective tissue dehydration, and over time, "stuck stress" and inflammation. What starts out as a small ache can escalate into sleeplessness, digestive issues, anxiety or depression, and ultimately a chronic state of disarray. It’s a complex molecular and cellular issue that diet and exercise don’t address and medication can actually make worse. I believe that when you address the dehydration, your body stops sending cries for help to your brain in the form of pain.
MELT directly addresses stuck stress in your body. It’s a simple self-treatment anyone can do at any age – even my mom MELTs! There are three quick and easy sequences you can do to get out and stay out of pain, and feel better every day.
Choose one 3-minute MELT, or for added benefit combine all three. MELT when it is convenient for you and feels good – first thing in the morning, or anytime during the day up to an hour before bedtime. You will need a soft body roller and a soft treatment ball. If you don’t have a roller yet, you can try a rolled-up beach towel or a traditional, firm roller wrapped in a towel, blanket, or yoga mat. For best results, drink water before and after you MELT.
3-Minute Hand Treatment
You can do this at your desk, on a table, or on the floor.
- Assess: Grab the soft ball in one hand and squeeze it 3–4 times. Repeat in the other hand and notice whether your grip feels equally strong.
- Move #1: Place the ball in between your hands at the base of your palms and rub the ball back and forth between point 3 and point 5.
- Move #2: Place the ball under the thumb pads, point 3, and create small circles as you take deep breaths. This area often holds a lot of stuck stress.
- Move #3: Now rinse the fluids up to your neck by rolling the ball under your palm and forearm in one direction toward your elbow.
- Move #4: Place one hand on the floor or table. Use the other hand to rub the soft ball over the top of and in between each finger in one direction, from the knuckle to the nail.
- Reassess: Squeeze the soft ball in each hand again. Can you now create a more powerful grip with less effort? Does your grip feel more equal?
3-Minute Foot Treatment
In just minutes, you can self-treat your entire body just by doing these simple techniques on your feet.
- Assess: Stand with your feet side-by-side, hip-width apart. Close your eyes and use your Body Sense to notice your feet. Do you feel more weight on one foot than the other? Use your Body Sense to scan up your legs. Notice the joints of your ankles, knees, and hips. Are your legs tense?
- Move #1: Step onto the ball on position point 1. Put your feet side-by-side and gently shift some of your body weight onto the ball to create tolerable pressure. Bend your knees and move your body around while keeping the pressure on the ball constant.
- Move #2: Step backward with the opposite foot and shift your weight to that foot. Place the ball under position point 5, in front of the heel. Apply tolerable pressure to that point and slowly move the ball from side to side in front of the heel. Continue rubbing the ball from side to side as you work your way to the back of the heel and then back to point 5.
- Move #3: With the ball on point 5, create a slightly heavier pressure as you wiggle your foot left to right. The ball should barely move. This really gets the fluids moving in the foot.
- Move #4: Place the ball on point 2, directly under the big toe knuckle. Press the ball toward your heel in a continuous motion with tolerable, consistent pressure. Repeat from each knuckle. This gets the fluids to move through the entire body.
- Reassess and repeat: Close your eyes and use your Body Sense to notice whether you feel any changes in your leg. And then repeat all the techniques on the other foot and reassess.
3-Minute Rebalance Sequence
This sequence improves balance, gut support, and spinal stability and helps your sleep be more restorative – all important in preventing or reducing any type of body pain.
- Assess: Lie on the floor with your palms face up and your arms and legs extended. Use your Body Sense to assess three things: Do you feel your shoulder blades digging into the floor on one or both sides? Is your mid back on or off the floor? Are the left and right sides of your body balanced or does one side feel heavier or longer than the other?
- Lie on the roller from head to tail, knees bent, feet flat on the floor.
- Move #1: Rock your body from left to right for 30 seconds.
- Move #2: Tuck and tilt your pelvis and see if you can keep your ribs from moving.
- Move #3: Place your hands on your chest and belly and take a couple breaths into your body. Then place your hands on the sides of your ribs and try to take some breaths into the sides of your body. Then place your hands on your collarbone and pelvis and take some breaths into the length of your body.
- Move #4: Place both hands on your belly and take a breath into all six sides of your torso. During the exhale, make a firm “shhh” sound and sense the gentle contraction. This contraction stabilizes your spine and protects your organs every time you take a breath. Repeat 3-4 times.
- Straighten one leg and slide off the roller on that side, first with your pelvis then your ribs and head.
- Use your Body Sense to notice if your shoulder blades are spread out more evenly on the floor. Is your mid back heavier to the floor? Does it feel like there’s less of a distinction between the left and right sides of your body? You’ve helped your body return to a more ideal position, ready to move with greater ease.
Photographs: Brian Leighton
Illustrations: Gene Clark