Started running?

Recent encouragement to get outside and exercise each day means more people are out walking and running. Hopefully we are all thinking about keeping our distance and going out alone or with a family member only. If you have started running or re-started after a hiatus, you may want to think about how you can gradually ease into it.

Amongst the headlines we are seeing a number of positive stories. These are fuel for hope and keep us going towards a better time, which will come. One of the positive messages from the outset has been the encouragement to take exercise — the benefits are well known (examples below).

  • Joint and muscle health
  • Better decision making
  • Clearer thinking
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Improved mobility
  • Fitness
  • Better sleep
  • Cardiovascular heath
  • Protective against a number of conditions
  • Weight control

Being active takes many forms. Two of the most simple are walking and running. We can do this in the house, in the garden, up an down the stairs and around where we live. We can also choose simple exercises using body weight or household items.

Started or starting running?

If you are starting from scratch, you may be best to begin by walking quickly to allow your body and body systems to adapt. There maybe a few aches and pains, which is a typical response to new or different activity.

Casual runners maybe tempted to increase the frequency or the intensity of runs. I’ve seen quite a few people chugging along, panting, puffing and blowing. The 80/20 training rule is a good one to follow — 80% low intensity when you should be able to speak, and 20% high intensity. If you are unsure about how much to push because of known medical conditions or you do not feel confident with what you want to do, you should always take advise from a professional.

Before heading out, easing the body into action with some simple, low strain movements prepare you. Examples include walking on your toes, lunges, squats, and pelvic movements. On return, recovery can include eating and drinking to rehydrate and refuel, together with easy stretches. Much has been written on recovery, but studies have not revealed any particular methods that are musts beyond taking the time to get back to baseline.

There are a number of apps and online resources that give advice on gradually building up your running. A good place to start your reading is Runner’s World.

Enjoy your running and being active

At a time when we are compelled to create a new routine, figuring in movement and exercise will be of great benefit to the way you feel and deal with the situation. Yet we need to be sensible. Gradually building our activity levels to reduce the risk of injury and allowing our bodies to adapt. One of the most important points is that we need to enjoy what we are doing! This way, we will keep it going and build our level of fitness and wellness.

If you have a question, get in touch for an informal chat


RS

UP on the road in South Africa

The end of a successful roadshow: Neil Wright (TensCare), Juan Schaerer (Adcock Ingram), me, Nick

I was very pleased to be asked to speak at the Adcock Ingram Sports Science & Rehabilitation division launch roadshow — a whistle-stop tour of South Africa.

Innovative TensCare CEO Neil Wright asked me whether I would give a series of talks in South Africa (Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town). He had heard that I bring an ‘edge’ to the topic of pain. I like to think so, but only in terms of challenging out-dated thinking that holds us back. What a great opportunity, I thought. A chance to spread important messages via Understand Pain (UP) and to learn about how chronic and complex pain is addressed in South Africa.

The new Adcock Ingram division was being launched to local physiotherapists, chiropractors and biokineticists, and the theme of the events was pain. How could I resist? Adcock Ingram are engaging with therapists and clinicians in a new way that is generating a great deal of excitement. This is based on creating great relationships and distributing high quality products that compliment rehabilitation, including the range of devices from TensCare.

Both the team putting on the roadshow and the attendees were buzzing! The feedback from the people in the audience was very positive. There was a thirst for quality pain education, and it would be great to follow up with full Pain Coach workshops.

Richmond giving Pain Coach talk
Johannesburg audience

TensCare and TENS

TensCare is an employee owned company, distributing TENS and electrotherapy machines all over the world. One of the main reasons to use TENS is for pain relief, in both acute and chronic pain. It is probably best known and most used in maternity care.

In my experience, TENS is under-used for chronic pain. Whilst TENS will not solve the problem, it can offer relief that helps the journey forwards. As an inexpensive and simple form of self-treatment, it is a good option. The key is that the user understands how it works and how to best use the unit. This can take some time and practice, but with instruction, discovering the right parameters can be found more swiftly.

 

Nick & Richmond selfie in Durban

I shared the stage with Nick Martichenko from Canada. Nick spoke about the use of tape and the understood mechanisms, whilst I focused on pain and pain coaching. I entitled the session ‘The Challenge of Pain’ as a doff of the hat to Pat Wall, the founder of modern pain biology, who wrote a book of that name. It was Wall’s work that resulted in the development of the TENS machine.

Three days, three events

On the road…

The roadshow put on by Adcock Ingram was very high quality from start to finish. They really wanted to make sure that every detail was covered. This was appreciated by the attendees who were most enthusiastic about the event. There was a new precedent being set, and the beginning of a new engagement between Adcock Ingram and therapists/clinicians.

I was particularly impressed by the way that the sales team approached their work. Selected and led by Juan Schaerer and Sheila Keshav, this group has come together in a short period of time. There was a great deal of positivity within the team, supporting each other, and getting jobs done from start to finish. I was privileged to be able to hear some the individual stories about how they came to join the team.

Richmond Stace The Pain Coach in South Africa
Cape Town Team

From a pain education perspective the roadshow was a great opportunity to talk about ways in which we can help people understand their pain and move on to improve their lives. That’s the purpose of UP. I hope that everyone else enjoyed their time as much I did. This was a super start and I will be very interested to learn how this story unfolds.

RS

 

Pain Coaching Project UPDATE

Pain Coaching Project
Richmond Stace | co-founder of UP and pioneer of Pain Coaching

Pain Coaching Project UPDATE

The Programme is now open to anyone suffering persistent or complex pain.

Face to face or Skype ~ reaching across the globe with Pain Coaching to improve lives

As the project has proceeded, I have been making changes to better suit the needs of the participants. Now I am delighted to be able to offer the programme to a wider audience — chronic pain is one of the biggest global health burdens.

Participants will receive 6 free Pain Coaching sessions: an initial conversation to understand the person’s narrative, clarify what is important to them, what they want to achieve and outline the steps forward. The next four sessions focus on practical tools: e.g./ practices, exercises, strategies, habits of peak performance. The final session is a summary and an opportunity to look at ways to keep momentum.

Read here: Pain Coach Project

If you are suffering, or know someone who suffers persistent or chronic pain, sign up today:

Email Richmond here

 

upandrun in South Africa

Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve

I head off to South Africa tonight on a Pain Talking tour, invited by TensCare and Adcock Ingram. More on the pain side later, but for now, where can I run?

In a week’s time, I will be on the trails near Cape Town, guided by Nicola from Cape Running Tours and ultrarunner Linda Doke. This will be upandrun 13, and I am really excited by this one!

The schedule is pretty packed with talks and meetings, yet there is always time to run. Running gives energy for all else.

Starting in Johannesburg where we arrive tomorrow morning, the Klipriviersberg Nature Reserve looks like a great place to get into nature. The second leg sees us in Durban where we have the beachfront as a backdrop. I went there in 2003 on an England Women’s Rugby tour when I was a team physio. The beach was a place to move our bodies, enjoy the sun and the waves, to recover and relax.

Finally, Cape Town where I have not been before. Many people have told me how great this city is to visit. I can’t wait!

Look out for the pics and blogs: links below.

@paincoach on Insta | @painphysio on Twitter | Facebook

RS

 

#upandrun 12: Gloucester to Bath review

Hoka Speedgoats
It was a bit muddy

#upandrun 12 route from Gloucester to Bath, taking in the Cotswold Way

I started running along the road towards Birdlip to pick up the Cotswold Way. It was just after 530am, the streets were quiet and I was on my way. The streetlights came to an end as I reached the edge of town and began to climb.

In the darkness with my head-torch illuminated, I could see on-coming cars in the distance and I hoped they could see me. Running along close to the narrow grassy verge, I continually created an escape plan in case I needed to take evasive action. That plan, which fortunately I did not have to use, was simply to dive into the bush. I thought it through what seemed to be every few seconds.

The sun was just starting to rise as Cotswold Way signs appeared, the trail bisecting the road. I turned right onto the path that immediately started winding its way down into the woods. It was soft underfoot, with occasional muddy patches, but perfectly passable and even supporting a steady running pace.

Running a trail is the perfect time to be present. The ever-changing pink sky delivered a backdrop for the unfolding scenery as I trotted along. Noticing the changes in light is something unique to being in the countryside, almost moment by moment. It is easy to miss, especially in a town or city.

It felt like it was going to be a good day. I had a plan for fuelling, learning from previous ultras that it is important for me to keep it regular, so a snack every 10k. I was loaded with bars, Kendall mint cake and other snacks, plus I was confident that I would come across a cosy cafe serving great coffee and offering respite. That didn’t appear for quite some hours though…

Mud, bogs, rain, wind

The trail was starting to become muddy, slippery and skiddy. My Speedgoats were helping me stay upright, although I had to slow my pace to navigate these patches. Over the day, I only fell once, imprinting a sizeable brown mark on my left buttock.

Losing the trail in a small Cotswold village, an elderly couple pointed me in the right direction, warning that the field I was about to cross was steep and very wet. It was. That was the end of having dry feet for some hours.

Rain was forecast, so I was not surprised when I noticed a few drops on my face. Playing it safe, I donned my waterproof. That, was a wise decision. Within moments the rain was coming at me sideways. On off went the showers for the rest of the day, mainly on from what I recall. The wind whipped around me, especially on the exposed hills, resulting in a crouching style of running that probably did nothing except make my thighs work harder. Note to self.

It was not the water from the sky that was slowing me down though. It was underfoot. I was fortunate not to lose a shoe as I squelched my way through and round fields that were utterly waterlogged. The animals I passed looked at me and wondered what I was doing. This was the sense of their expressions anyway.

How grateful I was when a farmer gave me directions along a lane rather than over his field, which did not look like a field. It was more like the top of a moist chocolate cake.

On I went.

From http://www.cotswoldrunning.co.uk/cotswold-way-century

The Cotswolds Way is far steeper than I had anticipated. Mind you, I do like climbing a hill. There is great satisfaction on reaching the summit and looking back to see where you have stepped and taking in the scenery. King of the hill.

There are moments along the way when you ask yourself why? Pain, cold, wet, miserable weather are all reasons to stop. They are also reasons to go on exploring and discovering. That’s the beauty of ultra. Rolling with the ups and downs, the successes and challenges, one foot after the next. There is no stopping the stream of conscious experience that continually delivers the plethora of unplanned feelings, thoughts, sensations, sounds and other appearances. Noticing this is being mindful.

And so, after about 13 hours, Bath arrived out of the darkness in the distance. The last kilometers followed alongside the A46. The sun had long gone, replaced by a blackness pierced by red and white car lights. Back into urbanity, running along the city streets towards the pizza and beer that had so clearly formed in my mind.

#upandrun 12 finish

The day ended at 90k. I am looking at when I can move this on to a 100-miler, the next natural step. My feeling is that a supported run would be best, but we will see. The next #upandrun will be in South Africa where I am heading in a week’s time to give a series of pain talks — read here. The plan is to take in Table Mountain within an ultra of around 50k.

On we go.

RS

UP heads to South Africa

UP in South Africa
Photo by Tim Johnson

Talking tour March 2020

In a week’s time I head off to South Africa to deliver a series of Understand Pain talks. This is a great opportunity to connect with clinicians, therapists and others who work with people suffering pain. Invited by TensCare, we will be working together on this tour to educate, enable and empower people to provide best care for pain.

TensCare: We provide drug-free pain relief for the long-term treatment of chronic pain conditions and the relief of the acute pain during childbirth

One of the main issues and reasons why pain is such an enormous global health burden is the misunderstanding of what it is and how it arises. The predominant approach remains biomedical despite the fact that this model does not deliver solutions. Society needs us to build on our knowledge about pain and offer person-first care: it is the person who feels pain, not the body part.

In brief, I will be talking about the purpose of pain, why it persists and what we can do to help and encourage people to move on and live fulfilling lives in their own unique way. This is using strengths based coaching together with the latest pain and related sciences, focusing on meeting the person’s needs. This is the essence of Pain Coaching, which is a skillset and way of delivering care that sees a person first, not a patient or a list of problems. Instead, we see someone with strengths and the potential to improve their life. We guide and facilitate this growth in a positive way.

My hope and aim as ever, is to bring the latest understanding and thinking about pain to society in a practical way.

Understand pain to South Africa

Towards the end of the trip I plan to run #upandrun 13 in and around Cape Town, taking in Table Mountain. This is the awareness raising part of the Understand Pain social enterprise work, as I continue with monthly ultramarathons.

You can follow my projects here on the UP website and blog, and on Twitter (@painphysio), Insta (@paincoach) and Facebook (Specialist Pain Physio).

RS

#upandrun 12: The Cotswold Way

Map of the Cotswold The Cotswold Way

#upandrun 12: The Cotswold Way

It’s probably going to be a soggy #upandrun on tomorrow when I trot from Cheltenham to Bath along the Cotswold Way. The weather has hit the UK over the weekend, another sure sign of climate change and reason to look after our planet and ourselves — the two entwined.

#upandrun 12 is an unsupported, or solo run. Whilst I do enjoy the excitement of an event, there is something about doing it alone. Not seeing another person for miles or hours and simply connecting with nature has special qualities. For company you have the trail, the fields, the trees, animals, birds, sounds of the wind and silence.

Our experience of nature is embodied of course, so no matter what we perceive ‘out there’, the inner world informs what that is like. Running for long periods of time means inevitable connecting with the self, one’s body and how they are unified. Each step, each twinge, each ache and each pain tell a story. Your story.

Challenging moments arise. On a solo, there’s no-one there to encourage, no aid station and no medal at the end. There’s a purity to this; what’s the motivator? A purpose. Undoubtedly, having a strong sense of purpose is fuel. The ‘why’. So why?

My shared purpose with UP is simply to help people improve their lives, in particular those suffering chronic pain. And why? Because I believe that we can truly help others transform their lives and move on. This belief has strengthened over the years. We are designed to do better than just survive, which is what many people are doing day to day; surviving their lives.

Packing ~ no number, no medal

Then there is the ‘why’ of running…

Recently I was considering the practice of curiosity, and it dawned on me that this is the reason I run. I am curious about what is over the next hill, how the day unfolds, the scene in front of me and how it emerges in my awareness and passes. I am curious about how far I can go and what it will feel like; the unknown.

Tapping into the natural explorer, these ultra-runs quench that thirst. We are born explorers, learning about the world and ourselves with every movement and experience from the outset. Picture a baby starting to move, crawl and then walk, building a lived experience of the world. We create that world by acting upon it, predicting what comes next based on what came before. Touching nature by stepping on the trail, I a perceiving that very trail by the act of running.

#upandrun is made complete by workshops and spending time coaching and encouraging people to reach their potential and achieve the results that they desire. The current project focuses upon people suffering pain from osteoarthritis. There are more free places available, so please share or do get in touch to sign up for your place (see the link below).

UP OA Pain Coaching Project

 

What next?

You can see me on the trail tomorrow by following on Twitter @painphysio and Instagram @paincoach and FB Specialist Pain Physio.

Then it looks like #upandrun 13 will be over Table Mountain…..

If you are interested in partnering and supporting #upandrun, please get in touch. There are a range of ways you can sponsor and share your story with that of UP. Email Richmond here.

“I can see the world”

Photo by Sarah Egerer

“I can see the world”, were the words of a person who learned to be upright. Early reflections on the UP OA Pain Coaching Project

I love hearing people’s realisations, uttered as they experience something new, with wonder, curiosity and excitement. This was someone participating in the UP OA Pain Coaching Project, who learned to be more upright and hence had a new view of the world.

It sounds so simple to be upright, yet it takes practice. We can train ourselves to use our body in a more efficient way seeking thoughtless, effortless movement, yet with awareness of having a body. Disconnection with the body for reasons of persistent pain or trauma are common. Reconnection with the body then, is an important part of moving forward, together with whatever is most important to us in our life.

The focus of osteoarthritis treatment is usually upon the area that hurts. This frame of reference needs widening as it is the person who feels pain (and other symptoms), not the body part. Further, the biology of the experience of pain and stiffness, and any other perception, exists far beyond the location of the actual feeling. To feel pain, we need a sense of the body area, a nervous system, an autonomic nervous system, a sensorimotor system, an immune system and more. What we don’t actually need is the body part. Confused?

Consider phantom limb pain. The limb is lost yet the person feels pain in that space. The simple fact is that pain and injury, or pain and pathology, are poorly related. This is why purely addressing the bit that hurts is not adequate.

Richmond Stace The Pain Coach
Richmond Stace

You may think that in an acute injury this will be enough. I sprain my ankle so I treat and look after the ankle. Many do this. But the body (person) keeps not only the score of the injury and response, it will craft adaptations that can only be addressed by considering the whole person. Failing to do this means that protective responses and habits, formed at the outset, can persist and create further problems or on-going sensitivity. The idea of a quick fix is largely to blame. There is no quick fix. There is only complete treatment and rehabilitation of the person if you want the best outcome.

UP OA Pain Coaching Project

We are a month in, some nearing the end of their course of sessions. It’s been fascinating to look deeply at people’s experiences and beliefs. This project is an opportunity to reflect upon and study Pain Coaching, identifying key moments in conversations and themes that arise.

The purpose of UP is to improve the lives of those suffering chronic pain. Beyond building insights into the coaching process for pain, the UP OA project is a great way of reaching into the community and helping people understand their experience and learn new ways of moving forward.

I will be posting reflections each week.

If you suffer osteoarthritis pain or know someone who you think will benefit, please contact us here, putting OA in the subject bar. We have opened more free places.

Read here: UP OA Pain Coaching Project

Look out for the next #upandrun ultra on Tuesday on the Cotswold Way

RS

 

 

UP OA project up and running

trucker hat

UP moves into the 3rd week of the OA Pain Coaching Project. There are more places available if you suffer pain from osteoarthritis…

We started the UP Pain Coaching Project for osteoarthritis pain three weeks ago, and so far it has exceeded expectations. Motivation has been high amongst the participants, keen to learn different ways to improve their lives. Most have signed up for face-to-face sessions at the New Malden Diagnostics Centre, but we can also use Zoom/Skype if you live afar.

“I realised by the time I’ve got here this week my joints already feel better.” (A participant at their second session)

 

The free programme consists of 3 interrelated steps

3 steps

Richmond Stace pain coaching
Richmond Stace | The Pain Coach | Pain Specialist | Chartered Physiotherapist

Clarify your picture(s) of success

The types of questions you explore:

  • What are the real results you want to achieve? (This is your direction)
  • What is the ideal self you want to work towards?
  • What is really important to you in your life?
  • How committed are you to the programme?
  • How and why is it important to you to make some changes to improve your life?

Understand your pain

What you will understand…

  • What is pain?
  • Why does pain persist?
  • What causes and influences my pain?
  • What positive action can I take when I am in pain to feel better?

Positive action: exercises, strategies, practices and tools

On clarifying what you are working towards, we design a programme for you. The content will depend upon your picture(s) of success. There is a huge range to draw upon, some of which are daily proactive practices, and others that expand your choices for dealing with challenging moments. All are in line with the results you want to achieve.

Your toolbox can include: movement, mobilisation, sensorimotor training, breathing, relaxation, sleep strategies, periodising your activities, exercise, increasing activity levels, connecting with what is important to you (people, places, purpose), self-coaching and motivation, imagery, how to form better habits, prioritising, mindfulness practice and more.

Read here >> OA Pain Coaching Project 2020

If you are suffering osteoarthritis pain or know someone who is, get in touch and book your free sessions today: email us here quoting OA in the subject line

Pain Coaching for OA project begins

Osteoarthritis
Richmond Stace | co-founder of UP and pioneer of Pain Coaching

An exciting day when UP kicks of the Pain Coaching Project for OA pain

After a few months of planning, the Pain Coaching Project started today. This is a really exciting time for Understand Pain (UP) and we are thrilled to be able to offer free sessions to people suffering the symptoms and pain of osteoarthritis (OA).

Pain Coaching focuses on the person, their strengths and their potential to improve their life. This comes in many forms as each person will have their own picture(s) of success. For some it will be an increase in walking, whilst for others it maybe to be able to socialise and feel more connected. We all have our ‘thing’. The aim of the programme is to give you knowledge, tools and practices to improve your life.

FREE places here

Starting with a conversation about you, your life and what you want to achieve, we then move into the practical sessions. There are many practices and tools to use, so we choose those most relevant to you. For example, we look at ways to mobilise your body and improve your quality of movement, breathing, planning your days, organising activities, relaxing deeply, building fitness, mindfulness, improving strength and confidence to be active.

If you would like to take advantage of the Pain Coaching Project and see how you can improve your life, book your place now by emailing here, and putting OA in the subject line.

RS