The Baby Steps: Essentials
The Align Quick Start Guide
We have collected all of the primary information you need to walk through chronic pain inside of this Quick Start Guide. You will learn more about: The Pain Spiral Cycle, The Baby Steps, The Pain Smart Principles, and The Joint Function Scorecard.
The Joint Basics
This video will help you discover how your upper body and lower body joints are supposed to work. This is a great educational resource to help you measure the functionality of your mobility, stability, and strength. (Use the "The Joint Function Scorecard" in "The Quickstart Guide" PDF to refer back to as needed)
The Immune & Nervous System Basics
- Your immune and nervous system are activated by threats.
- Those activation patterns are memorized and grow bigger and more out of touch with the actual threat if left unhealed for longer than a few months.
- Memorized, as well as runaway, immune and nervous system activation patterns are part of The Chronic Pain Spiral.
Immune & Nervous System Threats That Elicit Responses
- Foods that elicit an allergy response:
- Dairy for 85% of the population
- Gluten for 10-15% of the population
- Refined Sugar
- Excessive Salt & Caffeine
- Insufficient movement, blood/nutrient circulation, and lymphatic circulation
- Unhealed/unresolved emotional trauma
- Overwhelming stress
- Catastrophizing style thinking patterns
The Immune & Nervous System Toolkit
- A blood work up, seeking micronutrient insufficiencies
- A good multivitamin, Magnesium, b vitamins, D, iron.
- Food from the earth.
- A journal.
- Loving community.
- A counselor or mentor.
- Knowing Your Purpose.
- Moderate intensity aerobic exercise
The Joint Maintenance Toolkit
These are the tools every person should own so they can maintain their joints with wisdom. These tools are also all you need to progress through Baby Steps 1-4. Once you progress to Baby Step 5: Restore Strength, you need weights to restore load bearing capacity to your structure.
- 5" Massage Ball: Link
- Foam Roller: Link
- If you can’t get down and up off the floor easily, purchase a roller bar as an alternative: Link
- Toe Spacers: Link
The High Route Challenge
I declare my life and my body is a gift, one I am grateful for. I declare that I take ownership over my body, the state it is in, and how it works. I declare I am not a victim to my joint dysfunction, my joint degeneration, or my doctors. I declare I am working toward being a good steward of my body by knowing how it’s supposed to work, owning the tools I need to maintain it, and prioritizing the maintenance of my body. I declare I want to keep my body working well so I can avoid destroyed joints, preventable surgeries, taking pills, and losing the activities I love.
I declare I will not be led in circles trying to “fix my pain”, wasting years of my life as a victim of my body, my pain, and my doctors.. I declare I am chasing Complete Healing. I declare I will be victorious over the Chronic Pain Spiral.
I choose to take The High Route.
The Death Zone
The Deactivations are two exercises aimed at calming your nervous system, decreasing the amount of contraction and tone within your joint systems, and preparing your body for future demands. The Deactivations may bring your pain down temporarily but that result will not hold. The purpose of The Deactivations is not to bring your pain down, it is to prepare your body for success in the future Baby Steps.
- Static Back: 20min. Watch
- Supine Groin: 10min each side. Watch
- If you are exceedingly tight and getting into Supine Groin is infeasible, try this alternative.
As with any exercise, do not work through pain. Pain will cause your body to contract and protect itself, which is the exact opposite effect we are trying to have. When you are working through The Baby Steps, if you have problems with an exercise, swap or modify the exercise. Rarely should you skip the step, alter the objective, or change your focus. If you hit a road block on your way to your destination, you don’t change your destination. You find a way around it. That’s correct thinking.
Where do Surgeries fit into The Baby Steps?
We are often misunderstood as being anti-surgery. We are not against all surgeries. We are against aimless and needless surgery. So how do surgeries fit into The Baby Steps?
To answer this question we must first refer back to Pain Smart Principle Four…
The North Star Principle
To achieve Complete Healing and live the abundant life you were meant for, your joints must be mobile, stable, and strong, and your immune system and nervous system must be regulated and healthy. ("You can’t hit a target you cannot see, and you cannot see a target you do not have.” - Zig Ziglar)
In order to walk through our pain journey with wisdom, we must adhere to the Pain Smart Principles. Any surgery in compliance with the principles will be a wise choice.
If we have a degenerated joint or structural issue that, after all reasonable effort is made, is keeping us from making progress through The Baby Steps, then a recommended surgery, done by a leader in their field, is a necessary part of your journey through The Baby Steps. If through your efforts you, and a competent coach, realize you cannot progress any further, pause The Baby Steps, have the surgery recommended by a competent surgeon, complete any physical therapy recommended, and then resume The Baby Steps.
There are some severe conditions, severe nerve entrapment causing muscular weakness or severe spinal instability that presents an immediate threat to the spinal cord, in which case the surgery to release the entrapment or stabilize the spine/joint is obviously the first, necessary, and immediate step to take. A competent surgeon is the best person to assess if this is your scenario.
Common Surgeries & Their Place In The Baby Steps:
- Nerve releases may need to happen before Baby Step Two: Restore Calm, or Baby Step Three: Restore Mobility, can be achieved.
- Bone spur removal may need to happen before Baby Step Three: Restore Mobility can be achieved.
- Joint replacements or tendon repair may need to happen before Baby Step Four: Restore Stability can be achieved.
Any surgery done without the long term vision of Complete Healing, and never addressing the root cause of why the surgery was needed in the first place, will ultimately land you back in the grip of the Chronic Pain Spiral. All procedures should be done within the framework of walking toward Complete Healing and adhering to the Pain Smart Principles
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