The Align Method
The Align Method is a framework for identifying and correcting your unique pain generators.
The Align Method is NOT a quick fix formula, a symptom-chasing treatment, or a haphazard and harmful pill, injection, or surgery.
It is a way of looking at your unique pain problem, taking your whole-being into account, and walking through a logical, step-by-step, method of fixing the underlying drivers of your pain.
The Align Method is based on the following timeless principles:
- A whole-person approach. No part of you functions in isolation. Every joint works in concert with every other joint. And your joints work in concert with your nervous system. And your nervous system works in concert with your gut. If you try to treat a single joint or pain point in isolation you will inevitably fail.
- Fix problems, don’t chase symptoms. If you spend your time chasing symptoms, you will inevitably be frustrated and fail. Often, worsening the underlying problem in the process.
- It seeks truth, always working to identify and correct your unique pain generator.
- Its steps are based on the latest scientific evidence, not “standard medical practice” or “what insurance will approve”.
- The human body is a structure made of materials that obeys the laws of physics, materials science, and physiology.
These are timeless principles that any attempt to fix your pain MUST obey.
If your doctor, surgeon, or physical therapist is failing to recognize and
obey these principles, you need to find someone who will.
the align method framework
If you don’t understand the nature of chronic pain, you will forever be trapped by it. Think of it this way. If you are lost in a dark forest without a light, a map, or a compass, what chances do you have of finding your way out? Not good. You don’t understand where you are at, what the terrain looks like, and which direction you should go. Being PainSmart means you understand what chronic pain is (you have a map and understand the terrain), what your unique pain generator is (you know where you are at on the map), and you know what your next steps and direction are (you have a compass). Only then can you walk yourself out of pain.
Muscles and joints that are immobile create atrophied muscles on one side of the body and overloaded structures on the other. The overloaded areas get stressed, breakdown, and cause pain sensors within the body to activate.
By focusing on restoring mobility first, you reduce the stress on the overloaded and painful areas, which has the benefit of reducing pain. It also allows access to atrophied muscles, and you reduce your risk of injury as you walk toward getting stronger.
Your body will fight to keep moving, but that doesn’t mean it’s moving well with the optimal muscles carrying their weight. When certain muscles atrophy, your body compensates and shifts load into other structures. This extra load breaks down those structures and causes your pain sensing systems to activate.
By restoring function back to atrophied muscles before strengthening, we create stable joints that distribute force and load evenly over the body. Movement becomes productive, healing, and nourishing to your body, instead of painful and destructive. This also has the handy benefit of reducing pain. You see a trend here right?!
If you aren’t strong enough to live your lifestyle, you will compensate, lose mobility, lose stability, and begin the downward spiral toward joint degeneration, chronic pain, and surgeries.
By restoring strength, you create dense, mobile, and capable muscles and joints that can withstand the loads you place on them while doing the things you love.
Poor nutrition and hydration drive up inflammation in the body which sends your pain sensing system into hyperdrive.
By restoring healthy nutrition and hydration, you reduce inflammation, calm your nervous system, and reduce the sensitivity of your pain sensing systems (which again has the handy benefit of reducing pain).
Your Brain Chemistry
Your brain is the organ that interprets the signals it receives from your nervous system. If you have brain chemistry imbalances, your brain can activate your pain sensing systems unnecessarily and send them into hyperdrive.
Common causes of brain chemistry problems are problematic mindsets, opiates and other medications, extended exposure to chronic pain, and social isolation. By restoring healthy brain chemistry, you calm your nervous system, reduce inflammation, and reduce the sensitivity of your pain sensing systems.
Your Nervous System
Your nervous system is designed to sense what’s happening inside your body and in the outside world. It is designed to sense potential threats and activate your pain sensing systems before the threat causes damage. Once your pain sensing systems have been activated for longer than a couple weeks, they begin to adapt and more easily activate. Once you’ve been in pain for more than a couple months, those pain sensing systems can be get stuck in the ON position even though the potential threat that activated them in the first place is gone.
By restoring a healthy nervous system, you recalibrate your pain sensing systems back into a healthy range. This reduces the intensity and frequency of your pain sensing systems being activated and reduces your overall experience of pain.