What does the laundry basket have to do with your chronic pain?
Well, a lot! Ok maybe not literally, but I would like to explain it to you. What I am talking about; the laundry basket theory.
You have long-lasting back, neck and/or shoulder pain and you are looking for the cause of this.
What most people do in that case is, they often look for the cause of their complaints in one thing.
For example, they go to a massage therapist to massage their lower back, then their lower back feels better, so they think it is because of their muscles that they have back pain. And now that the muscles are more relaxed from the massage, their problem has been solved. But the question is for how long!
There are several factors that cause this lower back pain.
Do you recognize that? That because of a certain treatment or something you do it is temporarily gone or less, but that it comes back every time? Then read on!
The laundry basket theory
When you are born your laundry basket is as good as empty. Then your life begins.
Events are taking place.
Minor events such as being laughed at for something you say, or you are not chosen in PE at school each time, or you are bad at geography and fail every time, or you have ongoing financial worries, or you make a mistake at your job of which your boss is not happy about, or you get a shitty comment because you hit someone’s leg with your shopping cart in the supermarket, and so on.
And major events such as deaths of loved ones, accidents, serious trauma.
Of all these events and situations in your life in which you experience emotions and feelings, it will often happen that you do not dare or can express them, so you suppress them.
Any event, emotion or feeling that you experience as stressful (conscious or unconscious) or emotionally negative is a piece of clothing that goes into the laundry basket.
You have periods when you take less care of your body, you eat unhealthy, you drink alcohol, you smoke, you sleep too little, each of these is also a garment that goes into the laundry basket.
You have events where you injure yourself physically. For example you are 7yrs fall off your bike and hit your elbows hard, you are on your way to work and you sprain your ankle on a curb, you have painted the whole house and you have muscle strain from it for a week etc. Each of these events is another item of clothing in your laundry basket.
You are on a job where you sit behind your computer for 40 hours a week with a crooked posture. Another piece of clothing in your laundry basket because of your long-term static posture.
In addition, you do not like your work at all and you therefore feel unhappy. Another item of clothing in your laundry basket.
And it goes on like that all of your life. All these events, emotions and feelings that you have never really processed or improved or that are bothering you, are still in your body, in other words the laundry basket.
So that laundry basket is always filled with all kinds of different things. For example, there is even a carnival suit from 6 years ago from the carnival that you celebrated back then.
Now you have reached the point where the laundry basket is overflowing.
Even on the floor there’s laundry lying around because it just no longer fits in the basket and the lid can no longer close.
Anything that doesn’t fit in it anymore will cause problems, these are your symptoms (such as back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, headache etc.)
So your laundry basket is overflowing.
You can now try in different ways to empty the floor of all this laundry and to close the lid of the laundry basket.
You can throw the clothes that are on the floor in the washing machine and just leave the laundry basket full, at least the floor will look nice and tidy again 🙂 Or you can take all those clothes that have been in your laundry basket for weeks, months or years and finally start to wash them.
So you’re running a dark wash. You run a white wash. You are running a variegated laundry. You run a wool wash. Then space is created again and you can close the lid again and the floor is empty. In other words, there are no more symptoms and there is again plenty of room for new laundry to put in the laundry basket.
So you can move forward for the time being. If you are unable to wash for whatever reason, that is not a problem because there is enough space in your laundry basket so it will not overflow immediately if you throw something in it.
Just as your laundry basket can be filled with many different things, a (pain)complaint can also be caused by many different things.
Doing one thing such as relaxing your muscles with a massage or a warm bath is only one way, but you also have other things such as nutrition, training, posture correction, breathing exercises, stress release techniques, emotion work etc.
Maybe you recognize it and have tried things like eating healthier and that the pain symptoms suddenly got a lot better. And that it seemed very logical to say yes see it was due to the diet. Or that you bought a new bed or a new mattress, and suddenly you didn’t wake up with a stiff neck anymore.
But that is usually only temporary, at the given moment you do a little too much and then it comes back again.
Since a pain complaint can be caused by various things, there is not just one thing that can be seen as THE solution.
Always try to do as much as possible in the treatment. Because if you only do 1 thing, you only take 1 item of clothing from the laundry basket. And if something happens again tomorrow, a new piece of clothing will immediately be put in the laundry basket and it will be full again! That’s why your pain comes back so quickly every time, because you haven’t emptied the laundry basket enough.
So you want to take as much as possible into resolving your pain complaint, so that your laundry basket becomes as empty as possible and that you can then simply start living your life without worrying about the fact that if one thing happens that there are symptoms again!
So you really want to clean up as much as possible, create as much space as possible, so that if there is a time when you have to work extra hours behind your laptop, or if you train extra hard because you have a competition, or you have a stressful period, that you do not immediately have pain in your body, but that you can easily take it because you have created the space for it!
And the best would be if you wash that big carnival suit that is still in your laundry basket and takes up so much space so that your laundry basket is 50% emptier! That carnival suit or the deep-seated cause of your pain complaint!
Now I am very curious, how full is your laundry basket?? Do you have a buffer or only one small thing has to happen and your pain is back? Tell me in a comment below!