It can be debilitating to live in pain. But what can be even more debilitating is the resistance to addressing the cause of pain.
First, why do we feel pain?
Pain is an amazing system of synchronized and incredibly intelligent cells, that signal when something is not working properly in our bodies.
When something is not working well, be it physical, due to an injury, misuse or overuse of any part of your body, or emotional, due to stress, anxiety or depression, pain is the symptom that will bring to your awareness that something needs attention, and a change.
There’s always a physical and emotional aspect of every pain. Learning how to identify the source of your pain is key for proper recovery.
As an acupuncturist, I see people who are suffering with pain daily. They come to me hoping that my technique can help them get rid of their pain. And I’ll be honest with you, it’s reasonably easy to reduce physical pain with acupuncture.
Acupuncture needles are incredibly powerful to induce the body to produce natural endorphins, which are natural blockers of pain. Check this article for a longer explanation.
But you shouldn’t just want your pain to go away. Your pain is an opportunity to seek deeper, to understand what’s happening in your body and mind, and to make changes that will allow you to experience long term freedom from pain, to become healthier, happier and to prevent re-occurrence of pain, or other diseases.
Pain can be a huge catalyst for the best version of you that you’ve been longing to see!
I recently had a low back spasm episode that got me in bed for a few days and forced me to stop and rest, which I, unfortunately, am unable to do willingly. This slowdown was a gift in disguise, and I’m actually thankful for my pain.
My pain was a signal that I wasn’t taking care of myself, I was under high stress, was moving offices and carrying heavy boxes without paying much attention to my posture, I was tired but would not take a break, and I’ve been a bit overweight for way too long now. So, this pain came to help me slow down and put on more time on taking care of myself.
I’ve been doing acupuncture, chiropractic adjustments and physical therapy for several weeks now, and I feel I’m about 90% recovered. I’m organizing my schedule to include daily exercises and paying attention to my diet. This low back spasm came to put myself back on track!
As I tell my patients, the best way to resolve pain, is to attack it from all possible angles. For me, I have found excellent outcomes and a faster recovery from using acupuncture, chiropractic and supplementation of vitamins and minerals. This time I added physical therapy to the mix, along with a mindful approach to address the emotions that are connected to my pain.
I am determined to resolve this pain once and for all, but I’m still working on it and feel like I’m almost there. So, today, I want to share with you some insights on my personal journey with this low back pain:
Pain happens when there’s resistance. Per the dictionary online, resistance can be understood as the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument, or the ability not to be affected by something, especially adversely. It can appear physically, like carpal tunnel, on an overused wrist that is forced to type on a computer keyboard for 10 hours daily for the past 12 years, or emotionally, in the form of pushing yourself through excessive stress daily, because you believe that is worth your paycheck;
Pain is a time to reflect. Believe me, even if your pain was originated by an accidental injury, there is an emotional component that lead to the injury, so, working on the emotional aspects of your pain will only improve your recovery and prevent recurrence;
There are many ways to cover up pain and find temporary or even permanent relief, but you will miss out an opportunity to become a better version of yourself if you ignore your emotions around your pain;
Your pain might come back, and keep on coming back, in the attempt to offer another opportunity to work out what you need to work out in your life;
Pain forces you to pay attention to the moment, to your now. Your body will find a way to get your attention, the pain will get worse until you stop and pay attention to your now;
Pain is humbling. It helps you understand how fragile life is, how things can change in a blink, and how we must appreciate the trillions of cells doing the exact right thing in your body every single day;
When you are able to be at the moment, you can identify aspects of your life that are not in alignment with who you want to be and how you want to live. Take notes, that is what pain is asking you to change;
As we live our stressful, high paced days, we forget the big picture of our lives, and with that, we loose joy. Pain helps you bring back the aspect of joy and happiness that you’ve been longing to experience;
Accept your pain, welcome it! The moment you are able to do this, you will be at the place you will be more likely to let your pain go away.
And finally, about my personal low back pain experience, I’ve been learning to slow down and be gentle with myself, respect my body, respect my life, appreciate what is working well, and accept that some things need to change. Change is good.
And here are some of the changes my pain is helping me make in my life for now: I’m sleeping more, waking up to a healthy routine of exercise and meditation, making time to treat myself with acupuncture until I’m fully recovered, exploring and addressing all aspects of my life and business that create resistance, including taking a few breaks as I type this blog post to stretch, look out the window, drink a cup of tea and smile at myself. I feel better now, because I’m becoming a better version of me, I’m helping others do the same. I’m happy again, and my pain is going away!