Pain and the Mind/Body Connection
Last week, I was sitting working with a client and my low back decided to suddenly cease up making it difficult to finish my day, but I slapped some pain relief cream on my back and “pushed through it”. That night, I did everything I knew to treat my back pain including having my P.T. wife treat it but got only minor relief. I was frustrated and wanted just to have my back “fixed” so I could play in the Tuesday game, but the truth was the harder I pushed, the worse I got….until…..I decided to quiet down and feel into the pain instead of trying to fix it.
As I did some gentle stretching, I remembered I was feeling some twinges of pain and tightness over the past month or so and did the minimum to keep the pain at bay. This made me realize my “sudden pain” maybe was not so sudden. The truth is I was unwilling to pay attention to my body’s subtle messages to shift some things in my life and take more time for my own health. My body found a way to give me an even stronger message to get my attention.
Today I went from being barely able to sit or walk to working a little in the yard, sitting comfortably for a lecture and swinging a golf club with no pain. The up side to this roller coaster of pain has been a reminder of something that I already knew but failed to act on. I know the importance of proper posture in alleviating pain and better body mechanics to do activities, however, when it showed up for me in my life, I did what most of us humans do….ignore it and try to push through it. Pain is not always a bad thing. It’s there to remind us that something that we are doing is not working. It’s not meant to be shut off. If we listen to it, we can get some very valuable information from it.
The take home from this lesson for me was a reminder of the importance of listening to the body. Our body works hard for us all day, every day. It adapts and adjusts even when we abuse it. However, it can only adapt and adjust so much before it “breaks”. We need to learn to listen and adjust and adapt our activities when our body is giving us these important clues. If you are experiencing pain, don’t wait until you can’t function in your day to day activities before you seek help. The answer may be some simple adjustments to your posture or your body mechanics. Maybe your alignment is off and some bodywork or manual adjustment is what you need. This will not only help you to get to the source of the pain but will also teach you how to listen to your body’s signals.