Uncovering the Meaning Behind Pain

In my last blog I mentioned that I had fixed some of my neck issues using a technique called NeuroMovement© and the Feldenkrais Method.©  However, I also mentioned that my body (back) got worse shortly after. 

Again, to recap, there was that magical night of free form dancing, flow, and a feeling of being youthful. I felt alive and fully in my body and totally amazed at how the week had seemed to feel so free and less stressful. The following week I was starting to feel fatigued, and less energetic–like a tire losing it's air. I remember going to a business lunch function downtown. It was two hours of uninspiring lectures in bad seats. As I was walking back to my car I felt like my feet were not working so well, it felt odd to walk in my high heel shoes, like they weren't fitting me right as I felt wobbly. I thought perhaps it was time to get a new pair of shoes.

I went for lunch with a friend a few days later. He could tell that I was in pain and mentioned that he had a great ART (Active Release Therapy) Chiropractor that I could see. Unfortunately he was away on holidays and not available until the following week. He asked  if he could walk me to my car. I politely declined and said that my next appointment (with my chiropractor) wasn't for an hour and that I would sit here and wait until I had to leave.

After my friend left I sensed that my back was really seized up to the point where I asked the waitress if she could assist me to the washroom as my own attempt sent a sharp pain in my lower back and hips. I couldn't do it, I couldn't move without it being embarrassing and agonizing. So I sat back down and called my boyfriend to see if he could come and take me to my appointment.

He arrived shortly, and promptly tried to assist me to the washroom. It was painful, slow and awkward. Thankfully I had got to relieve my bladder because I only made it three steps out of the ladies room when my guy said "do you want me to call an ambulance?" It was obvious I wasn't going anywhere and that the pain had gotten to an immobilizing level.

Long story short, there was nothing they could do in Emergency for my back pain.

I lay in my hospital bed trying to think what the hell happened. What did I do to get this bad? I had only had one bad back issue, but that a was due to a long drive competition. Perhaps I put my back out doing these slow movement sessions I was engaged in? I was horrified at the thought, as the lessons had been so effective and healing.

The doctor gave me a prescription for pain killers, Tylenol and sent me on my way. Only problem was it took us almost an hour to get myself into a wheelchair and in the car. Apparently morphine makes you vomit if you don't tolerate it well. 

The doctor also gave me a Mayo Clinic handout for exercises to do for strengthening my lower back. He told me that I had to keep moving and do these exercises as soon as I got home. Gratefully I knew better. My pain was at such a level that it wasn't even possible anyway. (And note to the readers, if your muscles are in spasm and freaking out, stretching is perhaps not going to calm them down, they are stress already.)

I spent the next three days laying on my back, not sleeping and in total disbelief about how things had gone from great to not so great to terrible. I had lots of time to think. Recounting the steps to the lessons I did, the dancing, the bike riding. Anything. How did this happen?

I went to my chiropractor (yes, here we go again, sucker for punishment) and he adjusted my sacrum. Not the right thing to do for my condition at that time but honestly I was desperate. I thought I was going to have a panic or heart attack on my way home. This felt worse not better. I managed to pick my daughter up from daycare and head straight home.

I spent the next two days laying as still as possible, hoping that not moving was going make it better. I had an upcoming appointment with my friend's ART chiropractor the next day as I was desperate, but was reluctant and hesitant. Everyone kept telling me that their chiropractor, physiotherapist, massage therapist was the best. I trusted in my friend only because he was a big sports enthusiast and had tried many other modalities before. He like his guy. This chiropractor fixed you, and then you went on your way. NO repeated visits once a week for months on end, or even a life time. 

The ART therapy made a lot of sense. My psoas muscles were so tight that the pain of getting them to relax was worth it. I actually felt like there was some relief and motion forward. However, that night I couldn't get comfortable and I was in such pain that I laid on my floor beside my bed trying to find some position that would relieve the stress in my back and neck. I did allow the chiropractor to adjust my lower spine (again, this technique is not for me, and I am not sure why I needed four chiropractors to figure this out!)

I was grasping at straws now in my mind, so I asked my inner-self, "What can I do to help myself? What tools can I access?"

I had a memory pop into my mind. I was remembering listening to a Bruce Lipton podcast where he was reviewing his book The Biology of Belief. The idea is that it's our environment that has an impact on our perception, not our genes. Up until the age of seven our brains are in an Delta/Theta state. A state that is in hypnosis and is highly programable. You are actually recording events, ideals and family rules as a way to adapt to your environment. Only problem is, about 70% of this programming is negative. 

We run these tapes on automatic pilot after that. Our so called 'consciousness' is actually just repeated patterns, negative self talk, and "shoulds" and 'should nots." This program was essential in our development, a way to adapt into our environments so we could be a part of family and community systems. 

What do you do when you have not so great mirroring and programming? Well for me this looked like an insecurity about who I was and what my worth was in the world. I was continually searching for why and how and who I was. This has been a fabulous journey, I love learning, however if it's not empowering your life and moving your forward, then what's the point?

My relationship communication was breaking down, my work prospects were nil, I had run through all of my savings, lines of credit and now was boring money from my sister. So how was all of this searching, courses and book reading, assisting me survive in the world? And what did this have to do with my back?

I thought about Bruce's talk and how he mentioned that the only way to reprogram the old patterns was through hypnosis, subliminal tapes, conscious re-writing of negative self talk, pictures and ENERGY PSYCHOLOGY. 

I remember from his website that he mentioned "Tapping" or EFT. So I searched on my phone for "pain relief" and "tapping." I found a couple of videos and followed the lessons. Well you may not believe this, but my pain did diminish a tiny bit, however the break-through was the emotions that came up while I was doing the technique. The guy in the video was reminding us to watch for what emotions also came up as we were saying and tapping the script to deal with our pain. 

I had this notion of me dancing and how I felt. Then I remembered that my legs were actually really tired, the music was too loud for me but I continued to dance. Why? I dug in deeper. Ah-ha moment, "needing approval." I was dancing to prove that I was a capable of following the lead of my friend, that I could dance as much as he could and with grace, and I was worthy (old pattern).

I paused for a second. Dancing? Really, was it the dancing that started this cascading physical distress? I stood up, and held the posture I was in most of the night. Yup, there it was the searing pain in my pack and neck re-experienced as a flood of body memory. 

I continued with the EFT and was able to get through many passes of collapsing the idea of me needing approval from my friend, from my family, from my teachers. From anyone. It was a very freeing moment to realize, for me the hidden gift in my injury.

Needing approval can put us in situations that are not aligned with what we truly need or want. Your body has a way of giving you signals via your thoughts and emotions. If you don't pay attention to them, well you get what you won't look at.

Some of you may feel that this article is a bit "woo-woo" however I am not writing about your life, I am writing about my life, my EXPERIENCES, and what I did to transform the pain I was experiencing. Also, it was a wake up call to start moving more, start walking and exercising to keep this body stable and in harmony.

In good health and discovery.

Lisa Marie