Ever wake up with a ‘sudden’ bout of back pain? Or even neck, foot or anywhere pain? You went to bed, feeling just fine, no injuries that you can think of, but the next morning, it hurts to move?
I had this happen recently. I went to sleep feeling fine and the next morning, my shoulder blade felt like a stick was lodged in it. Very uncomfortable to say the least.
When this used to happen, I would completely panic. How would I get my kids off to school? How would I get my to-do list even partly started? What doctor, pill or healer could I run to to get relief?
But guess what? This time, I became the healer that I ‘ran’ to and gave myself the relief I needed.
With this shoulder blade pain, I did panic for a moment, but then I quickly readjusted and directed my mind to healing.
‘My mind to healing’, you may ask? What has body pain got anything to do with the mind? Isn’t it a body thing?
Yes and no.
Dr. John Sarno, a well known back physician and author of ‘The Mind -Body Prescription’, has claimed for years that many body pains are caused by the brain, not the body. Yes, there is real pain and it hurts – but it’s a trick that your brain is playing on you and it is within YOUR POWER to get relief.
His theory is that the brain is afraid to deal with emotions. In an effort to suppress them, it cuts off oxygen to certain body parts which results in pain and distracts you from dealing with your feelings. Instead, the pain is so uncomfortable that all your energy gets focused on getting rid of it and that gets you running to doctors, chiropractors, massage therapists for relief.
Please don’t get me wrong. All these healers are wonderful and they may help you get temporary relief for a day or two, maybe a month or two even.
But this pain will most likely return – maybe not in the same form, but it will return if the true source of the pain isn’t recognized. One month it may be your lower back, the next month your upper back. Or plantar fascitis. Or headaches. The pain will jump around and not in a logical order.
So what is the true source of the pain?
It’s the suppression of your emotional world.
Emotions are ‘energy in motion’ in your body and they are trying to communicate messages to you. Dr. Sarno’s theory is that our mind is too afraid (subconsciously, of course) to look at these messages.
Why is the mind so afraid of us looking at our emotions?
Because our emotions communicate to us how we’re feeling – whether we are sad, angry, embarrassed, scared and even happy.
And when you pay attention to these feelings, you may come to the conclusion that changes have to be made. A relationship may have to be scrutinized, a thought or behavior pattern of yours may need to be shifted or a situation, like a job, may have to be let go.
The primitive part of the brain is just too scared of change. It reacts with panic – “oh, no, not change!”
So what can be done? Who wants to continue to live with pain?
I don’t that’s for sure. When I finally decided to entertain that Dr. Sarno’s theory could even possibly be true, I had to get real brave and look at my emotional world.
And guess what? It wasn’t as scary as I thought. Yes, sometimes it did require changes, but those changes were good for me and I’m much happier for them. Operating in the world from a place of ‘fear of change’ just didn’t serve my health nor my highest good.
Over time and practice, I have, thank G-d, accessed more and more of the healer within me.
Do I still go to doctors, physical therapists, get massages? For sure. But certainly not as much as I used to and not for the same reasons as before.
If I do go to these specialists, it’s more to get check ups or to get a greater understanding of some part of my body. If I go to a chiropractor or massage therapist it’s because it feels good for my body to get the treatment. I also use discernment to establish if something is serious and needs medical attention or the assistance of a specialist.
On a daily basis, I try to keep in mind that whatever is presenting itself physically to me may be the result of an emotion needing to be processed, an unhelpful subconscious thought needing to be heard or a behavior pattern, relationship or situation needing to be adjusted.
So, how did I access the healer in me when my shoulder was in pain?
I first panicked. Just for a moment. Yes, there was pain and my first reaction to pain is alarm. I allowed that moment and also searched my memory for an injury. The pain was manageable, but if it had really hurt, I would have taken an ibuprofin because I dislike being uncomfortable. This shoulder pain felt manageable.
Then I took a few moments to check in with my body and emotional world. I closed my eyes, and noticed what other physical sensations I had in my body BESIDES the shoulder pain. I also searched my mind for an uncomfortable situation that may have taken place the day before that I had ignored. By taking a little time to go within, I recognized the situation and noticed that my chest was tight and my jaw clenched.
I placed my attention on those sensations for less than a minute. Some thoughts came to mind around a circumstance that I had not dealt with. I like to journal so I wrote down a few things and took recognition of some very unhelpful thoughts around the circumstance. In this case there wasn’t any action that I needed to take, just a noticing of a particular incident that had brought up some fearful thoughts. And then I took a few deep breaths.
Voila! My brain got the message that I was willing to look at my emotions. No need to cut off oxygen to my shoulder and cause pain and distraction. No need for that tension to be in my body.
Did the shoulder blade pain go away?
Not right away, but it did lessen. And I had faith that it would disappear because I’ve done this before. I even went to exercise class because I knew that the true source of the pain was coming from my brain and not coming from an injury or physical disability.
I had accessed the healer in me.
Want to try?
You don’t have to wait till you’re in pain.
Doing these steps a few times a day can help you access the healer within:
- Communicate to your brain: Let your brain know that it no longer has permission to cut off oxygen anywhere in your body and cause you distracting pain. I do this by telling my brain ‘I’m willing to feel all my emotions.’
- Notice physical sensations: Check in a few times a day to notice the physical sensations in your body. At first you may want to close your eyes to concentrate.
What do you notice? Is your jaw clenched, shoulder’s hunched, mind buzzed, breath held, stomach knotted? All these are physical sensations are expressing an emotional energy in your body. You may even hear a word come into your mind -’angry,’ ‘sad’, ‘disappointed.’ But the word isn’t as important as putting your attention on the sensation itself. When you notice the sensation, just stay with your mind on it for a few seconds. Allowance and acceptance are key.
- Breath: After noticing, allowing and accepting the stomach ache, the tight shoulders, the clenched jaw, take a deep breath and release. Perhaps journal what thoughts you’re noticing or if a recognition came to mind regarding the circumstances surrounding the physical sensation.
Even if it’s a lightness in your being – that could be joy, and recognize what circumstance is bringing you joy.
Some other resources that are terrific in becoming acquainted with these ideas are:
Dr. Schubiner “Unlearn Your Pain”
You have a healer in you.
Meryl Feldman is an Intuitive Wisdom coach who guides women in aligning with their soul self, empowering them to make clear, confident decisions in their life. For more info, visit her site MiriamRacquel.com.