Why pain can be a gift

As a Lifestyle Prescriptions® Health Coach I frequently see clients who have muscular-skeletal pain. Most of us have direct experience of physical pain, and whilst it can create absolute agony, in this article my intention is to share with you a wider understanding of why it might be there, and explain how your pain may actually be serving you. To do this I’ll be using the example of pain in the lumbar region of the spine which is in the lower back.

As someone diagnosed with arthritis I experienced over a decade of constant pain as a young woman. It was no picnic, I ached twenty four hours a day, and often I went through flares so bad all I could do was rest. Over the years I found solutions and count my blessings that most of my days are now pain free.

Lifestyle Prescriptions® and META-Health are concerned with the Art and Science of Self-Healing. Clients are empowered to make choices for themselves. As we can explore why the pain has arisen at a particular time we can offer solutions. These can be real life resolutions or even soul based strategies to overcome the problem. META-Health™ is unique, revolutionary and exciting because simultaneously we can work in an integrative way exploring illness and wellness using a model which combines bio-psycho-social aspects together.

Imagine this example. Jim is middle-aged and out of work. He is overweight. One day he bends down to tie his shoe laces and his back gives in on him. He develops excruciating pain in the area of his lumbar spine. Jim has many health care options. He can go to his GP for pain killers. He may be passed on to hospital for x-ray to assess any damage. He could see a chiropractor for adjustments, or a nutritionist for advice about diet and supplementation to lose weight and look after his spine. Jim could go for acupuncture or homeopathy. Any of these approaches or others may provide him with relief. However, they would not provide Jim with an explanation of why his back gave way. Also, it’s often the case that if the pain becomes chronic, meaning it persists for a long time or reoccurs Jim may become stuck in an endless and fruitless loop of trying different approaches without obtaining total relief.

This is where a META-Health™ analysis can provide the valuable missing piece of the healing puzzle offering explanation as to why we become sick. Once we know why, we can make better informed healing choices. In META-Health™ through years of research and understanding we know that in a dis-ease process the body goes through two distinct phases. Emotions and beliefs play a key part too. These factors are often overlooked in many health care approaches. Have a look at the diagram below.

The diagram represents the path of a dis-ease process from beginning to end. At part 1 life is fine and the person is in good health. Then something happens at stage 2 which disrupts this. In META-Health™ we call this a bio-logical conflict shock. It’s a traumatic experience which catches us completely off guard: unexpected, dramatic, isolating and we have no strategy to deal with it. Now, let’s relate this back to Jim. Let’s say he heard that he was going to be made redundant. He’d had no prior warning. With a family to support and a mortgage to pay he is seriously stressed. Jim starts a thought pattern of de-valuing himself. He is a proud man and this stress has affected him deeply to his very core. He feels inadequate because he can no longer support his family. He is obsessing about the situation in an attempt to get peace and a solution. We are now at stage 3 of the diagram where the sympathetic nervous system operates.

Nature doesn’t make mistakes or errors and Jim’s body as well as his mind will be doing their best to help him deal with his situation. On a physical level Jim may have cold extremities. His blood pressure may increase – all part of the fight or flight survival response. Additionally, he may have trouble sleeping, notice changes in his appetite, and mood perhaps easily angering or even withdrawing socially. The cerebral medulla area of Jim’s brain will be responsible for the processing of this and there will also be cell loss from bone in the lumbar spine region, however he is unlikely to feel this change. The mind and the body are intrinsically linked and I will explain specifically why Jim’s lumbar spine has responded this way shortly.

Then one day Jim receives good news. He is offered a new job. Jim is over the moon and ready to celebrate. The conflict is now over, and the obsessive thought patterns gone; represented by stage 4 on the diagram. Jim feels good enough once more knowing he can fulfil his responsibilities. As he puts his shoes on Jim daydreams. He makes a decision – he tells himself he is worthy and values himself once more. He can pay the bills and provide for his family.

Suddenly pain begins in his back, just as everything was going right. All Jim can think of now is the pain, he needs to rest and instead of being cold feels warm, and heat is especially felt in his lower back. With the resolution of the conflict Jim’s lumbar spine has entered a phase of regeneration. The cerebral medulla will register the change and Jim’s parasympathetic nervous system will now run the show. The bone area which was previously weakening experiences cell growth. The bone is repairing and getting stronger which causes the physical pain. The pain is actually the body’s natural attempt to heal. The enforced time out to rest is necessary for the healing process. Jim’s spine will be stronger once the healing is fully complete.

In anatomy and physiology the lumbar spine is a key player in holding us upright. In terms of dis-ease expression this area takes the physical burden when we feel inferior, hopeless, inadequate and unable to support ourselves on an emotional level for a prolonged period. There’s a strongly felt conflict with core personality devaluation present. The mind – body connection really is incredibly powerful.

You may be wondering why I think the pain is a gift. Have a look at this short extract below:

“Of pain you could wish only one thing: that it should stop. Nothing in the world was so bad as physical pain. In the face of pain there are no heroes.”
George Orwell, 1984

I disagree with Orwell. From my own healing journey I believe pain provides opportunity for expansion and growth. Pain can turn people into heroes. In Jim’s example his lumbar spine will be stronger once the healing is fully complete. The adaptation is a bio-logical meaningful reaction enabling him to cope better should a similar situation occur in the future. This is part 5 of the model above. Instead of devaluing himself there is a life lesson or message based on the emotions felt and beliefs he’s held. The challenge of losing his job and physical discomfort are blessings in disguise once we understand how the two phases of a dis-ease process work.

My Lifestyle Prescription™ for Jim and his lumbar spine:

Watch your thought patterns regarding you – always value yourself to your very core! ?

This will enable you to transform your suffering into strength and wisdom and live your life with greater meaning and purpose.

Please get in-touch to discover how my coaching and training packages can support you.

Jo Trewartha www.freeyourmindsolutions.com