Chronic Pain & Anxiety
Healing from chronic pain means getting to the root causes. Trying to heal the body with medicines, procedures and physical exercises is not always this solutions. Many times healing occurs by going inward rather than outward. Going from doctor to physical therapist to chiropractor to naturopathic physician and finding only temporary relief can be frustrating. Looking at the source of our physical pain and realizing that it might be emotionally induced can be the key to lasting pain relief. It is very hard to belief at times, but the science is there and people are getting free from years of chronic pain.
A Different Approach to Chronic Pain Relief
Do I have Psychophysiological Pain Disorder (PPD)?
Is Do you have back pain, neck pain, TMJ, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), food sensitivities, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fibromyalgia, fatigue, and/or anxiety?
Do I have chronic pain that has lasted more than 6 months?
Do I have re-occuring pain at the same site that comes and goes over years?
I have been to doctors and they tell me they can’t find a cause for my pain?
Do my pains or conditions switch places at time?
Can my pain move without any explainable cause?
Does it seem to get worse upon awakening?
Does it get better or worse when thinking about it?
Does is sometimes completely go away?
Does it seem to be associated anger or fear?
Does thinking about it make it worse or better?
Have you experienced some childhood adversities?
Am I a perfectionistic, over-functioning and over responsible person?
Do you pick up other people’s pain and ailments?
Am I a suggestible person?
What pains or conditions can be caused by repressed or unexpressed emotion (and anxiety?
Lower back pain, back spasms, neck pain, IBS (irritable bowel syndrome, Irritable Bladder Syndrome (interstitial cystitus), TMJ (temporomandibular Joint), carpal tunnel, dizziness, fatigue, fribromyalgia, headaches and migraines.
Repressed emotion? This is really hard to believe.
sIt is really hard to believe that physical pain can be caused by unexpressed emotion. Really, really hard to believe. I think that we live in a culture where physical pains are more honored than emotional pain. If someone is upset and crying and takes the day off from work we see this as weakness whereas taking the day off because of severe back pain, we all understand. There is no judgment there. Most doctors will support the idea that your pain is caused by structure or physical issues going on. Few will support the idea that it is driven by anger, guilt or anxiety.
With technology we can image parts of the body and miscontrue what we see on the image is part of the pain. But looking at the big picture, studies have shown that both people who suffer chronic pain and those that do not have no statistical difference with herniated disks, stenosis, and degenerative disk disease. It is a nature part of aging. This is not to say that some people might benefit from a surgical intervention, but it is much fewer than we think. Many people have already had the surgery and the pain still exists. Because the pain is driven by unexpressed anger, fear or guilt.
We see the mind/body connection at work in many ways which are accepted. When someone loses a loved one and at the hospital or funeral we see they collapse (their legs give way). We see the tension in a jaw, fist or back in a situation where we are angry. We make the connection and we have used phrases that people have used for a years, “he is a real pain in the ass” “or neck” or “I was scared shitless.” We typically don’t make the connection when it is chronic and we can see the cause of it except for the physical. This is where some emotional digging is required.
Dr. John Sarno was the first to suggested a theory that the unconscious mind deprives the body of oxygen in that particular area to cause the muscles to spasm. He suggested this is a distraction from the real cause which the unconscious mind thinks would be more difficult to deal with rather than the physical. In healing from this one must think totally psychological and reject any physical causes. This takes time as we have “learned” to see this as physical and it has “worked” for many years to distract us. The good news is we can unlearn what we have learned and move towards the root causes.
What does the journey look like?
rrEveryone’s journey is different, but the path is pretty much the same. It takes time to heal. There are no quick fixes. Some people experience immediate relief or a significant reduction of relief. You might be feeling relief just what what you are reading now. If while reading this your pain is worse, this is a good sign that you are on the right track as well. If stirring up things makes the pain better or worse it is a sign that the healing will come with emotional attention. Pain caused by herniated disks don’t get better or worse by reading or getting new perspectives.
There are a number tools I use and have used for my own healing. Expressive writing (James Pennebaker) where one writes anything that comes to one’s mind in a safe setting and it is immediately torn up or shredded for no on to look at is really useful. There are over 200+ studies that demonstrating the power of this exercise and many of them have a positive effect on our emotional health. Educating the mind both conscious and unconscious to see the real causes and roots of chronic pain are important. The books of John Sarno, MD: Howard Schubiner, MD; Steve Ozanich, David Schecter, MD; David Hanscom, MD are very helpful and necessary to understand what is going on. Listening to the audio versions of the books and watching videos of their lectures seem really helpful for many of us. I think that hearing them say with confidence that the pain is not physical and that we should approach this psychologically is helpful. Hearing testimonials of people who have suffered and have gotten better and have stayed better is not only inspiring but really seeps into the unconscious mind and when one is experiencing pain they can remember the story and gently tell themselves that this is psychological and emotional. One learns also how one talks to themself is a key in healing. Identifying the messages we tell ourselves and changing them can sometime bring immediate relief. This journey should you embark on it will bring a lot more self awareness than you ever thought. Many of us think we really know ourselves. If you are suffering from chronic pain, there are parts of you that are still hidden and the healing will come with awareness and expression. Changing your self talk will reprogram your mind. Expressing emotion through counseling, coaching or writing exercises is a big part. (John Sarno, Howard Schubiner, David Schecter, John Stracks) Mindfulness, prayer and/or meditation will also be another key. The pain you were experiencing was causing you to be mindful of it and really distract you from the other parts of your body, emotion and what it is you really want to focus on. The pain because a dictator which ruled over us. We learned that we were not going to listen and obey it anyone. We were going to notice it, yes, but not let it rule over us. We learned that we could listen to someone else. We could listen to other messages.
Anxiety, Stress, and Depression
LMany of us had underlying anxiety, anger and grief. We never knew there was such emotion under there. veniam
Perfectionism, Over-functioning, Over-responsible?
)People who struggle with chronic pain typically are perfectionistic and obsessive. They have a hard time letting of things. There are parts in the brain that has to do with focus and attention. (Cingulate gyrus and prefrontal cortex.
"Am I Goodist?"
A “goodist” was a term coined by Dr. John Sarno, the author of “Healing Back Pain” to describe a person who works so hard and copes so well. They have a hard time showing weakness or vulnerability. They don’t want to burden anyone. They are pretty moral and wouldn’t show much anger.
I had suffered for many years with chronic pain and anxiety. When I learned that the cause of my pain and ailments were due to unfelt feelings, I started to focus on how to express my feeling more. I still have occasional pains and bouts of anxiety, but I know where to look and what to do. Before healing, I thought I knew what to do which was “run to the doctor” after trying to tough it out on my own. After many years, I began to “not know what do do.” At this place I began to heal in that I was open to looking at the emotional side of this pain. I began to read and listen to videos of doctors and counselors who had been through this themselves. I began to look at the clinical research and was amazed that so many are following the wrong path and not getting any results. I am a licensed professional counselor and a coach. I now specialize in helping others with their journey toward healing.
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