My New Perspective on Pain

On Friday I went to the physio.  She was doing acupuncture on me as a form of treatment.  She put a needle in my hand and I said, “Oh, I really feel that one, it hurts.”

She says “That will always hurt because the skin there is thinner.”  She doesn’t move it, doesn’t change it and after a while I stop feeling the pain so I don’t say anymore.  I trust she knows what she’s doing.

After she removes the needle my hand is hurting.  Now, at this point,  my stomach is still recovering from being bloated (from my attempted juice fast).  So now I have a bloated, aching stomach, a hand that hurts and my energy levels have deteriorated, I’m feeling dizzy and lethargic (which apparently is normal after acupuncture) and so I go home to rest.

When I finally get home, I feel like shit and then I realise that my hand doesn’t just hurt.  I can’t actually move my thumb.  It hurts like hell when I try.  I can’t type, I can’t grip, I can’t do anything for 4-5 hours.  During that time I become so exasperated and scared that the acupuncturist has completely f’d up my hand that I start crying.

How does this happen?  I’ve been looking after myself so much, I’ve backed off on the yoga, rested, going to physio/acupuncture, taken it easy, going on a juice fast to get healthier and the result is this?

Bloated, in pain, tired, dizzy with a hand that doesn’t work?!! What’s wrong with me?!!!  I can tell you, it was a moment of intense WTF?!

And then this realisation came:  There’s nothing wrong with me at all.  Pain, lethargy, lack of mobility are not signs that something’s wrong.  They are signs of everything that’s right because every part of what I was feeling was my body healing!

Tiredness makes you rest and when you do, your body can concentrate on healing.  If you ignore the tiredness, you don’t give your body the chance it needs to get on with its work and instead you ask it to continue functioning at less than 100% The result of ignoring it is you get more and more tired and more and more reliant on stimulants to function.

Pain (like in the stomach) is what you feel when inflammation happens and inflammation is your immune system working.  So, first of all, pain is an indication that your immune system works.  Second of all, whatever just caused that inflammation, your body doesn’t like so it’s actually telling you.  If you listen, you’ll just stop eating those things, if you ignore it, then you’ll keep feeling the pain.  I found it hard to listen because I was having vegetable and fruit juice.  How could my body possibly not like juice?  But as soon as I stopped and ate cooked veg instead, my stomach calmed down and the pain lessened.  I now know that my body doesn’t like raw cruciferous veg.

Immobility is your body protecting a part of you that it thinks is weak or vulnerable.  Pain that causes immobility is the body’s way to actually stop you from hurting an area any further.  I couldn’t move my hand because all the muscles around where the acupuncture needle had gone in, tensed up.  I ended up bruised in that area through to yesterday and although you can’t see the bruise now, my hand still feels bruised and tender with certain movements.  That’s 5 days of bruising, 5 hours of not being able to move my thumb.  I thought there was something wrong with my hand but really, it was my body’s reaction to a foreign object being present where it shouldn’t have been and now it’s healing any damage that’s happened in that area.

So no, the physio didn’t know what she was doing.  I’ve had a needle in that area of my hand previously and this did not happen at all.  So, the needle was slightly off and my body knew it but because I overrode the initial message of “this hurts” with “trust the physio”, in order to fix the damage, I wasn’t allowed to move my thumb and body seized up my muscles.  Kind of like road closed, road works ahead.  Once it had sorted what it needed to, I could move my thumb again.

When I realised all of this, I calmed down and became grateful for this miracle body of mine and I learned to stop trying to control it but to trust it.  It  knows how to do its job, I don’t need to tell it but it tells me when it needs my help (through pain, thirst, hunger, emotions) and my job is simply to listen and to help.  Amazing what happens when you do listen and help, it gets the job done faster and once the job’s done, the pain and all the symptoms are gone!  Perspective 🙂

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