What comes to mind when you think about pain? Does that feeling of pain, tension, and stiffness in your neck or back come to mind? Is it the kind of pain associated with an injury or the kind of pain you have just been living with and you have no idea how it even started? Here at Beyond Chiropractic we talk about your pain not just from a physical perspective, but also from a life perspective. Is the pain or challenge you’re dealing with related to life circumstances, your work, your relationships, your finances, or personal growth?
What if we told you that pain has meaning and purpose and is important from an internal perspective? Pain and disease are representations of various aspects of your life and a manifestation of health that can be seen and serve as a source of growth, understanding and opportunity for greater awareness. With such a depth of meaning, pain and disease can be viewed as a catalyst for you to grow, and in so doing, allow you to heal from within.
The question becomes how do you get started on the road from pain to progress? Here are a few tips to help you out.
- First, you must come to the realization that pain is an indicator that something must shift or change now. Too often you can become distracted by pain and you assume it is a ‘mistake’ rather than a guide to change a perspective, behavior, or aspect of your structure. The purpose of pain is to interrupt your current course. We’ll often use the acronym PAIN, which means “Pay Attention Inside Now” to help you see pain as a tool to help you make progress in your life.
- Now that you are thinking about your pain as an invitation for growth, let’s talk about what your pain is signaling you to do. Pain is associated with insufficient function, energy, and resources to maintain your current experience of life. This insufficiency is not just related to your physical structure, certainly a relationship, job, or anything else in your life, can create physical and behavioral patterns that cause pain. This is why the focus is on the alignment of your spine and nervous system to improve overall life function. The nervous system coordinates your joints, muscles, and organs, as well as, every thought feeling or action you do or don’t take. When your spine and nervous system are aligned than efficient and effective progress becomes effortless.
- The third step is to embrace the idea that becoming pain-free is not really the main goal; the main goal is forward progress. Often you struggle to achieve progress because the focus is solely on getting out of pain or seeing pain as a ‘mistake’. Value and appreciate pain as a guide and seek to understand the type of pain you’re having. Are you having pain from trying to avoid pain? Is it pain from not being able to manage your life experience as it unfolds? Could it be pain from not making enough progress or not progressing fast enough? Are you having pain from not seeing, sharing, or accepting your gifts or the gifts of others? Realizing what your pain is really about allows you to put your energy where it is needed to make appropriate progress.
- It’s time to make a decision about what you want to replace your pain with. The more you focus on the pain, the more pain you’re going to have in any area of your life. Where you focus your attention is where your energy goes. If you focus on your pain, then you will likely have more pain. Instead, change your focus on to what will help you make forward progress. Write down what you want to enjoy in your life instead of pain. What do you want to progress toward to replace pain?
- Lastly, as you reflect on the first four steps, you should consider your primary way of making progress. Structure, behavior, and perception are components that are critical to making progress in your life. Give yourself time to think about how you’ve made progress in the past. Does changing the structure of your life, such as rearranging the furniture, changing timing of habits like the gym, or creating schedules, help you make progress? Does a shift in your behavior, such as not turning the TV on when you get home, taking a deep breath before reaching for an unhealthy snack, help you to stay focused on progress? Or is it a shift in your perception, becoming more aware of your choices, how things make you feel, and how you’re living your life? By reflecting on where you derive the most energy for progress will help you to have more and make progress more effortless.
Pain can be very challenging for you in different areas of your life. The solution is to have a different relationship with it and use these five steps to move from pain to progress.