Pain – is it all bad news?
Pain – is it all bad news?
Pain is a very common problem for people and one of the main reasons we seek medical advice, which creates a huge load on the healthcare system.
Some facts about pain:
- In medicine today, pain is the reason that over half of all patients go to see their doctors.
- Across the UK there are currently 14 million people living with chronic pain.
- The NHS spends more than £442 million a year on painkiller prescriptions.
- In 2012, 259 million prescriptions were written for opioids in the US, which is more than enough to give every American adult their own bottle of pills.
It seems that when we experience pain, our first response is to see it as a problem that needs fixing; something that needs to be stopped, a nuisance, an inconvenience, a disruption to our life.
Our first reaction, understandably as pain is an unpleasant experience, is to get rid of the pain or at least reduce it and carry on. We obviously have a sense that pain is not part of our natural way of living. But are we missing something else here?
The widespread access to pain killer medications and the variety of medications we now have available to choose from in medicine today is a wonderful advancement and clearly very necessary, given the widespread incidence of illness and disease.
But has this led to something else? Is it too easy to decrease the pain and carry on without asking why we have it in the first place?
Pain is a messenger. A strong signal to us that something is not right in our bodies. Pain makes us stop and seek help or an answer. It is the prod that we sometimes need to make us pay attention to our bodies and the way we have been living.
Pain is not a failure, it is actually one of the body’s great success stories. It is a sign that our bodies are bringing attention to something that needs addressing in the way we are living.
For example, if we have been sitting at our computers with poor posture or perhaps not the most supportive chair for long periods, eventually the body will be in pain because the tissues in the body will be under excessive repetitive stress. If we keep repeating this pattern or behaviour the pain will increase until we can no longer ignore it and at that point we will have to seek help, support or make some changes to our posture or chair. If we decide to just take some painkillers and carry on, then this may work in the short term but we have not addressed the underlying cause of the problem because we have not changed the posture or the chair, or the tension in our bodies.
Pain can seem like it just comes ‘out of the blue’ but it is not just something that randomly happens. It is often the outplay or outcome of a build-up of choices that we have made in our lives that eventually becomes an excess of something in the body that the body needs to deal with.
For example, if we walk every day with hard, forceful footsteps because we are frequently feeling rushed or stressed or under pressure, then this is a certain quality of movement that over time will have an impact on the physical tissues in our legs and spine, and may result in knee or hip pain or lower back pain.
Pain is one of the symptoms we can experience as a result of the way we have been living. It is our body’s way of getting our attention and letting us know that how we have been living has been harmful to the body – giving us the opportunity to do things differently and make more caring choices going forwards.
What if the illness or disease was needed?
Bringing an understanding of the energetic factors in play with illness, disease and accidents and how we need to address the momentum, energy and choices that led to the condition or situation in the first place.
When we view pain as a sign of the clearing out of something that does not naturally belong in the human body, we begin to understand that there is a quality of being we can reconnect to that is free of pain or disease, and that if we are in pain, we may not have been living in a way that is honouring of that quality.
By viewing pain as a clearing of what we are not, we know that whilst we may have pain or illness and disease and that these need medical attention and physical care, we are not just the pain or the condition – there is far more to us.
So can we change our perceptions of pain and therefore understand more its true purpose?
Rather than seeing pain as failure and a sign of weakness, a problem that needs to be solved, an enemy that needs to be vanquished or silenced, can we view it as one of our greatest friends and allies that asks us to be more aware of our bodies and supports us to take steps towards a lifestyle that actually supports our overall health and wellbeing?