It was four years ago this Thanksgiving that my 5 year old granddaughter and I were playing when suddenly I exclaimed….. I’m falling apart ! This image was amusing to her and agonizing for me. I truly believed my body was breaking.
It was great visiting family in California for Thanksgiving – but the warmth of loving family, food and fun were overshadowed by my oppressive discomfort. It was a year since my back surgery. If the surgery had corrected the structural “abnormalities” in my back, why was the pain more severe than ever?
I returned home and read The Mindbody Prescription by John Sarno, M.D. What a revelation to realize that it was the way I lived my life that led to chronic and severe unconscious muscle tension producing intense pain. I was constantly pushing myself to do more, be more, be better, work harder, try harder. I ignored my body’s signals. I repressed and suppressed uncomfortable emotions. My nervous system was on high alert – all fueling the treacherous cycle of pain.
Through this realization, I instantly experienced less pain. The knowledge that I was NOT BROKEN reduced my fear and gave me hope. So how could I use this knowledge to fully recover?
Dr. Howard Schubiner’s program, Unlearn Your Pain, was my answer. I learned how pain is perpetuated and amplified by overly sensitized nerve connections between the brain and the body creating a vicious cycle of pain that can last for months, years, or decades. The longer these signals keep firing, the more sensitized and overactive the nerves become – creating more pain.
A powerful example of this principle is “phantom limb” pain – pain felt in the area of an arm or leg that has been amputated. There is nothing physically wrong, although the pain is severe. Sensitized neurological connections that are “wired” into the brain’s circuitry are responsible for the pain.
The great news is that we can retrain our brains and nervous systems. Research shows that the brain is constantly learning and creating new neural pathways through the brain’s neuroplasticity – “the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life.”
When I changed my understanding of the source of my pain, I was able to transform my response to the pain and to the factors that magnified it.
Dr. Sarno’s work taught me that self induced pressure and stress (often at the unconscious level) trigger and amp up the nervous system causing painful symptoms. Dr. Schubiner’s process provided the basic science and tools to break the pain cycle. (There are many other symptoms that can be caused by overly sensitized neural pathways including IBS, headaches, fatigue, bladder symptoms, and anxiety).
Today I feel strong, well and whole. The key to healing was within me all along….and now I have the privilege of supporting you as you unlock whole health!
Remember – YOU hold the key!