7 life lessons from back pain

I was all set to write another post on blogging a couple of weeks ago, when I threw my back out. Not for the first time…but this was unlike any other episode. Excruciating spasms. Unable to stand up on my own. Putting on socks? Forget it.

I’ve been thinking about a good friend who was in near-constant back pain for months. Most health care practitioners were unable to help, and she eventually had surgery. I remember meeting with her while she was struggling with pain. I see now that I was unable to be truly present with her. I wanted there to be a solution: I wanted her to discover the emotional root of her issue, the ‘why’ of it.

Artist: Maxine Noel

And now, as I write these words, I realize I don’t know the ‘why’ of my own pain, and how presumptuous it was to think I could know it for anyone else. But I have come to some insights about what this experience is teaching me personally.

Listening to my body’s warning signals: as mentioned, it’s not the first time I’ve thrown my back out. I’d had warning signs for years, and knew what I needed to do to prevent future pain from happening. But I always put it off. This time, my body made sure I was paying attention.

I am vulnerable: I never knew just how much I need my lower back. Now I need help with so much. I’ve had to reach out to friends and loved ones for assistance with the most simple of tasks. I’m not used to this, and it is humbling.

Which brings me to Gratitude: I am blessed that I have people in my life to help me, and who ask nothing in return. This is no small thing, and it’s probably the biggest gift of all.

Compassion: I think of all those who don’t have caring support. I see where I’ve missed opportunities to be compassionate and helpful. When we’re feeling good and healthy, it can be hard to understand what it’s like to be in pain, especially chronic pain. I wanted to fix my friend’s problem by helping her discover the emotional root, but that wasn’t what she needed. She needed to feel validated and understood for what she was feeling in that moment.

Meds can be a good thing: Is there an emotional root to my pain? Probably. Low back pain is suggested to indicate a lack of support. And I have felt that, for many years. But it’s interesting that the pain is also revealing to me the support I do have. Beyond the mind/body connection and my holistic practices, I’m grateful for the medication that’s reducing my pain. This is noteworthy, as I’ve always been somewhat anti-medication – you wouldn’t even find an Advil in my home – and had a bit of an ego about that.

I am not in control. I can play my part in my healing, but my body is on its own timeline and will recover at its own pace. This has required patience and surrender that I’m not accustomed to. Forcing anything is only going to set me back.

Self-care is a priority: I’ve never missed so much work, or relied on others to take care of me. I notice how guilty I feel about it. Thoughts that I’m a burden on others, that I’m taking ‘too long’ to get better, surface repeatedly. No one has given me this message. It’s been eye-opening to realize just how hard it is to take care of myself first.

This entire experience has been very humbling, and I’m learning to trust that my body knows what it’s doing, even when my mind objects. I’m thankful that I’ve had no choice but to slow down and listen.

16 thoughts on “7 life lessons from back pain

  1. So sorry to read this… my husbands weak point is his lower back and I got him to just breathe through it… loving it with your Iam presence AND instructing the body that it’s not his… so nothing to fix… Its all old junk coming up from roles we took on, but we’re going beyond all that now. Much love x barbara

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Barbara. This experience continues to teach me and one of the messages is self-healing; instructing the cells. We know our bodies and its messages more than anyone. As mentioned in a previous comment I’m glad I had medication to manage the extreme pain, but that’s not a long-term solution and I can see that, as you say, it’s all old junk coming to the surface. Much love, Barbara! ❀ Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: you are irreplaceable | alohaleya

  3. As a signed on to the newsletter from Inelia Benz /Ascension 101 ( following her since 68 years or so) , I got an e-mail today with the link to one of her blog-posts / Youtube videos .It fitted somewhat perfectly to this blog of yours and the conversation and I thought it could help you or whoever else, who might read this : (Title “Woman, The Power of Ascension”)
    https://ascension101.com/en/home/free-articles/29-july-2010/87-woman-the-power-of-ascension.html
    “Last week, I found myself in a rather painful place. For the previous month, I had been getting very acute pain in my lower back, at the level of the Sacral Chakra. …”
    or the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jlei2WJ0juo

    Maybe this could help, too πŸ™‚ Many blessings to you dear Aleya

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Andreas, thanks again for sending these links! I actually waited a little bit to read/watch, because I had a blog post idea in mind, and I wanted to write that first. I had a feeling the themes in my post and links would be similar, and I was curious to see if that would be the case. And not surprisingly, it was. πŸ™‚ The messages of the sacral chakra and how it relates to womanhood are so powerful. Thanks again for sharing! Blessings, Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I noticed the similarity between the posts.The part in your post where you referred to the sacral chakra via your personal experience, was very powerful. It is also important for males to understand this, because the sacral chakra is connected with the 3ed eye and balancing the male and female aspects of the sacral ch. have an effect on the 3ed eye too, because it Β΄s harmonisation helps to unfold the potential to co-create, visualise,…in a very powerful way. πŸ™‚ Thank you for sharing dear Aleya

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Aleya,
    Many wishes and prayers for your quick recovery. It was with a saddened heart that I read this post, recalling my own previous condition. I was seeing a chiropractor for a couple of years due to some hip pain, which had cleared up completely. After 1 month of moving across country all full of hope and excitement for the future (and seeing a new chiropractor) that’s when it happened. Sciatica struck one morning and I was in denial that it was triggered by my vertebral disc. I did lots of pigeon pose, hoping it was just piriformis syndrome. My chiropractor at the time told me it was my ego and emotions. I worked through Shiatsu and was given another diagnosis, but the Shiatsu practitioner located the disc in trouble and clued me in. It took me a month before seeing a doctor to perform and fail a straight leg test, and following that 5 months to get an MRI. What happened was I had moved away from any social support from family/friends, except my now husband, and had been in excruciating pain. Months had past, and then it became years, with a few “re-herniations.” Eventually i taught myself to walk again – my foot was dropped (after 3 months), and on occasion, jog/run. My physiatrist at the time had given me an estimate of 18 months because of the moderate size herniation. I don’t know if am ever officially out of the woods. I opted to go without surgery, because the stats were the same for 2 years with or without surgery. In those years, my disc must have re-herniated twice (once i was stuck in a car for an hour due to a neighborhood shooting in Santa Cruz, Ca). Finally I’m now at least at 90% where I was before the injury, or better! This took years. I was already seeing a chiropractor when this happened and it was a unique modality – it seemed to trigger the “event,” or at least didn’t prevent it from happening. Some say that the injury was there all along but the nerves were “woken up” by the unique chiropractic modality, so that I could heal it. I have learned tremendous amounts since that time in 2012. I’m still sorting through it, basically, it’s not easy to tell the story briefly nor linearly but I seemed to have done it in your comments section.
    Aloha, dear Aleya…. be well xoxo
    Ka

    Liked by 2 people

    • Dear Ka, thank you so much for sharing your experience here. ❀ It reaffirms for me that healing takes time and has many layers…there is no quick fix. Although I've only been in this particular pain for a short time, it is a trigger of old pain going back several years. And though I've found the meds helpful as well as chiro and massage, the pain is telling a deeper story. I had an interaction with a colleague yesterday that was so powerful and gave me deeper insight into what my back is teaching me. Although I am feeling better I think it will take a while to be my 'usual' self, because my body insists that I address what's really going on.

      I'm so glad to you know you're at 90% now. πŸ™‚ Thank you again for sharing your healing journey, and for your well wishes and prayers. Much love, Aleya

      Liked by 2 people

  5. You certainly distilled many valuable lessons from you back pain Aleya. I hope the insights and self care bring you relief and healing. I had more back pain when I was young and mostly eliminated it by building my core muscles and paying attention to my emotions. I hope you find what works for you. Gentle hugs, Brad

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi dear Aleya,
    lower back pain was an on and off thing for me for many decades.It started in my teenage.

    No matter what I did, Yoga ,Strength training, Chi Kung,…it would just pop up from seemingly nowhere . Until I met certain people of my “spiritual family” aka my real family, my soul-tribe.
    There has been some powerful shamans and healers amongst them and my back pain attacks ( there was never any one who could give me a proper diagnosis for the reason of that) where tremendously less intensive, close to what I thought to have been disappeared completely.

    It was not until recently 3 Years ago, that I met a highly skilled person, a “natural born healer”,… it is hard to find a name for someone who did her part of the healing, so that I could do MY part of the inner healing too. In deed healing in whatever constellation is mostly about 50% your inner work and 50 % the other person (physician, pharmacist, homoeopath, chiropractic,….) , sometimes it varies in the proportions like 60:40; or 70: 30 or even 90: 10 , but however:

    I wish for you from the bottom of my heart that you find that kind of healing-consilience and meet up with such miraculous people, powers, circumstances that it will solve, cure, heal everything you want in your life.
    I know it is possible, because I experience(d) it. Love makes it possible.
    Thousand blessing to you .
    Andreas

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you so much, Andreas. This has been a process of looking within, seeing where I might have neglected myself physically and emotionally, and reaching out for help from others – loved ones and holistic health practitioners. I have found that help and slowly but surely, I am improving. It’s wonderful that you met this healer and you were able to find relief from your pain. I have had a similar experience but on another health matter a few years ago. Very powerful…Love indeed makes it possible. Many blessings to you! Aleya

      Liked by 1 person

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