Lessons learned from my dear friend, Acute Pain.

Two nights ago, I was in the most intense physical pain of my life. Along with physical pain, there was a heavy emotional component as well. The pain started Monday morning upon waking, but as I sometimes do with small amounts of pain, I override it. By Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t ignore the pain any longer. I still worked a full day, and gave a massage at my office after work. After the massage, I worked on my yoga sequence that I was planning to teach that night at 7:30pm. I knew the pain was bad because I was having difficulty bending over, walking, and even sitting. Rather than call the studio manager at that point, I decided it was too late to get a sub for my class and I needed to “suck it up”.

Well, the Universe had a different plan.

Once I arrived at the parking lot of the yoga studio where I teach, I went to get out of my car and “bam!” the pain was so bad that I could barely move. I managed to walk very slowly around to the passenger side of my car, and called a friend. She suggested I at least communicate with the studio manager to see if there was a chance someone else could cover me last minute (this was approx. 45 minutes prior to class). Sure enough, my manager offered to cover me without hesitation and suggested I rest. I was brought to tears with gratitude and guilt. I felt so bad that I had waited that long to ask for help. I felt awful that I put the responsibility of teaching class onto her with very little notice. I also felt such relief that I didn’t have to teach in that painful state. Eventually in time, I came to the rational conclusion that I could trust that she would’ve said no if she couldn’t do it.

I drove home, in god-awful pain, and when I arrived home the pain had escalated. My fiance carried me to my bed, where I laid in absolute agony. I sobbed, which felt like a huge relief even though the pain didn’t subside as the tears flowed like a river down my cheeks. Emotionally and mentally I felt a little better. Physically I was at a standstill as the pain would ebb and flow like waves in an ocean. Along with the pain, waves of emotion would arise and release as I found myself unable to do very simple things like bend over, change clothes, roll over, walk, etc.

So many people experience this type of acute pain. And there isn’t a great explanation for how or why it happens. The body accumulates stress over time, and that stress affects our physical body, which ultimately leads to very intense physical and emotional pain. This happens because similar to me earlier this week, when the initial pain peaked its head out, I resisted against it rather than check in with it to see what it needed. Pain can be managed and dealt with as it arises. It is only when we resist pain that it grows, persists and gains power.

I want to take better care of myself, so I can help others do the same. I tend to over-do, and I’m fully aware that most humans I know are this way as well. I tend to slow down (like, really slow down) only when things get really bad. I also have a very difficult time asking for help even if it’s really needed.

What I’ve learned from this experience, is that asking for help is the kind thing to do. For everyone. Not just for me, or the one in pain. There was a reason my manager taught that night. There was a reason for me to be in so much pain if nothing more than to learn the lessons of trust, ask for help, and take care of my body, always.

Top 4 lessons learned by this excruciating acute pain.

  1. Ask for help, even if you think it’s too late. Even if you think you’ll be seen as a horrible person, one who takes advantage of others. If you have these types of thoughts, more often than not, they are far from the truth. You never know what’s in store for you, or how you can be supported unless you ask, or at least communicate where you’re at. We can’t survive on our own in this world. We are all in this together.
  2. Your pain is valid, and it is bad enough. If you are in pain, and its to the point where it’s debilitating your capacity to live, you need to slow things down, take a chill-pill and sit this one out. Your body is wise beyond your deepest understanding of it, and it knows how to show you to stop what you’re doing and rest.
  3. Physical pain is always attached to Emotional pain, whether you think so or not. We often disconnect our heart from our physical body, even though on a physical plane our hearts rest at the epicenter of our bodies! We try to find a physical explanation for physical pain. Emotions have the power to affect our physical posture, structural alignment, muscle tension, outlook on life, etc. The more we repress our emotions, the more our body and mind suffer. It’s just plain physics, right?
  4. The Universe will support you at your worst. I found that through the thickest pain, I felt more supported than I have in a long while. The more I reached out, and connected with people, the more love and support I felt in return. Not one person put me down, or told me to suck it up and go to work anyways. I’ve had numerous friends send healing energy my way and I can feel its effects on my body, mind and heart.

If you’re suffering from acute pain, take a look at what messages that pain is providing for you. Is it causing you to reach out for help, to find a new way to accept where you’re at, or to help you see that you’ve been holding on for dear life? Get really clear with yourself, ask the hard questions, and breathe into the pain to help release it bit by bit. The healing process has a life of its own, try not to rush it, and seek help as it’s needed.

Tara Shultis, MA, LMT, RYT



2 Comments on “Lessons learned from my dear friend, Acute Pain.

  1. Pingback: 4 ways to relax (without the guilt) – Terra Massage & Wellness

  2. Pingback: How do you find balance in a culture of extremes?

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