7 Things I Learned from Shoulder Pain

Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Anatomical_studies_of_the_shoulder_-_WGA12824Last week, my boyfriend and I were sharing the lawn tractor, fitting our two big butts side by side on one little seat. I was steering, grinning widely that we were funnin’ it up like kids. We hit a bump and a tiny ache meandered through my shoulder, then left like it was never there. I didn’t think much about it… until that night. I was rolling around in pain, unable to sleep, soon unable to move my arm, not even an inch. 3 days later, I was in tears, begging him to take me to the hospital to find out what the heck I did to my shoulder! When you’re in pain, there’s not much to think about, but pain. But if we are aware and reflective through the process we can actually learn something. Here’s what I learned.

  1. Pain is Exhausting
    When pain is disabling you, even little things take big effort. Add a sleepless night or two, and its pretty tiring. Your body is trying to tell you something, and I believe it is precisely “Slow down dummy, let me heal.” Get your rest, and maybe try meditation to get in the right brain space.
  2. There is an Emotional Element to every Ailment
    Since were now listening to our body, lets listen to our thoughts and feelings too. Many times pain coincides with our ‘sayings’.  In this case, shoulder pain says that I was having trouble ‘Shouldering Responsibility’. The inflammation indicates that I’m angry, or inflamed, about something. I do have quite a few ‘chores’, plus a boyfriend and a son to care about, and then of course money and a job. Enter a little disabling pain and I saw quickly, who around me was pushing my ‘responsibility’ boundaries, and how I might feel like it was my job to do the work. This is NOT to place blame on someone for ‘doing this to me’, causing injury and pain. I did this to myself.

    I believe that the way I feel and the thoughts I think brought this to me, whether I was aware of them or not. If I had any of the following beliefs, I wonder, would this little trauma have occurred? Thoughts like ‘Im so happy that we all do our part to contribute’ -or- ‘I love the work and Im happy to do it’ -or even- ‘Im a great delegator. I can hand out tasks in a really fair way’. These are all very true and just as easy to believe as ‘i gotta do all this’ or taken an easier approach and just not thought about it at all.

    I used ‘who did this to me’ as reflective awareness to let me know where my vibes dont jive, what IM feeling, and may be pushing down. I also joked (with good intention and 100% adorableness) that Im ‘learning to be flexible’. Since I had virtually no use of my right arm, I started using my left. It turned out to be kinda fun, even.

    Louise Hay published a list of common illnesses and their metaphysical cause. She wrote it in her book You Can Heal Your Life. You can see a quick overview on this site.

  3. One Situation Can Uncover Other Problems
    I think an amazing belief to adopt is that “The Universe is Always Working For ME”… or taking care of me, looking out for me, Is always on my side. However it sounds right. IF the ‘universe always supports me’ THEN… it will show me what to do. And TRUST that. Its an incredibly loving feeling, even if you only believe it just a little.

    When I was forced to the hospital with pain, they routinely checked my blood pressure. It was really high. Higher than pain would cause it to go (I made sure to ask that question). This was obviously my sign to do something about it. Ive brought it down in the past, under doctor supervision, with the Dash Diet (milk, bananas, potatoes and fish if you want to get started right now). And even though Im in the middle of Alan Carrs book,  Easy Way to Stop Smoking, Im not quite finished smoking yet. But I learned something amazing. WebMD (WEBMD!) published a study on how e-cigarettes aren’t as bad for your blood pressure as cigarettes are. I was blown away that this is actually out there.

  4. EFT Works on Pain (and is really illuminating)
    If you’ve never tried Emotional Freedom Technique (tapping), its just about the silliest thing you’ll be happy you did. You stimulate (tap on) your ‘acupuncture points’, the body’s ‘energy meridians’.  I wouldnt ever do it in public because it looks ridiculous, and I cant say that it works for everyone. I also cant say that it works miracles, I’m pretty sure you gotta do it more than once or twice. But its a little piece of the puzzle that helps along the way. And if you do a guided session, it could pinpoint an emotional cause of your ailment. You might have an a-ha moment. If you decide to try guided EFT, I recommend searching for Julia Shiffman on youtube. Shes so down to earth. Plus she works for Dr. Mercola who I think absolutely brilliant.
  5. Doctors Know More than You Think
    If you dont love your doctor, seriously, find one that you do. Remember that belief… if ‘the universe always supports me’, then your doctor is part of that universe. Let him be there for you. I think its important to not try to diagnose your own issues. Tell him your symptoms, he’ll figure it out. And if there’s anything you’re not clear about, ask questions! Doctors are usually in a hurry, but your pain is as important as the next guys.
  6. Try Everything
    You never know whats going to work best. When you’re in pain, you’ll be more than willing to research your issue. I make a list of things I can do to heal, and go through all of them to see which works best. What better way to tell my body, I really want you to feel good. Once I have a diagnosis, its really easy to combine my doctors advice with home treatments. They’re usually so simple! For my shoulder, a 20 minute ice pack, and massaging the tissue with tiger balm in addition to the docs prescription ibuprofen worked wonders for the pain. I’ve learned some other remedies too, like Apple Cider Vinegar for food poisoning. Coconut Oil for bad teeth and gums. Knitbone for breaks and tissue regeneration. And of course, there’s always a healthy diet of fresh fruit and veggies.
  7. Approach it as a Learning Experience
    Pain sucks, there’s no two ways about it. But if you’re in the right mentality, there’s so much you can learn through pain – about yourself, about life, about your thinking and about what you WANT. Remember that Emotional Element of pain? In my case, the feelings of burden and anger from responsibility. Ask yourself, what would I RATHER have? And don’t answer ‘no more pain’. What would you REALLY rather have?  Maybe an active, happy life where responsibilities are a joy. I learned this from my lovely new friend Cynthia. Once you know, you can totally imagine it. The more the better. They say your brain doesnt know the difference between real and imagined. Imagine it with all the feeling in your heart and youre halfway there!

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