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The Problem is NOT the Problem – Pain is Priceless Feedback!

Pain is the solution, not the problem!

At this moment, you may feel that this statement about pain makes total sense, or you may totally disagree!   It’s a provocative proposition.   After all, you don’t like pain.  No one does (unless they’re masochistic)!

You  learned early in life that pain is a problem, and that when you experience pain, you should take a little pill that magically goes right to the area of pain and nowhere else.  You can probably relate!  Whether that pain is physical, emotional, mental, financial, or in your relationship, you’ve been taught that something outside of yourself will take the pain away, so you can go back to the same old life once more, doing the things you did before.

Well, the same old life, doing the things you did before, is WHY you’re in pain!  Actually, experiencing pain is a sign that it’s time for changes.  In fact, pain indicates that changes are overdue.  You didn’t get the earlier, more subtle cues saying it was time to make changes.  Now, pain is your messenger, inviting you to get real with what’s not working, see what’s really required to start getting healthy, and walk down a road to a better, healthier, more real life.

Remember, when you get the message, you don’t NEED the messenger!  Sometimes you hit snooze on the alarm clock… yet for some reason, the alarm keeps going off again until you get out of bed OR you’re late for work… and that’s even more painful than just getting out of bed!  Pain is the wake-up call. It’s how your system lets you know that something is stuck and you didn’t get the more subtle “memos”.  STOP! PAY ATTENTION! CHANGE!

On a physical level, pain is also how your body keeps a nerve pathway alive, if there’s a challenge in your nerve system. If interference is so substantial that NO signal can get through to a nerve, your body engages an apoptotic, or “self-destruct” pathway along that nerve. It can take months or years to regrow that nerve, so as a survival strategy, a pain signal is sent through the nerve to keep it alive.

This is why things can hurt less when you receive an adjustment at Intrinsic, if your brain can now better send a healing signal TO your body.   That’s also why sometimes things can hurt MORE when you receive an adjustment.   If there’s been a communication breakdown getting to your brain, as the nerve comes back to life and discovers there are some things that need healing,  pain signals also alert your conscious mind to the fact that something has gone awry and needs to be rectified ASAP.

Some studies find that when you take pain killers or anti-inflammatories for daily aches, pains, and headaches, it can actually slow your healing.  If your body can’t find it, it can’t fix it. When it comes to the source of pain, if you can’t feel it… you can’t heal it. This is, again, why you are receiving these body-awareness exercises.  The better you get at listening to your body, the less you need pain to get your attention!

“When you step on a dog’s tail, the bark comes out of its mouth. Treating the bark never takes the foot off the tail.”   Dr. Donald Epstein, D.C. – Developer of Network Spinal

MODULE 4 (BONUS): Pain Integration Exercise video:

 Today you’ll be seeing a simple, powerful tool to use when you’re experiencing pain, and you want a drug-free option for handling it. This technique, developed by Dr. Donny Epstein, is called the Pain Integration Experience (PIE)…and who doesn’t like PIE?

You can start by really getting that pain isn’t the enemy – it’s a messenger with a message. The way that you relate to pain often determines whether you get the message, or if that messenger has to keep knocking louder and louder to get your attention! How would it feel to get the message, so that you don’t need the messenger?

When you fight against pain or try to get rid of it, you are living from your “inner lizard” or “mouse”, the lower centers of your brain, rather than the parts known for making great long-term choices.

When you get curious about pain and get to know it in the languages of the reptile brain (sensation) and the rodent brain (sound, vision and emotion), you are putting your human brain back in the driver’s seat. That allows you to break free of the hijacking that creates unnecessary chronic pain, so you can actually discover the wisdom. You CAN get the message so you can make the changes needed for you to heal!

This exercise has a few parts: 

  • Discover the center of the painful experience. Where is it the worst?
  • Take a breath and connect to that place, as you’ve learned in the Stage 1 exercise
  • Connect to the pain using different senses. This helps break down a “stuck” pain signal by using other, supportive nerves
  • Notice the quality of the pain and “describe it” with your free hand. Is it pulsing, throbbing, moving, holding, or doing something else?  This helps you integrate the sensation through your “movement” nerves
  • Notice the “color” of the pain and verbalize it. This helps you integrate the sensation through your “visual” nerves
  • Notice the “sound” of the pain and vocalize it. This helps you engage your auditory and emotional nerves. Make the sound for 7-12 seconds. That’s what it takes to “Reset” this center of your brain and can help dissipate pain.  Remember that you can suffer in silence or set yourself free with sound, so let that sound out
  • Now, you’re going to discover the boundaries around the painful experience. Find the “fence” that contains the pain.  You’ll find that there’s a place where it starts to change and, if you go any farther away, there’s no sense of pain
  • Repeat the steps from above
  • Lastly, discover the non-painful experience across the border from pain!!! Get to know what it’s like to feel something good! You can be so intimate with your pain and problems!  Stop and give your brain something good to move toward
  • Repeat the steps from above with the bonafide GOOD experience
  • You’ll know you’ve found something really healthy and good when your brain visually perceives it as white, a bright green, or blue
  • Alternate between these 2-3 times and notice what’s different
  • If the area of pain changes in its level of pain, its location, its sound, its color (especially if it becomes white, bright green or bright blue), your nerve system is working on it). If it just plain disappears, your nerve system is working on integrating it. If the pain goes away, don’t go looking for it again.  Don’t hunt for it when it disappears. LEAVE IT ALONE!  You wanted it to change in the first place, and now it has! J

Over time (or sometimes after the first use), you will discover the “voice” from which the pain was really speaking. Pain ALWAYS means you need to make a change.  The question is what KIND of change? As your nerve system starts integrating the message, the bound information behind the pain, you may discover that the pain was sharing one of four common “themes”:

  • The Pain of Avoiding reflects that you need greater connection with your body and emotions, or that there’s not enough energy for them to function. Those are the parts of you that need your attention
  • The Pain of Managing reflects that you don’t have enough energy to manage your stress or situation. You’re using too much energy to handle what’s happening. There is an easier way
  • The Pain of Not Making Progress reflects how you’ve outgrown one level of life, and it’s time to transform to the next version of you. It may also mean that you don’t have enough energy to progress, and it’s time to recharge before you attempt to make those necessary changes.
  • The Pain of Not Knowing the Gift reflects a lack of connection to what really, truly matters. It can also reflect a lack of energy to express your gifts and receive others as gifts. It’s time to reframe what’s really important, fill up your heart, and be grateful for others.
Use this exercise any time you are experiencing pain – whether physical pain or any other kind of experience that painfully interrupts your life! Otherwise, keep using the Stage 1 exercise daily until your next set of videos… where you’ll be learning Stage 2!