Pain! Pain! Go away!

By A.J. Crolli

Who has not asked pain to go away?  Pain can be debilitating and numbing to so much of life.  But what do you do when it just won’t stop?

Pain can be viewed as a form of energy or information that the mind processes.  Sometimes, as with any form of information, pain information gets misdirected.   People who suffer from chronic back issues, knee problems, chronic myalgias, etc. may become victims of pain-energy redirection. pain loop 

The term pain-loop, as coined by Dr. Levine and Dr. Philips, basically implies that if a pain signal is not relieved within a short amount of time, then a pain signal loop is set-up in the primitive, subconscious parts of the brain.  This works like a corrupt program on a computer hard-drive.  The brain keeps running this loop over and over again even though the original reason for this information may now no longer exist.  

Our data base corruption is different for each of us because we all perceive events or stimuli differently.  Our perceptions of traumatic events and internal and external stimuli are based upon our belief systems and these system’s chain reactions.  Our beliefs come from our family lives, culture, religion, etc.  These beliefs then generate our feelings; our feelings then generate our emotions; our emotions then can condense in our physical bodies if we hold on to them instead of releasing them naturally.  When a triggering event occurs, all the previous traumas of our lives that are stored in the brain’s survival zones are also now in play.

As an example, if you had a traumatizing hospitalization in your childhood years, it could predispose you to panic attacks and an excess perception of pain even from routine dental visits.  Many people in chronic pain didn’t learn in their formative years a methodology on how to cope with uncomfortable or distressing experiences.  It’s the fear about pain or any negative physical reaction that sets the stage for the chronic pain loop.  It’s very real and we become what we fear the most.  Emotional and physical pain operate in the same parts of the brain; even a chronic negative response pattern can be traumatizing and very real.  

Part of our defense mechanisms are the primal responses of flight-fight-freeze.  Many experts talk about the flight-fright response but not so much about the freeze.  A freeze response can precipitate into a condensing pattern, like a turtle tucking itself in its shell.  It shows up in the body with the crunching of the shoulders, the tucking of the head, and possibly a paralyzing or numbing feeling.  This response can even be seen in the musculoskeletal system.  The corresponding mental freeze response would be feeling stuck or trapped in a particular situation and too paralyzed to change it.  You then start to shrink from triggering situations, people, places, or things.  All three can spin off various other reactions in the mind/body when they get stuck in a chronic state.  And these all can cause pain.  By unlocking the pain-loop cycles, much relief can be generated in the body as well as the mind.  And then we can sing that pain away!

Vitality and Age Go to Battle

I spend a lot of time listening to people talk about their age.   When you work in a health related field, conversing about age is as common as conversing about the weather.  

What is interesting is that age is often confused with vitality.

What is the most common phrase I hear?  I feel so old.  Second most common phrase?  I look really old.  

These statements are made regardless of actual age; the feeling of “being and looking old” is uttered by people who are 25 and who are 85.  I have heard it uttered by all demographics and backgrounds.  This is a feeling that does not discriminate.  But it is misunderstood all the same.

Feeling and looking old have nothing to do with chronological age.  I am 34 years old currently.  I feel better now than when I was 24.  I am in better physical shape, my skin, hair, and nails look better and I am not as depressed.  What has happened?

ageing and vitality

My vitality has increased.  It did not happen over night; it happened with conscious work toward that goal.  

There is a gross assumption out in the world at large: increasing in chronological age is synonymous with the deterioration of vitality.  Many people believe that the two cannot be separated.  We are sold that idea in popular culture and by our families; our own speech patterns continue to reinforce it; we witness what we believe to be examples of it.

But this does not have to be the case.  Everyday we make choices that either increase our vitality or diminish it.  It is a conscious choice if we maintain our life force or deplete it.  The responsibility is ours.  Do we want to feel and look old or do we want something different?  

Vitality, conversely, should not be confused with the idea of clinging to youth.  This is another idea we are sold in our culture.  We believe that we must be the same as a 28 year old when we are 58: the same energy level, the same body appearance, etc.  This is also not true.  

Vitality has an interesting definition:

  • power of enduring 
  • lively and animated character
  • physical or mental vigor

The physical and mental vigor of a 58 year old should not look the same as a 28 year old; there is a lot of life experience that is lived between these two ages.  I don’t want to currently live the same life that I lived when I was 24.  I am lively and animated but in a wiser, more full way than when I was younger.  I thought I knew everything then; now I see that I knew very little.

Each age has its own qualities that imbue it with vitality.  And vitality means something different to each person.  My idea of vitality may not suit you.  My idea of vitality may sound ludicrous to you.  But both your idea and mine are valid.  And vitality has nothing to do with age.  I have seen young people so soaked in apathy that there was no vitality left to be found.  And I have seen elders that danced and laughed in a way that showered vitality on all those they came in contact with.

So which do you choose: a life of feeling older day by day or a life filled to the brim with vitality?  Which will you allow to win the battle?   

 

Hungry Thoughts

Someone pointed out that I often say, “I shouldn’t be hungry!”

Hunger

Which, if you think about it, is a very ludicrous thing to say.  

This statement points out that I believe that one day I will get to the point where I will no longer feel hunger or need to feed myself.  

And I will get to that point someday: when I die.

But for now, I need to eat and I need to eat more than once every couple of weeks because I am not a snake.  

And you may be thinking, of course you need to eat, this is silly.  But many people have these same kinds of thoughts about taking herbs:  

  • I just need to take this herbal formula once, right?
  • I took the herbs the practitioner gave me but nothing happened.  It must not have worked.
  • The practitioner gave me herbs and I took them for a couple of days but I got bored, could not remember, did not like the taste, etc and I quit taking them.  
  • Awhile ago I took an herbal formula; I should never have to take an herbal formula again, should I?

Chinese-Herbs-for-Weight-Loss

Herbs are food.  If you need food to live everyday of your life, it would stand to reason that you could use herbs everyday of your life as well, especially if the quality of life that you are experiencing is not what you want.  Herbs are superfoods, packed densely with quality nutrients.  When so much food is becoming denatured and void of nutrition, it is important to get it from high quality sources.  

I tend to be the kind of person that prefers to eat different things, not the same thing everyday.  Different kinds of food provide my body different compounds that it needs.  Just the same, different herbs give us different minerals and benefit different acupuncture meridians; so different formulas could be needed as the body’s needs shift and change.  

The only way to determine which herbal formula is good for your body at this moment is to notice what is happening and let your practitioner know what you are experiencing.  Your practitioner will be able to take your pulses and adjust your formula to give you herbs that will benefit your body where it is right now.  

Herbs only work if you take them, just like good food only nourishes us if we eat it.  We can think about leafy greens all we want but until we put them in our mouth, we are not getting their nutrients.  A practitioner may give us herbs but if we are not taking them they might benefit the container they are in but won’t do us a bit of good.  

Herbs, as a general rule, do not stay in the body for long periods of time.  If you are not taking your herbs in the recommended dosage and schedule that the practitioner has laid out for you, chances are you won’t notice them doing anything because they have not been able to reach the level in the body that is necessary to effect change.  

Herbal formulas may need to be taken for longer than the original amount given.  Practitioners tend to give small amounts in the beginning, maybe a weeks worth, to see how an herbal formula works for you.  It is important to check back in the time frame that a practitioner determines so that they can monitor how things are going.  A formula may be too strong or you may be experiencing issues that could be better served by another formula.  

Herbs can be a wonderful compliment to many different wellness and longevity plans.  But wait: do you hear that sound?  Yup, that is the sound of my stomach growling.  I need to go give it some grub with a side of herbs; because I do plan to live a long time!