After being told by two doctors I would have to undergo surgery, I couldn't let go of the possibility of finding another way around. I must admit being skeptical about the Moench Method Bodywork technique's ability to stop my pain truly. The ultimate decision was whether I was willing to be in pain during my physical therapy session to return to normal activities -OR- stay in pain and follow the current protocol of nerve-blocking medicine and limited movement. The latter would also have long-term effects on my kidneys and liver. My analytical mind had to understand the method because even though I have a high threshold for pain, it didn't mean I wanted to adapt to living in pain all the time.
Something else happened unexpectedly, though. During the two-hour process of resetting the pain signal, my inner child was also reset. Breathe. Release. Breathe. Rest. Breathe. Return to life – pain-free.
What usually would have taken one to two minutes to release a contracted shoulder muscle took six to seven minutes during my first session. Why? Because the body remembers your injury and emotional trauma even when you can stop thinking about or feeling older injuries. Even though I was taking deep cleansing breaths to process the pain mentally and physically, my wounded inner child was hanging on as long as possible.
This process helped me see my pain and reluctance to let it go. Just as I found comfort in wearing the shoulder sling to support my left arm, my inner child found comfort in hanging on to trauma. That sounds ridiculous because no one likes being in pain, and everyone wants the pain to stop as quickly as possible. The difference is in releasing the pain because it also means letting go of control.
Why else would we keep pushing through the pain and struggle of being emotionally disconnected from our foundations or moral beliefs? Aside from the old-fashioned medical advice and how the industry operates from a revenue-generating perspective, we are left clinging to our pain because we can control when and how much we feel.
Reflecting on the years of pushing through the pain, I can see how I took the doctors' knowledge and prescriptions to heart without question. Their solutions became a means to an end to my pain through my perceived control. Whether over-the-counter pain relievers or prescribed drugs like Tramadol or Gabapentin, they were all temporary masks and lies "to help me be more productive." I was not because while my pain was temporarily lifted, I had more brain fog and drowsiness.
The longer I stayed mentally disconnected and unable to concentrate on work, family, or trying to be creative, the more depressed I felt. The older and more useless my body felt. More body images and insecure thoughts flooded my mind leaving no room for confidence or hope. Can you recognize a pattern in your caregiver journey?
Well, that's not how I see it now because spending time with the physical therapist at Moench Method reminded me of who is still in control. We don't see these lessons until we take the time to reflect and release the pain. I see how God used my pain to guide and teach me. Through their hands and words of wisdom through my ears, tense muscles, and heart.
What we tend to overlook is when we experience pain, it is the body's indicator that something is out of balance and needs immediate attention. Caregivers tend to ignore this pain signal because they have lost sight of their needs and no longer feel worthy of attention. Listening to your body takes practice, and Ken's team has explained how to build stamina while listening to what my body tells me when it needs restoration and replenishment.
I am back to my yoga routine, resistance strength building, and daily meditative nature walks. Building stamina will take time while being mindful of my muscular limitations. Now I listen to my body's signals for the need for rest by working breaks into my day. I also maintain a bedtime routine and sleep posture that supports a head-to-toe nightly detox and reboot of my systems. Drinking water to quench thirst and keep my muscles and joints hydrated or lubricated is essential.
When my pain dominated my thought process, I lost sight of all the little things that make a big difference. Even though I learned that every detail mattered when I observed Mom's change in behavior, I did not apply that mindset to my recovery until I was no longer in pain. Now old injuries and the most recent spine injury no longer dictate my moods. Awareness of my limitations is essential but does not limit me from living a purpose-driven life.
I am claiming my 120 years - how about you?
Special thanks to Jordan & Ken.