Today, I want to share two thoughts on pain, highlighting what should be done with it.
Pain is a Response
Let’s say because there are no more seats and you had to stand in a bus going on a long distance journey. For few minutes after the start of the journey, you wouldn’t feel any form of discomfort, but depending on your health status, after some time, you begin to feel uncomfortable – your heels, calf, back and pelvic region begin to weaken. You begin to feel pain in those parts of your body. Standing in a bus also means using your hand to support yourself, so your hands will feel pain too.
Because of the stress/strain on those parts of your body for a long period of time, pain receptors in those regions send a message to your Central Nervous System (Brain and Spinal Cord), which in turn respond with the feeling of pain accompanied by a message to you to make adjustments.
As your body receives this message, you can decide to make this adjustment, or let the status quo remain. It is only a matter of time before an involuntary action occurs. When your calf and feet can no longer keep you upright, they give way, then you fall to the ground. Falling to the ground is another response to pain and your decision not to make the adjustment required.
What is the lesson to be learnt? When you feel pain, whether it is physical or emotional, inasmuch as it is necessary to let the feeling flow, equally important is paying attention to the adjustment that pain is telling you to make. Let me quickly make this clear: it is possible that the pain you feel may not be as a result of your action or inaction (example is losing a loved one), albeit, that pain is still a response (to the loss), and it carries a message that you need to adjust living without that person among others. I recently wrote about loss, grief and getting back on your feet.
In terms of other facets of life other than physical, the adjustment may not be returning to the status quo, but a message to return to the drawing table to ask and answer the question “From my current position/situation, how can I get to my goal?”
The second thought I want to share on pain follows the first.
Pain Can Be Intentional
Classic example is getting fit or building one’s body to fit his/her job description. So when a goal is in sight, your mind can be prepared for the pain that your body will be going through, and even though the body’s Central Nervous System still does its work by sending the appropriate response and message, it is equally sending a message saying “but don’t worry, we know why we are doing this” – there is something to be achieved at the end of this.
However, the body can override that intent when the activity is causing more stress than your body can bear, that’s why exercise instructors prescribe rest in between exercise routines.
In the end, we must recognise that pain is a tool, and we have to use it well.