Cure is a hopeful word. Who doesn't want a quick fix? But I thought I could catch your attention to let you know how I helped myself with a nagging problem with my left arm.
By the way, if you think I sound like a broken record, (who still understands where that saying came from) it's because many of us are still "out of touch" with our own bodies. We are disconnected. We've lost the most important relationship within. Trying to communicate that is quite the challenge for me. Some days I can speak about it with ease. Other days I feel the intuitive side is spot on, yet, there's a detour in my brain as I try to convey it to others.
I've had a nagging pain in my left arm for years. It's been at least four or five. It's difficult to recall because it only bothered me at night or first thing in the morning. It became more obnoxious when I tried to lift weights with that arm. It was a dull pain, yet "boring" like a drill going deep in the deltoid and down to the hand. Sometimes it was in the armpit at the edge of my shoulder blade.
What are the typical things to do about that kind of pain? Massage and chiropractic come first to my mind. Tender trigger points were easy to find. I figured out it came from sleeping sideways, putting pressure on the shoulder and left side of the rib cage.
I noticed it wasn't an issue during the day. It certainly didn't bother me while adjusting folks. I moved my arm through multiple ranges of motion to pin point the specific stress on the muscles.
Most of the time I tried to avoid sleeping on my left side. So, five years of this chronic presentation was getting to me. As I paid more attention to it, I realized other postures were irritating it. How comfortable are your arms when you're driving your car? Do you rest your left arm on the open window ledge? Is the arm rest on the driver door at a comfortable height for your body size? Do you notice one arm is more easily irritated when you are sitting at your computer? Holding my kindle in bed is my nemesis. Even how I carried my phone when walking the dog was contributing to the muscle fatigue. These activities add up over time.
Anyone can obsess over these details. I felt as if the body just wants to rebel against all efforts to solve the problem. Then I'm thinking that my arm is filling up with scar tissue and there are episodes when I can hardly lift it up during floor exercises.
Naturally all kinds of wacky thoughts were creeping into my mind. Just typing this is giving me a return ache while I'm detailing how I've dealt with it.
It dawned on me today that the irritation has been 100% gone for many weeks. What did I do? What worked?
What's my answer? I don't know!!! How funny is that?
If you've been hanging around me long enough, you are aware that there is no single answer. When we look for that single answer we are highly disappointed. Of course we, as humans, want a tidy resolution. But our lives are complicated. On one hand, pardon the pun, I wasn't that concerned about my arm pain. Yet, I wondered how my arm would function ten years from now. We can make ourselves worse by overthinking.
Other than change my posture, sleeping position and concentrate on better form with exercise, and getting adjusted, what else did I do?
I decided to stop over-evaluating every detail. This kind of thought overburdens the fight or flight response. We must admit that everything the body does is correct for the situation, even if I had a fiery tendonitis or an adhesion that disrupted blood flow, I knew the body's protective response was working.
I can't fault the nervous system for doing it's job. A pain response indicates the nervous system has taken up a corrective action. Even though it is uncomfortable, it is corrective. I can support my body's healing process or I can delay my healing process. Because it is a process, the timeline doesn't always fit our expectations. Often we do repetitive things that interrupt the process.
I decided to give my brain a rest. I shut off the overthinking and said, "Brain, take over. I'll get out of your way." It is possible to layer on additional stress by believing you are stuck, that the healing process is not effective. This is a subtle form of self criticism, self doubt and the fight or flight response keeps festering. I call it detour healing.
You cannot be in a state of growth and defense at the same time.
When the fight or flight response is ignited by chemical, mechanical, and mental stress, we burn through loads of energy. How do you replenish that? How do you resolve or end a fight or flight response? Do you hope for the best and just take it for granted? Do you feel you have a good handle on your body's purposeful actions? Do you assist your body's four levels of nervous system function? (Trick question. Stay tuned.)
My example of arm pain is very simple. I know people are distressed by more severe symptoms. But the brain is still doing the right thing based on the situation.
In my training I was taught to keep close track of someone's progress. It is proper, but it can shift you into a negative mode. And it reduces us to a bunch of numbers. That takes away from the self empowerment you can create for yourself. I believe it is a theft that I can't tolerate. I don't have the right to take away your self growth especially when that's what the chiropractic experience is all about, if I successfully present it that way.
So, no I did not cure my arm pain. I worked through it by understanding that there is no treatment, but rather there is a process I can assist. It took a while. It took some detective work. And it took a different approach at serving the nervous system that continues to serve me.
Our choices will either invite healing or invite an energy drain that could eventually lead to a detrimental energy crisis. We have the opportunity to work with the body or against it.
If I can help you evaluate the four functional levels of your nervous system, you can open up yourself to a healing experience waiting to be unearthed.
It won't make sense, until it makes Brain Sense.