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What Is Your Pain?



As I sit here writing, my low back is painful. It's the same pain I've had in my low back since I was 14. I tell the story of how you could set a clock by my low back pain, every 18 months it would flare up and I'd spend a few days on the floor and a week or two being extra careful and how at some point I discovered Katy Bowman and Restorative Exercise and since being a regular mover, my pain is virtually gone and I've not had days on the floor in the decade since I began learning from her. And this is 100% accurate.


But also. My pain is here today. And I could say it's my bed and how I've been waking up with a sore back for months and how I ought to spend more time sleeping on the floor in my little nest of pads and blankets and comforters and how mechanically that is better for me.


And certainly I've had mechanical things wrong in my back; I've had a bulging disc and have a mild spondylolisthesis. Pre-semi-aware Kirstin would go to the mechanical issue and worry that I'd been doing something.all.wrong. and now I was messed up and there would be weeks of lingering pain and careful movements and lots of Advil.


But today. What is my pain? Today my pain is of my own making. I let something slip by, intentionally ignoring it, hoping that would make it go away and now it's become a major thing. Like truly, it's a big deal. Luckily I have a way to fix it, but it didn't need to get here. And as this all came to a head in the last 24 hours, I could feel my low back tighten and that same pain I've had since I was 14 came back. It hurt before bed. It hurt in bed. It hurt when I walked and exercised and sat and put heat on it. And it still hurts now.


But semi-aware Kirstin knows and recognizes this pattern of stress and emotional pain manifesting in her body as physical pain and recognizes the need for action (check!), reassurance (check!), grounding (check!) and forgiveness (working on it!). And as I've listened, my pain has most definitely lessened. I'm positive I haven't ruined my back or actually even done any physical harm to it. I'll address the bed situation. I'll continue walking and moving my body. And maybe I will learn that ignoring things doesn't make them go away.


So, when you hurt, can you sit with yourSelf and look at what is really going on? Of course, if your leg is literally broken, it's purely a mechanical issue! But if you've had pain in the same place(s) for years and have always been told that "there is something wrong with" your body part, what would happen if you asked that body part why it's hurting? What if you let go of all the stories you've told yourself about how weak/tight/broken you are and listened to what your body wants to tell you? There might be more knowledge there than you give your body credit for.

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