Byron Katie, in her many teachings, explains how much of our suffering is caused by believing our thoughts that are not true. I want to talk about how this idea applies very practically to your physical pain- whether you have back, neck, knee, hip, shoulder or any other type of pain.
These are 5 common thoughts people have about their bodies and their pain:
- “My hip is bone-on-bone or degenerative. Surgery is the only option.”
- “Everyone in my family is overweight. It’s genetic.”
- “The herniated disc is what’s causing my back pain and sciatica.”
- “All runners have bad knees.”
- “I have scoliosis. Nothing can be done about that.”
These thoughts, as I have hinted at, are not true – even if you believe them now and have been told so by well-meaning experts who are trying to help you. Let’s take them one at a time and explore them.
- If the degeneration in your hip is causing your pain, your pain would be the same all the time – it’s not. The question to ask is “why did the joint degenerate?” Compromised posture and movement patterns will wear the joint surface away over time. When these postural and movement imbalances are corrected, the pain will go away.
- Science has shown that genetics plays a role in obesity, but the not the dominate role we once thought. Epigenetics has shown us that environmental factors "turn on and off" genes, including those implicated in obesity.
- Studies show that many people have disc herniations but have no pain. This means something else is causing the pain. Again asking different questions often helps bring out the answer you are looking for: “What caused the disc to herniate?” “Why that disc and not the one above or below?” “And why to one side?” Exploring those questions will lead you to understand the disc is only responding to the forces put upon it by the spine, pelvis, and shoulders being out of position and/or imbalanced. Correct the postural position and the pain goes away.
- All runners do not have bad knees. Thus running doesn’t cause bad knees. Faulty running mechanics causes friction and stress in the knee joint, causing people to feel they have “bad knees.” The faulty running mechanics are caused by postural imbalances, which are fixable. This means your knees can be “good” again.
- With scoliosis, as with any misalignment of bones, it’s important to remember that muscles move bones. You can change muscle memory with specific e-cises, and since form follows function, the bones will move back into their proper place.
Questioning our beliefs and thoughts about our bodies will allow us to see that many of them are not true. When we realize that our stressful thoughts are not true the stress goes away, the power is back in our hands, and peace of mind is restored.