Got Neck Pain? Taking a deeper look...
"Remember, there is always a mental or emotional root cause that lies beneath the physical symptoms."
I have had a lot of epiphanies as of late with the help of some healers and body workers who have shed some light on the matter. I usually go into the story of playing the victim since it happens to me not because of me. The “it” refers to me waking up from a night's sleep and being debilitated by neck pain that lasts for nearly a month. Since I'm not an advocate of pharmaceuticals, I feel the pain deeply and try to heal through acupuncture, massage, oils and other modalities but the truth is, nothing seems to work other than time slowly chipping away at the extreme constriction and tightness. I could take an Advil or a painkiller to help to relieve pain and inflammation immediately but that's just putting a bandage over the real issue, isn’t it? I thought buying a memory foam neck pillow would be the ultimate cure, but it happened again and it turns out my cure-all is just like Advil. So, what now?
In the East, there is an emphasis on body, mind, spirit connection that the West lacks when it comes to healing. For every physical pain in the body, there is an emotion(s) directly related. When we can access the emotional barrier and start to heal those wounds the physical pain will begin to dissipate. This is my direct experience; my truth.
1. The neck is the bridge between the head and the heart; the mind and the body. If you tend to be one who over analyzes, makes to do lists, sits at a computer all day and generally works more from their head over their heart, you may be experiencing neck tension like this. You may want to ask, Is your head in alignment with your passion and hearts purpose or is it skipping ahead? What is the connection you have to spirit and can that connection be brought down through the neck like a flowing river that fills the heart and lives in you?
2. The neck is associated with the 5th chakra, Vissudha but also coincides with the energies of the 6th chakra at the 3rd eye, Ajna and the 4th chakra at the heart, Anahata. If you are having neck pain, it may be worth looking at how you are sharing your authentic expression in the world and how you go about speaking your truth. What can be blocking you from your intuition and wisdom and where in your life can you be more open to loving without limit. Can you listen so deeply to your intuition that it is naturally guiding you to open your heart a little bit more? How do you then go out in the world and express that love in your life?
3. If your tendency is to always look towards something in the future, neck pain may be a close confidant. When we are forward thinking and not fully present, our head tends to rest in front of the rest of our body causing the erector spinae at the cervical spine (muscles along the spine) to tighten and contract eventually causing a spasm.
4. Stress in our lives can be a huge factor for neck pain. Look at the areas of your life that make you hold your body tighter than usual; the jaw clenching scenarios (literally). Take a scan of the different areas of your life like Finances, Family, Job, Passion projects, Relationships, Education, Hobbies. Where are you unhappy or overly stressed? Is it time to make a shift rather than just accepting the discomfort and things as they are. You have the power to shift your life in the direction of your choice, so notice what is out of balance and is causing you to tighten and loosen the grip which may mean letting go of something that is not serving your higher purpose.
5. The location of your pain can be an indicator of what is out of balance. If it resides on the right side like me, you may want to think of how you can soften and surrender in every moment. Where can you give up control in your life? What are different ways in which you can cool down? The right side of the body is connected to the left side of the brain which analyzes and intellectualizes. Can you set boundaries for your think tank? Turn off the phones and the screens, finish work by a certain time everyday, invite more practice and meditation to cultivate deep presence. If the pain is on the left, this is an opportunity to ignite the fire that has been dormant perhaps. Its an invitation to bring your fantasies and dreams into reality with a focal point and a plan. Its associated with the right side of the brain that is connected to creativity but may lack the tools of bringing those creative processes down into tangible manifestations.
Perhaps you have gained some insight here to the relationship between physical and mental health and you have some tools to walk away with. Remember, there is always a mental or emotional root cause that lies beneath the physical symptoms. Rather than reaching for the Advil or getting surgery, exhaust all natural options first. Look at your lifestyle and see where you can find more balance in your life. When you are balanced, a holistic medical approach believes there will be no dis-ease in the body. Mind and body are mutually dependent on one another and one can not be healed without looking at the other. This is where we see fault in the western medical system. They look at the body without looking at the mind. If you take an eastern medical perspective, like Ayurveda, it looks at the mind, body and spirit as one. When we are out of balance, these 3 aspects of our being begin to separate. The process to healing is remembering they are one entity. We must nourish all aspects of self to bring harmony and health back into our lives.
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