Embrace your pain! I remember spending a week last year with a sporting legend, American Footballer Ray Lewis. Because of his career as an American Footballer, and one famous for tackling harder than pretty much anyone in the NFL (National Football League), he has over the years, developed a pretty close relationship with pain.
Pain is GOOD!
Ray and I had some pretty interesting conversations but the one thing we both agreed on was that pain is good! Yes, I kno this seems counter-intuitive, but stay with me and let me explain. For Ray, the pain he experienced was a way to stop himself literally from destroying himself, using his own body as a battering ram. Ray would tell me that he embraces pain; for him, it is a tool that tells him just how far he can go whilst training and playing. Ignore the pain completely, as some jocks would recommend, then you run the danger of causing a career-ending injury. Ray smilingly tells me that barely a day has ever gone by without him feeling pain.
For me, pain (nociception) is one of our most important senses as it tells us something is wrong and that we should find a solution or make some kind of correction. I myself played rugby for many years and played through a great deal of discomfort, unaware at that time of the consequences. But life is a learning experience and I’m older and wiser now. I still have aches but I understand completely why it’s there and it helps keep me focussed on my body and looking after myself for the long journey ahead.
Obviously, as a chiropractor, I encounter pain every day and much of our work is to relieve our clients’ pain. I’ve thought a lot about pain and I have a simple strategy that works for me and I suggest strongly that you try it.
Here’s my strategy…
What is the pain telling you? Almost always it is saying that some sort of correction is needed. There is a dysfunction that needs your attention. Ignore the whispers from your body at your peril or before you know it your body will be screaming at you.
Take action! Identify the cause of the dysfunction and take steps to correct it. Then maintain the correction. What is your strategy?
Use your pain as a reminder, to keep the affected area and rest of the body in alignment and well balanced. Do this always until it is part of your subconscious, habitual behavior. This will be one of your most important life strategies to embrace for healthy aging.