For the umpteenth time that day I felt angry with my son for not keeping his side of the bargain; to clean my car in return for borrowing it. With this anger very much alive, I bent over to open a drawer, and felt my lower back ‘ping’.
It so happened I was reading John Sarno’s book ‘Healing Back Pain’, in which he suggests that much back pain has an emotional source.
So, very much aware of my anger, I quickly let it go, stood up slowly, and allowed my back to readjust. I was left with just a slight niggle which eased off quickly over the next couple of days.
This was the third time I’d become aware of how anger could affect my lower back while bending, though the first time the realisation had come at the moment my back actually ‘pinged’
Several years ago I’d put my lower back out while gardening, and it wasn’t until later I realised I’d been feeling angry with my husband for not helping. On another occasion my back went while I was sweeping food from the kitchen floor, and later I realised I was angry with my teenagers for leaving such a mess after making their sandwiches. Both times it was a few weeks before my back was back to normal. For some people the emotion is continually suppressed, and the pain becomes chronic.
Since then I’ve been careful not to be angry when bending over, but I’d forgotten with the car incident!
While I had long been aware at an intellectual level that emotions affect the physical body, these incidents gave me a very real experience of the connection.
John Sarno has found that once people understand how their suppressed emotions can cause pain, it often disappears. Some of my clients have reported relief after reading his book.
He suggests that the pain is there to distract us from addressing the unwanted emotions, and once we engage the brain with the emotion, there is no longer any reason for the pain to persist.
Of course, if you are concerned about your pain, you should consult your healthcare practitioner.
What persistent, or recurring, physical pain do you experience?
What emotion could be contributing to the pain?
Common ones are: anger, fear, sadness and worry.
The following questions may help you track it down.
- What was happening in your life when the pain started / the first time you experienced it?
- What does the pain remind you of?
- What sets the pain off?
- When is the pain worst?
What will you do to address the emotion?
Awareness of the mind-body connection may be enough to allow the pain to slowly resolve.
If you want to take a more active approach, my suggestions include EFT (see my QuickStart for EFT), The Sedona Method, or any other method you use to let go of negative emotions.
The other side of the coin is that positive emotions make the body feel better, so it’s good to encourage feelings such as acceptance, joy, love and peace – how to do so will be the subject of another article!
The Delicious Nugget: Suppressed emotions can cause pain in the physical body. Becoming aware of this connection may be enough to release the pain over a period of time, or you can use a method, such as EFT, to let go of the emotion.