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Pain is an Option – part 1, We Love Pain

Medical Drugs for Pharmacy Health Shop of MedicineHow is it that the US is only 4.6% of the world population, but we consume 80% of all pain drugs? We are told “no pain, no gain,” yet we run to the medicine cabinet for a pain pill at the first sign of discomfort.

Our love of our drugs matches the level of tension in our bodies. Our culture adapted to high stress, but our bodies haven’t. Over the years, we become tenser and tenser so slowly and consistently that we are unaware of it. How would you be aware of it when all your friends are responding the same way?

The tensest clients in our clinics are the ones in the most pain. Sure, they had an injury, but what makes it so painful and resistant to standard treatment is the chronic tension. In fact, their tension sets them up for injury – when you’re wound really tight, the chances of getting hurt are higher. Then the high stress/tension state inevitably produces a physiology similar to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The body is in a survival state, orienting all its resources to stay alive.

As you habituate stress and tension, you progressively become less aware of your body. Under stress you don’t feel as fully, as if you were running for your life in the forest not feeling the pain of the branches hitting your body. With constant stress, you don’t feel the tension build. Then one injury or emotional crisis occurs and you are in serious PAIN. Believing that it was that last incident that caused the pain, you look at treating the immediate problem. The pain is intense because the background chronic tension in your body is significant.

The fear of the pain increases the tension, which increases the pain. You are trapped. Pain drugs may take the edge off, but you run the risk of training your body to where the drugs don’t work any longer. All the drug ads telling you a pill will fix it only makes you more stressed. Your doctors want to help, but, as they tell me and a recent New York Times article describes, “Drugs are cheaper than a multidisciplinary approach to chronic pain. Doctors get reimbursed to treat people quickly, so funding for other approaches is cut out. These drugs became the treatment method of choice.”[1]

Our unrequited love for pain needs to end. We need to understand that we don’t need to be a victim to pain or limited by the hope of treating the symptoms through drugs. In the next article, I will speak more about how to escape the pain trap.

Owen Marcus, MA Certified Advanced Rolfer, www.align.org – call if you have questions: 265.8440.

[1] New York Times, The Problem With Pain Pills, June 26, 2013

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