“Regarding Pain.”

I personally don’t believe that we need to take a lesson from every difficult life experience, or that we have to turn each patch of dirt we come across into gold. I think sometimes we should be allowed to just see hard things for what they are, which is hard, and look back on them however we need to. In saying that, the past two years have taught me a very valuable lesson about the immeasurable importance of pain.

Regardless of what form it shows up in, pain serves the purpose of warning us when something is wrong. So why do we so often choose to ignore it?Despite how deeply pain can hurt and how much we might try to ignore it when it’s there, how we try to wish it away, or attempt to medicate it into oblivion, it’s actually quite often one of the kindest gifts our body can give us. Its sole purpose is to protect us and keep us safe from harm.

Personally, I don’t think I’ve ever truly grasped this concept or appreciated its value more than in these past few weeks. As I’ve progressed through my disc regeneration treatments and onwards in P.T., moving from basic mobility exercises into strength and stability exercises, I’m realizing that “pain” is not actually something that is meant to be pushed through. If pain arises, there’s a reason for it. It’s a warning sign, an indicator, nudging us to pay attention to something – we just have to learn to listen for the signals and have the common sense to acknowledge them.

I’m finally learning to think of pain as my body’s way of saying, “Hey, I’m sorry I had to get your attention this way, but I love you and I just want to let you know that something isn’t right. Can you please take care of us before this gets any worse?

Sometimes we listen to our physical pain so well. If something feels too hot to touch, we pull our hand away. If we feel a sudden jolt of pain while exercising, we stop. If music is so loud that it hurts our ears, we turn it down. Other times, and in my own experience, we choose to ignore it and power through – as if this makes us stronger, or more dedicated to our chosen activity or sport when, in reality, it’s just plain stupid.

Pain can be uncomfortable, unbearable and sometimes even downright unforgiving – but I think it’s important to remember that it’s an innate gift of the human body and it’s a privilege to be able feel it. If the past two years of my life have taught me anything, it is to listen to the pain when it comes – to pull my hand off the hot plate, to turn down the music, to STOP “pushing through”, and to save myself the further setback of yet another injury.


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