Can my pain be my medicine?

“When people are speaking passionately and are in a creative ‘zone’ or well-being, they may appear more beautiful or vibrant.” – Donald Epstein, D.C.

The brain probably does not interpret this statement and automatically think “chiropractic.” Most often it is associated with “cracking the back” to “get rid of back pain.” One might ask, “How is chiropractic related to expressing my authentic self?” What if the body had the capacity to better connect to the internal wisdom and gain a greater understanding of who one is?

And how can one gain access to this? It’s a simple lesson in wiring….

Once upon a time, humans had to run away from big scary creatures or fight in combat with the neighboring tribe. The physiology developed to support humans in these situations to ensure the survival of the human race. Any perceived lack of safety engaged defense physiology. Fast-forward to today, and we are still hard-wired to have defense patterns but are now faced with more modern struggles. Paying the bills, chemical overload, and confronting feelings of worthlessness are all perceived ways in which one may feel life is threatened.

If life is perceived as threatened, there is a disconnection from the full experience. For instance, in the moment a car accident occurs, there is tremendous activity. The quantity of information is too much for the brain to process at that time. In that moment, the brain is only focused on what is needed to survive the event. Blood supply is diminished from the frontal lobe, the portion of the brain responsible for complex thinking, and the immediate focus is not on the bigger questions in life. When focused on survival, the body goes into defense physiology, and the more primitive parts of the brain are predominately in control of one’s experience, body, and life. This works incredibly well for a short-term strategy to preserve life but will not work efficiently to sustain life — let alone maximize human potential. If one remains in this state, there is no choice but to live life in reaction, protection, and defense.

Eventually the strategy to disconnect no longer serves, as the capacity for healing becomes reduced. The ability to “find” the body efficiently is lost; if it cannot be found, it cannot be fixed. This becomes quite apparent to most people when physical pain manifests. Fortunately, this pain is a great opportunity to reconnect to the experience and reprocess and integrate the information that was not processed initially.

Here enters the concept of Reorganizational Healing introduced by Dr. Donald Epstein, D.C.

Reorganizational Healing seeks to create a more efficient, highly organized system within an individual through connecting to a symptom. In contrast, Restorative Therapeutics, such as taking a pill to get rid of a headache, looks to reduce or eliminate a symptom without extracting the deeper meaning behind it. The individual resumes life as it was before without discovering the meaning behind the pain. An application of Reorganizational Healing is Network Spinal Analysis, the chiropractic technique developed by Epstein, which works to advance spinal and neural integrity and develop new levels of self-organization within the individual. These developed neurological strategies will create wellness in all fronts: body, mind and spirit. The patient will become more aware of his body, breath, and energy and grow out of defense into safety where the frontal lobe can then better function and allow oneself to ask the bigger questions in life.

Some tips on staying connected and avoiding defense physiology:

  • Follow the organic process of experience. First become aware of your experience as is without judgment. Acknowledge any awareness you have. Accept the experience and what has been acknowledged without the desire to end or change it.
  • Utilize your pain as your “check engine” light. Your pain is your opportunity. It is a perfect time to stop and pay attention to what is really going on. Once you have done this, you can take inventory and, if needed, change what you are doing.
  • Practice listening to your body. To help you better understand the story of your pain, a great daily habit is to take a few moments to bring your awareness to your body through your own touch and breath.
Dr. Kathryn Fahnel
about Dr. Kathryn Fahnel

Dr. Kathryn Fahnel is a Network Spinal Analysis Chiropractor and co-owner of The Healing Loft, an integrative wellness center in Northeast Minneapolis. She can be reached at healing@thehealingloftmpls.com or at 612.208.1408. For more information regarding Reorganizational Healing and Network Spinal Analysis, please visit www.associationfornetworkcare.com.

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