The conversation in the office looks like this.
“Doc, my back hurts and I was filling out your form and I didn’t answer any of that weird stuff about feelings, I just hurt my back”.
To which I reply… “ok, tell me more about it, when does it hurt?”
“At work and at home”
I ask “When does it hurt at work?”
pause… “I never really thought about it, maybe in the morning when I first get there”
“What happens in the morning when you get to work?”
“I look at my desk and think…it’s going to be a long day”
“mmm, interesting” I reply “how about at home”
“I guess when my wife and I are talking about money or plans for the future”
“mmm fascinating, so you’re telling me that your back hurts more when you’re stressed or overwhelmed?”
“Gee doc, never really thought about it that way… “
“Will you go back and fill out the rest of that form for me please”
So is the change we’re trying to make a physical, emotional, mental, social or spiritual. People like to categorize their life experience into one of these categories. Often times these perceptions of “boxes” may be keeping you from healing and experience a more optimal state of health.
Physical, Emotional, Mental, Social, Spiritual are ways that we like to categorize our life experience. While these can be beneficial labels in some circumstances they can hold you back in others. The most common scenario I see this show up is when people say “oh… I just hurt my back” but they are so incredibly stressed at work and every time they get burned out they’re back starts to hurt worse. Or the woman who has fibromyalgia who constantly goes for massage or gets adjusted by the Chiropractor and the pain doesn’t change. But they have some issues in their past or present that are really affecting them emotionally. When these situations show up in their lives their muscle pain comes back and they don’t see the association.
Your body is trying to tell you that there is something going on that you need to pay attention.
Saying something is physical, mental, emotional, social or spiritual only… is a way to hide from experiencing what is really going on in your life. People are generally comfortable in the physical and mental. They are willing to feel body pain and have cognitive thoughts about it. In many cases they are not willing to pay attention to emotions, social situations or spirituality. These last three categories are scary to people. If these things weren’t scary to us most people would be willing to spend some time and look at it. Because if its not scary what’s the big deal right? But if there is something we don’t want to look at we will avoid it and say “oh its just physical pain” or one of my favorites “that’s all in your head”. Listen to me say this “it’s not just your body, it’s your life”. Your body doesn’t know about these boxes, all it knows is something isn’t ok and it wants you to make a change.
In other parts of the world this has been an understanding of this concept for hundreds or thousands of years. As well as a Doctor of Chiropractic degree I have a Masters degree in acupuncture. In Traditional Chinese medicine we have a lens that lets us look at symptom manifestation from a physical, mental, emotional or spiritual lens. There is and understanding in that tradition that a dysfunction in one area can manifest symptoms in another.
It’s not psychosomatic and that makes you crazy. It’s not just all in your head, all of these areas of the life experience are important and valuable and if you want to be healthy and well you need to be aware in all of these areas.
So why is a Chiropractor talking about this? The technique I use called Network Spinal Analysis lets helps to unwind tension from the nervous system, the primary communication system in the body. People report changes in their emotional, mental, spiritual and social states based on the physical work I do. I’ve seen this in action, your life can change and be better.