It seems all backwards really when you hear the trainers in the gym say that lifting weights tears your muscles but it’s a good thing. It sounds like something you should avoid, like the plague, but when done properly you actually grow in the process.
Lets be clear, I’m not into the big Arnold Schwarzenegger type of body or bodybuilding but I’m working to strengthen my muscles in an effort to reduce and manage my pain. This works for me. Apparently lifting weights actually breaks the muscle down by tearing the muscle fibers. The growth comes when those same muscle fibers you broke down start healing. They multiply and grow on the recovering muscle and that muscle becomes bigger, leaner and stronger. At the gym resistance, though controlled, is good.
I don’t believe however that resistance to chronic pain helps because by its very nature the pain is not going away and the more you resist the more you set yourself up for failure.
What would resistance to chronic pain look like? It would be staying in bed moaning about your pain or getting up and feeling put out because of it. It would be thinking the doctor does nothing to ease your pain or that the whole medical system is against you. Resistance could be procrastinating when the doctor has suggested an exercise or a medication for you. You don’t do the exercise or take the medicine and complain that nothing works for you. Resistance could even be blaming the chronic pain for missing that event you really wanted to attend. It could also be using pain as an excuse for the mean spirited remarks that you made to a friend or loved one.
With resistance you look outside yourself for the reasons of your troubles. The incident that caused the pain in the first place may have been something out of your control but you now have to look within to heal. The fibers of your being, including your mind, emotions and spirit, that got broken down now need to multiply and grow using the same muscles that were broken. It starts with acceptance.
Acceptance is the favorable act of receiving something offered. Yeah right! Your pain was not offered, was it? I bet it was thrust upon you. Why then would you choose acceptance? You choose it because by healing all the fibers that were broken, not just the muscle fibers, you can begin to feel alive, fulfilled, and at home in a broken body.
What does acceptance look like? It is doing the best you can with what you have and learning to love your body even though it doesn’t work very well. It is working with your doctor to find the best management for your situation then following through on your part. Acceptance could be finding a way to be happy for those who are able to go to an event you are too sick to attend, or having the compassion to allow yourself to grieve for your loss without assigning blame to anyone or anything else.
For those in chronic pain resistance is futile offering nothing but more misery and pain. Acceptance puts you on a path to a life lived fully and with purpose. You have a choice.
How do you live with your chronic pain? What are some of your healing and managing techniques that work for you? I look forward to hearing from you so leave a message on Facebook.