Wednesday, November 06, 2019

When the Pain Goes Away.

As chronic pain begins to dissipate, it seems to follow a familiar path.
  Over the years I have noticed a similar pattern that reveals itself during the Rolfing process.  Each person has their own unique experience, yet similar patterns do emerge.

A client may initially come in for back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain etc., and after their first session, they may feel many different sensations.  Client's have reported feeling lighter, expansive and more relaxed.  Sometimes they seem pleasantly surprised by these results, perplexed even.

They feel different, better even, but can't quite describe how.

Also, the pain they came in with has diminished.

After the session we make sure that this is true.  Has the pain increased?  Decreased?  Lo and behold it isn't quite as intense.  It's still there, but less.  Not as pronounced.  Not as sharp.  Quieter.

That's what we are looking for, overt and tantalizingly subtle changes.  Cracks in the concrete.  Everything is in motion now.  Things that have been stuck for months, years even, are starting to shift and let go.

Even though we are done with our initial session, your body is not.  Changes will continue to happen.  Your nervous system has taken in a new and rich blueprint of how it has been aching to become, yet just needed some help getting there.  It will take this new information and run with it.

Between sessions you may feel the discomfort and pain move around.  Become big and then smaller.  Some of the pain will come back, then go away again.  Sometimes new aches come and go as well.  Your body is integrating this new information, negotiating with the new and the old.

It's important to have time between sessions for this integration to take hold, to really ground itself.

New Options.

At the next session clients have reported feeling really good after the first session.  Sometimes the pain is gone completely for a few days.  It usually comes back, but not quite as intense.

For the next few visits,  we are looking for a similar pattern but with ever increasing positive results.  A trajectory towards health and wholeness...and becoming pain free.

With each session, the pain lessens and lessens.  Sometimes it comes back with a brief vengeance, and then dissipates again.  Eventually new and spacious possibilities reveal themselves in a client's body.  This is a rich and beautiful place to be.

As the pain lessens, and new options become a reality, our ever vigilant mind will start to "look" for the pain.  Our minds can become hardwired for so long to be vigilant, it perpetuates the cycle of pain unconsciously.

It is important to look for and genuinely feel the NEW.  Less pain, more space, more mobility, more at ease etc.  To let our nervous system know that it is now ok to feel a bit more relaxed, less vigilant, more comfortable in our bodies.

These qualities represent a new and viable option for your body to live in, not just visit.


After a while, the initial pain a client came in with becomes less and less intense.  An echo of what it once was.

Other aches and pains a client almost forgot they had, begin to reveal themselves.  They too are tended to and resolved.

Then, eventually and ideally, the pain and discomfort a client initially came in with disappears, or at least greatly diminishes.  As we go through the Rolfing process, I will check in to make sure the goals of a client are being reached.  There are times when I ask them about, say, the lower back pain they originally came in with.

It is delightful and deeply satisfying to see a client respond, "Oh my god!  I totally forgot I even had that!"

We have finally arrived.

In Conclusion.

This process is organic.  We are looking for a healthy trajectory, yet it is not always a straight and linear one.  It also takes time.  Our poor bodies.  Evolutionarily speaking, they still think they should be hunting and gathering in the Serengeti.  Alas, in our lightning fast digital age, we assume and hope healing can be just as fast.  Be patient and eternally kind to yourself during any healing process.  The irony is, by going slow and steady, you will get there faster.

Also, there are a myriad of other factors that can contribute to chronic pain.  As we work together, and address much needed structural issues, there may be times when we feel as if we might be just spinning our wheels.  At this juncture you might need to look more deeply at other factors that could be contributing to your discomfort.  Some of these factors being:  diet, exercise, unresolved trauma, social isolation, and sleep patterns to name a few.

I may be your Rolfer, but I am also very much your advocate.  If you ever need a referral to explore some of these other factors, please let me know.  That way, it will help the work you and I do together become even more effective.

Either way, remember that our bodies want to heal.  Every day at every moment.  Sometimes we just need some help getting there.