Updated: Sep 27, 2018
Whether it's something as common as neck, shoulder or low back pain, there's a cause to the effect of these pains. When someone comes with, for example; neck pain, our first instinct is to directly treat the neck where the pain is experienced. But, It is not common for neck pain to begin and end in this area. Nine times out of 10 the beginnings of this neck pain was set in motion from rolling of ones shoulders forward, from things as common as working on the computer, driving or doing almost anything with your hands in front of you. We could say that the origin of this pain is from lack of ergonomics at the workplace and poor posture over time. Seeing this as the cause would be effective in starting rehab, in alleviating the imbalances that are causing the pain. But can we go even deeper?
Why are we slouching and rolling the shoulders forward? So often is it because we are lacking energy to keep the spine upright. Perhaps this is due to weak spinal muscles? With strong energy coursing through our bodies it would activate the energy that lifts the spine, as if suspended from above or springing upward from a strong low back root. So what is the connection here? Often it can be a nutrient deficiency, perhaps our food choices are draining our energy via an overworked digestive system and an underwhelmed organ storage of useful nutrients. Or can it be drained adrenals from lack of sleep and over-use of stimulants like caffeine and sugar?
What a far removed cause to the effect of neck pain but there it is. Even in Traditional Chinese Medicine we find a direct correlation to digestion and the neck and shoulders due to the pathways of these relevant organs like Stomach, Large Intestine, Liver and Gallbladder all running through the neck and shoulders. Can we take it even further? I was taught a long time ago that all dis-ease and dis-function have an emotional root. How deep is that? What if we have been holding on to an emotional state that has not been "digested" fully? What would the effect be? Could it lead to all the other causes and effects stated prior? Indeed, it could! It’s natural to have negative emotional experiences but for our bodies it is quite unnatural to hold onto them over time and this always leads to imbalances throughout the entire body.
One might ask how can something like the healing modality of massage therapy address this kind of connection? It turns out we store undigested emotional experiences in our bodies. Overtime these experiences tend to create tension in the muscles and soft tissues and can be termed "psychic armor”, meaning that the root is of the mind and emotions. The modality of massage therapy and healing touch as well as acupuncture helps us identify the tensions which could have their roots in the emotional spaces of our being. Once these tensions are simply acknowledged (the more "acknowledged" via exploration through palpating i.e. informed touch and awareness of the body) it naturally processes and releases this tension which can lead to physical relief and even resolutions in mind thought to be untouchable or unsolvable.
That's how far it can go. It's entirely up to us to take it as far as we are willing based on how much we desire these different levels of freedom from imbalance and ultimately our suffering. It's awesome to ponder these levels. It reveals a great many choices we have on our healing journey.