My Neck Hurts. Must Be Time to Meditate.

Everyone’s got a hot spot – the place in your body that hurts first. Maybe it’s your low back, knee, or shoulder. Mine is my neck. It was always the spot that got kinked up in my early 20s when I spent most of my waking hours working at a desk. Then I got hit by a car door while I was riding my bike and got whiplash in the exact same spot that always bothered me.

While it hasn’t hurt constantly ever since, it has been a periodic problem – one that always seems to flare during times of stress. For example, last summer, my neck discomfort was at an all-time high. We had just moved, which is super stressful (as well as physically grueling). My son had grown into a 27-pound barnacle (while otherwise adorable, he always insists on being picked up the instant I start making dinner—what is up with that??). Then my daughter went through a few months of sleep woes, which meant that I got some second-hand sleep deprivation. Physical stress + emotional stress + less time to restore myself = ouch.

I finally decided enough was enough. I started seeing a chiropractor and getting massages regularly. And while both of those things have helped, they truly have, they require that I leave the house and pay someone else to do my healing for me. We all need help from others – every day – and I absolutely believe in paying professionals for their expertise. But there is one person whose help I’ve found to be the most powerful – my own.

I can’t explain the physical mechanisms of why this is true, but whenever I sit down to meditate, my neck always, always, feels better afterward. I’ve come to see my chronic, intermittent discomfort as a message from my body that I’ve got to stop spinning in a million directions, sit still, and get right.

What does meditating have to do with physical pain? Here’s what I think: When I heed my subconscious’ pleas for stillness, my body doesn’t have to try so hard to get my attention. It’s like my neck is a puppy, chewing on all the furniture because it needs a form of release for all its crazy puppy energy. When I sit down to meditate, it’s like giving that puppy a chew toy—it gets focused, quiet, and content. And best of all, it stops doing things that drive me crazy.

This is all a long way of saying: Life is better when you tend your mind/body connection, in ways you’d probably imagine and in ways that you’d never expect. I mean, meditation as pain relief – who knew?

What part of your body talks to you on a regular basis? What do you think it might be trying to tell you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, either in a comment or on the MsMindbody Facebook page.

Take care and keep breathing,
Kate

3 thoughts on “My Neck Hurts. Must Be Time to Meditate.

  1. Kate,

    Thanks for another insightful and liberating article. My shoulders are my first sign that I need to hit the yoga mat. Once I start to settle into a comfortable lotus position, my mind calms down and shortly my shoulders relax and I feel the inner peace starting to flow inside me.

  2. I always feel everyday stress in my shoulders, and mega stress related to money in my lower back. I know when these things start happening (the lower back stuff hasn’t happened in years but recently flared up), it’s time for some extreme self care, including asking my husband for one of his awesome shoulder rubs. I did some gentle stretching and yoga and breathing for the lower back and it did the trick. It always feels like there’s no time to re-center, but there’s always 2-5 minutes throughout the day.

  3. When I don’t take care of myself, the bursitis in my hip acts up. It tells me that I have neglected yoga and stretching, and paying general attention to self-care, both physical and mental. It forces me to get off my feet for a while and relax, and nap even, which always helps me to re-balance.

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