Releasing the Emotional Roots of Back Pain
No one quite understands back pain unless they have experienced it. It can be a debilitating and painful situation that is not easily managed. When back pain flares up, it can be hard to find a comfortable position, whether sitting, standing, or laying down. Finding relief from the pain is one thing but finding a way to free yourself from the underlying cause is something else.
What Your Back Pain Is Telling You
Emily A. Francis, author of The Body Heals Itself, contends that in order to resolve any pain in the body, we must be willing to consider both physical and emotional issues. Pain in the body may be a result of repetitive action that shifts your physical structure out of balance, forcing your muscles to compensate. The systems of the body strive to create equilibrium. If you carry a purse packed full of stuff around every day, it doesn’t take much to imagine that will cause some pain in your shoulder, back, or even hip.
Another layer of pain often involves emotional trauma. Francis explains, “Muscles store emotional memory. [They] simply store what the body has endured throughout its life.” To get at the heart of what is causing the pain, it sometimes requires that we move deeper into this less tangible layer of what we are carrying with us. As a bodyworker, Francis has worked with many clients on accessing and releasing emotions that have been lodged in their body tissues.
While each part of the back tends to store different emotions, in examining lower back pain, Francis describes a twofold capacity. The sacrum, the triangular bone at the base of the spine is “considered the sacred bone. It can hold a great amount of fear. The sacrum at its worst deals with financial security fears and moving forward in your life. It also deals with loss of people, which gives way to fears of moving forward without that particular person or situation. At best, in the sacrum and low back area, you can connect into your soul space and tap into your own path toward your greatest path moving forward.”
The release of stored grief that can be accessed through this area of the body often involves a “good cry.” This kind of full-body emotional release will be felt by bending forward and curling around our center. Francis describes, “Bending forward at the waist allows the lower back to open itself up and let go of the emotional pain it harbors, helping the cry be more productive through the release of all that sadness and grief that has been housed within your body.”
Three Ways to Release Stuck Emotions and Heal Back Pain
Francis offers these practices to support further release of the lower back.
Physical. Resting in child’s pose allows your lower back to open and continue to release what is being held there. You can also lay on your back, extending one leg long and pulling the other leg toward your chest. Do this with both sides and then pull both knees in together, gently rocking your body and sending compassion and kindness to your lower back.
Affirmations. As you move through poses to release your back, it is helpful to create an affirmation that supports your intention. “I am able to move forward with my life without fear of financial worry,” and “I am open and available to heal from the deepest depths of my being now” are two that Francis shares, and she encourages clients to design statements that speak most directly to their own experience.
Meditation. Finally, Francis offers a “meditation for clearing, releasing, and protecting the entire back.” In this meditation, she explains that “the back is the part of your energetic body that does not have the level of armor that you do in the front. Therefore, energy work to the back can heal the heart center easier than if you had your hands placed from the front.”
In the meditation, she instructs that you settle into child’s pose and imagine your back being fully exposed and open. Breathing in, bring energy into the back, and breathing out, “release any tension, sadness, shame, and fears. Imagine that between the shoulder blades opens up a door energetically, like shutters opening your heart area, as well as allowing the muscles and emotions along the spine to open up completely.” She suggests seeing or sensing emerald, green radiating from deep in your back, bringing with it any past hurts or trauma from that area. Continue releasing until you feel the green energy is clear and clean. From that space, connect with the energy of your “authentic childlike self, who is clearer, softer, kinder. Then place it back inside your own body healed, renewed, and with a new awareness to stay open, clean, and peaceful.”
By accessing these deeper places of healing, being present and listening to their messages, and allowing and accepting their release, you can find a way to move through and beyond pain that may have been with you for many years. As Francis contends: “It is through the muscle/mind connection that the emotions that are stored are able to be moved and released.”
- by Kalia Kelmenson