One morning last week, I woke up with a sore lower back. I wake up every morning with the wonderful symptoms of Sciatica (sore lower back, glutes, hamstrings) which most likely comes from my job as a therapist where I do a lot of listening and a LOT of sitting on my bum. Not to worry, I usually solve this problem every morning by doing stretches and my own version of Yoga. I deal with and face the pain and push it out of my life and enjoy pain free days without medication. When I leave the house every morning, my body is ready for the ultra strenuous work of talk therapy! Problem solved. And I must admit, I kind of feel like a badass sometimes.
Except this morning…Houston, we have a problem (I’m from Houston so I love that phrase). I didn’t make time to stretch this morning and when I was walking from my house and then to my office I started feeling a sharp pain in my left heel. I have felt this before but it was particularly painful today and it happened every time I put weight on my left foot. I don’t know about you but I’m just a wee bit of a hypochondriac (my wife is laughing as she reads this right now). A small pain in my left heel can send my mind into a tailspin of dark explanations which usually end with the thought that “I will be in a wheelchair in a few months” all because of discovering this small pain that is now the precursor to permanent paralysis. Yes, even therapists have issues.
All day I am planning my all out war against this pain which involves thinking of setting up appointments with every health professional I know who can help stave off my impending immobility, chiropractors, sports massage therapists, acupuncture, and the list goes on. In a stronger moment, I decide, you know what, I’m not a big baby, I’m gonna go to the gym and work out in spite of what has now developed into possible leg amputation. It was one of the few times I listened to the inner “be a man” voice that sometimes has to get very loud in order for me to hear it.
On my way to the gym, the pain in my heel gets even more intense and I literally make it to the door of 24 Hour Fitness in Petaluma before I say to myself – this is really painful, I shouldn’t be working out, I’ll mess something up and my paralysis will come sooner. So I turn my wimpy self around and head back to my office and on the way decide to stop by my favorite shoe store Athletic Souls (shameless plug – http://www.athleticsoles.com/) and decide that retail therapy and some new Hoka running shoes will certainly solve the problem completely.
My favorite shoe salesman delivers into my hands a $130 pair of Hokas and I try them on. They feel amazing. Problem solved. No more pain. As I’m talking to my shoe guy and asking about my current shoes and how I just bought them 2 months ago and isn’t this a bit early to buy new shoes, he started examining the tread on my shoes and said, “Yeah, these look great” and that is when I saw it!!!! A nail…A freakin’ nail in the heel of my left shoe. I pulled it out and boy was it long, and pointy, and it was causing pain right where it was supposed to be creating pain – in my left heel. Nail pulled, problem really solved this time! And I saved $130 for new shoes I didn’t need, not to mention a lot of money with all of the health professionals listed above.
So, that’s a long story with a moral.
Sometimes, actually most often, your pain is not going to permanently maim or kill you.
Sometimes your pain has a perfectly good explanation. Sometimes your deep pain that you are experiencing might be due to a tiny nail in your soul that can actually be identified and removed.
I’m not going to take this metaphor any further. Let it speak to you directly.
What is your NAIL?
Explore this with a friend or therapist and then figure out how you are going to pull it out and begin to LIVE PAIN FREE.