For most of my adult life I have suffered with back pain. Of course when you are younger you tend to feel invincible. Okay, I had some back pain, but other than that I was fit and healthy. It got progressively worse, with more bouts of immobility, until in 1994 I saw a specialist consultant. He told me there was nothing I could do, and suggested I use a weight lifters belt when I went grocery shopping! I was 32 years old with 2 children under 5. I went home and cried. The only thing I could do to get relief was to lie on the floor, and this was when I discovered meditation. Over and over I would practice what I now know as body scan meditations.
In 2013 I had a car accident which triggered my back pain, and once again I was struggling. By then I was seeing a wonderful Chiropractor at the Chiropractic Health Centre, Godalming. At the same time I kept hearing that mindfulness was effective for pain management. Through mindfulness meditation training and Chiropractic care I have become much more aware of how and when to pace myself to avoid any major setbacks. I have also learned to say no, instead of thinking I must do everything. It can sometimes be frustrating that I can’t always do everything I used to, but equipped with these tools I am now able to do most things (even skiing - though I have learned that red runs are a thing of the past!) without going through the cycle of boom and bust. Mindfulness has also brought a new awareness to the everyday things that we do all the time. Instead of trying to multitask, not getting much done, and feeling bad, I can now concentrate on one job at a time and (mostly) get it finished.
As my pain becomes manageable, so do my stress levels, I am much more aware of how becoming stressed can trigger my pain - the two are very closely related. It is important therefore not only to look at pacing myself physically, but also to keep my stress levels in check. We all lead busy lives and trying to find time to meditate regularly might seem like another chore to tick off, but the benefits are huge. I now believe the busier we are, the more we need to meditate, helping us to become happier, healthier, more positive and more productive - what's not to like!?