Updated: May 11
Aching shoulders, pounding head, and burning pain in your neck and upper back.
Does your body feel like this too?
As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. I am not a doctor or health care provider. Any information found here is for educational purposes and not to be considered a diagnosis or treatment.
Sitting for long hours at a computer can wreak havoc on your body. Human beings are meant to move. It is what keeps us strong and helps our lymph to flow. On the other side of the coin too much work or repetitive motions without adequate rest can also create pain in the body.
Oftentimes we are in a hurry and we don't have time for our pain to slow us down. We feel inconvenienced by the discomfort we are experiencing and we just want it to go away.
But what if this pain was a messenger and by ignoring its message you are creating more of a problem?
Could you open up some space in your life to sit down with your body when you are in discomfort and ask it what's going on?
What if this small step in the pain cycle could create a breakthrough for you, would you do it then?
If we are able to see pain as a messenger and not the enemy our body will be able to relay more information to us.
The simple act of taking a few deep breaths, getting quiet, and listening to what your body has to say can help you find the appropriate solution to your pain.
Did you know that sometimes our emotional
pain or discomfort will manifest as physical pain?
This can be the case when our pain does not respond to pain relievers or other methods of relief. Taking some time, if you can, to journal what your body is feeling can help you keep track of your symptoms and your emotional responses so that you can better prepare for the future when you face similar stressors.
Being able to accurately identify the source of your pain is important so that you can be sure to use the right treatment for your body. Even when you are suffering from emotional pain that is manifesting as physical pain in the body, using a pain reliever can help to break this cycle of ‘pain, spasm and stress’ so you can get out of discomfort and get to the root cause of your pain.
Being able to journal about your feelings, process them and then meet your needs in a healthy way is how you will break the cycle and keep it from repeating and wreaking havoc on your life.
I will share with you my process and some tools I use to communicate with and comfort my body when it is in pain.
When I become aware of physical discomfort in my body I try to pause and bring my attention to it. Not in a way that feeds into the pain but in a way that turns the spotlight on it and the volume down on everything else so that I can clearly hear what it has to say.
I'll reach for an herbal topical like Zheng Gu Shui to apply to my aches. This is a handy herbal pain reliever that I keep in my desk or where I take my breaks. I love it because it has an easy to use spray nozzle for getting it on my back where it's hard to reach. It uses camphor and menthol to provide a cooling pain relief. What is even better are the benefits of the “inactive" ingredients. I'll tell you more about it later.
Once I apply my pain reliever, I take a few breaths to calm my mind so that I can hear the voice of pain in my body. I focus only on my breath for 3-4 counts.
First I begin to think logically about why I could be having this discomfort.
I take a few moments to breath and ponder where this pain could be coming from with a calm and curious mind. I let the answers float into my mind without getting too attached to them. Just noticing what comes up and breathing mindfully.
Then, I ask why this pain is here? Am I experiencing something in my physical body or mind that could be causing this pain?
I breathe deeply and wait for the answer.
Next, I ask my body what it needs from me to feel better.
I breathe deeply and wait for the answer. I try not to judge what comes up, I'm here to just listen to the answers my body gives me.
I then thank my body for its answers. When I am done, I write down the answers in my journal or I repeat them to myself to remember.
I reflect back on the answers my body gave me and go about finding a way to honor the need that my body has asked me to fulfill.
This process doesn't have to take more than a few moments but in the beginning may take longer until you get the hang of it. Communicating with your body when you haven't in a long time can be like getting to know a new person. The interaction might seem clunky and awkward at first but it gets smoother the more you do it.
As you speak to yourself try to do it in a way that isn't accusatory but in a curious and gentle way: as if you are speaking to a child or someone in discomfort who you cared about and wanted to help. The tone in which we talk to ourselves can play a big part in our pain response.
I prefer to use a liniment, like Zheng Gu Shui, as often as I have discomfort to keep tension from spreading to other areas of my body, making it more difficult for me to get relaxed.
This traditional Chinese herbal remedy is good for more than just numbing the pain like some other topical pain relievers. It has powerful herbal ingredients that are based off of an ancient formula called evil bone water or bone-setting liquid. This remedy was used to treat fractures, broken bones and injuries suffered in combat. It is used today to treat trauma or pain from backache, arthritis, strains, bruises, and sprains.
I use Zheng Gu Shui in my massage treatments after cupping therapy to help increase healing and relieve discomfort. I also use it in my daily life after long massage sessions or a workout. It helps to refresh and revive my tired and fatigued muscles. Because it's a liniment it isn't gooey or greasy, it's actually alcohol-based so it evaporates really quickly.
Zheng Gu Shui has some powerful active ingredients like Camphor and Menthol but it also has some really powerful inactive ingredients like Japanese Knotweed, Paniculate Swallowort, Shin Leaf Prickly Ash, and Zedoary Rhizome.
Let me share with you some of the plant powers in this Traditional Chinese remedy!
Camphor has a long history of herbal use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was used for its analgesic, antispasmodic, odontalgic, rubefacient, and stimulant properties and was used in the treatment of colds and diseases of the lungs.
Today, we commonly use the essential oil of Camphor which is distilled from leaves and bark and has anthelmintic, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, cardiotonic, carminative, diaphoretic, sedative and tonic properties. It is used for joint or muscle pains and for bronchial congestion.
Menthol, also called mint camphor or peppermint camphor, has long been used medicinally as a soothing balm. Menthol works by causing the skin to feel cool and then warm. These feelings on the skin distract you from feeling pain.
Japanese knotweed rhizome contains the anti-cancer and brain-healing antioxidant Resveratrol. Resveratrol is an unusually powerful phenol, found in a unique group of micronutrients with antioxidant properties. It has been reported to help the brain heal and experience a degree of age-reversal. The Resveratrol in Japanese Knotweed can help reduce the effects of free radicals and improve the human body’s ability to heal itself. It may also reduce inflammation.
Paniculate swallowort root or Cynanchum paniculatum, is an herb used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. The roots, or rhizomes are dug and gathered in autumn and dried to be used as medicine. Traditional practitioners used it to dispel wind and dampness from the body and to stop pain and itching. Paniculate swallowort root is often employed in cases of rheumatic joint pain, lower back pain, abdominal pain, toothache and pain due to external injuries as well as eczema and measles.
Shin-leaf prickly ash root is known in China as Liang-Mian-Zhen, is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating stomach ache, toothache, rheumatic arthralgia, traumatic injury and venomous snake bites. At present, more than 150 chemical constituents have been separated and identified from Shin-leaf prickly ash roots, most of which include alkaloids which have biological properties that are: anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hemostatic, anticancer and antibacterial.
Zedoary belongs to the family Zingiberaceae consisting of about 1400 species and 47 genera which have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Curcuma zedoaria also known as white turmeric, kachur and zedoary is cultivated all over Asia.
Traditionally, zedoary was used as an anti-inflammatory, carminative, antitumor, gastrointestinal stimulant, antiulcer, stomachic, antiallergic, diuretic, hepatoprotective, antinociceptive, demulcent, expectorant, rubefacient and antimicrobial.
The strong phenolic contents and radical scavenging activity of zedoary rhizome play a protective role against dysfunction of metabolic syndromes.
I think you might be beginning to see why I prefer to use this product compared to over the counter pain relievers, even the inactive ingredients are incredibly powerful!!
It almost seems crazy not to use it!
I prefer Microwavable heat packs compared to heating pads because they produce a moist heat which penetrates deeper through the muscle tissues to increase circulation and relieve muscle tension. The electric heating pad just creates a superficial warmth that makes the skin and top layer of tissues increase in circulation so I don't feel like it is as useful as the microwave heat pack. I reach for heat on my lower back and legs to relieve pain from overuse or stiffness.
For my neck and upper back I like to use ice packs instead. I prefer the gel ice packs as they are more comfortable to lay on and I can contour them to my body as needed. I use cold packs at the end of the day on my head and neck to reduce mental fatigue and keep down migraine headaches.
Using these natural methods keeps me from relying on over the counter medicines which can be problematic for my stomach and liver to process.
When there is recurring pain in the body it is a good idea to have it looked at by a Healthcare Professional.
Early and often is my rule when it comes to discomfort in the body or health challenges. I like to deal with them early and as often as they come up so they do not create bigger challenges in my life.
When you can take the time to communicate with your body instead of just masking the symptoms you can create a dialogue that changes your life experience. It isn't rocket science and though the process isn't hard, breaking the cycle and taking the time to do it can be very difficult. Writing down your experiences in your journal and sharing them with a mental health professional can enhance and deepen your healing through this process.
Know that you are not alone on this journey. There are many who are learning to communicate better with their bodies. I will be here to continue to share how I am discovering the language of my body and how it is helping me in my life.
I am so glad that you are on this journey to learning the language of your body.
Below you will find some of the tools I mentioned that I use at home to get in touch with my body and relieve pain naturally!