Mindbody Wellness Clarity Tip:
Children’s Pain Relief— And It’s Not Just Tylenol
Dear Awesome Woman,
When a child comes to you with a body pain what do you? After inquiring how the pain showed up and after checking to make sure that the situation is not an emergency, do you just give them a pain relieving med and then assume the pain will go away?
It might. Or the pain may go away, but reappear elsewhere in the body. Or may show up as depression, anxiety, or sadness at some other future time.
I wrote a newsletter a few years ago called ‘Mom, My Neck is Hurting—Why Are You Talking To Me About My Feelings?’ and have continued to retell the story in various publications (‘Children’s Pain and Wellness: Are you Hearing What Their Bodies Are Telling You?’)
Whether you have children or not, the story is so significant because it points to the Mindbody connection of emotions to our physical health. In a nutshell, the story goes like this: my teenage son woke up with neck pain and as I coached him using somatic techniques, we discovered that he had some emotions around a circumstance with his friends. There was some anger sitting in his body (in his neck perhaps) wanting to be heard and processed. We did this and in addition to some physical measures, we were able to get him up and active within a few days. He learned some very important lessons regarding relationships, boundaries and self care.
Throughout the years, I’ve been coaching him when issues come up. He’s come to appreciate the techniques used to help him get him pain relief and clarity.
Just recently, I walked into the house after an errand, and this same son was lying on the couch. He told me that he had kicked a box and then got a pain in his neck. He couldn’t move his neck to the side because it hurt too much.
I put my stuff down and then asked him, “Tell me what happened again please?”
He replied, “I was totally fine and then kicked a box. Next thing I knew I got this terrible pain in my neck. I think it’s from the situation that happened yesterday.”
I knew what situation that he was referring to. The day before he had gone to watch his twelve year old brother play in a Flag football game. Someone on the other team had started fighting with another boy and my teenage son and an adult interfered to break it up. My son held back the kid who had started the fight, but let go when this same kid threatened to call the police on him.
When my two boys returned home and told us the story, we told my older son that he had done the right thing to interfere and try to help.
My son agreed and yet there was something unsettling about the experience for him. He didn’t realize it until the next day when his neck went out.
I sat with him and had him put his hand on his stiff neck. We took some deep breaths together. I asked him if he was angry at the kid who had threatened to call the police and he replied that he was. My son is a very responsible, good and caring soul and for him to step into a situation where he was trying to be helpful and then be told off and threatened as he was, was uncomfortable. He was angry—a difficult emotion for him to admit too, but there it was.
I had him scribble a letter to the kid on some scrap paper. He knew that we would not be sending it. And he knew that he could pour out whatever he felt inside and then rip it up.
I then did a Mindbody release technique with him and he also chose to release some of his anger by punching the punching bag we have hanging outside. Afterwards, we talked some more and I asked him what he was thinking. He replied, “That I did something wrong.”
I asked him where he felt that in his body. When he replied that his chest felt tight, I had him rest his hand there. And just breathe.
We also returned to the sensation in his neck as well and did some neural pathway shifting for the thought that was bringing up the shame.
We talked further about the incident and some fear and ‘shock’ had come up as well considering that the kid had threatened to call the police on him.
I continued to use some more simple somatic techniques with him, ones that I use for myself, my family and clients to access what we could from the pain that had showed up.
You see, emotions are “energy in motion.” Once accessed and heard, you can tap into the intuitive wisdom that the body wants to share. My son was able to find the truth for himself instead of living with the limiting belief that he had done something wrong. He saw that he had done the right thing by trying to help and that brought a sense of relief in his body.
His neck felt better, but there was still some pain there. Since healing integrates the mind, emotions and body, I put some arnica gel on his neck and we drove to a local mall for a short neck and back massage. We asked them to be gentle and told them where the pain was.
He felt more relief. When we returned home, I gave him two ibuprofin and we headed out to go on an outing with his siblings. He was able to fully participate and even play frisbee.
A few hours later, the pain was gone and did not return.
We had taken an integrative approach to the neck pain. We dived into the emotions of the situation that he connected to his neck pain—and it was not the kicking of the box. He knew this because he had had somatic sessions with me before.
Use yourself as an example. Do you notice that sometimes there is a small action you take, perhaps a movement that you’ve done in the past with your body, but the next thing you know, your knee is out, your shoulder hurts, you’ve got a whopping headache?
This is how Mindbody pain works. You don’t realize that you’re upset with someone or feeling humiliated or sad, but the next day, bam! the back goes out, the neck stiffens, the arm feels achy.
But it wasn’t the little movement that you did, it was the tension in your body that you were holding onto from your emotions. Those emotional energies need to be heard, the body has something to say.
The pain is an alarm that something isn’t sitting well with your body and soul. But just don’t douse the pain alarm, find out what’s bothering you. Emotionally that is. Get honest.
We can pop a pain killer for the pain because we’re fortunate to be blessed with pain relief medicine. And we can get the massages or any other body work that feels good. But we also need to dive into the situation and process the emotional pain there. Did it make us mad, sad, scared?
So the next time that a child comes to you with a tummy ache, or a headache, use wise discernment to make sure that there is no emergency present. Then gently ask a few questions—you may even have an idea about a sibling, friend or teacher (or even you!) that the child may have some emotions around.
My young daughter had a neck ache the other day and though she is not as open and expressive (surprising because she is a girl, but she is also the youngest in the household of many brothers) as her older brother, I massaged the area and questioned her about what was bothering her. She said “nothing” and I probed a bit further.
She admitted that her brother had been making beatboxing noises the other day and she found it annoying. We talked about it and I told her I would speak to her brother. I gave her a little tylenol and I mean little because she doesn’t like the taste. The pain went away enough for her to participate in her dance class later that day and even as important, we both got to understand what her emotions and body were telling her. From that place, we were able to take action and address an issue with her sibling.
This is the healing of the mind, body and soul the somatic wellness way.
Please try doing using some of the techniques I mentioned here for yourself. Maybe when you were younger, no one made the Mindbody connection for you, but today you can.
You can do that for you.
Schedule your free Mindbody Clarity call today 🙂 Get clear, get healthy 🙂 Looking forward to connecting with you!
Miriam Racquel (Meryl)
Somatic Healer & Clarity Coach