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Heather Allen, MS, PT
You Have To Feel To Heal
Journeying into Healing, LLC
. http://www.journeyingintohealing.com/

You Have To Feel To Heal

“You have to feel to heal.” These words spoken by John F. Barnes, PT, are the truest and most profound thing I've heard during my years of practice as a physical therapist. For most, this statement makes little sense and is nearly an impossible thing to do. Our ability to accept and feel pain has been trained out of us from the time of youth, (“Just rub it and keep going.”) with many physicians now just prescribing pain medications for the treatment of patient pain complaints.

Many wonder, “What's wrong with taking medication if my pain goes away and I can function through my day?” The answer is simple; the medication is not correcting the cause of your pain. In many cases, the medication is creating a block between you and the healing process. The body and conscious mind must feel and process the pain to recover from it. Without this awareness, the subconscious mind and body will perseverate on the pain from behind the mask of the medication. It's no wonder an increasing number of patients are currently being referred to pain management for treatment of chronic conditions.

So what does it mean, “Feel to Heal?” For patients, it means a willingness to be a more active participant in their therapy. Many patients walk into a therapy clinic and expect the therapist to “fix” them without having to contribute anything more to the experience than a few reps of exercise. This is simply not the case. If you truly want to move past your pain and on with your life, you need to be willing to work through it. You must be open to facing your pain or your pain will persist no matter what treatment you seek out.

How do we work through pain? By allowing ourselves to physically feel it and go past it no going to our “happy place,” or looking for distraction in a joke or story. It means allowing a yelp, or a tear, to come out when it hurts. Express the anger for the driver who hit and injured you, the sadness from being unable to work, and the fear when you were ushered into surgery. The mind and body hold all of these things, both physical and emotional, trapping them in the body's tissue, waiting for your permission to let go. It's okay to feel your pain; remove your barriers, be present in the moment and allow yourself true healing.

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