Ouch! The Spiritual Meaning of Back Pain
Updated: Feb 11
For the last six weeks I have been battling crippling pain in my left leg. An MRI revealed I have a herniated disc, a bulging disc, and severe nerve compression in my lower back, which is radiating down my leg. For all of you interested in spinal anatomy, my L3-4 and L4-5 (lower back) have seen better days.
As an active person, this is extremely frustrating. I have been itching to take long walks-enjoying the splendor of early New England autumn. Instead, I spend my days strategizing the least painful way to untie my sneakers and climb up my stairs. Fun times.
I know I am far from alone. Experts estimate that up to 80% of the U.S. population will experience back pain at some time in their lives. Let’s face it. We push ourselves too hard at the gym or at home, lifting, straining, and twisting. We sit too much. We stress too much.
Low/mid-back pain includes muscles that are affected by breathing, including the chest and shoulder muscles. When we are stressed out, our breathing patterns change, and our shoulders hunch up. This often causes strain/stress and tension in the muscles, joints, and ligaments of the mid/low-back.
Back pain is directly linked to injury, strain, genetics, and lifestyle. Yet, could there also be a metaphysical/spiritual/emotional cause of lower back pain? I believe so.
I attribute my back pain to a strenuous two hour session cleaning debris from my pool after a tropical storm. However, at the same time, I was feeling emotionally unsupported and invalidated by family members.
Thus, I strongly resonated with an article I read written by British blogger Tony Mills. As he explains:
The lower back is our foundation on which everything is built. This is the basis for emotional support, a sense of security, together with physical and financial subsistence. When things go wrong there will be a feeling of injustice and being overburdened and under-supported.
Lower back pain can be a sign of considerable resentment over the lack of support, short term or long-term. You feel at risk on a survival level, as there may have been excessive demands during childhood.
As a very painful aspect of lower back pain, a herniated disc, is not as many believe, a disc that slides out between the vertebrae against the nerve. It is a soft, pliable material that squeezes out, like toothpaste, and pressurizes the nerve.
The pressure reflects the extreme emotional pressure due to feeling totally unsupported in life and lost in decision. The resulting lower back pain comes from a lack of support and feeling alone in the world. Not only is there a feeling of not being able to cope, but a self-disgust for feeling that way.
Generally, we experience lower back pain because we do not fully express some emotion in which we feel conflict. By holding on to feelings we create tension. We shut up, rather than speak up.*
The late Louise Hay, was a world renowned metaphysical teacher, founder of Hay House, and author of Heal Your Body: The Mental Causes for Physical Illness and the Metaphysical Way to Overcome Them. Like Mills, she believed that the back represents the support of life.
Hay concluded the following three emotional/metaphysical issues are the root cause of most back pain:
Fear of money-lack of financial support.
Guilt-Stuck in all that stuff back there.
Lack of emotional support-Feeling unloved. Holding back love.
So perhaps the next time we feel a tweak, a twinge, a spasm, mild or acute back pain, we can spend a moment in reflection. Is there an emotional component that was/is going on in our lives concurrent with sudden/ongoing back pain?
Let’s never forget or underestimate the power that feelings have to bring on pain.
*Tony Mills, April 16, 2020, Energetic Wisdom: The Spiritual Cause of Low Back Pain
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