Finding The Root Of Your Pain

Life consists of pain.  This is a universal experience for all humans.  Pain can be experienced physically throughout our body as well as mentally or emotionally within our minds.  Naturally when we experience pain, we’re quick to pinpoint the issue.

The fact we assess pain quickly is a good thing.  It means we desire to get rid of it as fast as possible.  While it’s good to address pain quickly, the act of making a snap assessment doesn’t necessarily indicate it’s an accurate assessment.  The issue lies in that by swiftly acting to make things better, we don’t properly address the root of the pain.

A personal example (which some of you may have experienced) is the unpleasantness of low back pain.  It goes without saying I’m not a doctor.  I’m using a metaphor of back pain based off my own experience.  Please consult a professional for any medical problems!

Low Back Pain

One evening I was tying my shoelaces and afterwards felt inflammation in my lower back.  Over the coming weeks and months this became an ongoing issue.  As a problem solver, I began attempting pain alleviation through foam rolling, applying heat, and stretching directly where the pain existed.  I was convinced the problem rested solely in my lower back.   Initially I did not entertain that the cause of my pain was a result of weaknesses in other parts of my body.

While there’s no debating my back was in pain doesn’t necessarily mean it was the root of the pain.  In reality the issue was weaknesses in the areas around my lower back.  I began stretching my hips, hip flexors, and hamstrings.  As a result I noticed drastic improvement in my back health.

Finding the Root

To find the root to a problem one must evaluate the big picture.  Dealing with my back, I was forced to evaluate the whole anatomy of my body.  Our bodies, just like our lives, are interconnected.  Therefore to address pain one must take into account all external and internal variables that could contribute to the pain.

There are countless examples of miss identifying the root of pain.  See below three instances in which we seemingly identify the root of each of these people’s problems:

  1. The root of your neighbor’s alcoholism is a lack of self-control
  2. The root of an athlete’s knee pain is their knee joint
  3. The root of child’s headache is too much sun exposure

These problems and roots seem pretty straight forward.  After further analysis, it turns out the root of the issues were the following…

  1. The root of your neighbor’s alcoholism is a lack of self-control loneliness
  2. The root of an athlete’s knee pain is their knee joint tight quads
  3. The root of child’s headache is too much sun exposure dehydration 

In all three examples, what turned out to be the root cause may not have been obvious upon first analysis.  It’s a common mistake to find a solution to the consequence instead of the root.  Solving the consequence may help in the short run, but surely the root will generate a consequence of the same magnitude or greater in the future.  Therefore it’s imperative to properly identify the root, which is only discoverable through deep personal introspection or through the help of those you trust.

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