The connection between physical and emotional pain

Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it. –Plato


About five years ago I started to have severe back pain. I didn’t have an accident, nothing happened, I just woke up one morning with the most unbelievable pain in my lower and mid-back. I wouldn’t wish back pain on anyone; it is one of the most excruciating feelings, and I’ve given birth twice.

Around this time, I was going through some very difficult family issues and I had become very depressed. The depression led me to become isolated and I spent long periods of time sitting on the couch and stopped exercising. I also gained about 25 pounds. My emotional state truly affected my physical body. After x-rays and an MRI, my doctor found that I had some deterioration in my lower vertebrae and a herniated disc. After much searching, I found a great physical therapist, who gave me real exercises that got me strong and built up my core. I was able to get back into the gym which motivated me to clean up my food and I lost 40 pounds over the next year.

Two years later, I have kept off most of the weight I lost and my food and workouts are pretty good. But recently my back and leg have started becoming more painful. If I’m honest with myself, I must admit that I am not feeling emotionally strong right now and it is leading to more time sitting. The physical/emotional cycle is so insidious. I feel depressed, so I sit and don’t move myself as much which then causes the back pain to creep in again. So, I must push through this feeling and make sure I take care of my body and mind. This is just another chance for me to remind myself that I must take care of my whole self. It is a swift kick in the butt to make me remember that my emotional and physical health are totally intertwined and I can’t have one without the other.

So, if you’re trying to get in shape to lose some weight, remember, it’s not just about appearance or looking good into a bathing suit. Having a strong body is essential to keeping your mind healthy, as well. When you’re doing your next workout, remember you’re doing this for your whole self.

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