I never get headaches. I knew that last week when I had a headache that lasted 5 days, something was wrong.
Medication didn’t work.
Meditation didn’t work.
I don’t know how to cope with headaches, since I never get them. So, I went down the google rabbit hole. I learned all about tension headaches and where we hold tension in our bodies.
I stumbled upon this article: 9 Types of Muscle Tension Caused by Trapped Emotions
I was shocked and saddened to read this statistic in the article: “According to a study conducted in 2012, 25.3 million Americans (11.2%) suffer from chronic pain every day and 17.6% suffer from severe levels of pain.”
The author of the article shares:
“Your body is the most honest and obvious way to access trapped feelings and even traumatic memories. No matter how much you try to ignore, intellectualize or suppress how you feel, your body knows the truth.”
I know that the body keeps score.
I’m constantly telling people that the tension is not an invitation to be tense, but an invitation to be tenacious.
- Why do I feel tense?
- What is my body keep score of currently?
- How can I be tenacious through the tension?
I’ll ask you the same questions:
- Why do you feel tense?
- What is your body keeping score of today?
- How can you be tenacious through the tension today?
I won’t pretend to have learned all the answers last week and as helpful as google is, it doesn’t have all of the answers either.
Here’s what helped relieve my pain…
Laying on the floor foam rolling with a friend.
“Being able to feel safe with other people is probably the single most important aspect of mental health; safe connections are fundamental to meaningful and satisfying lives.” Bessel van der Kolk in his book, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma
My friend Sandy is a super-shero wife and mom, brilliant engineer, owner and coach of a CrossFit gym, and my friend of 10 years. (And this only scratches the surface.) (Also, this picture is from 2015. We’ve been laying on the floor together for a long time!)
After struggling with the headache for 5 days, she stopped everything and said: “Come on, we’re foam rolling.” We laid on the floor of the gym and talked me through each part of our bodies and the tension we hold in those parts.
She said, “When you feel a place that is particular tense, hang out there and feel the pressure from the foam roller until the muscle starts to relax”
I’ve been thinking about that a lot over the past few days: hang out in the spot where it feels tense. Press into the tension.
When your body is carrying “trapped feelings and even traumatic events”, it can be tempting to want to quickly move on from that spot. But if we don’t hang out and feel the pressure counteracting the pain, we won’t feel the tension release.
How can we be tenacious in the tension?
Find someone who stops everything to lay on the floor and foam roll with you.
“No doctor can write a prescription for friendship and love” – Bessel van der Kolk
A friend’s love is like a foam roller. They hang out in the spot where you feel tense until the pain releases, so that you can be tenacious in the tension.
- Who lays on the floor and foam rolls with you?
- Who hears you, sees you, and holds you until the pain releases?
In the tension together,