Managing Pain through the Mind, Body, Spirit Matrix

If you’re one of the many Australians out there who suffers from a chronic back condition, it might be hard to imagine that you can ever live a pain-free life.

Problems often start as a simple muscular imbalance. When left untreated, they can deepen into the cellular level or even start to affect the central nervous system’s pain receptors. At this point, people start to lose confidence in their body’s innate capacity to be healthy.

But it is possible for people with lower back pain to live a pain free life, without depending on medication.

There are a range of therapists and health professionals out there who say that the key to achieving a pain-free life and reclaiming one’s natural energy and vitality lies in healing the  mind, body and spirit. But before that can happen, first there needs to be a shift in mindset.

Maria Davis, the founder and director of Melbourne-based Embodimove, is an example of someone who has made it her professional mission to help people with a range of conditions, including lower back pain, enjoy ‘living pain free’.


“People with either acute or chronic long term pain caused by muscular and skeletal conditions can lead a pain-free life,” Maria says.

“I’m not simplifying or trivialising pain because we have to respect those messages, but there is a clear potentiality for unravelling the pain matrix. People need to make a decision to step over the line and be open to the possibility of healing because pain is a message, often a very strong one.”

Maria has developed unique treatments that integrate somatic movement, remedial and therapeutic massage, Pilates, exercises and intuitive healing to retrain the body and mind to understand what it’s like to be pain free.

“Using a variety of techniques, I work with the central nervous system, fascia tissue, connective musculature, pain inhibitors and receptors to give people a feeling of what it’s like to be pain free, whether for a second, a minute, an hour or days,” Maria explains.

“Over time, that grows into greater awareness, consciousness, potentiality and bliss. The dynamics of the thinking process is changed because we’re retraining the neural synapses to activate the body’s support mechanisms.”

In the case of someone with sciatic pain, for instance, Maria will investigate the whole body as one energetic field, examining all its different parts and functionings.

“I work on the physical – getting rid of stuckness by touch therapy modalities. I also treat the body as a whole and respect the connectivity which underlies a lot of the pain we feel in our bodies,” she says.

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An example of another practitioner who advocates the mind-body paradigm is Dr John Sarno, an American physician who has written several books about the mind and its relationship to back pain over the past few decades.

He has long argued that the brain and stress from repressing unconscious emotions such as anger leads to a condition known as Tension Myositis Syndrome (TMS). This in turn causes chronic problems such as back pain.

On a physical level, what happens is that the unconscious emotions lead the nervous system to mildly restrict the oxygen supply to the involved tissues. It is the mild oxygen deprivation that causes the pain.

Dr Sarno says that because the brain cleverly creates pain as a distraction to avoid dealing with difficult emotions, psychological, not physical treatments are needed to deal with back pain. It’s that simple.

To read more about TMS, click.

Author: Katherine MacPherson