Please enable javascript in your browser to view this site!

A Mind-Body Look at Shoulder and Neck Pain - Rosario's Story

shoulder pain.jpg

“What does it mean when you have pain just like she described but on the other side of the body?” 

The question comes from a beautiful, silver-haired Latino woman who I will call Rosario. As she finishes asking the question she swallows hard, as if it took a great deal of effort to allow herself to ask it.

I’m in the midst of teaching my Body Language: Deciphering Your Body’s Clues so You Can Heal seminar at the High Tide Women’s Weekend on Amelia Island, Florida. There is a great group of women in there, and I have been doing some on-the-spot mind-body diagnosis. Rosario is sitting a few rows back, but she sticks out to me; I noticed that she wants to speak, but keeps crossing her arms over her belly and covering her throat with her hand. Having done this work for a while, I know that these body postures mean that she is afraid of voicing whatever the issue is - and particularly, that she is afraid of being judged. As the woman before had just asked about similar pain, I am glad that someone else’s issue has helped her feel comfortable enough to be able to ask for help for herself.

“So, you have aching pain that radiates from the right side of your neck down into your shoulder, going all the way to the socket?” I ask, smiling to help her feel at ease.

“Yes, exactly.” Rosario agrees and touches her throat again.

“What does the pain feel like?” I ask, gently digging deeper so I can get to the key issue and help her heal.

“It’s an ache...” She says and then pauses, as if something else needs to be said.

“An ache...” I repeated slowly, giving her time to put voice to her thoughts.

Words begin to rush out of her. “And I had surgery on my neck, and ever since then my arm feels like it is pins and needles and it has tremors. My doctor looked at it and said it has nothing to do with the surgery. Oh - and when it shakes, my finger sticks out, too!” She holds her hand out, points her pointer finger, and demonstrates.

People in the audience start to giggle a bit - not because of Rosario’s distress, but because she is literally wagging a finger at everyone, much like we have all done something wrong and are being scolded.

I laugh and look around at the smiling group. “You know, sometimes these things are really literal. Anyone want to tell me what might be going on here?”

Answers come from around the room: “She wants to tell someone something!” “She needs to tell someone off!” ”She’s got to give someone a piece of her mind!”

Rosario starts to laugh. She looks more relaxed than I have seen her up to this point.

“Yeah, you don’t really need me to interpret that one.” I laugh and redirect my focus back to Rosario. “Okay, well, you are feeling emotional fear over something in your life relating to a man. I feel like you have solutions that you are aware of that you cannot or are not speaking; that is where all the pain in the neck is coming from. This is a great burden for you, which is why your shoulder is in pain as well. And aching, well, that means that it is heart-breaking for you. Now, I don’t want to dig too deep in front of everyone here - but does that make sense for you?” Tears  come to Rosario’s eyes and she nods. 

I smile at her and move on to conduct up a few more on-the-spot diagnosis and give some more training on how the participants could start to diagnose themselves. The moment that we finished, Rosario made a bee-line for me. “Would you have a moment to talk?” She asks quietly. 

“Absolutely.” I smile at her and walk outside, where Rosario begins to tell me the story behind her pain. As a child in Cuba, she had been part of a wealthy family until the Cuban revolution, when her father was put in prison and her mother had to run for her life. Out of love for her, her parents had put her on a boat to America, where she was suddenly a very poor child with no family. Understandably, this made her feel very unsafe.

As an adult, she met and married her husband who is 15 years older than her. She adores him - he is her stability - but she has noticed over the last couple of years that he is starting to look older and older, and she is worried about losing him - losing her soulmate and her stability. She has become more and more concerned about him because he doesn’t do anything to take care of himself. 

“I am so afraid of losing him.” Rosario finishes with tears streaming down her cheeks.

“Have you talked to him about your concerns?” I ask gently. My heart aches for her, because, being truly in love with my husband, I can understand her fear of losing him all too well.

“No, I haven’t - I have never been able to communicate well, and he doesn’t like to talk about emotional things.” She wipes a tear from her cheek.

Now knowing for certain that this is where her pain is coming from, she and I talk about how important it is for her to tell her husband how afraid she is about losing him, and how much she needs him to start taking care of himself so that she can have him around for as long as possible. I suggest she write a letter to him explaining it all, and then give that letter to him at a time where he would be able to be relaxed, read it, and process it. 

Rosario looks at me and smiled. “You know, I think that is just what I need to do! This is the first time I haven’t been in pain in weeks!” 

We hug and I ask her to keep me apprised of how it works out. She walks away smiling.

Rosario’s example is a perfect story of how much pain emotional and mental issues can cause us - and how much holding in our pain results in disease and physical issues. As I always say, if you don’t confront an issue, your body will. 

So, do you have shoulder pain? Ask yourself what is emotionally burdening you now. 

Is there neck pain involved as well? Ask yourself what you need to be saying. The answer might be surprising to you!

You know, this is why I love my work - I get to make a difference in people’s lives and help them to take back control over their minds and bodies every single day.