Dr. Prado has been treating individuals with acute and chronic pain for more than 30 years, and during this time, it has become clear to him that pain is not an enemy. It is not something to be feared or to run from. Pain and disease can be gifts which when acknowledged, have the ability to profoundly change our lives for the better. This view often sounds bizarre to those who are truly suffering with disease and chronic pain, but to those who have overcome it, this notion is a reality.
To better understand this idea, we need to keep in mind that all human beings are on a journey in search of balance. Balance of body, mind, and spirit. Although perfect human balance is likely unattainable, the journey continues. Pain and disease can at times be signals that we have strayed from our ideal course in search of balance. However, pain and disease can just as easily be a part of the mystery of life. An enigma which deserves acceptance not explanation.
Of course, pain can be a sign of a potentially life threatening disease or illness. In fact, our current western medical model looks at most pain syndromes from this perspective. This "disease first" slant has literally created tremendous fear in our culture. Most individuals who experience symptoms almost assuredly consider the worst possible scenario. This "disease paranoia" is responsible for huge amounts of anxiety. Anxiety...the plague of the western world! In fact, most musculoskeletal pain is either from minor injuries and over-use syndromes or from stress-related muscle tension or pain pathways that independently activate in the
absence of physical injury. Pain caused by a serious life threatening condition is a relatively uncommon phenomenon. When you begin to realize how much pain is related to anxiety, it is easy to see how our "disease paranoia" only makes pain worse. In these cases, the real pathology results from our emphasis on disease, rather than the imbalance in our lives. In most cases, patients who acknowledge and correct the imbalances in their eating and exercise habits and their work and relationships as well as spiritual life, heal quickly and avoid the pain that accompanies the imbalance in their lives.
Those who have seen value in a holistic approach to healing have embraced these concepts and have learned to use pain as a "barometer" or signal that they have veered from the path of balance. Those who heed these clues will find that pain and illness are often sources of tremendous growth. Many of us begin by looking at pain and disease as a "lemon" that life has tossed us. Survivors are those who can take the lemon and successfully make lemonade. Healing is about making lemonade. It is about shifting paradigms and looking at life differently. As the comedian Steven Wright would say, it’s about learning to "skate on the other side of the
ice!" Lace ‘em up!