Home » Columns » 


Publishing Date : 31 July, 2018

Stuart White
The World in Black-N-White

“A lot of people say they want to get out of pain, and I'm sure that's true, but they aren't willing to make healing a high priority. They aren't willing to look inside to see the source of their pain in order to deal with it.
-- Lindsay Wagner”

For the past few months I have been struggling with chronic back injury. To be fair I shouldn’t really call it an injury because that kind of suggests that there has been an accident of sorts or I have done something to cause harm…when what I am dealing with is really wear and tear or to use an accepted medical term - degenerative disc disease.

My symptoms are lower back pain and stiffness which can get so intense that it interrupts my sleep – which is super irritating as I am bad sleeper anyway. I have tenderness in my lowers spine when it’s pressed (I press it all the time to check it still hurts) so basically, I have constant back ache. How is this affecting me? Well obviously, my exercise regime, specifically yoga which has been central to my life has had to be ditched – for the time being at least.

You would think yoga would be good for it but except for the yogis, everyone is telling me it isn’t. And, where once I was a demon with gym exercise I am reduced to a rehabilitative exercise routine which is humiliating. I am struggling with accepting my new limitation, part angry that I can’t exercise the way that I want to and wondering what miracle pill I can take to fix it all.

I am confused about balancing acceptance and change. I am reminded of the words of psychologist Carl Rogers “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” But it’s just not sinking in – Denial is a river in Egypt, where all the Chiropractors come from!  I’m told I am not alone as this is very common in people over a certain age but that only makes me more determined to buck the trend, to be the exception and not the rule.

I have always approached my life like a series of projects and fixing my back is just another one. In my endeavour to restore myself to my former glory I have, working on my behalf, my personal gym trainer, Andy, my chiropractor, Machere, my Alexander Technique Consultant Thea, my Physiotherapist, Sue and my homeopath Dr Sanua, and the young girl who puts me on the reformer machine twice a week whose name I can’t remember because there are so many people in this picture…

I am, if not just a sore back, an industry! But last week after countless consultations and bending everyone’s ears on how we have must fix this problem it dawned on me to ask myself what role I was playing in all of this? Sure, I am actively running to this one and that one – asking for advice and remedies - all offering me different ones based on how they view the world and been trained and conditioned.

And, apart from passively allowing myself to be manipulated and putting my hand in my pocket to procure this sage advice for my healing, what I have been ignoring is my part. I know about the mind-body connection which says that If you are sensitive of your body, you understand its deep wisdom and natural ability to renew and heal itself.  Yet here I am looking for everyone to do what I should be trying to do myself. .

You can take antibiotics to combat infections, dose yourself with myprodol to reduce pain or take cataflam for inflammation but these medical ‘interventions’ do not heal you. Sure, they reduce inflammation, battle bacteria and may make proper healing easier, but your body heals itself. Through some process which scientists admit to not fully understanding yet; the body has an amazing, innate ability to repair itself. What medical science can explain is the neurological and biochemical responses involved in healing - nerve messages to the brain, white blood cells to combat infection, platelets to clot the blood, formation of a scab as the skin grows back beneath. But medical science does not know how the body knows to do this, and it doesn't know what force powers this healing process.

Modern thinking is trying to break ground, asking the questions ‘what if you could learn to harness the most vital component in this process, the healing energy that your body uses to repair itself? ‘   ‘What if you could learn to increase and direct that healing energy to improve your general well-being and relieve specific health problems?’ Read the book ‘You Are The Placebo’ if you want to get some insight into this.

The author, Dr. Joe Dispenza, shares numerous documented cases of those who reversed cancer, heart disease, depression, crippling arthritis, and even the tremors of Parkinson’s disease by believing in a placebo. Similarly, he tells of how others have gotten sick and even died the victims of a hex or voodoo curse—or after being misdiagnosed with a fatal illness. Belief can be so strong that pharmaceutical companies use double- and triple-blind randomized studies to try to exclude the power of the mind over the body when evaluating new drugs. In a nutshell the book shows how the seemingly impossible can become possible.

But I have been passive in my healing looking for others to sort what I am probably most capable of fixing myself. I am not saying that these interventions don’t help me because after my chiropractor session with Dr Venter I am skipping out of the surgery with a new lease on life and my physical alignment in check - but the longevity of the healing rests with me and with my intention.

While my advisors =- who clearly haven’t read the book - are telling me no more yoga and change my attitude toward the acceptance of my new body (old body), it would seem that I am faced with two options; accept my degeneration completely and without judgment or get on my programme to start healing and stop being a passenger on the healing bus.

In a very real way, this experience is an extended metaphor for life itself.  When we fall on hard times, lose our job or struggle to find work in the fist place; save up to buy a house only to be gazumped; invest out money in a sure-fire project which goes down the pan; commit to a relationship only to have it fail, it is so much easier to accept it all as bad luck and allow yourself to wallow in self-pity, bemoaning your fate and seeking sympathy than to look on these setbacks as one more challenge to overcome and to move forward and fight another day.
Throughout my life I’ve never let anything or anybody get the better of me for long and that applies to this thing and this body too.  Like Lazarus, I will pick up my bed and walk, or any rate pick up my yoga mat and take up the position, even if it’s just Mindful Breath for now.



Do you think the courts will help put the UDC, BMD impasse within reasonable time ahead of the 2019 General Election?