Stress and overwhelm are often extremely painful. Painful physically, that is. I can't begin to count the number of times I've seen physical pain go away after tapping, usually on something seemingly unrelated.
I've noticed however that back pain can be rather global, with many different emotions tangled up and contributing. I think the main features include frustration, overwhelm of stress, anger and too many demands made on a person literally just knocking them over. Suddenly they simply can't move.
I haven't studied this and I know there is a lot that has been written about emotional contributions to back pain. This is just what I have noticed in working with people.
Dealing with the Underlying Stress
Interestingly, though it all sounds complex, I have seen back pain to be the fastest to clear when we deal with the underlying stress and demands or frustrations in the person's life. I've found that to narrow it down and tap one at a time on each specific issue just wasn't possible for the person in acute pain. I've learned to let those with serious back pain talk and tap, getting out as much frustration as they can while I gently guide the conversation. In this way we can get to some root causes while also addressing as many urgent stressors as possible. This can take up to one hour for partial to full relief of the pain in my experience.
I've even seen this with a family member who was in so much pain he was about to have surgery... He was on the floor in agony and propped up on pillows and could only whisper the pain was so great. In 45 minutes of talking while I tapped on all of the points he was up off the floor and had stopped needing his medication! Of course he just thought it was a fluke but I knew better. Sometimes it all just feels too good to be true to think that we could heal so quickly and simply. But often times I think we can.
Ultimately however the answer lies in not having the repeated stress or learning to handle it differently. Back pain is just one of those things I've noticed that is often about current stress and taking too much on continually. So those who go right back into the stressful situations will need to either continually be tapping on their stress or change something in their lives from my experience.
Releasing Work Stress Eases Back Pain
Recently I worked with a client whom I'll call "June" who had tremendous pain relief without talking about the pain at all, but from releasing all of her stress about work.
She came into her session very angry and frustrated and in enormous pain all over her back, neck and shoulders. It wasn't uncommon for her to have some back pain but she hadn't experienced it in a while so I immediately attributed it to her current situation. It was a gut decision made based on working with her. It seemed as though the issue was related to the frustration with work so that is where we started. Because there was so much going on I decided to just "talk and tap" about what was going on and see what came up.
As she was telling me about the work situation and how powerless and angry it made her feel to have to deal with one particular person, I had her describe this completely while tapping continuously. We started with just tapping on the side of the hand and incorporating the fingertip points only.
I asked her what about him made her so angry? We tapped for several minutes about that just on the side of the hand and fingertip points.
Next I asked her what that reminded her of. She instantly knew who it reminded her of and exact situations where she had felt powerless and frustrated over and over. So we then tapped through all of the points on those specific instances while she described them in full.
At this point I had her stop and take some deep breaths and just for fun assess where her back, neck and shoulder pain were, which we hadn't discussed at all. (We had been tapping for around a half hour at that point.) The pain was down quite a bit in different areas and she was no longer feeling powerless, just irritated with this person at work. This was a great start.
We started tapping again about the situation with this person at work and how she now felt about him.
Interestingly, without prompting she began to tell me how much she had done to create boundaries and support herself in dealing with him. In other words, she realized now she wasn't powerless- -but had been feeling that way because it really had reminded her of something else where she was powerless in the past.
New Insights Bring Relief
This is a new insight or reframe of an old experience. So I knew she was ready to continue creating new insights about her situation and added some of them in while we continued to tap.
We continued to talk and tap about all she had done to create healthy boundaries with the person at work and how different this was from the past. She began to feel relieved and much less irritation. Though she still didn't like him, she realized he was a very good teacher for her in creating boundaries with others and maybe even a catalyst for her to make more money in her business because of just how valuable her work is with him. These were all positive insights and reframes for her that empowered her.
We re-assessed her back, neck and shoulder pain and at several points where it was worst, the pain was simply gone. She couldn't find it no matter how she moved her head or body. She also felt tremendous relief and even joy as the hour came to a close. She knew she still had work to do but could see it as a gift in a way instead of as the torture she originally felt.
She still has to go back into this stressful situation but I think she has changed enough about how she sees it that she may not feel so overwhelmed by it in the future. For her, the feeling of powerlessness had provoked extreme frustration and anger that just incapacitated her.
I believe she will be raising her rates soon and changing other dynamics at work as well after dropping that feeling of powerlessness and the anger and frustration that it engendered. Who knows? Either way I think the pain might be less.
San Francisco, California, US
From the EFTfree Archives, which are now a part of EFT International .
Originally published on May 19, 2012.