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I wrote to Kit not long ago asking for advice for a problem and it was suggested that I post here.

 

For over two years now, I have been dealing with headaches / neck / jaw pain.  It is difficult to pinpoint exactly where I am feeling it, as the jaw, front of the neck and suboccipital muscles all feel afflicted.  Muscles in the shoulder and middle/ upper back will tighten as well, on one side.

 

The pain will be experienced almost always upon waking, though it will usually alleviate somewhat once I get up and move around a little bit.  I cannot lie around in bed at all once I wake up.  At seemingly random points throughout the day,  the pain will return.  It will also wake me up in the night.  The randomness of the pain returning is the most maddening part, as I do not feel as though I am stressed sometimes, yet the pain will still come.  Perhaps my awareness is so limited, that I simply cannot let myself relax.  I have been made aware of the idea that most are aware of the concept of relaxation, but cannot actually invoke the experience.  Perhaps I fall into this basket.

 

Kit recommended that I try the hip flexor and neck stretches, and in particular the latest ones from the YouTube channel.  I did so (my hip flexors are incredibly tight, especially on one side, from skateboarding - I assume)  Kit also recommended that I try cultivate a daily relaxation practice.

 

In response, I began to do the lying relaxation scripts.  There is absolutely no doubt that these are effective - both in inducing a state of deep relaxation in the moment (which I honestly believe I had NEVER been able to do before) and in increasing bodily awareness throughout the next day.

 

In the following three days, I experienced complete, sustained relief from the pain, for literally the first time in years.  This was incredible - I was ecstatic.  Life was beautiful once again.

 

On the third day, I began to stress about one thing or another - the pain returned.

 

I am now feeling as though I am “chasing the dragon” in trying to recreate the relief.  I am trying to do the same stretching exercises, though I feel as though I may be stretching far too frequently and not giving the muscles enough time to recover.  When the pain comes, however, it is hard to restrain myself from the utopia that stretching provided in the recent past.

 

The pain is also now returning whilst I am trying to do the lying relaxations.  I don’t know whether this is because I am missing a muscle group that needs to be stretched, or whether my muscles have been overworked, or whether I am simply stressed and unable to relax.  I have just tried one of the seated mediation audios which was better and relatively pain free - I will continue with these.

 

It’s worth noting here that I am currently about 2 weeks out from my final law exams.  Undoubtedly stress levels are higher than usual and this must be playing a significant role in this affliction.  However I have been experiencing this pain at relatively consistent levels throughout the past 2 years, whether on holidays or during the uni semester.  I have only sought to properly resolve the pain and enhance my relaxation in the last few weeks, whereas in the past I was merely putting up with it.

 

I do not know whether it is the stress that is causing the pain, or whether it is the pain that is causing the stress.  When the pain occurs, I side with the latter.  I find it hard to be relaxed when in pain, and as mentioned, it is severely disrupting my sleep, which only contributes to the stress experienced the next day.

 

I’m sorry for the length of this post and the lack of cohesion.  I realise I am probably rambling and I have no specific question.  Any thoughts would be deeply appreciated. 

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Hi Frac,

Welcome to the forums!

Sorry to hear about the pain. Reading over your post, I see a lot of uncertainty and resulting impulsivity. It's only natural to chase after the good results you had previously, but the impulsivity is only creating lots of new variables which cause even more uncertainty. My recommendation would be to decide on a plan of attack, write it down, and stick to it. The general recommendation would be one to two relatively intense stretching sessions per week, along with daily limbering (light, comfortable stretching) and lying relaxation. You can do a sitting practice instead of the lying relaxation, but if learning to relax deeply is your primary goal, the lying relaxation is more appropriate. @Kit_L may choose to expand on that point.

I'd also recommend you keep it simple to start out. Stay consistent, and continue for several weeks (at least) before even considering any changes to your plan. Change will happen, but it will likely be gradual, over a significant period of time. Trust the process and do the work, and you can be sure things will improve. And keep us updated :)

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@Nathan Thank you kindly for your reply.  I think you're right about how impulsively creating new variables is leading to uncertainty and is not helping at all.  I am going to heed your advice and stick to a plan.  I'm going to try one relatively intense stretching session per week, plus daily limbering and a relaxation exercise.  I will report back in the next few weeks my results!

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This is really interesting post Frac. I relate to it a lot. I have definitely reached some states of "deep relaxation" only to lose it, and chase after it again which only causes more internal conflict. I'm not sure how to deal with this, but something said that helped me put it into perspective is no 2 meditation sessions are ever the same. You approach a new body every day, and you can not expect to always be in the same state of relaxation. Being present is not about always feeling the same, it is being present with how your body is at that moment. Even 2 breaths back to back are unique and different if you pay attention enough. Just like this every day is unique. And accepting this, I think, resolves some internal tension. Maybe something in there will help you in some way...I'm still learning how to cultivate these mindsets as well. 

Also, could you recommend which relaxation scripts you found helpful? 

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