Healing hurts

I’ve been suffering recently as my body completes its metamorphosis, getting rid of old, damaged and yeast-infected tissue and replacing it with new. I’m writing this lying on my back – there’s a patch on my upper spine that causes me a whole heap of problems and is only relieved when I’m not upright. It’s a beautiful Sunday, and I want to go read in the sun, but in the spirit of sacrificing the present for a problem-free future, I’m going to spend all day horizontal on my couch. Carrying on regardless is one of the reasons I’ve got into this mess.

Tomorrow afternoon I’m getting my two remaining wisdom teeth removed. It’s going to hurt (for a week), but maybe my jaw will stop aching and my ears stop ringing (for years).

I think a lot of what’s been giving me pain and dysfunction is inflammation, as damage gets healed. Chronic inflammation can become problematic, but in the immediate aftermath of damage, inflammation is a good thing. As part of the immune response, the body sends all sorts of cells to an infection or a wound, like everyone gathering at the site of an accident. But more useful. Not just gawping. It means healing is happening.

And it is the immune response that makes you feel terrible when you get a virus or something. The backlash to the initial attack. I thought this was common knowledge, but someone made a ‘surprising’ TED video about it, so I guess not.

Thinking more deeply about this… I became very aware a few years ago of psychosomatic symptoms. A physical response to psychological ailments. The body can kick off the immune response whenever it likes. So when you get a cold, how do you know you actually have a virus? You have the symptoms, sure, but these are the immune response. What set it off? Was it a virus, an external pathogen? Or was it some kind of subconscious trigger from within?

Anyway… These are the kind of questions that bother me when I’m flat on my back and can’t do anything. But! Short term pain/boredom will lead to long term gain. And thankfully the Giro D’Italia‘s on in a bit.

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