All About Pain – Part 4: Are Your Lymph and Energy Moving?

Few people are familiar with the lymphatic system. Since we couldn’t live more that a day or two without it, I figure it deserves more notoriety. Aside from the fact that our life depends on it, the lymph system can also be a wonderful aid when it comes to pain!

The lymph vessels gather up all manner of crud from the tissues, including excess fluid, pesky proteins, toxic waste, bacteria, dead cells, etc. There is three times as much lymph fluid (about 10.5 liters) in your body as there is blood, and it’s working for you 24/7.

So, what is its role in pain? If the lymph flow in a particular tissue becomes sluggish, toxins begin to build up and irritate the tissue. This makes it grouchy – you know, like you’d get cranky if your toilet was plugged up and you were locked in the bathroom for a few days.

Unhappy tissues usually begin to hurt after a while. It’s their way of letting you know that something’s amiss that needs tending to. This is a good thing to keep in mind when something hurts, and you’re tempted to ignore it. Your pollution alarm might be going off!

Practical Application with Pain
I started using Lymph Drainage Therapy in 2007, and it quickly became a mainstay modality in my work. I almost always find diminished lymph flow in areas of pain or restricted movement. And after some lymphatic work,the tissues almost always feel more relaxed, less tender, and less painful. If it’s a muscle, it will almost always test stronger.

I’ve seen Lymphatic work literally dissolve some nasty, long-standing spinal restrictions and calm irritated nerves & muscles, restoring a restricted area to free and full movement. While this doesn’t happen all the time, Lymph work is a great help, and an important part of the toolkit.

I’ve also found that Lymphatic Drainage is great for restoring lost motion to restricted visceral organs. Please see the article on Visceral Mobilization if you’d like to learn about the importance of freely moving organs.

Lymphatic Therapy works very well as a team player when it comes to pain. The combination of CranioSacral Therapy, Visceral Mobilization, and Lymphatic Drainage Therapy along with gentle Chiropractic mobilization make a powerful diagnostic and treatment quartet for structural pain.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, pain is usually caused by blocked energy. There is a concept in CranioSacral Therapy that relates to this idea. It’s called the “energy cyst.” This is an area of “compacted” energy that gets lodged in the body. It blocks the flow of energy through the acupuncture meridians and acts as an irritant to the surrounding tissues, resulting in pain or dysfunction.

I’ve found energy cysts to cause muscle weakness and restricted joints in the spine, pelvis or extremities, and even digestive problems. They’re thought to form when the body can’t disperse the impact force of an injury and it gets stuck in the tissues.

I’ve also found that energy cysts seem to form when we “stuff” our emotions and they get stored in the body. I frequently find them in areas of a person’s pain, and releasing this source of irritation appears to be an important step in the healing process.

In addition to pain areas, I commonly find these blockages in the major energy centers of the body. Releasing an energy cyst can make a significant difference in the way you feel, or whether your body systems test strong or weak.