Author Topic: Back Pain/Spasm after Vipassana Retreat  (Read 1153 times)


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Back Pain/Spasm after Vipassana Retreat
« on: December 13, 2018, 04:29:01 AM »
Hi Everyone,

Nice to meet you all.
2 months ago I went on a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat taught by Goenka.
I had a flashback of everything in my life including all of the bad experience. I could not sleep and even had nightmares.

Regarding the technique, I enjoyed it and all was well until the 7th day. I started having back spasm. It kept going even after meditating. I was scared so I left the next day to go see a doctor. I had a CT scan and found a bulging disk at L4/L5.

2 months later, I now still experience pain in my lower back. I looked up the internet and found a research by Dr.Sarno saying that this pain im having is only psychological, not physical. (You can have a look here: newbielink: [nonactive])

I can't recall my meditation retreat was a positive one at all. I feel like when i got back from the retreat, I was changed somehow after facing with lots of dark thoughts. I'm now not mentally stable and plus the back pain, I dont feel healthy at all.

I'm sharing my experience to hear you guys' insights in hope to improve my situation. Did anyone have the same experience as mine?

Thank you,


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Re: Back Pain/Spasm after Vipassana Retreat
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2018, 06:43:46 AM »

I am not sure of the method you use, i had experienced pain but not memory flash back.

For what i am taught, when there are thoughts arising. We are suppose to "acknowledge" them until it disappear, not to be bothered by it, that is a practise to "let go" vedana( thoughts , sensations and feelings)  which is part of the process of eliminate suffering.

So when flash back occurs, you should ackowledging them by mentally recite, "knowing", knowing, knowing until it disappeared. When it occur again, do the same thing until it disappear.

For pain wise, perhap most of the fresh practicioners here are not used to long hrs sitting, may due to bad blood circulation. anyway, the retreat is over, what u can do is to allocate some time for stretching exercise everyday. So that u have better blood circulation. When u experienced pain again in the meditation, remember to acknowledge "pain", "pain", until it disappeared too.

Note that the purpose of meditation is to understand how suffering arises, and how it ceases. Without vedana during meditation, one can only experiences tranquillity. Might not gain the solution to stop suffering completely.

There are a lot of real experienced meditators here, they might give u a better reply.

Hope it helps.
A Mind Unshaken, when touches by worldy matter, sorrowless, secure and dustless, this is the ultimate great blessing~ Mangala Sutta


  • stillpointdancer
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Re: Back Pain/Spasm after Vipassana Retreat
« Reply #2 on: December 13, 2018, 10:57:59 AM »
You don't say what your experience was before going on the retreat. The pain sounds like your posture needs adjusting if you want to sit for such lengths of time. The flashbacks are normal tricks the brain throws up when indulging in lengthy meditation, but you don't say how much preparation you did in terms of vipassana. My own view is that you need the kind of mental protection that a slow development over a number of years can offer. I was in a rush many years ago so developed things such as safe place visualisation instead, which I still use occasionally.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka


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Re: Back Pain/Spasm after Vipassana Retreat
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2018, 07:21:35 AM »
Hi Ron,

It is unlikely your back pain is only psychological, especially as a bulging disc found. It is very likely though to be about the way you habitually use your body. Bringing awareness to how you sit, move, walk, and especially initiate twisting movements, such as turning the head to one side or the other may give you insight into imbalanced movements.

These may be related to the kind of traumatic memories you experienced in retreat, both being the results of years of suppresed trauma. The research in these fields is getting slowly better but is basically very retarded.

Bringing awareness to body movements can help you realign movements which are imbalanced. It could also be beneficial to do gentle exercise to strengthen your body, such as swimming. These, combined with unforced meditation can be very healing for your whole self, body and mind.


« Last Edit: December 15, 2018, 07:23:58 AM by Matthew »
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