Ouch!!! This Hurts… How Body Pain Can Teach Us


We live in a society that is heavily geared towards getting rid of body pain, not learning from it.

As a culture, we are proficient and instinctual at disconnecting from our physical bodies. We live in a society that is heavily based on a “Western medicine” approach for attending to physical symptoms. This same culture also tends to emphasize “quick fixes”- meaning, when we have a headache, we are immediately encouraged to take an aspirin to relieve the pain. We have a muscle pain or body ache, and immediately are told that we must “treat it” with medicine or exercises designed to alleviate the pain, or even in some cases that we need to have surgery.

There is strong reinforcement both from the medical field, as well as from the general culture here in the United States, to function “at a high level” at all times, and not to let anything get in the way of our success and ability to “do our job” and “do it well”. Remember the old aspirin commercial: “I haven’t got time for the pain”? The focus becomes “how do I get rid of the pain” not “what is this pain telling me”. And we have a pill for dealing with every kind of pain you can imagine, physical or emotional.  

A limitation of this approach to dealing with pain, is that we quickly begin to numb out the important messages that our body is communicating to us, and we increase the disconnection between our bodies and our spirits.

One of the first lines of treatment for depression or anxiety is very often psychotropic medications. Although this can be a helpful support for some people in crisis and unable to find their way out, in most cases, by the time I begin working with an individual, they have already been on medication for some time, and still are experiencing the same symptoms of depression or anxiety, loneliness or malaise, which is why they are now seeking an alternative therapy to address their issues. In other cases, people have tried medication in the past and it did not seem to make a difference, so they have stopped and are not just feeling lost or hopeless.

There is nothing wrong with medication as a form of intervention to treat symptoms. However, the limitation of taking a pill as the primary solution to feeling better is that we are essentially postponing having to deal with the underlying emotional issues; we are “numbing” out so to speak, to the emotional pain that also exists alongside our physical condition. That’s not to say that for some people, medication may be the place to start in their healing and recovery as their ability to keep up with daily functioning is impaired. However, to use this approach as the only approach or intervention for dealing with emotional or physical pain, we limit ourselves in terms of every truly being able to find our own source of satisfaction.

You see, when we were born, we were designed to function as an integrated system, body/mind/spirit, all operating in conjunction with each other, and in this paradigm, everything we experience on one level is also experienced on the other levels simultaneously. I am not suggesting that we need to sit in pain until it goes away on its own, that would not be responsible or loving towards ourselves. What I am suggesting is that there is also an emotional or energetic component to every physical condition. If we are willing to listen and to also attend to its message, we are tapping into a deep and profound source of wisdom from our bodies which we can use to heal ourselves. Our bodies will guide our way home.

Kate Schroeder is a therapist and life coach who utilizes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® and the Enneagram, as well as body-mind-spirit healing practices to access one’s inner wisdom in order to create a life filled with satisfaction. Start changing your life today by downloading her guided imagery program, Soul Meditations: Building A Relationship That Lasts, or visit Kate at Transformation Counseling, LLC  for more information on how to connect with your best self. 

This article was originally published at The Healthy Planet. Reprinted with permission from the author.