Pain is a symptom: what does it mean? 

 August 17, 2020

You back pain, neck pain, and even your anxiety, are all messages waiting to be decoded. Pain is a symptom, your body's way of trying to get your attention. Wouldn't it be great to know what your body is saying?


Imagine this scenario….you wake up one morning and go to get out of bed, but as you do, you tweak your back.

The “tweak” isn’t the first time this has happened, and it’s so painful that it feels like someone stabbed you in the back. You take in a sharp breath and slowly lie back down.

“Drat!” you think, knowing full well that it will take a week to fully recover and be able to go about your normal activities again.

What do you do to treat this back issue? Most people reach for over the counter medications to reduce that inflammation. Perhaps a visit (or many visits) to the Physical Therapist, Chiropractor, or massage therapist.

A week passes, and you can resume most of your normal activities. But you don’t ever get to the point where it’s completely gone, and 4 months later, the process repeats itself.

Perhaps it’s time to stop and give a little more thought to what might be happening with your body.

Pain is a symptom, but it's not what you think

Here’s the first question for you:

Have you ever thought that your body is trying to tell you something from that pain? 

It may seem odd to consider at first, but your body talks to you through the various aches, pains, illnesses, and symptoms you have. It’s not just your physical body that’s talking to you, but your spirit as well.

If you truly want to heal that back pain - or any other physical issue - you want to get past the symptoms. You can learn how to decipher the messages your body is telling you.

As you read on, you’ll learn about who you truly are, the source of dis-ease, and perhaps most importantly, how to heal things for yourself.

You’re not just a physical being

While this likely isn’t news to you, it’s the critical factor in understanding physical pain.

Your body is a home, a temple, to be precise, for your spirit. As long as you are alive, your spirit is attached to your body. 

"Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?" (1 Cor 3:16, King James Version)

The spirit and body communicate with each other. They’re not separate entities just hanging out together. Your body doesn’t drag you spirit along as you go through life.

Your spirit wants to be heard, and ultimately, to be in charge of the body. The spirit wants to lead and guide you through your life.

Can you imagine how much more peaceful and joyful your life would be if your spirit led?

Dis-ease is a sign of imbalance

When the body and the spirit are fully integrated and working well together, you experience health and happiness.

When there’s some sort of imbalance between the two, something is out of alignment. You experience this imbalance as dis-ease, as physical symptoms. 

The longer the imbalance is present, the more pronounced the symptoms become.

The symptoms you experience - whether it’s pain in your back, a headache, anxiety, diabetes, cancer, even a simple fever - are all signs that there is an imbalance in your system. 

These symptoms are your body’s and spirit’s way of talking to you. They’re letting you know that something is wrong, and correction is needed.

Your body can heal itself

Usually, you go to the doctor because you want them to heal you.

The truth is, no one can actually heal anything for you. Your body does all of the healing itself.

Think about the last time you got a cut. Did you have to do something specific to heal it? Likely not. Your white blood cells came to the scene, and started the work of repairing the tissue. You don’t even need to know that you have white blood cells, and yet they’ll still do their work.

Sometimes, though, things don’t heal all on their own. This doesn’t mean that the body is limited in healing itself. It means that the environment the body needs is out of balance. 

Just living on earth pretty much guarantees that you’re out of balance and need to do some work to be healthy! Our daily lives are incredibly stressful, and stress is one of the biggest factors leading to poor health.

Couple that stress with poor sleep habits, and other bad habits such as drinking coffee and alcohol, not exercising, eating fast food and processed food, and being inside most of the time, and you’re setting yourself up for dis-ease!

stress bad habits

Image by Tumisu from Pixabay

Pain is a symptom - use it to get to the root cause

Your body will heal itself given the right environment. That means getting to the root of the issue, not simply taking something to get rid of a symptom.

The vast majority of the time, we get rid of symptoms…..this is almost exclusively what our modern medical field does.

Do you have high blood pressure? Here, take this medication. Anxiety or depression? Take this pill and this one, and let’s hope they don’t make things worse or make you feel like a zombie. Can’t sleep? There’s a pill for that, too! And that back pain? Take a pain medication to get rid of the pain.

Unfortunately, this keeps you stuck on a roller coaster chasing after symptoms.

If you suppress one symptom, another symptom will pop up somewhere else. It usually won’t happen right away, and you might not even recognize that it has anything to do with the first symptom.

Here’s a great example of this…..have you ever been on crutches? Or in a walking boot? You go along for a week or two, not feeling too badly and getting along ok. But then, you start to have pain in the hip of the opposite leg. Or your back starts to hurt. Maybe even your neck gets stiff.

All of these new symptoms aren’t new problems. They’re a result of the imbalance caused to your body by walking differently. The true solution, physically, is to get off of the crutches or to get rid of the walking boot.

Remember, those symptoms are your body and your spirit trying to tell you that something is wrong. It’s their way of asking for help to restore balance.

What this all means, is that when you only treat the physical, you are still only treating symptoms. 

Remember, the spirit is tied to your body. If you just address the physical, you’re forgetting about the spirit. 

How to figure out what the symptoms are telling you

Ok, let’s go back to the beginning, when you tweaked your back getting out of bed. Now you’re ready to really figure out what’s going on. You’re ready to figure out what that back pain is telling you. How do you do that?

There are actually many ways to learn to talk with your body and spirit. I’ll give you 3 things to get you started. You might be surprised at how quickly you can get results. 

(1) Follow someone else's lead

You don’t have to start from scratch! Thankfully, others have already deciphered many of the signals your body tells you. There are two books I highly recommend.

Feelings Buried Alive Never Die, by Karol K. Truman and You Can Heal Your Life, by Louise Hay.

I use both books, and recommend them to all of my clients. They give a listing of various places you might have pain, and a listing of other diseases, and then give possibilities for underlying emotional beliefs contributing to the pain or disease.

Both are must-have resources as you start to decipher what your body is telling you from the pain. Want a sneak-peak into what's inside and how they can help? Check out this post and short video.

(2) Do a body scan

A body scan is a meditation technique that is simple to learn. The basic principle is to direct your awareness to your entire body, one part at a time. As you do so, you simply notice what your sense.

When you're in pain, you don't have to go through the entire body. You can just focus you awareness on one area. If you have something that's more global, then it's best to scan the whole body.

Here's how to do a body scan:

  • Sit quietly, and just breathe for a few minutes. Give yourself time to settle and get quiet.
  • If you're going to scan your whole body, start at your head. Spend a short time at each part - head, neck, left shoulder, left arm, right shoulder, right arm, and so on - until you've directed your attention to the whole body.
  • If you're going to focus on a part that hurts, just put your attention there. Let it rest in that spot for a bit.
  • Either way you choose, simply notice what's happening at each area. What do you feel? What do you see? What do you sense?

When you're done, make notes of what you experienced and what came to you. People experience things differently, so you might only feel things, while someone else might only see things.

The body scan will give you insight into what the underlying issue is. In fact, you might want to follow the body scan with the next suggestion, and talk with your body about the pain.

meditation awareness

Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

(3) Talk with your body

Have a conversation with your body, or with your body part. Yes, I’m being serious. I do this often, and it’s very enlightening.

Here’s how to talk with your body:

  • Sit quietly, and just breathe for a few minutes. Give yourself time to settle and get quiet.
  • Direct your attention to the place that is giving you troubles. If it's something like anxiety or diabetes, you can just think about the issue.
  • Put forth an intention to be humble and to have a willingness to hear what your body has to say. Envision that you’re talking with a trusted friend who needs your help. Let go of blaming your body for causing pain.
  • Next, ask questions. Let’s use the example of your back again. You might ask, “What are you trying to tell me?” “Why are you hurting?” “What would help you feel better?”

I did this recently with my hip and thigh. I was out for a walk, and started to get twinges of pain that made it hard to walk. When I finally got home, I sat to meditate and talk with my leg. I asked what it was trying to tell me, and got clear responses. 

My thigh told me it was feeling tired, hurt, and overworked. It was being pulled in too many directions. It needs to be freed of the tasks that aren’t for it to do.

It might take a little more digging and talking to understand exactly what to do to bring about healing. The more you are aware of your particular struggles, the more the messages you get will make sense to you. 

For example, I have to do a bit more searching to understand why my thigh is feeling this way. My perspective is that the leg needs to be strengthened to take more of its share of the load between my left and right leg. But that’s not at all what my thigh told me.

Don't be surprised if what you get isn't what you might have thought. Your spirit and your subconscious have much more information than your conscious mind accesses regularly.

Learn to heal yourself

Once you realize that pain is a symptom, and other dis-eases are also symptoms, you're on the way to truly finding healing. 

Don't be in a hurry with this process. Sure, taking a pill might be easier in the short-term, but it just postpones having to deal with something until later.

If your friend's car was leaking oil, and they just kept putting more oil in, wouldn't you think that was a bit odd? You know that the only way to really fix that oil leak is to repair the piece that's broken, not put in more oil!

It's the same with treating symptoms. Get to the root cause, and a whole host of symptoms will disappear!

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About the author

Jen Bessire, PhD, is a Christian medium, author, and healer. After 23 years as a physical therapist, God called her to her current path in 2014. She delights in helping others come unto Christ, heal generational trauma, and create a life of freedom. God is calling you - are you listening?

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