Emotions and Their Role in Physical Pain

Chronic pain is one of the biggest challenges facing medical science. Even with their current extensive body of knowledge, doctors admit there is much they do not understand about the causes and best treatments for chronic pain. Dr. Susan Babbel, a psychologist who specializes in trauma-induced depression, believes emotions have a profound effect on chronic pain. She says:

Studies have shown that chronic pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues…Physical pain functions to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done.

Dr. Babbel relates particular types of pain to certain emotional states. Here are some examples:

Head – Chronic headaches are often related to the stress of everyday life. Dr. Babbel says if you have headaches or even migraines, you need to take more time for yourself, not just on occasion, but on a daily basis.

Neck – Pain in the neck area signifies a need to forgive. You may need to forgive another person, or you may even need to forgive yourself. Forgiveness is often challenging, but holding on to anger and resentment can sentence you to a lifetime of pain.

Shoulders – Pain in the shoulders often indicates you are carrying too much emotional weight. You may feel you are responsible for shouldering everything. You need to put down part of the load, or share it with someone else.

Upper Back – Pain in the upper back may be a sign of lack of emotional support. If you do not feel appreciated, or you are holding back feelings of affection, you may need to work on your primary relationship. If you are single, look for loving support in your life.

Lower Back – Financial worries can cause pain in the lower back. It’s time to focus on learning to managing your money better, and implementing what you learn. Get some help if you feel in over your head.

Elbows – Pain in the arm and elbow may indicate a lack of flexibility. You may need to learn to go with the flow of events in your life.

Hands – Pain in the hands can be a sign of a lack of friends. It may be time to reach out and make new friends.

Hips – Pain in the hips can be caused by a fear of moving forward, change and waiting to make a big decision. Change is inevitable, so make a choice and let it unfold.

Knees – Pain in the knees may be a sign you need a little more humility in your life. Consider volunteering, and remember that people – including you – are imperfect.

Calves – Calf pain is often related to emotional tension, stress or jealousy. Consider letting go of any big stressors in your life, or let go of jealousy you may be feeling.

Ankles – Ankle pain could be a sign you need more pleasure in your life. Pamper yourself, or cultivate your love life.

Feet – Foot pain often correlates to depression. Think about taking up a new hobby or adopting a pet. You may even want to seek counseling. Find out what makes you happy, and do it.