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How Your Emotions Are Causing You Physical Pain, Science Explains

Ups and downs are part of life, but when you’re hitting the rock bottom, it is common to experience an emotional roller coaster.

Most of us know that problems in life can cause stress and damage our mental health. But, do you know that your emotions, thought and state of mind can affect physical health? Do you know emotional pain can also cause physical pain?

Dr. Susan Babel, a psychologist that specializes in trauma-induced depression, says “Studies have shown that chronic physical pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues.”

She further says that no doubt emotional stress causes stomach upsets, irritable bowel syndrome, but it can also cause other physical health issues like chronic physical pain. Based on recent studies she noted that when people are experiencing anxiety and stress, their muscles are in a tensed and constricted state. And, if you have an anxiety problem that remains unaddressed, over time, your muscles become fatigued and inefficient.

Dr. Susan says “More subtly, one might develop psychosomatic symptoms or stress-related symptoms because of unresolved emotional issues”

So, whenever you are experiencing physical pain, it means you have got to work on your emotional issues.

Do you know that pain can also be caused by a traumatic event? According to pain experts, around 15-30% of patients reporting chronic pain have a history of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

The human nervous system goes into a survival mode upon experiencing a traumatic event. In this condition, the level of stress hormones like cortisol increases. But, after the event is over your body may not immediately revert back to the normal mode and the stress response remains high. This results in high blood pressure, blood sugar, weakening of the immune system, and delayed healing. In short, when your body is in a state of constant distress, poor physical health manifests.

So, the next time you are troubled with lower back pain or headache, stop and think if it has to do with something else in your life!

Isn’t it good to know that your physical pain and emotional pain are interrelated? You can control your physical pain by checking your anxiety and stress levels as said by Dr. Murray Grossan of the Grossan Institute.

To help you get a better understanding of how your emotions cause physical pain, we have described various pains you experience and what do they mean.  

1. Headaches

Caused by day to day stress in our lives

Headaches are unpleasing pains, which can be mild or severe as migraines. They are known to be triggered by day-to-day stress in our lives. According to a cross-sectional study, migraines are triggered by stress and emotional triggers. Be sure to take time out of every day to relax. Do something that eases the tension.

2. Neck Pain

Trouble Forgiving

Are you cursing yourself for something for long? Or unable to forget people who hurt you? Pain in your neck indicates trouble with forgiving others, or even yourself. Sit and figure out what you need to let go of. Toxicity is injurious to health! Focus on your strengths and the things you love about yourself. Practice forgiveness every day and stop being too harsh on yourself if you want to improve your overall physical health.

3. Shoulder Pain

Emotional Burdens

We say we carry a burden on our shoulders, right? Pain in your shoulders may indicate that you’re burdened with some sort of emotional pain. Learn problem-solving skills and share your worries and tensions with your loved ones. There is no harm in seeking help!

4. Upper Back Pain

Lack of emotional support

Often lack of emotional support is the cause of upper back pain. You might be feeling unloved or could even be holding your love back according to Rhonda Degaust, a self-help author and life coach. Spend more time with your loved ones, try and connect with old friends and if you’re single, you may think of ways to practice more self-love and compassion.

5. Lower Back Pain

Lack of security, financial strain or excess worry

Lack of emotional security can also cause lower back pain. Financial strains and excess worry can exacerbate lower back pain, according to Dr. Mark W. Tong, a doctorate in natural healing. You may hire a financial planner to better handle your property and money matters. Seek out a better job with higher pay. Don’t be afraid to reach out to others for support.

6. Elbow Pain

Resistant to change

Pain in your elbow(s) indicates that you are resistant to change in your life according to Dr. Alan Fogel. If your arms are feeling stiff, it may mean that you’re too rigid or stubborn in your life. It may be a good time to keep your options open, accept changes, or make compromises. Negative emotion causes physical pain. So, learn to better "go with the flow" and see what life has to offer you ahead.

7. Hip Pain

Fear of moving ahead in life

Pain in your elbow(s) indicates that you are resistant to change in your life according to Dr. Alan Fogel. If your arms are feeling stiff, it may mean that you’re too rigid or stubborn in your life. It may be a good time to keep your options open, accept changes, or make compromises. Negative emotion causes physical pain. So, learn to better "go with the flow" and see what life has to offer you ahead.

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