You may have noticed that people who are often ill tend to be pretty negative.
Of course, it’s hard to be happy when you’re always sick or in pain. However, science is saying that your emotions may be the cause of the chronic pain you’re experiencing – and not the other way around.
How Does Stress Affect The Body?
In response to psychological stress or certain physical stressors, an inflammatory process may occur. via ScienceDirect
According to Science Daily, a recent study by Carnegie Mellon University demonstrated that chronic psychological stress is associated with the body losing its ability to regulate the inflammatory response.
This research shows for the first time that the effects of psychological stress on the body’s ability to regulate inflammation can promote the development and progression of diseases such as cardiovascular disease, asthma and autoimmune disorders.
Dr. Susan Babel, a psychologist that specializes in trauma-induced depression explains that, “chronic pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues.”
What Is Chronic Pain?
According to the US Department of Veteran Affairs, approximately one in three Americans suffer from some kind of chronic pain in their lifetimes, and about one quarter of them are not able to do day to day activities because of their chronic pain.
Research has shown that many patients who experience chronic pain (up to 100% of these patients) tend to also be diagnosed with depression. Similarly, approximately 15% to 35% of patients with chronic pain also have PTSD.
Between 80% and 90% of Americans experience these chronic problems in the neck or lower back.
What The Location Of Your Pain Says About You
As Dr. Babble warns: “Often, physical pain functions to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done, and it can also be a sign of unresolved trauma in the nervous system.”
1. Pain in your head.
Pain in your head, like headaches and migraines, can be triggered by the stresses of everyday life. It may be an indication that there’s something that’s overwhelming your thoughts.
When this kind of headache occurs, just breathe and try to relax. Lying down or taking a nap may help ease the pressure you feel in your head. Baths and soothing drinks can be very therapeutic too.
2. Pain in your neck.
Ever feel like someone is a pain in the neck? Turns out, it may actually be true! Pain in your neck is often a sign that you’re having trouble forgiving others, or even yourself.
Instead of letting yourself be overrun with resentment and anger, make a mental list of what is good about the person, or what your strong points are. The key is to consciously work toward forgiveness.
3. Pain in your shoulders.
Pain in your shoulders is often accompanied by heaviness in your chest. It may indicate that you’re carrying a tough emotional burden. That’s where the saying “shouldering a problem” comes from.
Go for a massage and focus on how to solve your problem instead of carrying them around with you. You can also speak to a friend, family member or shrink to get some outside perspective on how to be proactive.
4. Pain in your upper back.
If you’re feeling pain in your upper back, you’re probably coping with a lack of emotional support. Often times, this is also accompanied by shoulder pain. You might be feeling unloved or you could even be holding back your love .
If so, consider the ways in which you receive love as well as your favorite method of giving it. You may realize that your partner or friends simply speak a different love language than you.Try to find common ground in communicating your love for one another.
5. Pain in your lower back.
Lower back pain often means that you’re worried about financial support. However, like the upper back, it may also be a sign of lacking emotional support.
If you’re having financial troubles, consider revising your budget, asking for a raise, or meeting with a financial planner. You may just be making unwise financial decisions.
6. Pain in your elbows.
Pain in your elbows has a lot to do with resisting changes in your life. If your arms are feeling stiff, it may be that you lack flexibility in your life. If they feel weak, try to reevaluate your boundaries and your life goals.
Try to think about your needs and how you can adapt to the needs of those around you. Once you let go of being too stiff or too loose, you’ll find it a lot easier to enjoy your life.
7. Pain in your hands.
With your hands, you reach out to others and connect. Hence, hand pain can be an indication of not reaching out enough to friends and family.
Why don’t you call your sibling, or sign up for an art class with friends? You can easily spruce up your social life if you just make it a priority.
8. Pain in your hips.
You hips are essential for your mobility. If you’ve been afraid of moving on or simply resisting change, they may get a little sore. It may also mean that you’re trying to avoid making decisions.
Instead of worrying, write out the pros and cons of each option and trust yourself to make the right decision. You can also make a list of what’s bothering you and why, so that you may let go of the past and move on.
9. Pain in the knees.
Knee pain can mean a lot of different things, like refusing to move forward, but it can also be a sign of a big ego.
If you blow your own horn to anyone who’ll listen, bring yourself down a notch. You may find that becoming a volunteer will humble you and take you off that high horse.
Remember that you’re mortal, and the only person you need to impress is yourself.
10. Pain in your calves.
Calf pain is likely triggered by jealousy and resentment. You may want to think about the positive points of your life and your personality.
Just remember that jealousy works in the opposite way you want it to. Instead of comparing yourself to others, focus on building a life you’re proud of.
11. Pain in the ankles.
Pain in your ankles may be a sign that you’re depriving yourself of pleasure. No matter what’s going on in your life, there are always ways that you can indulge a little more.
Try taking a bath, cooking a good meal or making the time for your favorite activity. Make yourself your number one priority, even if it’s just for a few hours.
12. Pain in your feet.
When you’re depressed, you might feel more foot pain. The negativity you absorb throughout the day can make you feel like you’re walking on broken glass.
Just remember to let go of what doesn’t serve you and don’t internalize other people’s opinions or frustrations. Look for the little joys in life, in whatever form you feel more attracted to!
The more you work on your inner joy, the easier it becomes to heal your body. Physical health and mental health are one and the same.