Can physical pain be the result of emotional suffering? Recent studies show that chronic physical pain is linked not only to injuries, but also to emotional stress, trauma, and depression.
The Correlation Between Physical Pain And Emotional Stress
Chronic pain is usually accompanied by emotions like sadness, hopelessness, anger, etc., which are also symptoms of stress and anxiety. Also, recent studies show that emotional suffering can generate physical pain that affects different areas of the body. Some of those are stomach pain, irritable bowel, headache, stomach ulcers, back and neck pain, and other.
The researchers say that, usually, the function of the physical pain is to warn the person who constantly functions under emotional stress. In this regard, the first thing you need to know about pain and healing is that you have to include the treatment of stress and anxiety in the normal treatment process.
For instance, stress and emotional trauma are common triggers of migraine and headaches. They can be a result of excessive emotional responsiveness on a day-to-day basis. It’s not the first time I hear: Stress is the cause of throbbing pain in the head!
The best thing that you can do in situations like these is to dedicate time for relaxation. For example, you can do yoga. Or spend the day in a spa, or get a massage, to get rid of the unwanted tensions and stress.
When it comes to neck and back pain, we can say that these areas of the human body bear our burdens. Thus, when we experience emotional problems, our neck, shoulders and back are tense, and cause us physical pain. This would be a perfect moment for us to share our problems with someone else… won’t you agree?
When we find ourselves in an uncomfortable situation, in which we do not feel safe, we’re not able to ‘digest’ certain events. This can often result in stomach problems, related to heartburn and stomach cramps. I for certain, find myself in situations like these very often!
The Cause Of Physical Pain
Many people already know that emotional difficulties can cause stomach pain, heartburn, and headaches. But, very few know that this can often result in chronic pain.
Experts warn that people who have experienced a traumatic episode in their life have a higher chance of experiencing chronic physical pain. Namely, approximately 30 percent of people with chronic pain demonstrate PTSD symptoms (post-traumatic stress disorder). A typical response to trauma can include both, psychological and physiological symptoms like hyper-excitement, numbness, retrospective scenes, nightmares, pain, and behavior changes.
When a person experiences a traumatic event, its nervous system enters a survival mode, and sometimes, it’s not able to return back to its normal, i.e. to a relaxed mode. If the emotional state remains in survival mode, there’s a constant release of stress hormones like cortisol, which increase the blood sugar and blood pressure levels. This consequently reduces the ability of the immune system to heal. And, when the human organism is in constant danger, the physical symptoms begin to manifest.
Very often, physical pain warns a person when there a need of emotional work to be done. It signals that there’s an unresolved emotional trauma, which we need to fix. So, even if you have passed the mourning period and have processed your emotions, your nervous system may still be unknowingly in survival mode.
From the above, we can see that there’s a strong connection between trauma and chronic physical pain. Thus, a combination of physical therapy and psychotherapy are a logical choice for pain and stress management.