Pain is largely considered to be a physical condition. Anxiety, on the other hand, is largely considered to be a mental health condition. However, the two conditions can often overlap. Let’s look at the connection between anxiety and pain as well as how therapists can address them at the same time.
Are Anxiety and Pain Related?
June 3, 2018
Anxiety and Muscle Tension
Think back to the last time that you felt anxious. Then, think about your body language. There’s a good chance that you were physically tense rather than open and relaxed. Anxiety commonly leads to muscle tension, which can then become a source of pain.
When muscles are tense for extended periods of time, they are more likely to become sore. Individuals who struggle with shoulder pain, neck pain and migraines, for example, might also be dealing with added tension caused by anxiety. While relaxing is a great way to eliminate that muscle tension, anxiety makes it hard to do.
Anxiety and Hypersensitivity
Anxiety and pain share close ties thanks to hypersensitivity. When people struggle with anxiety, they are also more likely to be hypersensitive to physical sensations. When they have an upset stomach, they are more in tune with those uncomfortable feelings. This means that some people with anxiety don’t actually have more physical pain, but they do experience and feel that pain in a more pronounced way.
One of the most common forms of pain among those with anxiety is joint pain. It may be true that those with anxiety can feel the inflammation in their joints more than the average person, leading to greater pain.
Behavioral Changes Created by Anxiety
Sometimes, pain can result from changes in behavior that are directly caused by anxiety. People who slouch or hunch their shoulders, for example, are more likely to have back and shoulder pain. Others may sleep in strange positions to cope with anxiety, but those positions may lead to physical pain.
Pain and Injury Can Also Lead to Anxiety
Typically, people think of anxiety as the precursor to pain. However, the opposite relationship is also true. Sometimes, the pain from an injury or an accident can cause a person to become anxious.
An athlete, for example, might be anxious about recovering from an injury. They can develop anxiety because of pain, and that anxiety may, in turn, cause the pain to feel worse. This creates a terrible cycle that might be hard to break out of.
Treating Anxiety and Pain at Driftwood Recovery
At Driftwood Recovery, Clients can overcome pain by tackling the source. In many cases, anxiety is one of the causes of chronic or acute pain. Treatment is holistic, approaching the Client as a unique individual. Some treatment methods to combat anxiety and pain include:
- Yoga therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Physical therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Dual diagnosis support
Anxiety treatment may be one way for Clients to reduce or eliminate pain. At Driftwood Recovery in Texas, you can find the right kind of support and improve your quality of life. Call 866-426-4694 to learn more.