Friday, September 15, 2023

Can Stress Cause Muscle Pain

Anxiety Can Cause Neuropathy

Can anxiety cause muscle pain and tension?

Anxiety and stress do affect the body in many different ways. A few of the most obvious symptoms of stress include numbness, burning, tingling, and pain or discomfort when moving. These symptoms are very similar to what you might feel with neuropathy. Thats why its very easy to think you have neuropathy when you actually dont. If you assume thats what youre dealing with and never confirm it with your doctor, you wont be able to address the actual problem .

Can Anxiety Damage Your Nerves

While anxiety and stress can play into neuropathy, they cant actually damage your nerves. This means that stress isnt a root cause of neuropathy. Even if youre incredibly stressed every day for months, that by itself wont cause damage to your nerves. However, that doesnt mean stress wont play a part in the symptoms of your neuropathy.

Managing Stress Trauma And Emotion

The easiest way for us to approach muscle tension is to only look at the muscles that are tight. However, to fully address our whole body health, we should also look at our mental health and how its causing muscle tightness.

Below are four approaches that anyone can start when learning how to manage personal stressors, traumas, and emotions that cause muscle pain.

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What Causes Extreme Muscle And Joint Pain

Tension, chronic stress, and minor injuries can result in extreme muscle and joint pain. This type of pain is usually localized and can affect a few parts of the body at the same time.

Conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, bursitis, strains, and gout can also lead to painful joints.

According to the latest research, joint pain is pretty common in adults. Every fourth person reports having it. If you are one of them, here is what you need to know about muscle pain and its treatment:

Directionality Of Stress Effects On Pain Response

Can Anxiety Cause Muscle Pain?  Psycology Says

A crucial factor for the occurrence ofSIA and stress-induced hyperalgesia inhumans is the influence of psychological andcognitive elements on stress and pain processing,which will in turn determine the outcome ofthe pain response. Pain experience in humansinvolves sensory-discriminative, motivationalaffective,and cognitive components . Table 1 summarises the human studies on the effects ofstress on pain behaviour.

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Your Nerves May Be Over

Studies have also provided evidence that anxiety and nerve firings are related. Specifically, researchers believe that high anxiety may cause nerve firing to occur more often. This can make you feel tingling, burning, and other sensations that are also associated with nerve damage and neuropathy. Anxiety may also cause muscles to cramp up, which can also be related to nerve damage.

Psychological Stress Can Cause Back Pain

Though it might seem hard to believe, mental or emotional distress may be the reason you are experiencing back pain. In fact, there is a long list of physical symptoms that have been proven to be associated with stress and anxiety, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Low libido

Stress itself is the bodys reaction to certain usually unpleasant situations or thoughts. You may not realize it, but when you are feeling stressed or anxious, there are chemical and physical reactions taking place in your body to try and protect you from harm. Cortisol and adrenaline are released, and there is typically an involuntary tightening of your muscles. This often occurs in the neck, shoulders, and down the spine. Prolonged tension in these areas can lead to back pain and, more specifically, lower back pain. You may have had a massage therapist tell you that you hold a lot of tension in your shoulders, and this phenomenon is what they are referencing.

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Stress And Chronic Pain

Why do you guys always want to know how much stress I have? While the patient who asked this question the other day had fibromyalgia, she could have had chronic low back or neck pain, chronic daily headaches, complex regional pain syndrome, or any other chronic pain condition. She was expressing a sentiment that I often hear in one form or another.

It goes something like the following: Im hear to talk about my pain and what we can do about it, but you ask me about all these things that are unrelated to pain, like whether I worry, whether the worry keeps me up at night, whats going on at home, whether my spouse believes me that I hurt as much as I do. In effect, Im here to talk about my pain but you want to know how stressed I am. Why?

Its true. Providers who specialize in chronic pain rehabilitation always evaluate the patients pain, of course, but they also always assess the stressful problems that the patient experiences. To the list above, we might add such stressors as depression, anxiety, past trauma, sleep problems, persistent problems with concentration and short-term memory, financial problems, loss of the role in your occupation or family, the loss of sexual and emotional intimacy in your relationship, and the list could go on. All these problems cause stress, which is why we call them stressors. Why is it important to deal with stressors when having chronic pain?

There are a number of reasons why it is important, but lets review two today:

How Anxiety Causes Back Pain: And How To Stop It

How Stress Can Cause Muscle Pain
  • Anxiety, especially chronic anxiety, commonly leads to back pain
  • Muscle tension may be the primary cause, but there are other supplementary anxiety symptoms that could also cause back pain
  • Simple lifestyle changes can reduce some of the back pain
  • One simple change: posture, which can be affected by anxiety in several ways
  • Eliminating back pain from anxiety, specifically, traditionally requires anxiety treatments

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Anatomy Of Stress And Emotions

Just as all of our stresses will be different, where we hold tension tends to vary from person to person. However, the most common stress-related muscle tension patterns occur in the neck or hip muscles.

This is mainly due to the fact that many of our most essential organs are directly next to the iliacus muscle in the pelvis. The pelvic area not only experiences physical and sexual trauma, but due to its location close to the reproductive system, its a common place for holding tension related to relationships and our sense of survival and safety.

Our digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems, as well as major lymph, nerves, and blood vessels, are in this area. This makes the iliacus muscle vital in protecting this area of our bodies. Similarly, the neck muscles serve the vital purpose of supporting and protecting our spinal cord and brain.

How Does Stress And Anxiety Cause Tension In Your Neck And Shoulders

When you experience a stressful event or a bout of anxiety, your muscles contract, sometimes forcefully. This is an automatic or reflex reaction. Its known as a stress response or fight or flight response.

Its your bodys way of gearing up to face a perceived physical threat that youll need to fight off or run away from. Along with muscle tension, you may also notice other physical symptoms when youre stressed or anxious, such as:

  • a fast heart rate
  • cold skin
  • sweating

Although your bodys stress response is designed to help you deal with physical threats, your body responds in the same way when the threat isnt physical. Your muscles may tighten up when youre stuck in traffic, dealing with pressure at work, or watching the news.

According to the American Psychological Association , your muscles and other organs may only relax again once the perceived threat has passed.

If stress is ongoing meaning the stressful situation doesnt seem to have a clear end your body may stay in a heightened state of readiness to face a threat. As a result, your muscles may stay tense and tight for much longer than they need to.

According to the APA, ongoing muscle tension in your neck and shoulders can lead to more serious issues like back and shoulder pain, body aches, and migraine and tension headaches.

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How Can I Prevent Back Pain In The Future

While Dr. Williams and the caring team at Interventional Orthopedics of Atlanta are hyper-focused on helping patients become pain-free, preventing future pain is one of their top priorities. Follow these lifestyle and behavioral tips to help ensure you avoid back pain in the future:

  • Sleep with your spine in a neutral position
  • Practice good posture

The Connection Of The Mind And Body With Stress

Stress: What it Does to Your Body

You may be having regular headaches these days, and in recent times, your neck has also been feeling tight with severe pain, then it becomes necessary to visit the doctor.

However, did you know that it might happen that the doctor will not see anything physically wrong, and he might even ask, What is happening in your life these days? You can tell him that things are quite intense these days.

You are not just experiencing multiple deadlines at work, but you may also be having some volunteering activities and also taking care of your parents/kids, who are not well.

Then the doctor will indeed suggest you gently that the main reasons for severe headache and pain in the neck are the hectic schedule and feelings of depression related to your parents/kids well-being.

Also, based on the results of the multiple studies conducted in recent years, it is clear that depression, stress, panic attacks, anxiety and emotional events can cause some of the severe physical symptoms associated with stress.

Tip: There is a difference of effectiveness between Alpha-Stim and TENS for treating pain, anxiety, depression and insomnia.

Let find out what are the common physical symptoms associated with stress.

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Why Does My Back Hurt

There are a number of reasons, some of which may not be glaringly obvious, why you are experiencing back pain. Trauma or direct injury to the area can certainly result in acute or chronic pain, but oftentimes the cause of your back pain can be traced to something else. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:

  • Injury
  • Muscle spasms
  • Herniated disc
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis

Seemingly harmless activities like repetitive lifting or repetitive motions such as swinging a golf club often put a strain on your muscles and ligaments and result in back pain. Chronic or degenerative conditions, such as those listed above, can also be culprits of back pain. However, if none of these things apply to you, your back pain may be the result of something else.

You Need To Get A Diagnosis

If you believe you have neuropathy, dont try to treat it on your own. Instead, you need to get a diagnosis. There are several conclusive methods that will tell you if you truly do have neuropathy or if the symptoms youre feeling are caused by something like anxiety.

An electromyograph uses electric stimulation that will show if theres something affecting the nerves. If you havent had any injuries that could have caused nerve damage, this test can be used to determine if theres another medical condition affecting your body that you dont know about.

A CT or MRI can be used to look for physical damage. These scans can determine if your nerves are under pressure from misaligned bones or have been crushed from pressure. Often, surgery is required to relieve this pressure.

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Muscle Tension Chronic Muscle Tension Aches Pain Common Anxiety Symptoms Descriptions:

  • You feel like your muscles are always tight or strained, sometimes to the point of frequent pain or even chronic pain.
  • Some people might also find the pain so restricting and debilitating that it prevents physical activity, and sometimes to the point of becoming bed ridden.
  • It’s also common to experience pain or cramps in any of the body’s muscles.
  • This symptom can also be experienced as muscle spasms, twitching, clamping up, and intermittent pain.
  • Sometimes the muscle tension pain can be so severe that pain medications are required.

Anxiety muscle tension symptoms can appear for a few brief moments then disappear, can last for minutes or hours before they relax, or can be stiff, tense, or painful persistently.

Anxiety muscle tension symptoms can also persist when trying to relax, go to sleep, when asleep, or resume when waking up.

The degree and intensity of anxiety muscle tension symptoms can vary from person to person. For example, one or a group of muscles can be only slightly uncomfortable for one person but can be intensely painful and severely restricting for another.

Anxiety muscle tension symptoms can affect ANY muscle or group of muscles in the body, and can randomly migrate to various muscles or groups of muscle throughout the entire body.

Anxiety-caused muscle tension, aches, and pains can persistently affect one area only, can shift and affect another area or areas, and can migrate all over and affect many areas over and over again.

Tips For Managing Stress And Anxiety

Muscle Tension or Muscle pain due to Anxiety

We all experience stress. Its almost impossible not to feel anxious or stressed at some point or another. But, just as your body has an automatic response to stress, it also has a built-in system to calm you down.

Known as the relaxation response, it helps you recover from the fight or flight response. It brings all your systems back to normal and returns your body to a calm, resting state. The relaxation response also helps protect your body from health issues related to the stress response.

There are a variety of skills and strategies you can use to help the relaxation response kick in. Here are some of them:

Keep in mind that as with any new skill, regular practice is the key. These practices may not work for you right away and thats OK. But, as you use them over time, youll likely find that they help return your body to a calmer, more restful state.

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Apply A Warm Or Cold Compress

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can numb the pain temporarily by desensitizing the underlying nerves. Heat application through a heating pad, warm bath, or hot water bottle can stimulate blood circulation in the area and loosen the tight muscles.

You may use each of these therapies for 15 minutes every hour, alternating between cold and warm compresses for best results.

Thermotherapy and cryotherapy can help alleviate acute lower back pain, but mostly when used as an adjunct to standard medical treatment.

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Other Options For Neck And Shoulder Tension

Yoga is an excellent activity to help release stress-related tension in your neck and shoulders. In fact, one study found that 9 weeks of yoga resulted in pain relief and functional improvements in people with neck pain.

There are also some other strategies you can use to help relieve or prevent tension in your neck. For instance you can:

  • Apply a warm compress to the tight area.
  • Spend a few minutes doing a self-massage.
  • Soak in a warm tub, and add a few drops of aromatherapy oil for extra relaxation.
  • Adjust your workstation, so your computer is at eye level to avoid neck strain.
  • Check your posture while youre at your work desk keep your hips, shoulders, and ears in a straight line.
  • Get up and move away from your workstation for a few minutes every hour.
  • At night, use a pillow that offers good support for your neck, and is designed to keep your head and neck aligned.

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Muscle Pain Is A Complicated Issue

So many different issues can cause muscle pain. But there’s no denying that anxiety can have a very significant effect on your muscles. Just a small sample of explanations for the links between anxiety and muscle pain include:

Those are just a few of the potential reasons that anxiety and muscle pain are related. Some people also find that their hyperventilation causes muscle pain. Others toss and turn at night or sleep in uncomfortable positions because of their anxiety. There are a lot of different causes that are either linked directly to anxiety or occur because of anxiety symptoms.

Simple Activities For Stress Management:

  • Close your eyes and take five deep breaths
  • Play the alphabet game identify objects in the room that start with each letter of the alphabet
  • Engage in light exercise, such as jumping jacks, brisk walking, or yoga
  • Take a break outside and enjoy the fresh air
  • Write in a journal
  • Watch or read something that makes you laugh
  • Listen to calming music
  • Spend time with a pet

Our emotions play a big role in how our bodies feel. With a multidisciplinary approach to pain management, Dr. Neel Amin is able to tackle the underlying stress and tension causing muscle pain.

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Help Is Available For Stress

Stress is a part of life. What matters most is how you handle it. The best thing you can do to prevent stress overload and the health consequences that come with it is to know your stress symptoms.

If you or a loved one is feeling overwhelmed by stress, talk to your doctor. Many symptoms of stress can also be signs of other health problems. Your doctor can evaluate your symptoms and rule out other conditions. If stress is to blame, your doctor can recommend a therapist or counselor to help you better handle your stress.

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