While some people may be familiar with the mental symptoms of anxiety, the condition has serious physical effects on the body, too. Aches and pains are actually a very common manifestation of underlying psychological issues.
Anxiety can be the cause of aches and pains, and it can also heighten existing physical problems. The issue begins with increased muscle tension, which is common in those suffering with severe anxiety, and can lead to further debilitating pain and problems down the line.
If you feel you may be suffering with anxiety-related pain, read on for more information on how to identify and treat the pain and its cause.
How a Physical Therapist Can Reduce Anxiety
The Signs of Anxiety
Are you or someone you know experiencing anxiety? Sometimes it can be tricky to spot anxiety for what it is, but recognizing the signs is the first step to dealing with the problem.
Anxiety is a medical condition that affects the brain, causing a sense of panic, fear and uneasiness. Sufferers may also experience trouble sleeping, clammy skin, dry mouth, an inability to sit still, heart palpitations and racing pulse, loss of appetite, paranoia and a decline in sexual desire.
Feeling worried from time to time is part of life, but if you are experiencing any of these symptoms on a regular basis, you may be suffering with anxiety. Living with anxiety can be debilitating, and make it difficult to get out and enjoy life to the fullest. It can also lead to other serious mental illnesses such as depression. In severe cases, anxiety can lead to panic attacks, social withdrawal, or suicidal thoughts.
If you feel you are suffering from anxiety, it’s important that you speak to a medical professional to help you deal with any underlying psychological issues that may be causing it. If you’re living in the Chicago area and experiencing anxiety, you should also consider visiting a physical therapist, who can offer expert relief for both body and mind through specialized anxiety-reducing treatments.
How Anxiety Affects Your Body
As well as the aforementioned symptoms of anxiety, the condition can also manifest in physical pain. You may experience physical pains without even being aware that it is anxiety causing them. Some people experience the mental effects of anxiety along with physical symptoms; some will only experience the physical problems.
So how does anxiety affect your body and lead to physical pain? When we are stressed, our body automatically goes into defense mode. Our muscles tense up to protect against attack or injury, as our ancestors would have to do in a predator-prey scenario. These days, modern life is stressful, but for different reasons. Worrying about our finances, our career, the house, the kids – whatever it is – causes its own brand of stress and anxiety, but our bodies still react as they once did and our muscles tense up.
Muscle tension is an almost reflex reaction to stress and anxiety. If you’re experiencing frequent anxiety, it will likely take its toll on your muscles too. You might feel a tightness or pain in your muscles, particularly in the back area. This can manifest in frequent bouts of pain, stabbing pains with movement and muscles tightening up so that movement is restricted.
Muscle pain from anxiety may persist even when you’re trying to relax, such as when you’re about to go to sleep, just waking up or even when you’re asleep.
If you are an anxiety sufferer and you’re experiencing pains that restrict activity, cause you to have sleep problems or interfere with your life in any way, the best thing you can do is visit a professional physical therapist.
Physical Therapy for Anxiety Pains
As the result of muscle tension, anxiety sufferers may develop a range of chronic pains and other physical problems. Some of the problems you may experience as a result of your anxiety include:
Back pain (especially in the lower back)
Fatigue & low energy
Physical therapy helps to soothe and relax the affected muscles, reduce pain and helping to regain mobility. At AJS clinic in Chicago, our dedicated team of physical therapy and chiropractic care experts are on hand to help alleviate pains from anxiety. Physical therapy for anxiety pain can take a range of different forms, each with its own benefits for reducing pain and helping you get your body back on track.
Discover clinically approved relaxation techniques to help soothe pain through relaxation. This is particularly helpful for patients experiencing insomnia or other sleep problems as a result of anxiety.
Light to moderate exercises are an essential part of dealing with muscular pain from stress or anxiety. At AJS we will help you learn some beneficial exercises that significantly reduce pain and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety.
Part of physical therapy is gentle massages, which aid in stress relief and helps to relieve muscle tension.
Gentle stretching helps to relieve tension between muscles. Every person has their own individual needs when it comes to anxiety pain. A trained physical therapist will give you an assessment to work out what kind of stretches you personally need to alleviate your pain.
Healthy Living Advice
At AJS, our friendly team are always on hand to give you the best advice for healthy living. Learn how you can reduce your stress levels and relieve anxiety pains through your diet and lifestyle. We provide tips that you can take with you from the clinic and apply to your everyday life.
Tips for Reducing Anxiety
Physical therapy is a fantastic solution for helping to reduce pain from anxiety, but you should also aim to tackle the root of the issue – anxiety itself. There are lots of no-cost things you can do in your daily life to help reduce and alleviate the symptoms of anxiety, so you can get on with the living a happy and healthy life you deserve.
Whether you’re feeling high levels of anxiety right now, or simply reading as a precautionary measure, here are some of the best things you can do to help get rid of your anxiety.
Face Your Feelings
Part of dealing with anxiety is facing up to it. Don’t hide from anxiety, or condemn yourself for feeling the way you do. Mindful acceptance is the first step to dealing with fear, anxiety or anger. Be kind and gentle attentive to your feelings by simply allowing them to exist.
Practice Self Love
Learn to replace negative mindsets with new, positive ones. Learn to dispute negative thoughts and recognize when thoughts are inaccurate or exaggerated. It takes time, but positive self-talk, or self-love, will help set in motion
Find Yourself A Distraction
Intently focus on something else and the mind will be unable to focus on negative, anxious thoughts. Focus on something unrelated, or, if you are able to, take up a hobby, go for a walk or phone a friend.
Avoid Triggering Substances
Many substances we consume on a daily basis contain depressants and stimulants, such as alcohol and caffeine. These substances have effects that some may find triggering if they are predisposed to anxiety. Avoid them as much as possible when dealing with anxiety, and replace with soothing alternatives such as herbal tea and fresh fruit and veg.
Anxiety can be a debilitating illness and, if left untreated, the symptoms will worsen over time. Tackle your anxiety head on and reduce its manifestation in physical pain by visiting AJS Physical Therapy Clinic today, so you can start living your life without the physical and mental pains of anxiety.
BY: Abbey Hudetz
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