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Anxiety and Chronic Pain: What’s the Connection?



A man with neck pain due to stress that is recieving Chiropractic Treatments in Lowell.

When finding the culprit behind your chronic pain, your mental health may not be the first to come to mind. But if you’re frequently stressed, or if you have an anxiety disorder, it could be why you’re experiencing body pain. Our physicians at Motus Integrative Health outline the connection between anxiety and chronic pain. Here’s what you should know. 

Anxiety Increases Inflammation

Inflammation is your body’s response against something that causes harm. For instance, when you are injured, your body sends white blood cells to heal the wound, which is one example of inflammation. However, too much inflammation is bad for your health, leading to high blood pressure, memory problems, and even pain. Chronic anxiety is believed to increase inflammation levels, meaning you’re more likely to experience pain. If you already have a preexisting condition, such as fibromyalgia, anxiety can make your pain worse. 

Anxiety Symptoms Can be Physical

Many people think of anxiety as a condition that’s entirely psychological, but in actuality, anxiety produces a number of physical symptoms that may be uncomfortable or painful. Chronically stressed people are more likely to have the following:

  • Headaches & Migraines. Anxiety can increase your number of migraine days if you typically get migraines. In other cases, the muscle tension caused by anxiety can lead to regular headaches of varying severity. 
  • Neck Pain. Neck pain is very common among individuals with anxiety. When you are stressed, you may hunch your shoulders and tense them, leading to a stiff, sore neck. 
  • Body Pain. Muscle tension from stress can occur anywhere on the body. Some individuals may feel pain in their legs, while others get regular stomach aches. No matter how your pain manifests, our chiropractors can help you feel better. 

Stress triggers hundreds of processes all over our bodies. When these processes are regularly triggered, it can lead to a number of unwanted problems, including adrenal fatigue, insomnia, and even poor eating habits. These, in turn, further the cycle of anxiety as you have unpleasant physical sensations on top of life stressors. 

Chronic Pain Also Causes Anxiety

The reverse is also true. Studies show that individuals who have a chronically painful condition are more likely to suffer from an anxiety disorder. It makes sense: if you are in chronic pain, your health and life may feel uncertain. You may feel afraid that you’ll never feel like your “old self” or worry that your pain will become worse. 

That’s why it’s important to find both personal and professional support to help you continue forward to a brighter, pain-free future. Chiropractic is a safe way to gently eliminate pain. You’ll feel confident and optimistic working with our experienced team. We work with the utmost compassion and take your concerns seriously. 

Our Chiropractors Help Individuals With Anxiety

If you’re struggling with anxiety and chronic pain, talk to our chiropractors. We can help alleviate both of these symptoms. Chiropractic treatment has been shown to reduce physical pain as well as mental ailments. Call Motus Integrative Health today to schedule a consultation with one of our chiropractors near Crown Point.


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