Guest post by Rebecca Stuart
Have you ever been extremely down for an entire week, just to be smacked with a rush of anxiety? At the same time, you begin to experience strange aches and sensations in your stomach, back, and limbs. You may even experience a headache and begin to feel sluggish and weary. Is it just bad luck, or are the two problems connected?
Mental health, contrary to popular opinion, is not “all in your brain.” Yes, it affects your brain, but since your brain impacts the rest of your body, it’s no surprise that your mental health can make you feel pain. So, if you’re having unexplained aches and pains, it could be related to your mental health.
Unveiling the Unexplained Cause
The usual experience of pain and its location in the body is generally transmitted through nerve receptors that provide information to the spine, which then transmits it up to the brain.
However, messages might be lost along the journey from point A to point B, allowing the brain to misinterpret mental suffering as physical pain. Anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, and stress are examples of psychological problems that can induce physical pain.
Psychogenic pain, like pain generated by physical stimuli, can be acute or chronic. Acute pain is severe but transient, and it usually does not necessitate medical attention. Chronic pain can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years.
Treatment is strongly suggested due to the ongoing suffering caused by chronic pain. Chronic psychogenic pain can be felt throughout the body in varying degrees of intensity, although it most usually manifests as a headache, muscle discomfort, abdominal pain, or back pain.
What is Chronic Pain?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than the normal recovery period or occurs in conjunction with a chronic health condition, such as arthritis. Chronic pain can be intermittent or persistent. It can make people unable to work, eat well, participate in physical exercise, or enjoy life.
How is it Connected to Pain?
Chronic pain usually persists for more than six months. This type of pain may persist long after the injury or illness that caused it has healed or vanished. Pain signals can persist in the nervous system for weeks, months, or even years.
Chronic pain is a complicated sensory and emotional experience that varies greatly between persons depending on the context and meaning of the pain, as well as the person’s psychological state.
Cognitive and emotional elements have a significant impact on pain perception, and these connections are found in the connectivity of brain regions that mediate pain perception, attention or expectancy, and emotional states.
The activity of afferent and descending pain pathways is influenced by the attentional state, happy and negative emotions, and a variety of other factors unrelated to the pain stimuli itself.
How Do You Relieve Chronic Pain?
Sleep is essential for pain management and rejuvenating the body. Before going to bed, establish a sleep pattern that involves taking a bath, performing yoga, or meditating.
Keep bright lights out of your bedroom and switch off all screens at least an hour before you go to bed. Consider also trying a cooling mattress for side sleepers with back pain to help ease the pain while sleeping.
Remember to also make an anti-inflammation diet a priority, as it can assist with chronic pain and exhaustion. Limiting processed meals, cured and red meat, refined grains, sweets, and drinks is part of this. Simultaneously, increase your consumption of antioxidant-rich meals, primarily fruits, and vegetables, which can replace the brain’s neurotransmitters.
Reduce Stress and Avoid Prolonged Stressful Situations
Emotional and physical pain are inextricably linked, and chronic pain can lead to increasing levels of stress. Learning how to manage your stress healthily will help you cope with your chronic pain more efficiently. Eating well, getting lots of sleep, and participating in approved physical exercise are all good methods to deal with stress and pain.
Learn to Manage Emotions in a Constructive Way
Chronic pain can cause an emotional breakdown. However, it is important to learn to manage these emotions through positive thinking. Positive thinking is a very effective strategy. You can alter your perceived degree of comfort by concentrating on the changes you are making (for example, the pain is less severe now than it was yesterday, or you feel better than you did a week ago.).
Rather than believing that you are powerless to deal with the pain, tell yourself that you are uncomfortable, but that you are working toward finding a healthy method to deal with it and living a productive and full life.
Distracting yourself from your suffering by doing things you enjoy will allow you to focus on the positive aspects of your life. Isolation from others creates a bad attitude and may heighten your sense of your discomfort. Consider finding a passion or pastime that makes you happy and allows you to interact with family, friends, or others through local community groups or the internet.
Recognise the Link
Many people do not think or recognise that mental health can lead to physical illness. Simply realizing that your mental health and physical health are linked may provide you with some relief and help you take control of and manage the situation. No matter the situation, remember that staying positive and taking control will help manage the situation.