Hey, this is Rick coming to you from Tampa.
I just finished my latest project. I am so excited to get this to you. I am certain that this will help you, your family, your friends and colleagues as this is something that all of my clients suffer from.
While I am wrapping things up here in Tampa Bay with my friend Mike Westerdal, I have an article for you from Tom Talbot on three everyday things that trigger pain.
Enjoy the article!
I will talk to you again when I am back to Canada.
~ Rick Kaselj, MS
Chronic pain is one of the most elusive and debilitating experiences someone can have. Our bodies are “wired for pain.” Our evolutionary past was filled with infections, injuries, and distress that made our sensitivity to pain a commodity. Pain lets us know when something is wrong. Pain helps us identify life-threatening problems. Pain gives us the motivation to seek safety and avoid dangerous situations.
That’s why people are often surprised to know that the pain they experience might result from common, everyday experiences that are triggering a very different kind of emotional reaction. A growing body of research is suggesting that there is an overlap in the circuitry of the brain that processes pain and stress.
If you’re living on the prehistoric Savannah, foraging for food, trying your best to avoid predators, foreign marauding tribes, a host of injuries, illnesses and infections and just in general survive… being ultra sensitive to stress and pain could give you a big edge over a more apathetic creature less concerned for their personal well-being (or that of their kin). So it makes sense that our sometimes not-so-benevolent mother (Nature) would give us overlapping pathways in our experiences of these seemingly distinct emotional processes.
Making us more miserable, it seems, gave us an edge in the long game of survival and reproduction. And so we have our modern condition with 100s of millions of people in North America alone who suffer from chronic pain and stress disorders that are overlapping without their knowledge. So let’s talk about 3 areas of your everyday experience that might be triggering chronic pain without you knowing it.
You have to eat right? That means you have to punch in, grind it out and get it done. Your boss is riding you for those quarterlies and your colleagues keep piling on more projects, more responsibilities, and more demand. You have an ever expanding list of things to get done and the 24 hour day doesn’t seem to have been kind enough to expand to help you meet all of them with time to spare. The result is stress. And chronic, long-term stress can trigger anxiety. Powerful anxiety sensations can trigger changes to your nervous system that make it easier for you to overreact to stress in the future and could trigger panic attacks, and other episodes of high anxiety on a regular basis.
These experiences make your body tense. Tension puts extra stress on your muscles especially the muscles of your back and neck. These added pressures don’t just increase your need for a massage or spa day…they could be giving you chronic pain and even be putting you at risk for injury. The constant stress and strain messes with your electrolyte concentration and increases your susceptibility to cramping and injury even for seemingly low-impact activities. So don’t think just because you ride a desk that your chronic pain couldn’t be job-related. The stress and anxiety it causes you could be a hidden culprit.
With all the stress you experience in your job, you need time to relax and unwind. You need to just let your hair down and have some fun. But for millions of Americans the prospect of going out and having a night on the town with friends presents them with even more stress. Social anxiety and the pressures to fit in and feel comfortable, especially in loud, crowded venues can easily trigger anxiety in more sensitive people. Your night on the town can quickly become an overwhelming experience that leaves you short of breath, causes your heart to pound, sends numbing sensations through your arms and fingers.
These are the common calling cards of heightened anxiety, all due to the stress and pressures you are experiencing in a part of your life that is supposed to be a source of fun and relaxation. And all of that stress and anxiety starts to turn on the associated parts of your brain that can make your pain receptors more active. You might notice your wrists and elbows become achy. You might notice tightness and strain in your lower back. Your shoulders might start to feel tender. And while it might seem that all of this is due to those grueling cross-fit sessions you’ve been hitting lately, it could just as easily be due to stress and anxiety.
You’re a busy mom trying to keep up with the demands of raising a family. You have to wake up early to get the kids dressed and off to school or day care before you get to your job. You have to do the grocery shopping on the way home from picking them up from school. You have to get them to all of their social and extra-curricular activities – it’s exhausting and even overwhelming. Not to mention trying to be a supportive wife and tending to the emotional needs of everyone in your family. Raising a family, focusing on your career, and trying to be a nurturing, supportive wife and mother all at the same time… it can simply be too demanding. Chronic stress and tension can trigger anxiety, which further reinforces tension putting strain on your joints and inducing chronic pain.
No matter which way you look, your everyday life can trigger stress and anxiety. That anxiety can easily become chronic and lead to panic attacks and high anxiety that can haunt your daily existence and make you feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and even depressed. Anxiety makes you more susceptible to chronic pain; not just by increasing tension and putting constant strain on sensitive areas of your body, but also in increasing your nervous system’s sensitivity to pain in the overlapping pain-stress processing centers. Overcoming anxiety using natural, drug free methods will go a long way in helping you heal faster from injury and preventing chronic, debilitating pain.
Tom Talbot is a former sufferer of chronic anxiety and panic attacks for 12 years. Overcoming addiction to anti-anxiety medication and failed attempts at mainstream counseling and therapy methods, he was finally able to overcome anxiety by combining breakthrough neuroscience with proven, evidence-based techniques. Through The Panic Hack his mission is to help 1 Million people become former anxiety and panic sufferers.