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The Mind/Body Connection ‒ Chronic Pain May Be Emotional

Written by: Dr. Nikki Cohen, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

There are so many chronic ailments that people struggle with daily, including constipation, headaches, chronic pain, IBS, migraines, anxiety, depression, and autoimmune diseases.

Young caucasian woman lying in bed, feeling unwell, with her hand on her head.

But… what if the source of your chronic problem is not only physical?


Another Perspective


What if a contributing source of your IBS or headaches was an unresolved trauma from your past? Or, what if your heart condition has more to do with grief from losing a loved one versus merely having high blood pressure?



The possibilities are endless, and if you’re dealing with unexplained medical conditions, it may be supportive to look in a different place for the answers – within yourself.


The Brain


From the moment you’re born, your brain is constantly picking up signals from the outside world to keep you alive.


The brain and nervous system are still quite primitive, despite how evolved humans have become.


The primitive programming of your nervous system, ensuring survival against lions, tigers, and bears has not changed despite this any longer being a reality. However, it’s possible your brain is now trying to survive something else – your identity.


The Surprising Connection


Many emotions are associated with being human, from joy to sadness, shame to peace of mind. Emotions are part of being human and contribute to human experience.


And… these emotions can impact the way your body works.


Whether you’re being chased by a lion, or you’re being humiliated, your autonomic nervous system gets activated.


Your autonomic nervous system is your built-in stress response, aka your “fight-flight-freeze” response, and helps you process stressful situations, causing changes in your heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and vision, to name a few.


When a person has long-term (chronic) stress, continued activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body. ³ This wear and tear could manifest in chronic conditions like migraines, autoimmune disease, constipation, or hypertension.


Where To Start To Support Your Body


The first place to start is to understand the connection between your emotions and your body’s response to your emotions.


Not everybody reacts the same exact way, but there are similarities. Common sensations are “butterflies” in your stomach, your heart racing, or heat all over your body. These are signs your nervous system has been activated.


When aware of these bodily reactions, the best thing to do is acknowledge them. Identify them as anger, fear, guilt, or embarrassment. Let them be there as a natural part of being human. Feel the vibration and heat in your body the same way you’d feel the sun on your face on a warm day.


Take the time to allow the sensations to pass through you. Scream, stomp, run or cry to help your body process the emotion because if you don’t, it could fester and contribute to ongoing stress in your nervous system!


You can also reach out to healthcare providers that offer services to support your body in releasing chronic stress, including Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation.


Chronic Pain Resources


Chronic pain is often best treated with a team of providers from different specialties.


Once the body has been stressed for so long, it’s usually best to make changes from multiple angles including diet, daily routines, and bodywork.


The International Association of Healthcare Practitioners website provides a directory of providers that offer Craniosacral Therapy and Visceral Manipulation according to your zip code. Simply click on “Find a Therapist” and enter the first 4 digits of your zip code.


You can also download your free guide, The Truth About Kegels ⁵, to begin understanding the relationship between your body, your pelvic muscles specifically, and pain.


Take Home Message


Healing and living your best life IS a possibility.


Having the courage to look/think outside of the box can open a world of healing.


There’s nothing wrong with the way your body works. Having emotions is part of being human, and not processing those emotions could contribute to chronic ailments.


You deserve to live a life full of joy and peace, and you can.


Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Dr. Nikki Cohen, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Nikki is a Doctor of Physical Therapy specializing in Pelvic Floor Dysfunction and is a passionate leader in transforming women’s healthcare. She saw a gap in the care of women firsthand and developed a proprietary methodology in providing 1:1 patient care, as well as offering essential information online. Founder of The Organic PT, Dr. Nikki takes the awkwardness out of potentially embarrassing issues and empowers women with knowledge to take back control in their health, wellness and life.

 

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