Mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders, can greatly increase stress which can lead to increased inflammation, tension, and physical pain.
According to the American Institute of Stress, the tensing of our muscles during periods of anxiety or stress activates our body’s natural stress response.
This stress response involves pumping extra adrenaline and cortisol into our bloodstream which triggers inflammation and results in physical pain.
An anxiety-induced stress response can also lead to a more heightened experience of pain. This means a more intense headache, such as a migraine, or heightened pain in the chest, back, neck, and shoulders.
The resulting muscle tension from this stress response can also affect the joints, causing an increase in joint pain, tenderness, and body aches.
Hypersensitivity to pain can cause those diagnosed with anxiety disorders to focus on the pain even more. As a result, the pain created by anxiety just creates more anxiety and more pain.
As if that isn’t enough, anxiety can also cause chronic health issues such as gastrointestinal distress and sleep disturbances.
When left untreated, pain caused or exacerbated by anxiety can become a chronic condition. And with chronic pain comes a slew of other health issues.
However, there is hope.
In fact, studies, such as this one, have found that antidepressants can be effective at both treating anxiety and anxiety-related chronic pain. In particular, the antidepressant that has shown the most promise is duloxetine.
In our next article, we will take a look at the effect that duloxetine can have on treating both anxiety and chronic pain.
In the meantime, if you or someone you love is experiencing chronic pain along with an anxiety disorder, or another mental health condition, it’s important to be aware that help is available.
You can take action today by reaching out to your doctor or by calling our office and making an appointment to meet with our highly skilled psychiatrist and staff of mental health professionals.
Together we can find the best treatment to help you lead a happier, healthier, pain-free life.