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How Emotional Pain leads to Physical Pain?

Updated on April 1, 2020
RidaeFatima021 profile image

22 years old Student of biological sciences with a passion for writing amazing and captivating content for the viewers.

Pain - The Calm Night Storm

Pain is deep, dark and immense, just like the night sky it's bigger than all of us. Agony and anguish start from the chest and travels through the throat, goes straight in the eyes where we see tears. It's like a thunderstorm in the darkness of night, arrives slowly, shows no mercy, knows where to hit to cause the most damage. However, it can be weakened by love, hope, and time, as it is the best healer.

The Psychogenic Pain

Mind and body cannot be separated as they work together. The way pain is controlled by the body depends greatly on the way thoughts are controlled by the mind. Emotional pain is another way of brain to communicate with the whole body. The physical pain that is caused by the persistent mental or emotional ache is termed as Psychogenic Pain. Back pain, stomach-ache, and heartache are some of the types of psychogenic pain. Social rejections, grief, lovesickness, and Heartbreak, are accompanied and induced by psychogenic pain. The researches have shown that people who are more anxious and stressed have more constricted and tensed muscles which can cause their muscles to become inefficient over time.

Biology of Pain

Butterflies in the stomach, weight in the chest, emotions arise from the brain but result in physical feelings throughout the body. “Anterior Cingulate Cortex”, a region of brain, explains how an emotional pain or insult triggers physical pain or a biological cascade. It leads to increasing the activity of “vagus nerve” which connects brain stem to neck, chest, and abdomen. When the vagus nerve gets overstimulated, it causes pain and nausea. Scientists say that there are certain emotions in the body that trigger sensations in the upper region of the body, these emotions include anger, fear, and disgust. Meanwhile, there are other emotions that cause weak and shrunken sensations in the lower region of the body, such as depression, humiliation or embarrassment, and sadness. Then there are such emotions which trigger both regions of the body, upper and lower, such as surprise. Hence, biological cascades generated in our body for different emotions are distinctive.

Weakens the Liver
Weakens the Lungs
Weakens the Brain
Weakens the Stomach

The nervous system goes into survival mode during an emotional shock. Sometimes it becomes hard for the nervous system to revert to its normal and relaxed state which eventually leads to higher production of stress hormones such as cortisol, hence causing an increase in the blood pressure and blood sugar level. This condition reduces that ability of immune system to heal and physical damages start to manifest if the body stays in stress condition for too long. The feeling of frustration, resentment, unwantedness, and stress result is worsening your back pain.

Old Traumatising Memories

In the state of any kind of trauma the recollection of old memories is triggered in the brain, once again leading to much worst condition and causing the stress level to not get stable soon enough. People who have experienced traumas, face the stress much differently than the people who have not been through that particular event. These people feel like they are being traumatized like that again and face much more difficulty to deal with stress.

The Chronic pain

Chronic pain leads to depression which in turns makes the pain even worst. Having less energy, Repeated episodes of anger, sadness, worthlessness and hopelessness, staying alone and having no interest in any activity, difficulty in falling asleep, disrupted body routine like weight loss or weight gain, having suicidal thoughts and having difficulty in concentrating on anything are all signs of depression which can most often be from some kind of life changing trauma.

Mental Behavioural Therapy

Mental behavioural therapy is the best therapy for people with chronic pain. People learn how to become optimistic and have positive thoughts, reduce the fear of pain, work on important relationships and make them strong, having a sense of peace and freedom, be more practical such as involve in some healthy activities, for instance exercise and yoga.


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    • RidaeFatima021 profile imageAUTHOR

      Rida Fatima 

      6 weeks ago from Pakistan

      Thank you Denise for reading my hub. I know what you are going through I've been there but things are stable now. Taking care of yourself is important than anything else. And yes! doing exercise, eating healthy, spending time with yourself helps alot.

    • denise.w.anderson profile image

      Denise W Anderson 

      6 weeks ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I have general anxiety disorder, and I deal frequently with physical manifestations of my emotional pain. I have found that there are things that I can do to help, such as getting plenty of rest, eating high quality nutritious meals, and exercising. I have also found that watching my thoughts is paramount, as you have noted here. Keeping distorted thoughts to a minimum requires vigilance, as they are automatic with my anxiety.


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