Physical Symptoms
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How to Minimize Muscle Aches Associated with Anxiety

Wendy M Yoder, Ph.D.
How to Minimize Muscle Aches Associated with Anxiety

Muscle aches are one of the most well-known symptoms of anxiety and stress. It often seems that after an extended period of stress, the body tenses and muscles begin to develop uncomfortable symptoms.

These types of muscle aches are a usually minor inconvenience, but others find that they can become a tremendous problem, making them severely uncomfortable and possibly leading to behavioral changes.

Why Muscles Ache

Anxiety exacerbates long-term stress and the release of adrenaline from your fight or flight system. These responses affect the muscles and the way your body interacts with them. 

When you have anxiety, you cause many issues that lead to muscle tension:

Not all muscle aches come straight from your body's reactions to stress either. Some of them come from the way you, yourself, respond when you're stressed. For example, many people with anxiety end up slouching more, or avoiding exercise, or sleeping longer. All of these can actually lead to muscle aches and tension themselves, simply because the changes in behaviors stretch and push on your muscles.

As you can see, there are many reasons that anxiety causes muscle tension, and all of that muscle tension can lead to muscle aches.

How to Stop Anxiety Muscle Aches

As soon as your muscles start to ache, treatment is not unlike muscle aches from exercise or injury. These aches are simply your muscle's way of rebuilding themselves and ensuring they're in the best of health. So if you want, you can treat these aches using many of the same tactics that you would use to treat any of those aches, such as:

Loosening up your muscles can be very effective at relieving some of the tension that you feel which in turn will decrease the aches that you experience. Some solutions that are specific to anxiety include:

One of the most important things is to keep in mind is that you need to make sure you don't let your muscle aches overcome you. Ideally, you need to stay active, fight through it, and do your best to make sure that you're still taking steps to control your anxiety.

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