Physical Symptoms
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How Anxiety and Muscle Pain Relate

Daniel Sher, MA, Clin Psychology
How Anxiety and Muscle Pain Relate

Anxiety can affect many different parts of your body. It's not just mental - it can cause very significant physical symptoms and reactions that can drastically change your ability to live and function normally and comfortably.

It should come as no surprise that anxiety can be incredibly distressing. But what you may not know is that anxiety can also affect you indirectly by, for example, causing physical reactions that sideline you from the things you love. One example of this type of response is muscle pain, which affects many people with anxiety and can, in some ways, lead to further anxiety. Furthermore, muscle pain can stop a person from going out, seeing friends, or playing sport, for example, making it harder for that person to enjoy recreational activities that others normally engage in. 

Muscle Pain is a Complicated Issue

So many different issues can cause muscle pain. But there's no denying that anxiety can have a very significant effect on your muscles. Just a small sample of explanations for the links between anxiety and muscle pain include:

Those are just a few of the potential reasons that anxiety and muscle pain are related. Some people also find that their hyperventilation (a symptom of panic attacks) causes muscle pain. Others toss and turn at night or sleep in uncomfortable positions because of their anxiety. There are a lot of different causes that are either linked directly to anxiety or occur because of anxiety symptoms.

Checking Your Health - Living With Muscle Pain

If you haven't been to the doctor for a while and your pain is significant enough that you’re being severely affected, it's never a bad plan to visit a doctor. Remember, aging itself is associated with muscle pain as well, so there may be a perfectly understandable explanation for what you’re going through.

For you to overcome your own muscle pain, you need to address that pain the same way that you would with muscle pain caused by exercise, exertion, or even sleeping in an uncomfortable position. For example:

You could also consider massages and other calming ways to address muscle pain. Anxiety may cause or worsen muscle pain, but it’s still just muscle pain after all - the same as that experienced by people who don’t have anxiety. However, if anxiety is truly causing all of your muscle pain, you’re likely to get a large degree of relief by tackling the issue at its core and getting treatment for your anxiety.

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