Can Emotional Pain Cause Physical Pain?

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coronavirus Gwyneth Paltrow

People who have been through emotionally challenging or traumatic events are faced with a difficult situation. Some of them find it hard to deal with such events emotionally, which can often hinder their ability to cope with daily life. What’s more, there are accounts of people who started to feel physical pain after experiencing a traumatic event. Psychologists and medical professionals are constantly researching the topic of the connection between the condition of body and mind. Even though there are no conclusive results, there are some facts related to this issue. Here’s what you need to know if you’re experiencing physical pain along with the emotional one:

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

One of the conditions associated with chronic pain is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). A person with CRPS experiences severe, long-lasting pain rating higher in the McGill Pain index than childbirth or amputation of a limb. While the pain usually affects one limb, it can spread to other parts of the body. Some people report they experience pain for many years. However, this condition is known to improve over time, especially with treatment. If the pain prevents you from carrying out daily activities, you should seek medical advice.

Other symptoms

Whenever you’re experiencing emotional pain, other emotional and physical symptoms are likely to follow. You may experience feelings of anger, shame, guilt, or sadness. Dealing with these emotions can be difficult, so it’s important to learn containment and self-soothing skills.

Additionally, people who experience emotional pain often report feeling physical pain in other parts of their bodies. Pain is usually experienced in one limb or body part, and can sometimes spread to other areas in your body. Some psychologists believe that various emotional problems may be indicated by certain body pains, i.e. headaches and migraines may indicate stress and tension. Even though the lack of conclusive evidence can’t determine whether this statement is true, such symptoms should not be underestimated. Whenever you experience chronic pain that you think is a result of a difficult emotional situation, treat your condition seriously and look for ways to solve this problem.

Pain and your daily routine

Even though it’s difficult to determine whether emotional pain really translates to physical pain, it can still affect your life in a number of ways. In case you feel emotional pain and emotional symptoms follow, such strong, negative feelings can impact your daily routine. You may develop other conditions related to mental health, such as depression or anxiety, preventing you from living your life you were used to before.

As for physical symptoms, such as limb pain, headaches, or migraines, chronic pain can negatively interfere with your personal and professional life. It can also have a detrimental effect on your family and social life. What’s more, a prolonged feeling of physical pain can damage your sleep patterns and interfere with your mood.


Whether it’s related to your emotional state or not, chronic pain can significantly interfere with your life, and neglecting your symptoms can be detrimental to your health and wellbeing. Due to the severity of this condition, you should seek professional help as soon as possible.

If you experience chronic pain or suffer from CRPS, there’s no treatment that can cure your symptoms right away. However, a number of treatments can help you manage them. Antidepressants or anticonvulsants can help reduce your pain. Physical rehabilitation and physiotherapy exercises can help you reduce the risk of long-term physical problems. Psychological support can also be helpful in your situation, due to the fact that you’ll be given useful information about your condition and you’ll learn self-management and coping skills that can help you manage it yourself.

How to cope with emotional pain?

Reaching out for professional help is an important step in your recovery. However, besides physical rehabilitation and psychological treatment, there are some ways that can help you deal with emotional pain. These require small but substantial changes in your behavior and the way of thinking.

So, what kind of things can you try? Some people find keeping a journal therapeutic. You can try writing down your thoughts and daily events but don’t feel pressured to do it regularly. You can also try exercising – among several health-related benefits, physical activity improves your mood and boosts your energy. What’s more, crying and talking about your emotions can make you more open and at ease. If you can, pick up a new hobby or engage in activities that will prevent you from dwelling on negative emotions.

Feel free to test out different strategies and look for other ways that can make you feel better. Remember that contacting a therapist and discussing your problems with a trained professional is likely to produce the best results and help you in the long run.

The bottom line

Not all kinds of pain can be associated with emotional pain or trauma. Due to its psychological nature, it’s not easy to come up with conclusive results and answers. Nevertheless, emotional pain should be taken seriously. If you experience symptoms that are detrimental to your wellbeing and hinder your daily routine, don’t wait! Reach out for professional help and try to implement strategies that can help you cope with it.


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