emotions and chronic pain

Emotions and Chronic Pain

Is There a Connection between Emotions and Chronic Pain?

When we can’t find answers to chronic pain from conventional medicine, wouldn’t you say we need to find an alternative?

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) says a lot about the connections between emotions and chronic pain. TCM defines emotional imbalances as a common source for many health issues including chronic pain. Emotions are normal but chronic emotional patterns are excessive and unbalancing to our health.

“Nothing in excess, everything in moderation” – an axiom that is key to greater health.

If you recall, I explain that good health is about good circulation. Excess emotional patterns can knot and stagnate energy circulation which can manifest into chronic pain and other physical problems over time. Chronic emotional imbalances can be the root cause of many health issues.

“Half of adults with anxiety or depression report chronic pain1 according to researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.1

Emotions and Chronic Pain – related TCM Emotional Energy Patterns and some resulting Health Issues

Pensiveness (overthinking) can knot up the qi (energy) responsible for supporting digestive function. A busy mind and over thinking can weaken digestion leading to bloating, nausea, abdominal pain, bowel movement irregularities and more.

Anxiety (worry) is an elevated and knotted energy pattern that rises into the chest and can affect the rhythm of the heart and lungs resulting in palpitations and shortness of breath. Chest pain, palpitations and breathing problems can be common issues from this common emotion when in excess.

Shock is a devastating pattern that scatters and decimates energy. Shock can occur from major physical or emotional trauma. Rape victims, car accident victims, physical/emotional abuse, soldiers during war time (PTSD), the death of a loved one are some examples that can cause a state of shock.

Shock decimates our energy and can leave you feeling physically and/or mentally locked up and unable to move and make decisions in life. Shock can lead to all sorts of health issues because it hits the core energy of the body. TCM calls this core the Kidney system. This system, responsible for growth and development, can develop imbalances that impact the endocrine system, fertility and hormone cycles. All sorts of major health issues can occur.

Sadness shrinks qi and can effect breathing. People who are extremely sad often cry and sob. The inhalation of sobbing is a “gasping for breath” because the shrinking pattern is inhibited the expansion of the lungs. Chronic respiratory can occur like asthma, allergies, frequent respiratory infections and more.

Anger is a pattern of explosive energy. Anger can often be preceded by qi stagnation in the gut that can make you feel irritable or frustrated. PMS, migraines, back pain, liver problems, digestive discomfort are examples of common health issues and painful conditions.

Fear also has a slow scattering effect on the endocrine system and can unbalance hormonal cycles. The constant daily drip of fear and insecurity can drain the body’s energy and lead to a multitude of health issues including chronic pain.

Good qi/energy flows smoothly and unobstructed. When qi is scattered, drained away, knotted up or blocked this can lead to chronic pain and other health issues. Mental emotional health needs to be considered when treating chronic pain conditions to achieve the best possible results.

Mental health counseling, lifestyle counseling, acupuncture, herbal medicine and even self-care practices like meditation, stress management, tai chi, chi kung, and yoga can influence these emotional blocks and get the energy flowing properly.

Support your mental-emotional well-being and try this guided audio series7 Emotions – Guided Awareness Meditations / A Stress Management Program

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  1. Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Half of adults with anxiety or depression report chronic pain.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 May 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/05/170531133242.htm>.


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