Neck pain is often a big concern for anybody experiencing it – and it should be. Most people often try to attribute the pain to issues with their spine or neck tissue. Naturally, they head to the doctor and after some consultation, the doctor performs a few tests to confirm that indeed, the cause is spinal degeneration.
But what if it isn’t?
Recent studies have shown that spinal degeneration and even tissue damage may not be the determinant cause of your neck pain. Research even suggests that people experiencing spinal degeneration may not even feel any form of pain during the process. The same applies to tissue damage. So if actual damage isn’t the source of your pain, what the heck is causing it?
Drop your meds, your pain symptoms may be psychosomatic (all in your mind) – are you feeling stressed out?
Your mind and body are not completely separate. You can often pair physiological responses to your emotional states. Think about it, have you ever felt your heart rate increase while you’ve been anxious? Or your palms start to get sweaty during periods of nervousness? The mind and body work hand-in-hand when trying to deal with environmental stressors on a regular basis.
When you get stressed out, your body may send out a pain response to keep you under control – it actually keeps you from having angry outbursts or emotional breakdowns as a result of repressed feelings. It does this by limiting the amount of oxygen that your cells need to keep the pain levels down. Your body is a lot smarter than you think. It knows that you’re capable of acting in anti-social ways when you’re stressed out – it tries to keep you from doing that.
Let’s face it, the last thing it needs is you punching a wall and shattering your knuckles or breaking your wrist.
Remember, your brain is at the core of your physiological processes. You may not even be aware that it’s getting to work. Diving into neuroscience, it’s your autonomic nervous system (ANS) that is responsible for getting your oxygen into those cells. For the majority of patients dealing with chronic muscle pain syndrome, the cause is a combination of muscle tension and oxygen deprivation that causes pain. The ANS is the root of these symptoms, and again – it’s all going on in your head.
Despite doctors’ beliefs that your spinal degeneration and tissue damage are the cause of your neck pain, don’t rule out psychological stressors as well. Living in a fast paced environment, it is not uncommon for people to feel stressed out or anxious because of work, school, etc.
Take active steps to manage your stress in a healthy way – whether it’s by changing the way that you look at problems, or by finding ways to constructively work through them. Your mind can be the source of a number of health problems – in fact there’s a whole range of physical symptoms that can be experienced psychosomatically, where the root of the problem is all in your head.