Are you suffering from pain in your shoulders, neck, and upper back and can’t find relief with pain meds and physical therapy?
Are you aware that there are emotional reasons for shoulder pain and this may be causing your discomfort?
Anger, fear, stress, and other negative emotions can cause tension in your shoulders.
If you’re under a heavy mental load, it’s certainly a good idea to work on your mental health – and you may find your shoulder pain goes away, too.
Emotional Reasons for Shoulder Pain
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders.”
This is something someone would say to you if you’re clearly anxious, worried, or concerned about something.
If you’ve been in this situation, you may notice that it also feels like you’re carrying weight on your shoulders, right?
It’s hard to stand upright, you’re hunched over, you ache around the neck and shoulders, and you may even feel pain in your shoulders.
This is because your emotions are taking a toll on your body.
When we feel pain, it doesn’t – and isn’t – always due to a physical ailment. It can just as easily be related to a mental struggle like an emotion.
There is some science to back this up, too.
When we’re under stress, our body produces the hormone cortisol.
Cortisol is a “stress hormone” that can cause pain in our shoulders and neck. It’s also been linked to tension headaches, jaw pain, and even heart disease.
So it’s important to find ways to reduce stress in our lives – or tackle whatever is causing the emotional issues we’re experiencing that’s causing physical pain.
Related – Tips to stop overthinking about a girl/guy.
What Emotions Are Trapped in the Shoulders?
Anger, Fear, Sadness, Grief, anything that is a general burden or puts responsibilities that ‘weigh heavy’ on you.
When we experience any of these intense emotions, they tend to get stuck in our shoulders.
This is because the shoulder is a vulnerable area and it’s one of the first places that we’ll “tense up” when we feel threatened or scared.
The muscles in our shoulders will also start to ache when we’re feeling sad or grieving.
It’s important to understand that these emotions are normal and everyone experiences them at some point in their lives.
But, it’s not healthy to bottle them up and not deal with them.
If you’re experiencing a lot of pain in your shoulders, it may be time to talk to a therapist about what’s going on in your life.
They can help you identify the emotions that are causing the pain and give you some tools to deal with them.
Why Does Anxiety Cause Shoulder Pain?
Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease that ranges from mild or extreme.
It’s often accompanied by physical symptoms like a rapid heart rate, sweating, dizziness, and pain across various points in the body.
This is because when we’re feeling anxious, our body goes into “fight or flight” mode.
This is the same response that happens when we’re in danger and our body is preparing to either run or fight.
One of the ways that our body prepares for this is by tensing up the muscles, and our adrenal glands release cortisol.
This is what causes pain in our shoulders, neck, and upper back.
It’s also why people often say that they feel like they’re carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders when they’re feeling anxious.
How Do You Release Emotional Pain?
There are a few ways that you can release the emotional pain that’s causing shoulder pain.
I suggest exploring any of the following options that you feel comfortable with:
Talking To a Therapist
Therapists are trained to help you identify the emotions that are causing the pain and give you some tools to deal with them.
This is one of the most effective ways to not only release the pain you’re feeling but get deep into the root of what’s causing your emotional problems.
When we write down our thoughts and feelings, it can be helpful in releasing the pain that’s trapped in our shoulders.
Sometimes it’s hard to put our feelings into words, but when we see them on paper, it can be easier to understand them and deal with them.
Yoga or Meditation
Both yoga and meditation can be helpful in releasing the emotional pain that’s causing shoulder pain.
They help to calm the mind and allow us to focus on our breath, which can be soothing when we’re feeling overwhelmed.
For me personally, meditation completely turned my life around.
Exercising can be a great way to release the emotional pain that’s trapped in our shoulders.
When we’re moving our bodies, it can help us to feel more in control and release some of the tension that we’re feeling.
Doing Something Fun
When we’re feeling down, it’s often hard to find the energy to do anything fun.
But, if you can find something that brings you joy, it can be a great way to release the emotional pain that’s causing shoulder pain.
It may be something as simple as reading your favorite book, taking a walk in nature, or spending time with your friends and family.
When we feel physical pain, especially in a muscle group like our shoulders, we often assume we’ve pulled something or caused a physical injury.
When the reality is that shoulder pain can be caused by a variety of things, including emotional reasons.
The emotions that we feel can cause the muscles in our shoulders to tense up and ache.
There are a few ways that you can release the emotional pain that’s causing shoulder pain, including talking to a therapist, journaling, doing yoga or meditation, and exercising.
Whatever option you choose, the important thing is that you take the time to address whatever is causing your emotional issues and work on it.
Image credits – Photo by Keenan Constance on Unsplash
Phil lives in England, UK, and has around 20 years experience as a professional life, career and executive coach. He started this blog to help others find and define their own self development journey. Blogging about a wide range of topics to help facilitate a better future.