Mental Health

10 Things You Can Do to Decrease Your Anxiety

Anxiety can also cause physical pain.

Don’t let anyone tell you it’s all in your head. Anxiety can lead to very real physical pain.

Aches and pains, including headaches, are considered common symptoms of anxiety disorders. Muscle tension due to stress can cause pain in any muscle throughout the body, but it’s particularly common in the back, neck, and shoulders. Stress-induced muscle spasms and tightness can also cause appropriately named tension headaches. In severe cases, someone with chronic tension headaches might be in pain nearly every single day. For people with chronic headaches and headache disorders like migraines and cluster headaches, getting a headache is more than just a minor nuisance. A migraine can be completely debilitating, with symptoms like dizziness, vertigo, nausea, vomiting, extreme sensitivity to light and sound, numbness or tingling in the face or extremities, and severe, throbbing pain. Cluster headaches have actually been nicknamed “suicide headaches,” because the pain caused by cluster headaches is so extreme that some sufferers have literally committed suicide in a desperate attempt to escape the pain.

There’s also a major link between anxiety and gastrointestinal disorders. Stress can increase inflammation, which in turn can trigger flareups in people with Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and other inflammatory bowel diseases. Chronic anxiety increases your risk of developing a painful stomach ulcer. Anxiety disorders can also cause irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and acid reflux.