Monday
Jan112010

When Anxiety Causes Random Pain


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 Photo by aba*boy

 

This post was inspired by the thought provoking words of RelaxYourAnxiety.com who wrote a list of "weird anxiety pains" like:

- pins and needles

- random sharp pains for no apparent reason

- twitching muscle spasms

- chest pain

Anxiety feels bad enough without the additional stress of random pains, which can at times be really severe. No-one likes pain and when you're already anxious and possibly prone to worrying over your health, random pain can easily increase your anxiety.

It's easy to get caught in a loop of pain and panic. You know the pains are real, you can feel that sometimes they are really sudden and intense, but the chances are that doctors and medical tests won't find anything solid to act upon.

I've suffered random pain myself, not directly from anxiety, but from a health issue that throws up similar symptoms. I've sat reading a book and felt a sharp pain shoot through the side of my head, I've had regular pains in my sides that really hurt when I breathe in, the pain is there one minute, and then it's gone.

So in this post, I want to share what I've learned about random pain and offer some self-care tips to help you ease your mind and hopefully your pain too.

Firstly I have to say I'm not a doctor, if you are in any doubt about lasting pain please seek medical help. This is information only.

 

Ayurveda's Ancient Insights on Anxiety

Ayurveda, India's ancient science of life, teaches that there are three primary humours in the body: vata, pitta and kapha. Vata governs movement and the nervous system. According to Ayurveda, anxiety usually arises from disturbed vata, and random moving pains in the body are caused by vata too. You can find out more about vata here


Here are 3 simple ways to help you calm vata and soothe anxiety & random pain:


- Use the Calming Pressure Point

Make a fist with your left hand and look at the point where your middle finger touches the palm, now press that exact point with the thumb of your opposite hand and gently massage it for about a minute. Take some deep breaths as you hold the point and, when you feel ready swap hands and repeat.

For an enhanced experience with this exercise you can download the Calming Point mp3 from the AnxietySlayer audio store


- Give Yourself an Oil Massage

One of the most effective, yet little known, ways to reduce anxiety is to perform a regular oil massage. Vata responds well to gentle touch and rubbing oil into the skin treats dryness that so often accompanies vata problems and nourishes your nerves from the outside in. You can find more detailed instructions on abhyanga oil massage here

Oil massage has been incredibly helpful to me with random pain, and pain and stiffness in general.



- Learn a Simple Meditation or Breathing Technique

The Calming Breath is a good starting point. Here's how to do it: take a deep breath in for the count of four (count one thousand, two thousand, three thousand, four to set a slow and steady pace), then hold your breath for the count of two, and release slowly through slightly pursed lips for the count of eight.

The calming breath is also useful if you feel angry or irritated, it can quickly calm and cool your mind and help you gain a sense of clarity and control.

 

Relief is Found in Practice and Persistence 

These simple techniques all work because they are grounding and calming. They involve slowness, or stillness, which are the opposites of vata’s inclination to move. In other words, they work according to Ayurveda's laws of balance which is the application of gentle opposites. If movement causes disturbance apply stillness. In the case of oil massage, the reason it is so effective for both anxiety and random pain is that it balances vata's properties of cold and dryness. Oil massage with sesame oil is warming and lubricating, touch is very soothing for disturbed vata too, as is routine and commitment to self care, so oil massage is very healing and balances lots of anxiety inducing factors.

Next time you feel a weird or random pain, remember that it’s a common feature of anxiety and not something else to worry about. Try applying the tips above regularly and you should experience a reduction in all symptoms of anxiety including random pain.

 

Related Resources:

 

 

The Grounding Breath download

Breathing Calm download

Abhyanga - Ayurveda & Massage as an Act of Self-Care

How Understanding Anxiety Can Help You Find Relief