Four Unexpected Pain Triggers

Learn about the Common Sources of Pain

Man holding iPhone 6

When pain strikes, it’s difficult to think about anything else. Pain is the body’s way of telling you that it needs attention. Although medications can dull the pain, it is important to figure out what is triggering the discomfort and to find a solution so that you can stay ache free. These four surprising triggers may be aggravating your pain, and addressing them may help ease your discomfort.

Anger. Holding in anger causes the muscles in your back to tense up.

In a recent study, individuals with chronic lower back pain were asked to either verbally convey their anger or hold the anger in. According to Psychosomatic Medicine, the people that remained quiet experienced a greater degree of tension along their spine. Tight muscles cause pain whether you have chronic pain or aches from heavy lifting, so releasing some of that pent-up anger might be the answer to alleviating some your pain! One way to minimize pain is to avoid suppressing your anger and allow yourself to fully feel what you are feeling. Bottling up the angry feelings will cause the muscles to store tension budding from the hostile emotions. Next time you feel your jaw tightening and your breathing becoming shallower, both of which are signs of anger, focus on allowing yourself to loosen the slack in your jaw and find a private place where you can release the emotions. Doing so will stave off tension in your back.

Your cell phone. Your smartphone is wonderful for keeping in touch with friends and staying connected to the outside world, but it might be the source of your pain. Attempting to multitask by holding the cell phone to your ear with your shoulder when talking forces the neck into a “lateral bending position” for long periods of time.

This can cause everything from aches in the shoulder to tingling down the arm and numbness in the thumb. To avoid putting this strain on your neck, use a headset when talking on the phone. You should also use the pads of your thumbs rather than the tips when texting so as not to overwork the tendons in the thumb caused by continues flexing.

Not sleeping enough. Life keeps us busy, but if sleep isn’t on your list of priorities, you’re going to suffer. During sleep, the body produces human growth hormone that helps repair tissue. People with chronic insomnia have a threefold risk of developing chronic pain. Falling asleep when you are in pain is no easy task, but self-hypnosis techniques have shown to be effective in improving sleep quality and decreasing pain. Self-hypnosis involves focusing all of your attention on a single object, image or idea in order to calm the mind and feel more relaxed.

Your work area. Although sitting at a desk all day does not entail physical activity, your posture and work area setup can potentially induce injuries.

Shrugging your shoulders during stress can cause your muscles to ache, while a lack of support under your wrists when resting them on the keyboard can cause shooting pain down your wrists and hands, known as Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Sitting in your chair without proper support can cause injuries along your spine. Making sure that you have a desk set up that will not induce pain is essential. Make sure that your computer is at or slightly below eye level so that you are not straining your neck to see your screen. Keep your wrists and elbows supported, and make sure that your knees are at a 90 degree angle and that your feet are resting on the floor.

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