A Deeper Look: Could My Anxiety Be Causing Left Arm Pain?
Anxiety is an emotion that affects us all, but few people realize that it can manifest itself in physical symptoms. The most common symptom of anxiety is arm pain, which can be extremely distressing and difficult to cope with.
Though the underlying cause of this symptom is psychological rather than physical, it still has a major impact on our lives.
This article explores the causes and treatment of anxiety-caused arm pain in order to help you find relief.
✅ What are the Causes of Arm Pain?
Arm pain is a common health issue that ranges from mild to severe. It is often caused by injury, illness, or infection. Understanding the causes of chronic pain in the arm can help people identify potential treatments and put them on the path to recovery.
There are various primary causes of arm pain that range from simple, everyday activities such as overuse or incorrect ergonomics to more serious conditions including
📌 Rheumatoid arthritis
📌 Carpal tunnel syndrome (compression in the wrist area)
📌 Pinched nerves
📌 Infection or inflammation of the tendons and muscles in the arms
📌 Trauma or injury
📌 Rotator cuff tears
📌 Nerve compression due to a herniated disc
📌 Golfer's elbow (inflammation of the elbow joint)
📌 Shoulder impingement syndrome (compression in the shoulder area)
📌 Angina (chest pain); heart problem and heart attack or stroke.
✅ How does Anxiety Causes Physical Symptoms of Left Arm Pain?
Anxiety is an unpleasant feeling of fear and apprehension. To understand how anxiety causes physical symptoms of left arm pain, it helps to look at the underlying physiological processes that are involved.
The body has two basic systems for responding to stressors: the fight-or-flight response and the relaxation response. When activated, the fight-or-flight response triggers a cascade of hormones throughout the body which causes changes in heart rate and other physiological processes. It causes tightness in muscles throughout the body, which causes neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain. and left arm pain as a result of increased tension on nerves or blood vessels in the area.
Physical symptoms of anxiety cause a build-up of stress hormones that cause an increase in your blood pressure and constriction of your blood vessels. This increased pressure can then cause pain in your arms, usually on the left side because it is closer to the heart.
It’s important to understand how anxiety affects your body so you can better manage it and reduce any associated physical pain. Balancing mind and body: pressure points for stress and anxiety reduction.
When the body experiences chronic stress, muscles throughout the body tense up as a natural response to prepare for action or flight from danger. This tension often extends into our arms and hands, resulting in pain that may be localized to one side if triggered by nerve activity related to anxiety disorders like panic disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
✅ Why Left Arm is more Affected by Anxiety Attacks than Right One?
It is a common phenomenon for individuals suffering from anxiety to experience sharp pains in the left arm more than the right arm. While this may seem odd, there is an interesting explanation behind it.
The heart is present on the left side of the body, thus its proximity to the left arm makes it more vulnerable to stress and anxiety caused by nerve impulses that originate from emotionally charged events.
During moments of psychological stress, these nerve impulses can cause muscle tension in the area around the heart, resulting in pain or discomfort experienced mainly in the left arm.
✅ 10 Quick Ways to Treat Muscle Tension and Arm Pain
- Take a warm shower or bath.
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area.
- Stretch and massage the muscles.
- Use an over-the-counter pain reliever such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
- Do gentle range of motion exercises for your arms and shoulder muscles.
- Try using a foam roller along the length of your arm and shoulder muscles to help work out tension and knots.
- Drink plenty of water and eat foods with anti-inflammatory properties, like omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil and nuts, turmeric, ginger, and other spices high in antioxidants that may help reduce inflammation in the body (turmeric tea is great!).
- Practice relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation to reduce stress levels that can contribute to muscle tension and pain in the arms and shoulders. Transformative DBT mindfulness skills and practices for overcoming anxiety and panic.
- Consider seeking professional help from a physical therapist if you have persistent arm pain or difficulty with movement that doesn’t improve with self-care measures such as those listed above.
- Avoid activities that aggravate your arm pain until it subsides; this might include lifting heavy things or engaging in strenuous activities like sports or weightlifting that put a strain on your shoulders or arms until you are feeling better again.
✅ How to Treat Anxiety Symptoms to Reduce Pain From Anxiety?
⚫ Make lifestyle changes: Adopting healthy habits, such as regular exercise and eating a balanced diet, can help reduce anxiety symptoms, including pain as a result of anxiety.
⚫ Practice relaxation techniques: Mindfulness meditation and relaxed breathing exercises relax your body and mind, reducing physical tension that leads to pain associated with anxiety. Discovering the power of meditation and self-compassion mindfulness script can help you gain greater awareness of your thoughts and feelings, allowing you to better manage them.
⚫ Avoid triggers: Identifying situations or activities that trigger your anxiety can help you avoid them in the future and reduce the associated pain.
⚫ Connect with others: Socializing with friends and family can help reduce emotional stress levels, which in turn reduces physical pain caused by anxiety.
⚫ Exercise: Regular physical activity can help reduce stress and anxiety by releasing endorphins, which are hormones that improve mood and act as natural painkillers.
⚫ Seek professional help: A qualified mental health professional can provide therapy or medication to help you manage your anxiety symptoms and the associated pain.
✅ Professional Ways of Stress Management to Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Stress is a normal part of life, but when anxiety or stress levels become too high, professional help may be required. There are numerous methods available to professionals for helping people manage stress and reduce anxiety.
⚫ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that helps individuals identify irrational thoughts or behaviors that lead to negative feelings and replace them with more positive behaviors.
Through CBT, you learn skills such as relaxation techniques, problem-solving strategies, and cognitive restructuring which reduces stress levels.
Medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and beta-blockers may also be prescribed by a doctor to help manage severe cases of stress or anxiety.
Hypnosis is an effective form of therapy that utilizes suggestions to help people identify and address the root causes of their mental health issues such as stress and anxiety. It helps you develop new, healthy coping strategies and behaviors so that you’re better able to handle stressful situations when they arise.
During the process, a practitioner guides you into a trance-like state where your mind becomes more open and receptive to suggestions for improved mental well-being. Through this method, people have reported feeling calmer, more relaxed, and less anxious after only one session with a hypnotherapist. Overcome anxiety through hypnosis: Tips for at-home practice, get to know a proper way to perform hypnosis for anxiety.
✅ Bottom Line
Arm pain caused by anxiety can be managed with the right approach. Identifying the root cause of your arm pain, such as chronic tension or tightness in your upper body, and addressing lifestyle habits such as poor sleep and stress levels can help to reduce symptoms. Talking to a mental health professional if your arm pain is related to anxiety may also be beneficial.