Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?

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Unfurling

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Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?
« on: June 10, 2019, 08:32:49 AM »
Recently my threshold for anxiety is much lower than usual. Most days I wake up with my skin crawling with unease and have to run for the bathroom (sorry if that is too much information) :blink:.

My therapist and I have found out that this has two primary reasons:

1) The last 5 years (!) have been extra stressful (crisis in marriage, death of a parent, hospitalized with huge pneumonia, and merger (hostile takeover) at work. Because of this, my hyper vigilance is in the driver's seat.

2) Pain is now a trigger for me. This is new. Depression and anxiety have been expressing themselves as muscle pain all my life. Now, when these pains intensify, it triggers anxiety, and I'm in a downward spiral.

Have any of you experienced pain as a trigger? Do you have any coping strategies or tips for befriending the pain to remove the trigger? My physical therapist doesn't have a clue...

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Three Roses

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Re: Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2019, 04:02:44 PM »
Oops! Looks like I missed your introductory post, so first of all, welcome!

I found some tips online for you - these are from https://www.psycom.net/chronic-pain-illness-anxiety -
Quote
What You Can Do
Challenge negative thinking. When youíre anxious, your brain may jump to conclusions, assume the worst, or exaggerate. Catastrophizing and ignoring the positives in your life may occur when you live with the challenges of a chronic illness. One way to manage anxiety is by being aware of the negative thinking, examining it and challenge the irrational thoughts. Counselors/therapists can play an important role in teaching you this important coping skill.

Calm your mind. Relaxation techniques can be an effective way to calm anxious thinking and direct your mind to a more positive place. Consider whether mindfulness meditation, yoga, or other breathing and focusing practices can still your body. Taking  time to relax, increases your ability to think objectively and positively when it comes to making choices about your health and life.

Find a good prescriber. If you take medication for both mental and for physical health, itís important to that your doctors are aware of all your medications. Some medications may actually escalate anxiety, so itís essential to work with a prescriber who can make informed choices that address both conditions without worsening either.

Find a support group. Managing a chronic illness can be a lonely job as it may be difficult for loved ones to understand the unique challenges. Support groups are wonderful for creating community but also for providing information that can help reduce worry. They can also connect you to valuable resources for treating your illness. Check with your local hospital or community center to find a local group. You can also search the Internet for online support.

Recruit the right team. Patients benefit the most when chronic illness and psychological distress, such as anxiety, are treated with a team of people who communicate regularly. Doctors, pain specialists, psychiatrists, counselors, occupational therapists, and physical therapists are among those who can help you create and implement a treatment plan for your physical and mental health.

Acknowledge successes. Anxious thinking about chronic illness can keep you from feeling that you have control over anything in life. Itís important to acknowledge all successes, both big and small. Keep track of the healthy things you do for your mind and body. Exercising, going to counseling, spending time with a friendĖthese can all help. Keeping these successes at the front of your mind can help you combat worry. They can remind you that you do have the power to affect your present and future.

Hope at least some of this is helpful!  :wave:

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Unfurling

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Re: Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2019, 05:52:54 PM »
Thank you so much!
I started the search for a good prescriber today and am in the process of recruiting more skilled people to my "team". Acknowledging success is something I'm maybe not very good at, but I will practice :)

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Kizzie

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Re: Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2019, 05:47:31 PM »
Hi and a warm welcome to OOTS Unfurling  :heythere:  I like the forum name you chose :thumbup: as it's actually quite relevant to the tightness/armouring in our bodies as a result of trauma. 

Here's some info about the somatic effects of trauma that might help you with your body's reactions:

Somatic Therapy in Trauma Treatment by Dr. Arielle Schwartz

The Body Keeps the Score: Mind, Brain and Body in the Transformation of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk

Waking the Tiger: Healing Trauma Paperback by Peter A. Levine

I recently saw my NPDM whom I haven't seen in over two years and one night while there had really bad leg cramps which I'd had once before when I was working long hours and very stressed.  I read up on them (the first time it happened), and figured out I was likely dehydrated and low on potassium so I upped my water and ate bananas and they went away.  I did the same thing this time and again they went away. 

I'm not at all sure this is what you're experiencing, it could just be "armouring" (holding your muscles tight due to being hypervigilant), but thought I'd mention it in case it is relevant.

Hope the info is helpful  :) There's quite a lot out there about the physical or somatic effects of trauma here (check our Books or Resources web pages) and on the Internet.

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Rainagain

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Re: Tips for lowered anxiety threshold due to pain?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2019, 12:33:38 PM »
You could try mindfulness?

Actually allow the pain to be experienced and observed, then move away to another non pain sensation, like the feel of the soles of your feet on the ground.

I dont have anxiety due to my chronic pain so I'm not sure it would help, but it might.