Research reveals the hidden link between stress and pain
When you’re dealing with chronic pain, the last thing you want to hear is that it’s all in your head. But research shows your head—or a specific area of your brain, to be exact—has a lot to do with pain.
That part of the brain, the hippocampus, was first described by Venetian anatomist Julius Caesar Aranzi (1587). He gave it the Latinized (from the Greek) name for sea horse, since the shape reminded him of this marine creature. But the funny shape of this brain component belies its important functions…and some are still being discovered today.
We already know that the hippocampus has an important role in converting short-term memory to long-term memory. In fact, it’s one of the first areas of the brain to be affected in Alzheimer’s dementia. But now neuroscientists are finding that the hippocampus has an important pain connection, too.
Recent research shows that people with a smaller hippocampus tend to have higher levels of the hormone cortisol. And high cortisol levels are linked to stronger responses to pain.
Cortisol is recognized for its association with chronic stress. So again we see the pain/stress link.
One of the most mysterious of all chronic pain/stress conditions is the spectrum of chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. In fact, there’s such a strong link between these painful conditions and stress that they can be initiated by sudden traumatic injury or viral illness.
So it’s no surprise that chronic pain sufferers can help manage their condition by avoiding the effects of stress. The good news is stress-management techniques abound…and there’s one for every type of person. It’s just a matter of figuring out which one will work for you.
In my book with Michael Jawer Your Emotional Type, we explain that a person’s emotional type helps determine whether they’re likely to develop chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia in response to chronic stress.
While being interviewed on radio recently about our book, I was asked what was the most significant result that I found personally. Having worked on all the topics for decades, it was in writing this book that I had the insight to understand for the first time how the psychometric spectrum of your personality boundary spectrum (“emotional type”) determined whether you fell on one end or the other of the chronic fatigue-fibromyalgia spectrum as a result of chronic stress.
You can determine your own emotional type so you can choose a mind-body stress management technique that is sure to work for you. Check out the book for the full evaluation, or take a short online quiz.
There’s no need to continue suffering from chronic stress—or with chronic pain—when the solution can be so simple. You just need to know how to find it.