Ever get a chronic headache for awhile or a mysterious back pain that won’t seem to go away? Sometimes there is an underlying cause that doesn’t get much attention: depression and anxiety. Many women have symptoms like unexplained headaches or low back pain that seems unrelated to any kind of change in diet or movement. Sometimes these symptoms can accompany feelings of depression or anxiety or they can be the sole symptom. How do you know? Checking with a therapist, midwife, naturopath or other trusted care provider is a good place to start, especially if you’re having other more severe symptoms (like suicidal thoughts) or the headaches are accompanied by dizziness, nausea or swelling. But here are a few questions to get you thinking:
- Is the pain accompanied by a life change of any kind?
- Are you having feelings of resistance to anything in your life (old or new) such as going to work, exercise or group meetings (particularly ones you used to look forward to)?
- Do you experience this pain at specific times of day or with specific people?
- Is the pain dull and irritating or sharp?
- Does rest help?
- Does self-care help relieve it (like journaling, meditation or a yoga practice)?
- Does it improve or disappear when you spend time in a nurturing environment?
- Does it worsen in certain environments?
If several of these questions are a yes, the underlying cause or a portion of it, could be psychological. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have depression but it does mean that your emotions are trying to get your attention! Write down your answers to these and then write a list of ways you might incorporate more steps towards making changes that help you understand and heal whatever is going on emotionally!