9 Types of Muscle Tension Caused by Trapped Emotions And How How to Release It

Consequences of Chronic Muscle Tension

The field of psychosomatic medicine has conducted numerous studies through the years exploring the mind’s effect on the body, and vice versa.

In terms of muscle tension caused by mental and emotional factors, we tend to experience many health issues:

  • Mood disorders (anxiety, depression, SAD)
  • Joint pain and increase chance of injury
  • Dysmenorrhea (menstruation problems)
  • Insomnia
  • Skin problems (acne, psoriasis)
  • Asthma and hayfever
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Palpitations and chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • GI issues (diarrhea, bloating, constipation, cysts)
  • Hypertension/High blood pressure
  • Sexual dysfunction (premature ejaculation, painful sex)
  • Increased tendency towards addictive behavior

This list is by no means complete, and there are many other consequences out there of muscle tension. So if you believe I’ve missed something out, please comment below.

9 Types of Muscle Tension Caused By Trapped Emotions

According to a study conducted in 2012, 25.3 million Americans (11.2%) suffer from chronic pain every day and 17.6% suffer from severe levels of pain. This single study reveals a grim reality: so many of us are suffering from muscle tension on a daily basis. Surely there must be a better way to live.

As a person who has struggled with chronic neck and shoulder pain for many years, I was lucky to discover the source of my pain thanks to a healing method known as “floating.” Thanks to my experience in a float tank (also known as a sensory deprivation tank or isolation tank) I was able to discover that my muscle tension was intimately linked to old memories and repressed emotions. Lying in the dark, with no sound or sensory input on top of 800 pounds of dissolved Epsom salts, I gradually started feeling my muscles unwind. As each muscle group relaxed and spasmed, thoughts and emotions fired through my head. For example, as my spine let go into the water, I could feel grief pour through me and memories from childhood run through my mind. I could feel my upper thighs release their contraction as anxiety and loneliness bubbled up through me. I could feel the fear and burden be released from my shoulders and neck area.

Although everyone is different and there are no (known) absolute places in the body where outright emotions are stored, there are certain places which tend to accumulate specific types of emotions.

Below, I want to share with you nine of the most common types of muscle pain and what underlying emotions are connected to them.

1. Shoulder Tension = Burdens and Responsibilities

When we feel weighed down by the stress of life, we tend to accumulate these feelings within our shoulders. Ever heard the expression “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders”? Shoulder tension seems to be intimately linked to social and emotional responsibilities, including unconsciously carrying the burden of other people’s pain. As such, many empaths, healers, and caretakers struggle with chronic shoulder muscle tension.

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