Anxiety and RSI
Firstly I should point out that chronic pain is a very broad term. Statistics point out that roughly one in five persons in the western world suffer it! Perhaps the term is used too loosely sometimes. Some people unfortunately suffer chronic pain their whole lives as a result of incurable medical conditions (my heart goes out to you), while others, like myself, can recover from a chronic injury through the human bodies/minds amazing healing and regenerative abilities.
The chronic pain/anxiety issue is a complex one. Is the anxiety always there, choosing to latch onto the pain at will? Or is constant pain a menacing force that handicaps the mind? Obviously each person’s psychological/physiological make-up will create a unique situation case by case. I believe the above questions cannot be answered categorically; chronic pain and anxiety will always intensify each other. Therefore it’s always best to treat both anxiety and chronic pain together!
I had to deal with the emotional/psychological issues that go hand in hand with chronic pain. The longer my pain/injury continued the greater its importance was inflated by anxiety; the unmanaged anxiety continued to magnify the pain and cripple my recovery process.
As my pain was progressively getting worse I became obsessed with the notion that something ‘larger’ was being missed. I also become very paranoid about my body, and very scared of doing anything that could irritate my condition. This paranoia surged to ridiculous levels; I would analyse everything! e.g. the way I turned doorknobs. I also frequently analysed my posture and became convinced that I because I had a ‘postural dysfunction’ that the long-term solution was be the slow correction of posture. Posture correction is the long-term goal but the key is to let the body naturally open up to a balanced posture and correct functioning through corrective exercises and stretching.
It is true that it’s impossible for the body to be completely relaxed whilst the mind is tense and so by constantly analysing and thinking about the body I inadvertently put my muscles in perpetual and unnecessary tension.