Quote from carrielynn:This happened to me when I suffered severe anxiety from January-June this past year. Somedays I felt like I had the flu because I ached so bad and I worried I had something like fibromyalgia. I also couldn't get a good deep breath. I saw a biofeedback therapist who did EMG (muscle) biofeedback and she showed me how tense my muscles were. The tension seemed "normal" to me, when in fact my muscles were actually constantly tensing in response to my anxiety. This was causing the aches and pains.
The biofeedback therapist showed me how to relax my muscles -- calf, thigh, shoulders, arms, head, etc. -- and then every day I constantly checked the state of my body's tension, about every 10 minutes, and relaxed those muscles for a couple of seconds. (I wore a timer watch that vibrated every 10 minutes, bought it from Global Assistive Devices.) I saw her once a week for about 8 weeks and we'd check my progress. The aches and pains actually got worse before they got better because of the release of lactic acid (similar to when you work your muscles too hard). But 7 months after I started this process, my body is relaxed and the aches and pains are gone. I can breath deeply with no problems.
What I learned from this process was that I didn't know how to truly relax until someone hooked me up to a machine and SHOWED me what relaxation was. At the time true relaxation felt "out of control." Anxiety and tension were how I felt more in control, so I had to learn (and am still learning) how to let go.
I've been addressing the anxiety with neurofeedback, which is a form of biofeedback that does brain-wave training. That has also been enormously helpful. I also employ the cognitive behavioral techniques to reframe issues that stress me out. It takes time to retrain your mind/body of bad habits and I'm still working on these things... I think I will for the rest of my life... but things are SO much better than they were last winter/spring.
Reading your post has shed a lot of light on my situation!!! For a few months now I've been suffering from aches and pains in my chest, back, and neck. I went to Urgent Care 3 times in one week due to the pains I was having. At the time I was convinced I was having a heart attack. After 3 sets of EKGs, a chest X Ray, two sets of back and neck X Rays, full CBC blood test, lupus, thyroid, muscle wasting and rheumatoid testing...everything came back normal and the Drs finally sent me home with Serax, an anxiety pill. I'm still suffering from a large amount of stress in my life, and feeling these "mystery" aches and pains only contribute to my stress and anxiety. Before I read your post there were times I honestly thought I must have a tumor or something. I've since had an MRI and my Dr said if he didn't call no news must be good news! Now that I've hurdled that I am pretty confident that I must be stressing myself out so badly that I'm causing havoc with muscle tension. My Dr encouraged me to go to the gym ( I used to go daily for YEARS until I fell into depression from stress a few months back). He said having somewhere to exert my stress for years and then just stopping one day can cause a lot of havoc. I was just curious, what techniques or exercises are you doing? If possible could you describe some of your head exercises? Thanks in advance!