Anxiety and Pain

We’ve all felt pain before. It’s part of what makes us human.

Several things happen to us physically whenever we feel pain. Let’s take a quick impact injury sustained during class. Nerve endings at the injury site send messages to the brain through the nervous system. Then, hormones, endorphins, and chemicals secrete. Adrenaline is a commonly secreted hormone during this process, and triggers a survival mechanism in the body. Endorphins act as a natural pain killer.

One of the exercises we do is called the Contact Assist Drill. It’s the process of touching the site of an impact injury, directly after the initial injury. This helps calm the nerves and stops the body from triggering survival mechanisms.

And most of us have also heard our Sifus repeatedly telling us to relax and breathe. There are reasons for that, beyond preventing early fatigue.

So why the biology lesson? Anxiety has several effects on the body as well. The first being in secreting more adrenaline and triggering survival mechanisms. Another effect anxiety has on the body is the ability to cut through pain killers, natural and artificial alike. This will make you feel the pain more acutely. Adrenaline also heightens the senses, which, when pain is felt, will make you feel pain more acutely still.

The next time you feel pain, it’s important to breathe through it and use the contact assist drill. If you are able to keep the anxiety in check, the body can secrete those natural pain killers and will also remind the body that there is no danger, so there is no need for anxiety and adrenaline in that moment.