Mental Health Problems and How They Can Lead to Body Aches

We have all been victims of one or more types of mental health problems. Stress and depression are the most common types that we can hardly escape in this fast-paced life. You may experience various symptoms of stress when you are simply trying to work through the day – such as disciplining your children, managing deadlines at work, coping with difficult relationships, or making the ends meets during financial instability.

And while a little stress here and there is ok, too much of it can wear you down, affect your health, and even cause you physical damage.

The other type – depression – has stood as one of the most common mental health problems, affecting more than 25% adults in the United States alone. What’s more alarming is that we do not really consider these conditions as mental disorders or illnesses. We have accepted them as a part of our lives and learned to live with it. However, it does become a matter of concern when the mild symptoms of mental disorders turn severe and start taking a toll on your entire body – especially when left untreated.

Feeling sad and emotional at times is very natural. However, if the feelings persist for longer periods, they should be considered as symptoms of mental health illnesses. Since most cases remain undiagnosed and untreated, it has been estimated that more than 17 million Americans of end up in depression every year.

Mental disorders, even the mild ones, can significantly impact the way you feel. It can also result in physical discomfort as you begin to notice the change in your body and health. Major depression is classified as a serious medical condition that could literally destroy your quality of life.

Facts about our central nervous system

Mental illnesses can do more damage than you think. They are not restricted to our mental health only. The damage to our central nervous system eventually starts showing its symptoms on our physical health – many of which are usually ignored or dismissed.

While mental health problems are more common with older adults, they tend to dismiss all tell-tale signs under the tag of ‘aging factors.’ When our central nervous system is under stress, it starts affecting different functions of our body.

However, before you reach that level, there are some very easy-to-pick signs of mental illnesses that everyone should be aware of. Overwhelming sadness, the feeling of guilt, unexplained grief, hopelessness, sleeplessness, loss of interest and concentration, anger, irritability, and negative behavior are some of the most common symptoms of mental health problems.

Today, mental illnesses are also to blame for conditions like headaches, migraines, chronic body ache, and pain that doesn’t get better with medication.

In more severe cases, brain-related problems are also associated with various neurological diseases like multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and Alzheimer’s disease. After all, our central nervous system is linked to other systems and functions of our body.

Mental health problems and how they cause body aches

Every individual responds to their mental health problem differently. The more you learn about your condition, the more you understand the connection. Causes for your pains and aches vary depending on the type of mental disorder you are suffering, your circumstances, environment, assistance, and more.

Associating the physical symptoms of body aches and pain with your mental disorders without proper information can be tough. Here are some signs to help you figure out if you are actually suffering some mental health condition:

Mental Health Problems and How They Can Lead to Body Aches: A young woman holding the back of her head in pain.

Mental Health Problems and How They Can Lead to Body Aches: A young woman holding the back of her head in pain. (Photo by Jacob Morrison from

1. Muscle tension

The problem begins with muscle tension. Muscle pain is the most common type of body ache you experience when you are under stress or feeling of anxiety. The contraction of muscles caused by constant stress is what creates the tension in muscles.

If you are into sports or hardcore workouts, you know what basic muscle pain feels like. It is the same level of stress you are putting on your body to create that tension. Stress, unfortunately, creates the same tension without you indulging in any sort of physically exerting activity.

Other than that, muscle tension can also produce lactic acid in your body, which leads to body ache. Both of these factors are associated with the feelings of pain and aches that people experience when they are depressed or under any kind of stress.

The tension is easy to identify. The feeling of discomfort and pain wouldn’t let you ignore it. While you feel the pain in every part and muscle of your body, it usually affects your:

  • Shoulders
  • Neck
  • Back
  • The lower part of the head

Not only does stress have the potential of putting your brain to a halt, but it can also make your body feel numb and out of energy.

You may experience trouble in doing daily activities due to pain in your arms and even find walking difficult because of aching legs. In short, your entire body is under stress.

2. Pain due to behavioral response

Low levels of energy and feelings of fatigue are other common symptoms of mental disorders. When you are feeling so low and lifeless, you end up spending most of your time in the bed or slouching on a chair. Such a behavioral response to your mental disorder can also increase the chances of causing body pain, particularly in the shoulders and lower back area.

3. Chest pain

Not every pain will be related to your muscles. In some cases, you may feel other, more severe symptoms. Chest pain and other panic symptoms are hard to ignore. They are often quite severe and can lead to severe anxiety and hyperventilation.

They can be highly uncomfortable, and it is best to seek help from a medical professional if such problem occurs.

4. A headache and migraine

A tension headache is a term used for headaches that are caused by mental problems. However, even migraine is known to get triggered due to anxiety and stress. Since mental disorders cause the muscles to tense up, it also puts pressure on your head.

In case of a migraine, it can cause a great deal of discomfort and pain. You may feel symptoms like severe nausea, stomach ache, and even pain in your eyes.

5. Other Pains

There is, unfortunately, no limit to the pain and discomfort you can experience as a result of mental health problems. If left untreated, it can create a complex condition for you to deal with. Severe levels of depression and anxiety can have a huge impact on how your body functions.

Some people even complain of throat pain while others explain a tingling, unusual sensation in their arms and legs. For some individuals, random cramping and abdominal discomfort is the issue. Some patients mainly complain of pain in lower left abdomen. However, in all cases, the underlying issue is unclear.

While it is best to see a medical professional for proper diagnosis, it is essential to accept mental health problems and diffuse the stigma around it. The change begins from within and if you really want to get the best treatment, accepting your mental health problems and the side effects of it is important.


Most of these symptoms naturally fade away when you start treating the core problem – mental health disorders. Your doctors may prescribe you medicines and painkillers and even guide you on how you can improve your lifestyle habits to get rid of these pains and aches.

Other healthy habits such as drinking plenty of water, stretching, and indulging in some sort of exercises can also help you say goodbye to stress and its corresponding physical effects.

But what you really need to work on is your anxiety and stress levels if you want the symptoms to disappear permanently. So make positive changes to your life today and get your diagnosis done to begin the treatment an avoid body aches and pains in the future.