Jade Small
Jade Small
February 20, 2024 ·  5 min read

12 Places Your Body Stores Stress and What They Reveal About Your Emotions

Many people are using the wrong cure for their chronic pain.Why? Because they haven’t pinpointed the underyling cause of their pain in the first place. One especially common, yet often overlooked source is stress.

Studies have found those who experience stress and anxiety tense and constrict their muscles, causing fatigue and cramps over time. You may be familiar with conditions such as headaches and IBS resulting from stress, but the adverse effects of stress can be further reaching.

As Dr. Susanne Babbel for Psychology Today explains, “Studies have shown that chronic pain might not only be caused by physical injury but also by stress and emotional issues…Often, physical pain functions to warn a person that there is still emotional work to be done.” (1)

You can use this principle to help you figure out the underlying emotions that are causing pain in specific areas of your body (this list is influenced by Jan Bowen’s It’s Not That Complicated). While this theory is based mainly on anecdotal evidence, it’s worth exploring:

12 Body Parts that are Pained by Stress


Headaches can be a result of battling obstacles and worrying about the little things. The best way to deal with this ailment is to take the time to relax, without feeling guilty or thinking about your troubles. You deserve some peace and quiet, and this will increase your productivity afterward.


Resentment is a destructive emotion for your neck, whether it’s a grudge against others or yourself. It’s hard to let go and forgive, but redirecting your attitude can make all the difference. You won’t always meet your high expectations, and that’s okay. People aren’t always trying to harm you, even when it feels that way. Think about the things you love, your unique abilities, and your past achievements.


Tough decisions take a toll on your shoulders, whether there is one choice hovering over you or many. Perhaps someone is pressuring you or maybe you are naturally indecisive. Whichever the case, lighten the load on your shoulders by sharing your dilemma with someone close to you. Even if they cannot advise, talking about your concerns aloud can alleviate them and help you find the solution within yourself.

Upper Back

Pain in the upper back is frequently a result of feeling unappreciated or fearing love. It’s hurtful to experience a lack of support from family and good friends. One solution is open communication. Reconnect to those who you love and go out to meet new people. Be friendly and don’t hold back words of affection.

Lower Back

Lower back pain can be induced by the fear of loss and obsession with money. Financial worries are damaging to one’s health and relationships, but remember that money does not buy happiness. You don’t need wealth to be happy. Do what you love so that you will have the joy, and profit will follow.


Human beings naturally resist significant changes and fear of newness. Illogical stubbornness is a general response to these situations, causing joint pain. Remember that sometimes life is not as complicated as we make it seem. Don’t waste your energy fighting things you cannot change. Let life flow and hang on for a glorious ride.


Introvertedly-inclined people may experience pain in their hands due to an absence of companionship. If you experience this sort of discomfort, it’s time to come out of your shell. Friends can be made in the most bizarre situations. Let loose at concert or sports event, and feel a part of the crowd.


Many people become accustomed to the comfort found in a predictable lifestyle. When new situations arise, they may experience pain in our hips, signifying our fear of change. Remember that life is like a river, it keeps rushing and changing, and that’s what keeps it interesting. Think of it as an adventure and don’t procrastinate big decisions.


No one likes to think of themselves as conceited, but knee pain can be a signal for an inflated ego. Look around; the world doesn’t revolve around you. Pay attention to the struggles of your friend, parent, and coworker. Nobody loses out on giving to others. You will feel more fulfilled.


Sometimes relationships can be tense, especially when feelings of possessiveness or jealousy arise. Relax and learn how to trust your significant other and friends. Don’t try to control or change them, instead, think of the reason you became close with them in the first place. But, if you discover yourself in an unhealthy situation in which the other person is driving you to lose touch with yourself, it may be time to move on.


Life has a way of making us so busy that we forget to take proper care of ourselves. Our job could be very taxing, or we neglect our needs, or we hold off on fulfilling our dreams. If you are stuck in this rut, it’s time to break free. Buy that expensive item you’ve been eyeing, go to bed early for a change, open yourself up to romance, or book a trip. Only you can make your dreams a reality.


Apathy seems to stop our body from moving forward. When we feel like failures, and everything is going wrong, our feet begin to hurt. To fight the pain, start paying attention to the details of life and the beauty of the world. Use all of the five senses to optimize your experiences. Try new things that interest you. Make it your point to smile more, because it looks great on you! (2)

De-Stress to Heal

The next time a headache is coming on, try relaxing instead of popping a Tylenol. Cure the source of pain by reducing anxiety and stress. The physical is giving you a message from your emotions. Don’t silence the messenger with a pill. Listen to your body because it wants you the best for you.


  1. Somatic Psychology.The Connections Between Emotional Stress, Trauma and Physical Pain.” Psychology Today. Susanne Babbel Ph.D,, M.F.T. April 8, 2010.