9 Types Of Muscle Tension Caused By Trapped Emotions

In the vastness of your existence, your body serves as a fascinating map, intricately depicting the extraordinary journey of your life. Every experience, every emotion, and every memory is imprinted on this extraordinary canvas.

Surprisingly, many of us unknowingly carry the weight of repressed emotions that have taken root in various corners of our being.

These hidden energies can build up over time, subtly compromising our well-being. Unbeknownst to us, they can silently contribute to a host of chronic diseases, causing us unrelenting discomfort.

Here's the truth: your body possesses an unfathomable wisdom that transcends mere physicality.

It nurtures the extraordinary ability to tap into the depths of your emotions and even unravel traumatic memories. Regardless of your efforts to dismiss, rationalize, or repress what lies within, your body remains the steadfast guardian of truth.

If you find yourself stuck in the grip of chronic tension, whether it manifests in your neck, shoulders, back, thighs, or any other area, fear not.

This article will guide you on a transformative journey toward uncovering the deep root of your long-standing pain.


What are the causes of chronic muscle tension?

According to various studies and research, we develop chronic muscle tension for four different reasons.


The first cause is social conditioning

The first cause is social conditioning

Social conditioning begins its subtle influence in early childhood and continues to shape our lives through the influences of parents, friends, teachers, family members, and society at large.

Much of the tension we harbor within our muscles stems from societal expectations that have compelled us to don masks or armor in pursuit of acceptance or being perceived as “nice.”

Consider this: as children, many of us were taught that shedding tears is solely reserved for the solitary realm of only children.

Consequently, we learned to stifle our tears and bury our sadness, believing it to be a mark of maturity. Similarly, expressing anger was deemed taboo and reprimanded, instilling within us a deep-rooted aversion to its outward manifestation.

This conditioning persists well into adulthood, permeating our work environments, where the mere hint of anger is labeled as unprofessional and potentially precarious to safety.

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The second cause of muscle tension is trauma

The second cause of muscle tension is trauma

Muscle tension lies in the realm of trauma—a range of experiences that span from public humiliation during childhood to unfathomable acts of violence.

Trauma can be intentionally imposed upon us, such as rape or physical assault, or it can arise inadvertently, like the aftermath of a car accident.

When these traumatic encounters are left unaddressed, they possess the power to sow the seeds of chronic fear, ceaseless stress, and even episodes of post-traumatic stress.

This insidious anxiety, anger, and pain nestle deep within our beings, creating a breeding ground for muscle tension that ultimately contributes to a host of debilitating conditions, including fibromyalgia, digestive disorders, hypertension, and even cancer.



The third cause is psychological tension

The third cause is psychological tension.

Psychological tension, the third cause of muscle tension, materializes as a result of our subjective perceptions and the profound impact they wield over our well-being.

It encompasses a range of emotions—be it anxiety, frustration, sorrow, or rage—that take root within our psyche.

Picture this: the strain that arises from our thoughts about a family member failing to acknowledge our worth or the mounting frustration that accompanies being ensnared in traffic, bemoaning its very existence.

Our automatic inclination to attach significance to these thoughts fuels the fire of psychological tension, causing it to take residence within our musculature.

The more negative, foreboding, or lacking our perspectives become, the greater the tension we store within.

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The last causes of muscle tension are stressors and environmental habits.

You see, our modern sedentary lifestyles, glued to desks for hours on end, amplify our physical discomfort by denying our muscles the opportunity to release built-up tension.

Additionally, harmful habits such as poor posture, insufficient sleep, substance abuse, unhealthy eating patterns, and exposure to environmental pollution further increase the likelihood of chronic muscle tension becoming a constant companion.



Consequences of chronic muscle tension

Consequences of chronic muscle tension

The consequences of subjecting yourself to chronic muscle tension are far-reaching and have fascinated the field of psychosomatic medicine for years.

Countless studies have delved into the intricate relationship between mind and body—how one affects the other in a dance of cause and effect.

When mental and emotional factors contribute to the attack of muscle tension, we find ourselves facing a variety of health issues:

1. Mood disorders such as anxiety, depression, and compulsive behavior disorders.
2. Increased susceptibility to joint pain and increased chance of injury.
3. Menstrual problems, collectively known as dysmenorrhea.
4. Insomnia, robbing us of much-needed restorative sleep.
5. Skin ailments, including acne and psoriasis, that manifest as visible reflections of our inner turmoil.
6. Respiratory conditions like asthma and hay fever, which wreak havoc on our breathing.
7. Debilitating headaches and migraines that pulsate with relentless intensity.
8. Palpitations and chest pains, make us question the stability of our hearts.
9. Nausea, a disturbing sensation that underlies our restlessness.
10. The enigmatic fibromyalgia, whose syllable tightens around our body, causing widespread pain and fatigue.
11. Irritable bowel syndrome, which includes a variety of gastrointestinal problems such as diarrhea, bloating, constipation, and cysts.
12. Hypertension, silently raises our blood pressure, threatening our well-being.
13. Sexual dysfunction, overshadowing intimate moments with problems such as premature ejaculation and painful intercourse.
14. The insidious claws of addiction, involving alcohol, tobacco, or drug addiction.

This list of consequences merely scratches the surface, as many other outcomes lie in waiting for those caught up in the dangers of muscle tension.

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9 types of muscle tension caused by trapped emotions

Although each individual's journey is unique, with no specific areas where particular emotions are exclusively stored, certain areas of the body tend to become repositories for particular emotional energies.

Let me shed some light on nine of the most common types of muscle soreness and the underlying emotions intertwined with them:



1. Shoulder tension = charges and responsibilities

Shoulder tension = charges and responsibilities

Shoulder tension, which manifests as a buildup of stress on the shoulders, is often associated with the weight of responsibilities and burdens we carry in our lives.

Similar to the expression “carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders”, this type of muscle pain is closely related to social and emotional obligations, including unconsciously absorbing the pain of others.

Therefore, it is not uncommon for empathic individuals, healers, and spirit guides to experience chronic tension in their shoulder muscles.



2. Neck tension = expression of fear and oppression


Neck tension is often associated with problems with the throat chakra, such as difficulty communicating clearly or expressing one's true self in front of others.

Fear and anxiety are also commonly stored in this area, as the neck is a vulnerable part of our body and can trigger physical reactions to danger or threatening environments.

Trust issues can further contribute to tension in the neck muscles.



3. Upper back = pain, regret, and sadness

Upper back = pain, regret, and sadness

Unspoken sadness and regret often accumulate in the upper back. Given its proximity to the heart, this area becomes a repository of emotions related to pain and loss.

For example, if you carry emotional pain from a loved one or feel general pain related to your family, you may experience tension in this area.

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4. Middle back = Insecurity and powerlessness


The middle of the back is where feelings of insecurity, helplessness, and despair tend to appear.

In various healing traditions, such as reflexology, back pain is often associated with these emotions.

If you constantly feel unsupported by others or by life itself, you are likely to experience tension in this region.



5. Lower back = guilt, shame and unworthiness

Lower back = guilt, shame and unworthiness

Lower back problems often stem from feelings of low self-esteem and lack of self-acceptance.

Emotions such as guilt, shame, and even unresolved sexual trauma can also be stored in this area.

Addressing these underlying emotions can help alleviate physical discomfort in the lower back.



6. Stomach = inability to process emotions


Tension in the stomach muscles can be compared to difficulty in digesting emotions.

If you often experience stiffness or pain in your stomach, this may indicate challenges in effectively processing negative and positive emotions.

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7. Inner thighs = fear of vulnerability

Inner thighs = fear of vulnerability

The inner thighs can be a source of pain for individuals who struggle with social anxiety and fear of vulnerability.

Since our feet are biologically wired to flee when we perceive danger, fear of others is usually stored in this area.



8. Outer thighs = frustration and impatience


Frustration and impatience often build up in the outer thigh muscles.

The faster and more haphazardly we live our lives, the more likely we are to hold irritated and restless energy in this particular muscle group.

Additionally, the demands of work and our personal lives can contribute significantly to tension in these areas.



9. Buttocks = anger and resentment

Natiche = anger and resentment

The back, or “buttocks”, is where anger and resentment are often stored. Have you ever met someone who was a real “pain in the butt”?

If you find yourself experiencing strong anger or pent-up anger, pay attention if you also feel muscle stiffness in this area.

By understanding the emotional connections to these common types of muscle pain, we can begin to address the underlying issues and find ways to alleviate both the physical discomfort and the emotional burdens that contribute to them.

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Releasing pent-up emotions is essential for relieving muscle tension and achieving a sense of well-being. If you find yourself wondering how to let go of the tension you're experiencing, here are some tips that may help:


Instant emotional release:

Using the practice of immediate emotional release can provide relief from chronic pain, emotional challenges, illnesses, addictions, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder, and even some physical ailments.

These healing principles have been known and used in Oriental medicine for over 5,000 years.


Meaning of energy power:

The body, like everything in the universe, is made up of energy. By rebalancing the body's energy, you can effectively repair both the negative emotions and physical symptoms caused by the disruption of this energy.

Instant Emotional Release works to restore the body's energy balance, allowing you to overcome negative emotions and their impact on your overall well-being.


Allowing yourself to feel:

One of the easiest ways to release muscle tension is to actively feel and release emotions as they arise.

Although it may not always be possible at the moment, make it a practice to create space at the end of each day to acknowledge and process the emotions experienced throughout the day.

This may include engaging in cathartic activities such as crying, punching a pillow, or screaming to release pent-up emotions.



Cultivating non-judgment:

When we judge our emotions as “bad” or “wrong,” we unwittingly deepen our suffering and reinforce muscle tension.

Instead, foster an attitude of non-judgment towards your emotions. Accept that an emotion is just an emotion and does not define you unless you choose to attribute meaning to it.


Keeping an emotion journal:

Allowing yourself to express and record your emotions in a journal, without filters, can be an incredibly healing practice.

Regularly engaging in this practice serves as a powerful way to work with any emotional shadows and promote awareness.

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Practicing self-kindness:

Muscle tension often exacerbates our negative inner voices, leading to more tension. To break this cycle, practice kindness to yourself.

Treat yourself with the same compassion you would offer a child or your best friend. This simple yet profound act can create a sense of relaxation and ease.


Involvement of muscle stretching:

Engaging in simple stretching exercises or practicing yoga can help relax your muscles.

Even devoting just five minutes a day to these activities can be helpful in releasing tension.



Deep belly breathing:

Shallow and mainly chest breathing restricts the flow of oxygen, inhibits the removal of toxins, and contributes to increased anxiety.

Practicing deep abdominal breathing stimulates the vagus nerve, promoting a calmer mind and improving overall well-being.



Embracing Meditation:

Meditation is a powerful tool for cultivating presence and awareness, allowing you to recognize muscle tension when it arises.

By incorporating regular meditation into your routine, you can develop a deeper understanding of your body and mind.



Exploring art therapy:

Expressing your emotions through creative means such as painting, drawing, sculpting, or any other form of self-expression can serve as a therapeutic release.

Engaging in artistic endeavors allows you to tap into your emotions and process them in a meaningful way.


Remember, releasing pent-up emotions and finding relief from muscle tension is a journey that requires patience and self-compassion.

By incorporating these practices into your life, you can facilitate healing and bring about a greater sense of well-being.



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Is on a mission to make the world a better place, one happy soul at a time. She is a qualified yoga teacher, Reiki Master, spiritual coach, and author of many spiritual articles in famous online journals.

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