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My child complains of aches and pains. We have had her examined by several doctors but there is nothing physically wrong with her. Could her pain be emotional?

My child complains of aches and pains. We have had her examined by several doctors but there is nothing physically wrong with her. Could her pain be emotional?

It is so common for people (young and old!) to internalize their feelings and experience them physically. Stress and worry manifest in the body as headaches, stomachaches, physical tension, restlessness, or even tiredness and fatigue. If you are at the point where you have ruled out a medical origin, it sounds like it’s time to explore the possibility of an emotional issue. Try one of the following suggestions to get the conversation started if your child is having difficulty making the connection themselves:

  • Tell the child there is a direct connection between the way we feel emotionally and the way the body feels; headaches and stomachaches are common ways to experience worry in the body.

     

  • Even if the child says there’s nothing wrong, suggest a simple relaxation exercise to help them feel calm. For example, deep breathing (inhale and exhale to the count of 4) helps dial down the child’s system and increases feelings of relaxation.

  •  Use some indirect ways to get the child talking about feelings. Drawing pictures of what different feelings might look like or reading a book about feelings can help start that conversation.

  •  Try The WorryChest System, which provides a structured, comprehensive approach to dealing with worry.

  •  If your child continues to experience symptoms, consider consultation with a mental health professional.

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