"Heartache","hurt" and "pain" are words often used to describe emotional trauma, but people affected by grief often say they experience actual physical sensations after losing a loved one. A study at Imperial College suggests that physical pain might be the body's defense mechanism for shock and grief. The surge of adrenaline that often accompanies a loss can be pretty intense and go unacknowledged by the sufferer, therefore, the body protects the heart. This condition is also aptly named "Broken Heart Syndrome" and is said to affect 100 million people each year.
According to a recent article in the BBC News Magazine, there have been multiple cases reported that prompted several studies to explore the physical effect of pain and suffering. Lyn Rigby, mother of murdered soldier Lee Rigby, says she has felt daily chest pains since her son's death. Rigby described the feeling she was experiencing as a "constant pain in my chest every single day". This pain, she says, "never goes away." Similarly, Shira Schiller who suddenly lost her 10-year-old son Max to a heart condition, experienced physical symptoms along with her grief. She explains, "It's like there's a hand holding your heart. If I'm having a bad day, it's like being unable to breathe."
In the many years that we have been helping those who have lost loved ones, we see so many cases that involve the very real symptoms of pain and suffering caused by grief. This article and several scientific studies have become an undeniable truth, and we hope insurance companies change their definition of pain and suffering.