Are you feeling sluggish, tired, and frustrated with a slow metabolism? You’re not alone. Many people complain to me about a checked out metabolism, especially during periods of high stress or life changes. But, just because it is common doesn’t mean it has to be your norm. I have a holistic approach to heal your stressed out metabolism, so you can reclaim your energy and vitality.
What if you could wake up in the morning feeling refreshed and energized, ready to take on the day? Your metabolism is humming along, efficiently converting food into fuel for your body and brain. You feel a renewed sense of balance and well-being. Maybe this sounds too good to be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re experiencing a stressed metabolism, it’s crucial to address the root causes. These most commonly include stress, inadequate nutrition, lack of sleep, and hormonal imbalances. Let’s tackle each of these head on and find ways to rejuvenate your metabolism.
Chronic stress can wreak havoc on your metabolism and often leads to weight gain, fatigue, and mood swings. Stress can come from external sources, life circumstances, and even illness or injury within the body. Incorporating stress reducing techniques like deep breathing, stretching, meditation, and prayer can help calm your nervous system and support a healthy level of stress hormones.
What you eat plays a vital role in healing your metabolism. Choose whole, nutrient dense foods that nourish the body and provide the building blocks for metabolism supporting hormones. You can identify through Nutrition Genetic Testing what type of foods your body uses most efficiently. All of us benefit from avoiding processed foods, added sugars, and artificial additives that can disrupt the metabolism.
Adequate sleep is often overlooked but is crucial for a healthy metabolism. Lack of sleep can disrupt hormone production, increase cravings (usually for less nutritious foods), and hinders the body’s ability to run efficiently. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night to support your metabolism and overall well being.
Especially during perimenopause for women, hormonal imbalance can significantly impact your metabolism. Consult with a women’s health professional to address hormone issues and explore natural remedies to find balance (the 3 tips above can get you started). Men are affected as well, and naturally boosting testosterone levels is a simple solution (the product Vitality is my top recommendation).
Are you ready to take a step to reclaim your energy and revitalize your metabolism?By taking a holistic approach to healing your stressed metabolism, you can regain control of your energy and overall well-being. You deserve to feel your best! As an Integrative Health Coach, I help people transform their movement, meals, mindset, AND metabolism and get on a path to a healthier, happier life.
So, why wait? Start implementing some of these changes today and learn more about how a coach could support you on your journey HERE. Don’t wait to embrace the transformative power of a rejuvenated metabolism.
Interested in speaking to a holistic health expert this week? Schedule a Free Wellness Strategy call HERE to see what else you should add to your metabolic health tool kit.
Just as our physical body changes over time, it’s natural to see changes in our brain as well. Fortunately, it’s also true that we can maintain our cognitive fitness in similar ways that we maintain physical fitness. At any age, lifestyle choices play a major role in how well we think, feel, learn, react, and remember. Each day, we can take simple steps toward lifelong brain health.
Failing brain health is a public health epidemic. Research shows that 3 out of 5 Americans will develop a brain disease in their lifetime. If we add emotional well being and mental focus to the brain health equation, I’d say we are close to 100% of individuals that will at some point have concern about how efficiently their brain is working.
Right now you may have no concerns and this is where the problem starts – we take our brain for granted. Now is the time to start implementing strategies to keep it in tip top shape.
Already have concerns? Then these tips can help you as well. The goal is to achieve your best brain at the stage of life you are in. The result, to have more success in relationships and business, overcome obstacles and be resilient to tough life circumstances, and continue to complete your daily activities independently for as long as the rest of your body will keep up.
Try these suggestions for taking care of your brain starting today.
1. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity delivers more oxygen to your brain and helps form new neural connections. Exercise boosts happy hormones as well as helps to relieve physical and emotional effects of stress. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week.
2. Eat Healthy Fats
About 60% of the brain is made of fat. That means fatty acids from foods like fish, nuts, olives, and avocado are needed for optimal functioning. Specifically omega 3 fats have been shown to decrease cognitive decline, improve focus, and reduce rates of depression.
3. Sleep Well
We all know the feeling of brain fog when we don’t sleep well, but did you know your memory and learning capacity actually grow stronger while you sleep. Go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule and talk with a healthcare provider if you are having trouble getting quality sleep.
4. Address Chronic Conditions
Many physical health issues like obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, and high blood pressure can impact your brain. Schedule regular screenings for these health markers and seek solutions to move back in the right direction when those numbers creep up.
5. Stay Connected
Block out time to spend with family and friends. Social ties help to slow the rate of memory decline and enhance mental and emotional health outcomes. Add some laughter to the situation and the brain boosting effects become even more powerful.
6. Express Creativity
Making art raises serotonin levels, while music enhances brain function. Experiment with different hobbies to find something you enjoy. The good news is that you don’t have to have artistic talent, you will see benefits regardless of your skill level.
7. Relax and Reflect
Relaxation reduces inflammation in the brain and helps it work more efficiently. Forms of reflection could include prayer, mediation, a walk in nature, deep breathing, yoga, or listening to music. Find what works best for you and savor the present moment.
8. Change Your Self Talk
Don’t speak to yourself in a way that you wouldn’t speak to a close friend. Make your inner dialogue compassionate and encouraging. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for the small steps you take toward a better you.
This list might appear overwhelming, but addressing just one area can begin to reduce your risk of cognitive decline. And the investment is definitely worth it – keeping your brain healthy will help you to lead a longer and more rewarding life.
If chronic pain, injuries, or illness are keeping you from being able to any of the above, we have experts to help you overcome these obstacles. Let’s work together to make summer 2023 YOUR TIME to TAKE BACK the health of your mind & body. Click HERE to learn more about how we can help, or go directly to our Schedule to Book a Virtual Strategy Session.
As winter comes to an end, we want to move more and feel renewed in our body. That makes spring an ideal time to focus on optimizing your fitness, performance, and health. No matter your age, stage, or season of life, we are going to challenge you in increasing protein to meet your spring health goals.
If you are like most of our clients, you want to get stronger, move better, lose body fat. Your goal may be to say good-bye to a nagging health condition (perhaps an autoimmune disease, osteoporosis, pre diabetes, or long COVID). When we sit down to discuss these goals, we often find that clients are not meeting their minimum protein requirements. Increasing protein is necessary to fuel the body in achieving these goals.
Why do we care about protein intake as physical therapists?
Protein is required for muscle growth and repair. Subsequently, healthy muscle mass is required for a healthy metabolism, bone mass, blood pressure and more. In addition, a lack of protein can result in an impaired immune system and increased inflammation.
You may be low on protein because you just don’t consume enough quality protein. It may be that your need is higher than average because you are healing or under a lot of physical stress. Or you may not be able to break down or absorb the protein you are consuming adequately. In any of these cases, the result will be a difficult time healing from injury, illness or workouts. You may have not have levels of hormones and neurotransmitters necessary to feel your best, produce energy, stabilize your mood, build muscle, and lose body fat.
Can we agree that one of your spring goals should be meeting your body’s protein needs? Now, let’s figure out how to do that in the midst of a busy schedule.
1. Start Your Day with Protein.
Your first meal of the day is important for your metabolism, sustained energy, and to curb cravings for less healthy foods later in the day. A well balanced meal also sets the stage mentally for making healthy choices as the day goes on.
2. Space your intake throughout the day.
The body can only process so much protein at one time, so there is no reason to eat your days worth of protein at dinner. Instead of focusing only on your daily protein goal, be sure you are getting adequate amounts at each meal. For most people this will be 20-30 grams.
3. Drink plenty of water, but not with your meals.
Hydration is important to keeping the body – especially digestion and detoxification – running well. However, drinking too much water with your high protein meals can decrease the digestive enzymes in your stomach necessary to break down the food properly for absorption.
4. Be mindful with your protein.
Hitting macronutrient targets is important but if you aren’t absorbing the nutrients you are consuming it doesn’t do you much good. The biggest trigger for gut health issues and poor absorption is stress. So focus on enjoying your food and take a few deep breaths before your meal if you feel like your mind is racing.
5. Read food labels.
Marketers know that “protein” is a buzzword, but you must check the label for quantity and quality. That protein bar with 5 grams of protein is not a “high protein” snack. In addition, you should avoid poorly absorbable or highly inflammatory proteins like casein and soy.
6. Supplement with protein powders.
When you need a quick protein boost a shake may be your best option. Check labels for artificial ingredients, flavorings, and sweeteners that can cause more harm than good. Be sure the product has at least 20 grams of quality protein (from multiple sources like hemp and rice if vegan and grass fed if a whey protein).
These are six simple ways you can optimize your protein intake and better absorb it. Remember, if you are recovering from an illness or injury, training hard, or over the age of 40, you may need more protein than you think. The RDA (recommended daily allowance) does not take into account these instances of increased need or situations where absorption may be altered.
If you are interested in identifying your unique protein targets to meet your health goals, Integrative Health Coaching may be your next best step. Schedule a Free Discovery Visit to find out if a personalized plan and support through coaching is the solution you are searching for. Click HERE to reserve your spot.
The season of joy and gratitude is upon us and we all desire to have a healthy, happy family this holiday. However, more often than not I hear more about the fatigue, stress, weight gain, bloating, anxiety, and trips to urgent care. If any of the above has overwhelmed your holiday experience in the past, you are not alone.
The good news is, you have control over your health and happiness this season. It comes down to boosting your immune system to keep everyone healthier and busting stress to keep everyone happier.
Easier said then done, am I right? We have some simple tips – there is no time or energy for complicated – the whole family can use.
1. Get out in nature
Even on the cold days, try to get outside for some fresh air and sunlight. It will improve your mood and energy levels. Doing so in the morning will help set your circadian clock for better sleep as well.
2. Take a walk after dinner
A 10 minute walk after the largest meal of the day will significantly help regulate blood sugar. This is important for energy, mood stability, and to prevent excess fat storage.
3. Load up on vegetables
Cookies and candy are everywhere, but let’s not focus on what not to eat. Just try to eat more of the good stuff. Brightly colored vegetables fill your plate with illness fighting antioxidants and fiber that keeps us feeling full.
4. Include healthy fats
Make sure your meals include healthy fats like raw nuts, avocado, olive oil, or fresh fish. These are required for brain and hormone balance, which is critical to keeping issues like anxiety and insomnia from ruining your holiday fun.
5. Drink more water
We tend to reach for coffee and cocktails this time of year, but getting plenty of water helps flush out toxins and keeps energy levels up. Just a small level of dehydration can result in moodiness, forgetfulness, and cravings.
6. Wash your hands
Spending more time indoors and in larger gatherings circulates more germs in the air that we simply need to wash away with soap and water. Keep moisturizer on hand to prevent your skin from over drying.
7.Continue to Exercise
Even just a moderate amount of exercise will boost the immune system and metabolism while improving sleep and energy. Your stress levels and waist line can’t afford for this healthy habit to neglected through the holidays.
8. Get more Vitamin D
Your body makes vitamin D when it’s exposed to sunlight and we aren’t seeing as much of that. Low levels result in poor mood, low energy, weight gain – just to name a few. For many, a seasonal supplement is the easiest solution.
9. Practice Relaxation
Deep breathing, meditation and progressive muscle relaxation are good ways to destress. Taking a break to refocus can have benefits beyond the immediate moment, leading to long term physical and emotional health.
10. Prioritize Sleep
Sleep can be last on the priority list when we need extra time to wrap gifts or celebrate with friends. However, the benefits of sleep are countless – a strong immune system, level emotions, high energy, and healthy metabolism.
Cold weather doesn’t have to equal sickness. Family gatherings don’t have to lead to anxiety. Holiday meals don’t have to lead to weight gain. Take a few of these simple steps to keep the joy and gratitude flowing.
Ready to prioritize your health and happiness this season? There is no reason to wait until the New Year to set some goals and take steps toward a stronger, more vibrant you. Click HERE to learn more about how Integrative Health Coaching can help you go from fatigued and frustrated with your health to feeling confident and energetic in your body.
Or click HERE to schedule your Free Embracing Health Strategy Session to set your end of the year goals and start feeling your best before everyone else sets those New Year’s Resolutions.
Preparing your own food at home is a great way to take control of your food choices, eat healthier, and feel your best in your body. If you love to cook, that’s an added bonus. Conversely, if you’re uncomfortable in the kitchen, you may rely too much on take out. The good news is, there are ways to make healthy food fun to make and eat.
I was blessed to grow up in a home with strong culinary role models. I’m not talking about gourmet meals every night, but my mom was a home economics teacher so I saw balanced meals planned for and carried out each and every week. Maybe you didn’t grow up in the kitchen, but it’s not too late to learn. On the other hand, you might be eager to bake cookies and fry bacon, but you draw a blank about what to do with asparagus or dread cooking another chicken dinner.
It’s natural to feel frustration if you have to look up half the words in a recipe or run to the store for trendy super food ingredients. You’ll be happy to hear that there are many quick and simple ways to make healthy cooking faster and even fun.
Ready to discover 10 ways to make healthy food fun? Try these suggestions to change the way you eat and enjoy the process.
1. Organize your kitchen
You don’t need an expensive renovation. Simply put your essentials within easy reach or install some racks to expand your cabinet storage.
2. Invest in some basic tools
Ensure that your knives are sharp and cutting boards are in good shape (I replace these often). If the budget allows, invest in a slow cooker, instant pot, air fryer, or food processor to speed up prep and cooking times.
3. Stock up on staples
I like to fill my pantry and freezer with our favorite healthy ingredients. That may include olive oil or diced tomatoes. I have coconut aminos and avocado oil in the pantry at all times.
4. Play music
Research shows that music can make any task seem more effortless. Turn on the radio or make your own amazon prime music cooking play list. A dance party in the kitchen is good for your health as well.
5. Get your kids involved
Healthy cooking is one of the most important life skills you can nurture in your children. You will be teaching them habits that support a higher quality of life. I know the more my children cook, the more foods they venture to try.
Is it time to take those skills to the next level?
6. Take a class
Check the calendar at a local specialty cooking shop or cooking school. There are online options for courses on Udemy or nearly unlimited content on You Tube. Make it more fun by having a friend join you!
7. Make a family cookbook
Assemble your favorite recipes along with pictures and stories. First, give old favorites a healthy makeover (it usually takes just swapping a few ingredients). You can literally pass down healthy eating habits to the next generation.
It is no fun to spend every evening in the kitchen, so be sure to make extra servings when you do cook. I reuse the extras for lunches, another dinner, or freeze them for a future night when I don’t feel like cooking.
10. Post Your Creations
Take photos of your meal and share on social media to inspire your friends – tag us @peakpotentialpt so we can applaud your efforts as well.
Lastly, you might just need a little practice and creativity. Before you know it, you will enjoy making nutritious meals and snacks at home. In addition to eating healthier, you’ll save money and create more opportunities to spend quality time with your loved ones.
Interested in learning more about how to prepare those “well balanced” meals and what a “healthy” plate should look like? We have a Nutrition Workshop coming up soon – options to watch virtually or attend with us live in Collierville. You will discover how to finish the year strong with a personalized nutrition strategy.
For details about the Next Complimentary Workshop visit us on Facebook, call the office at 901-316-5456 or email email@example.com. Seats must be reserved in advanced due to limited class sizes.
Medical professionals have a duty of care to treat every patient and client equally, but it does not always happen. It can be incredibly disheartening to put all of your trust in a doctor, specialist, or medical expert only to be dismissed or misdiagnosed. Instead of getting the necessary treatment, you leave with added psychological distress. Here is an insight into this disturbing occurrence — one which, we are happy to say, will never happen with our team. We live by the “people first” model.
Jenneh Rishe could easily run six miles in under 45 minutes — until suddenly she couldn’t. In the spring of 2019, Mrs. Rishe, now 35, began finding her daily jogs a struggle.
Years earlier, she had been diagnosed with two congenital heart conditions that, she said, doctors told her would not affect her daily functioning. Yet she was getting worse: Intense chest pains woke her up at night, and she started using a wheelchair after passing out too many times.
Mrs. Rishe, who lives in Los Angeles, found a highly recommended cardiologist in the Midwest and flew there to see him. He immediately dismissed her symptoms, she said. “People who have these heart conditions aren’t this sick,” she remembers him saying. He prescribed a new heart medication, told her to exercise and sent her home.
Unsatisfied with her care, Mrs. Rishe saw yet another doctor, who ordered extensive tests that found her arteries were spasming from a lack of oxygen. “I was basically having mini-heart attacks, whenever I was having chest pain,” she said. Two months later, she had open-heart surgery to correct the problem, which she later learned may have saved her life.
“I constantly still think about how any run I went on quite literally could’ve been my last,” Mrs. Rishe said.
Research suggests that diagnostic errors occur in up to one out of every seven encounters between a doctor and patient, and that most of these mistakes are driven by the physician’s lack of knowledge. Women are more likely to be misdiagnosed than men in a variety of situations.
Patients who have felt that their symptoms were inappropriately dismissed as minor or primarily psychological by doctors are using the term “medical gaslighting” to describe their experiences and sharing their stories on sites like Instagram. The term derives from a play called “Gaslight” about a husband’s attempt to drive his wife insane. And many patients, particularly women and people of color, describe the search for accurate diagnosis and treatment as maddening.
“We know that women, and especially women of color, are often diagnosed and treated differently by doctors than men are, even when they have the same health conditions,” said Karen Lutfey Spencer, a researcher who studies medical decision-making at the University of Colorado, Denver.
Studies have shown that compared with men, women face longer waits to be diagnosed with cancer and heart disease, are treated less aggressively for traumatic brain injury, and are less likely to be offered pain medications. People of color often receive poorer quality care, too; and doctors are more likely to describe Black patients as uncooperative or non-compliant, which research suggests can affect treatment quality.
“I recall playing it over and over again in my head trying to figure out what I may have done to cause him to react this way,” said Mrs. Rishe, who is Black, about the Midwest cardiologist. “And, yes, racism crossed my mind.”
Women say doctors frequently blame their health problems on their mental health, weight or a lack of self-care, which can delay effective treatment. For instance, Dr. Spencer’s research suggests that women are twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with a mental illness when their symptoms are consistent with heart disease.
When Sarah Szczypinski, a journalist in Seattle, began experiencing knee pain and swelling in 2016 after giving birth to her son, she said that one doctor told her she had postpartum depression, while another told her she needed to lose weight and do squats — when in fact she was suffering from hip dysplasia exacerbated by her pregnancy.
She felt as though the doctors were telling her that her excruciating pain “was something that a woman needs to just live through,” she said. The condition had gotten so bad it ultimately required surgery, in 2020, to saw her leg bone in half and realign it with her hip. When she finally got the diagnosis, “I felt vindicated in a lot of ways,” she said. But ultimately, “it took three years to get a diagnosis and another two to heal.”
Some patients are more likely to be ‘gaslit and ignored’
Women may be misdiagnosed more often than men, in part, because scientists know far less about the female body than they do about the male body, even though “there are biological differences that go down to the cellular level,” said Chloe Bird, a senior sociologist at Pardee RAND Graduate School who studies women’s health.
In 1977, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began recommending that scientists exclude women of childbearing years from early clinical drug trials, fearing that if enrolled women became pregnant, the research could potentially harm their fetuses. Researchers were also concerned that hormonal fluctuations could muddle study results.
Today — thanks in large part to a law passed in 1993 that mandated that women and minorities be included in medical research funded by the National Institutes of Health — women are more systematically included in studies, yet there are still huge knowledge gaps.
For instance, women with heart disease often have different symptoms from men with heart disease, yet doctors are much more familiar with the male symptoms, said Dr. Jennifer Mieres, a cardiologist with Northwell Health in New York. When “women show up with symptoms that don’t fit into the algorithm we’re taught in medical school,” she said, they get “gaslit and ignored.”
By the time Michelle Cho, 32, was diagnosed with systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease in which the body slowly attacks its own tissues, she had developed kidney failure, a heart murmur and pneumonia — yet the first doctor she went to diagnosed her with allergies, she said, and the second doctor thought she was pregnant.
“I left each time feeling disappointed, sad and uneasy, because I knew they had not solved my problem or helped me in any way, and it had been yet another wasted day,” said Ms. Cho, a New York City-based medical student. “It felt like they were saying, ‘It’s all in my head.’”
When Raimey Gallant, a 42-year-old writer who lives in Winnipeg, began dropping weight, losing her hair and breaking out in a full-body rash in her 20s, she said her male doctor told her she was “young, healthy and just lazy,” when in fact, later that year she was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, an autoimmune disorder in which the body produces too much thyroid hormone.
She also struggled for 20 years with disabling period pain before finally getting diagnosed last year with endometriosis, an inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue outside the uterus. “I’ll never get back the pieces of life I’ve lost to medical neglect,” she said.
How doctors and patients can elevate care
It’s hard to know how to begin to address these systemic problems, experts said, but scientists argue that at the very least, there needs to be more research on women’s health conditions.
Doctors should also be given more time with their patients, and see fewer patients overall, Dr. Spencer suggested. Research has shown that when people are juggling many cognitive tasks, they are more likely to make biased decisions. One study found, for instance, that male doctors were less likely to prescribe pain medications to Black patients with lower back pain when the doctors were under stress.
Physicians are often working under difficult conditions that “make it easy to make mistakes and oversights,” Dr. Spencer said. “It’s like a gauntlet of problematic systems and processes that invite bias.” Researchers have also called for more training in medical school about unconscious bias and racism in health care. In 2019, California passed a law requiring hospitals to implement implicit bias programs for all health care providers who provide perinatal care.
Until more changes occur, women and patients of color might want to consider bringing a friend or relative with them to their medical appointments, said Dr. Alyson McGregor, co-founder and director for the Sex and Gender in Emergency Medicine division at Brown University. “It really helps if you have an advocate there that can intervene and say things like, ‘She is not normally in this much pain,’” she said.
And “see another doctor if you feel dismissed,” Dr. McGregor said. You might even want to consider seeking out a woman physician or a provider with better cultural competence, who may better “understand your perspective and language.”
Four months after Mrs. Rishe’s surgery, she wrote a letter to the doctor who dismissed her symptoms. “I drafted a whole message about how that interaction left me really upset and that I felt really small,” she said. She is relieved this particular doctor is out of her life, but she worries she might have a similar experience with another physician one day.
“It’s sad,” she said, adding: “We go in on the defense and ready for it to happen, because it’s so common.”
At Peak Potential, our team of expert medical professionals operates from a place of compassion — for everyone. We actively listen to gain a comprehensive understanding of each client’s unique circumstances. Call us, and see what sets our team apart. 901.316.5456 or find us on our Facebook page.
When you think about your body, do you spend more time focusing on the negative or the positive?
It is easy to complain about the inches we would like to lose, or limitations that came with an injury, or how our body moves slower than it did a few years ago.
Or maybe you are focused on other areas of your life and don’t even notice your physical condition until you get the flu or throw your back out.
With so many responsibilities at home and work, it’s easy to overlook our body’s most basic needs. Despite the distractions, let’s not forget to be grateful for the amazing things our body does for us each day.
Valentines Day seems like the perfect time to show your body some love.
It’s important to take care of your body if you want to be able to rely on it – to be sure its keeps showing up for your for decades to come.
Many of us in midlife find ourselves without a hobby outside of our career, relationships, and parenting. Who has time for scrapbooking or bowling?
The truth is, the right hobby can contribute to our physical health and fitness, mental stability, and general wellbeing. They can contribute to more energy, better sleep, optimized metabolism, more patience, decreased stress, and even decreased risk of depression or heart disease. With those kind of benefits, it may be worth our time to find a heathy hobby.
If you feel like your body or mind could use a boost, one of these hobbies might be the answer!
Most of us are so used to living in a state of stress, we often don’t realize the negative effects it is having on our body. In fact, small infrequent doses of stress are not bad. It can help you accomplish tasks and avoid getting hurt.
Stress is the body’s reaction to a real or perceived harmful situation called “fight or flight”. If you were a caveman, running from a bear, stress hormones would allow you to run faster and harder. When a stress hits, your body’s critical systems for survival rev up and less urgent needs are set aside.
Immediate physical symptoms of stress can include a headache, muscle tension, rapid heart rate, insomnia, dry mouth, clenched jaw, and nervousness. While stressed, your nervous system keeps the body on alert.
But, what happens when traffic jams, work deadlines, no WiFi, or a long line at the coffee shop gets our blood boiling on a daily basis?
The Effects of Chronic Stress
With chronic stress, your body remains in a prolonged state of muscle tension and produces high levels of stress hormones. This type of stress can cause or worsen many health problems including mental illness like depression or anxiety, heart disease, high blood pressure, digestive problems, and skin conditions like acne or eczema.
You might think of stress being a problem only for your mind or psychology. However, your brain and body work together and cannot be separated.
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system and signals the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cortisol that slows digestion (because this isn’t really the top priority if you are running from a bear) but also increases inflammation in your body. The hormones constrict blood vessels and reduce blood flow to soft tissues including muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves.
As you would imagine, this results in muscle spasm, slowed healing, and frequently pain symptoms. Please remember though that stress and emotional factors that lead to pain result in real physical symptoms and are not imagined or made up.
Stress and Pain are Linked
The bodies experience of stress and pain each have an impact on the other creating a vicious cycle. Pain is regulated by the nervous system so the brain is a key player in how we perceive pain. To maintain balance in our body and help us function, the brain works hard to try to minimize pain signals. When you are stressed, your brain is unable to filter the pain (or inhibit) signals so pain intensity will increase.
Whether your pain or stress came first doesn’t really matter, both negatively affect your quality of life.
A change as small as lack or disruption of sleep caused by pain and/or stress limits your body’s ability to heal and recover. For many people, learning how to avoid or cope with stress can lead to significant pain relief.
Where to Start?
Sometimes stress relief can be as easy as taking three long deep breaths. To be most effective breathe in through your nose and let the air fill your belly. Hold for a few seconds and then slowly blow out through your mouth. In the moment, this can decrease the production of stress hormones and start to relax your muscles.
Other times stress builds up to a point that we need help teaching the body to let go and relax again. As physical therapists, we are experts at retraining the nervous and muscular systems. Using hands on techniques we can help your muscles relax, release the knots and tension, and relieve the pain that is keeping you from the sleep you need and activities you love. Click the link below learn more about us and request to speak with a doctor of physical therapy today for free.
In the meantime, head over to Facebook where we invite you to our private group Peak Wellness Tribe. You will find tips, tricks, conversation, and Live chats on these and other health topics. You are welcome to post any questions you have on that page as well.
The occasional episode of insomnia isn’t unusual for the average person. Everyone struggles to fall asleep at times. It can be frustrating to just lie in bed wanting nothing other than to just fall asleep. The longer it takes, the more anxious you become about it.
Unfortunately, those with joint pain, back aches, muscle soreness from a work out, or are recovering from an injury often suffer on a regular basis. Sure, we can all survive a few nights of poor sleep, but it becomes increasingly troublesome when night after night you can’t seem to get comfortable.
It’s not just a night time problem either. Lack of sleep makes everyday life – and our bodies ability to recover from the pain or injury – more challenging. This makes it a problem too important to ignore for long. If aches, pains, or discomfort are keeping you up at night, don’t take the mistaken belief that this is “just a part of life” or worse “a part of getting older”.
You can take an active approach when dealing with insomnia and here are our 10 tips.