How Managing Stress Can Ease Aches and Pains

Woman Rubbing Forehead

 

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.  

Come Visit Us!

Peak Potential Physiotherapy & Wellness
930 West Poplar Ave, Ste. 5 Collierville, TN 38017

(901) 316 5456

Contact Us

Peak Potential Physiotherapy & Wellness
930 West Poplar Ave, Ste. 5 Collierville, TN 38017
(901) 316 5456

Cost & Availability

Please tell us where to contact you with the outcome of the Free Discovery Session application:

Phone Consultation

So that we can arrange this complimentary phone consultation, please tell us:

Discovery Session

Please tell us where to contact you with the outcome of the Free Discovery Session application:

Arrange Your Free (20 Minutes) Telephone Consultation With A Physical Therapist

Please fill out this form and we will contact you about scheduling.

We are able to offer a Free Physical Therapy “Discovery” Session which is perfect for people suffering with ANY type of PAIN or (Stiffness) who could ENJOY life much more WITHOUT it. You’ll leave your “Taster” knowing exactly WHAT’S GOING WRONG and it’s perfect for anyone who would like to be SHOWN how Specialist Physical Therapy works before UPGRADING to all the extra benefits included in a full consultation.

Hurry: For obvious reasons the “Free Discovery Sessions” are limited and given away on a first-come, first-served basis. To secure yours before they are all reserved, please just fill out this 30 second form NOW. The more we know about you, the better we can help you…