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 cave man, 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 headache, muscle tension, rapid heart
rate, insomnia, dry mouth, clenched jaw, and
nervousness or shaking. While stressed, your
nervous system keeps the body on alert.
However, 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 metal 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
Stress activates the sympathetic nervous system
and signals the adrenal glands to produce
adrenaline and cortisol that slows digestion
(because this isn't really 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 closely linked. They each
have an impact on the other creating a viscous
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
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.
Let's discuss some ideas to decrease stress,
mitigate pain, and improve your bodies
ability to heal.
Here are 3 steps to stress and pain reduction
that anyone can start today:
When you are experiencing a high level
of stress or pain, rate both on a scale
from 0-10. Just realizing where you are
on the scale is the first step to managing
Just 30 minutes of physical exercise will
cause your body to release endorphins that
decrease production of adrenaline and cortisol,
as well as improve blood and oxygen flow
throughout your body.
Techniques such as yoga, meditation, or breath
awareness practices can calm your over excited
central nervous system. This triggers a relaxation
response in your muscles, as well as decreased
heart rate and improved blood flow and oxygen
What is your "go to" for stress relief?
Look for more tips on our Facebook page this
week and share with us your ideas so we can
continue this conversation and help one another
happier and healthier lives.
If you are having trouble finding "relief" for
pain or stress call TODAY to hear about our
other solutions 901-316-5456.