Discover the Sneaky Way Stress is Hurting Your Back and Your Bones

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Emotional ups and downs, and periods of

stress aren't a sign of illness. . . they're a sign

of being human!

 

But over the top responses to everyday incidents can

be a sign of chronic stress. And this can be dangerous!

 

When we are under stress, our body engages in a "fight

or flight" response to protect us from potentially

dangerous situations.  This triggers a release of

adrenaline and cortisol into our system.

 

You feel this when your heart starts to race.  You may

even feel sweaty, jittery, have a nervous stomach or

feel panic.

 

Initially, cortisol's role is to help us deal with stress.  It

shuts down unnecessary functions like the digestive

and immune systems in order to direct all our energies

toward dealing with the danger at hand.  Over short

periods of time, cortisol is critical to our survival.

 

However, when this happens repeatedly, your body is

unable to properly restore to its normal state of calm.

When your stress response is triggered daily your

adrenal glands become exhausted and your cortisol

levels stay high.

 

Is it so bad to feel exhausted all the time?

 

Well, in this way stress and cortisol is not only affecting

your mental health, but also your bones, muscles, and

pain response.

 

When you are in over drive, you carry increased muscle

tension in the head, neck, shoulders, and back, which

can create pain. A correlation has been found between

chronic back pain and higher cortisol levels compared to

healthy individuals.  High levels are also associated with

a stronger pain response.

 

The area of the brain that deals with stress responds

more strongly to pain when cortisol levels are high.  This

does not mean the pain is "in your head', but you truly

experience a greater pain response when you are under

stress.

 

So, we have increased muscle tension, increased levels

of pain, but also damage to our bones.

 

Without a long drawn out explanation of the physiology,

cortisol inhibits osteoblast formation and proliferation.

Osteoblasts are the cells that create new bone tissue

during the constant bone remodeling process.

 

Osteoporosis occurs when bone is broken down faster

than osteoblasts can rebuild it. Studies shoes a greater

bone mineral density loss when higher cortisol levels

are found in the blood.

 

Increased cortisol also decreases an amino acid called

proline. This is essential to bone remodeling, skin, joint,

and connective tissue health. Our bodies naturally

produce proline, but perhaps not in sufficient amounts

to counteract our current levels of stress. So, by

interupting the rebuilding mechanisms in our bodies,

stress is aging us much faster than we otherwise would.

 

Learning to manage your stress response is important to

preventing injury, managing pain, and remaining active.

 

Stress happens to all of us.

How you deal with it is key.

 

Meditation is a good option to protect your self against

stress-related physical and emotional problems.  It

lowers stress hormones in the body and increases

neurochemicals that allow us to relax. It doesn't have to

be a long drawn out practice.  Just a few minutes of

guided breathing, prayer, or sitting silently with your

thoughts can make a big difference.

 

Although, the research isn't conclusive, certain foods

have been correlated with a reduction in stress.  Try

mushrooms, walnuts, and apricots and see if you notice

a benefit.

 

In order to stay healthy, we must remember that

psychology and physiology are closely linked. By

reducing stress and anxiety, you will build stronger

bones and more relaxed muscles in your back.

 

Unfortunately, pain itself can be stressful and it can

turn into a viscous cycle.  If you need further assistance

in management of back or neck pain, visit our website

and download our FREE Report:

"7 Solutions to End Low Back Pain"