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3 Steps to Reduce Stress and Pain

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Last week we talked about the relationship between stress and pain.  In fact, it's often hard to say which came first . . .

Do you experience chronic pain because of your high-stress level? or Are you stressed out because of your high pain level?

It doesn't really matter though because it's a vicious cycle that we must get under control.  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:

1. Rate

We use the term "stress" to describe a wide variety of situation with a range of physical and emotional impact.  Feelings of stress can arise from a ringing cell phone interrupting a lunch with friends, an intense work overload, or the death of a family member. 

To best handle stress, we need to measure the load we are carrying to then think about what we should do about it.  So, when you are experiencing stress or pain, rate both on a scale from 0-10. Just realizing where you are on the scale is the first step to tackling this giant. 

2. Move

Movement is good for both your body and your mind. Something as simple as a daily walk can mobilize the muscles and clear the mind.  It will stimulate the lymph system to do its job to oxygenate your brain and injured muscles.

In addition, it only takes 30 minutes of physical exercise for your body to release endorphins.  This hormones decreases production of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.  It helps to dull the sensation of pain and generates general feelings of well being.

3. Relax

Relaxation does not mean zoning out in from of the TV at the end of a stressful day.  In fact, this does little to reduce the damaging effects of stress. We must actively work to activate the body's relaxation response to calm an overexcited central nervous system.

Techniques such as yoga, meditation, and breath awareness practices trigger this response. You will experience a decreased heart rate, improved blood flow, and an influx of calming hormones allowing you to feel centered and balanced.  

So, there you have it . . .

The 3 steps to take next time you feel stress taking over - Rate, Move, Relax.

Remember, these are just the first steps.  Often life stressors and pain triggers are more than we can handle with a pain scale and yoga session, but this gives you a place to start. 

If your stress-induced pain is not relieved by self-care, it may be time to see a physical therapist. We can offer other treatment option and identify possible underlying conditions.

Need more advise, but not ready to pay us a visit in person . . then connect with us on Facebook. We share tips, tricks, and ideas to continue tis conversation with our community. We help one another toward happier and healthier lives.