Stress happens to us all. As we lead busy lives, it seems impossible to avoid all stress. However, if stress remains a constant in our daily lives, there tend to be complications. After remaining in a state of stress, you might find that you are experiencing pain. Let’s take a look at whether or not your stress is causing your pain.
Diving Deeper into Stress and Its Effects on Us
Stress is a part of life, but it comes in different levels. Some people might feel a tiny bit of stress about a math test, while others might be super stressed about moving to a new city. Each person experiences stress uniquely, and sometimes, it’s more intense than at other times.
The levels of stress we feel can change how our bodies work. Have you ever noticed how when you’re stressed, your stomach might hurt, or you get headaches? That’s because our physical health can be affected when we’re mentally and physically bogged down by heavy worries or fears.
But it’s not just our bodies that feel the pinch. Our mental health can take a hit, too. When we’re always stressed, our minds might feel tired, or we might feel sad more often. It’s like our brain is working overtime, and it gets exhausted.
So, what can we do about it? That’s where stress management comes in. It’s like having a toolbox of ways to handle stress. Maybe it means talking to a friend, taking a few deep breaths, or exercising. By finding ways to manage our stress, we can keep both our bodies and our minds feeling good.
What does stress do to your body?
Stress is often described as the “fight or flight” response in our bodies to a perceived threat. Initially, this is a good thing since it releases adrenaline to help us think clearly and escape stressful situations. The problem occurs when we remain in a state of stress, which over time turns into chronic stress.
When your stress levels are elevated for a prolonged period of time, this results in health problems. It also causes lots of tension in your body, which often results in pain. Here are some other areas of your body that stress affects and potentially cause pain:
Our immune system is our first line of defense in fighting off sickness. When we become stressed, attention is taken away from our immune system to the perceived threat. This causes a breakdown of your immune system, leaving you more susceptible to viruses and disease.
As stress lowers your body’s immune response, this, in turn, affects the digestive system. When your body is perceiving stress, it is not focusing on proper digestion because it is focused on “saving your life”. This potentially causes pain in the stomach and intestinal area of your body due to cramping. Stressful situations may also cause diarrhea and appetite loss.
Your nervous system is the way your brain communicates with your body. As you deal with prolonged stress, your nervous system has difficulty communicating messages to your body. It could also partially shut down the important part of your nervous system that helps you to “rest and digest,” further affecting your ability to relax.
As tension and stress build, your heart rate increases. In turn, this raises your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is elevated over time, it causes your heart to overwork. Stress also causes heart palpitations in some cases. Over time, high blood pressure, along with the strain on your heart, can cause serious heart problems.
When your body is in a state of releasing stress hormones, your body begins to tense up its muscles and tendons. This tension creates pain throughout the body. Many find this especially painful in the shoulder and back area.
How can I manage my stress?
For many, chronic stress equals chronic pain. One of the best treatment options is to manage your stress. Here are a few ways to manage stress:
- Identify stress triggers. While you won’t be able to avoid all stress, learn what situations trigger a stress response. Mentally prepare for these situations by using some of the following stress-relieving techniques.
- Spend time outside. As the sun boosts your serotonin levels and gives you a dose of vitamin D, you will feel the relaxing effects of enjoying the sunshine and outdoors.
- Exercise. When you are feeling particularly stressed, pop in some headphones and go for a nice walk. The endorphins created by exercise will help you feel relaxed and more ready to meet challenges.
- Chiropractic care. Since stress affects the nervous system and muscles, chiropractic care is a great way to keep your body functioning optimally. By utilizing regular chiropractic visits, your body and nervous system will thank you.
Life throws many things our way, and sometimes, it feels tough. But by understanding our stress, knowing it has different levels, and learning how to handle it, we can take better care of ourselves. Remember, it’s okay to ask for help if things get too tough. Everyone needs a hand sometimes. And the more we learn about stress and how to deal with it, the stronger and happier we can be.
At Better Day Chiropractic, we’re dedicated to serving you throughout your pregnancy and postpartum recovery. We also offer sports, family, and pediatric chiropractic care. If you are located in Charlotte or the surrounding areas, contact us today.