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.
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 get out of 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, our body begins to tense up our 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 particular situations tend to 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 your 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.
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, reach out to us today.