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How Stress Affects Your Pain

Woman at work with neck painStress has been called the epidemic of modern society. Most of us can agree that we’re more stressed out than previous generations. Some of the stress, we may be producing ourselves with staying busy on the computer or with social media. For years, researchers have tried to find out more about how stress affects us.

It’s thought that stress can lead to heart attacks and cause diseases such as cancer. It influences how we utilise sugars in the body, too. It increases your sensitivity to insulin. Why?

Emotional stress raises your sympathetic nervous system, which is also called your ‘fight or flight’ mode. This response makes changes in your blood pressure, digestive system and immune system. It’s your body’s way of readying you to stay and fight that woolly mammoth, or to run from it – only there are no woolly mammoths anymore!

Muscular and Immune System Alterations

In chiropractic, we see stress manifest itself as a change in muscle tone. The muscles most affected by stress include the pectorals, quads, calves and shoulder muscles. Since they’re switched on more than they should be, it changes your posture. The posture change can result in neck problems, headaches, shoulder issues and sciatic-type symptoms.

With the change in your immune system function, you’re more likely to suffer from inflammation. Combined with a postural change, it’s a disastrous recipe for musculoskeletal flare-ups, pain, joint symptoms and a general feeling of being unwell.

Simple Fixes to Feel Better

There are a few simple tips you can consider to lessen your stress levels:

  • Avoid caffeine, sugary drinks and unhealthy snacks
  • Put your devices away two hours before bed
  • Do 15-20 minutes of moderate exercise per day
  • Do breathing exercises or meditate
  • Have fun!

Don’t underestimate the power of doing what you enjoy in helping stress melt away. Surfing, CrossFit, golfing, spending time with friends and family – all can be powerful weapons in fighting stress. Your chiropractor can further assist you by balancing your nervous system so that you can feel more centered. Contact [PRACTICE NAME] today to schedule your consultation!


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