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  • Writer's pictureBankstown Physiotherapy

The Ultimate Impact of Stress on the Body

No matter our age, gender, or lifestyle stress is something that we have all experienced numerous times. Despite this, we all handle stress differently. Some people are able to thrive off of stressful experiences as it can motivate them to get tasks done. However some may find that stress confuses them or intrudes on their productivity.

No matter how we deal with stress it is important that we are ensuring it is short term as prolonged stress can have damaging effects on the body. These effects are most commonly described as aches and pains. However stress also has the capacity to increase the effects of pre-existing conditions.

Some effects include;

The Tension Triangle

Have you ever gotten to the end of a really hectic week only to be bothered by headaches, jaw pain and neck or shoulder pain? Stress causes our muscles to tighten, however the muscles in these regions act even more dramatically to psychological stress. Examples of this are the brows furrowing, the jaw clenching, the neck tightening and the shoulders rising. Held in these positions for too long, this can cause significant strain on the muscles that in turn results in the tight, stiff pain that we too often feel.

Pain within the tension triangle usually fades after a few days, though stretching can help to speed up this process. Partaking in some simple neck and shoulder rolls and some jaw stretches can assist with the recovery process.

Muscles and Joint Pain

Similar to the effects of the tension triangle, stress can cause aches and pains in the muscles due to long periods of stiffness or tensing. However, those who experience conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia may find their pain flares up or worsens. This is because stress reduces our pain threshold. These pains do fade over time and can be eased with some light stretching. Though, those with pre-existing conditions may find the pain sustains for longer intervals.

A Weakened Immune System

As mentioned, stress reduces our threshold for pain, but it also has a large impact on our immune system. This is because our stress hormones can suppress the effectiveness of the immune system. In result, we are more likely to catch colds and viral infections which can significantly impact our live in the short term. For those with autoimmune conditions, this can largely worsen the chance of a long term illness. Though, taking some time out from stressful tasks and engaging in exercise or socialising with friends can significantly reduce this stress and in result improve immunity.

Poor Mental Health

When we are stressed, or after a stressful period, it is easy to feel demotivated and unenthusiastic. For many, this leads to a poor diet and irregular sleeping patterns. As well, during this time we generally turn away from our regular hobbies, leaving us to feel bored despite our lack of motivation. This can further impact our mental health, leading to periods of depression.

Although it can be difficult to maintain schedule during stressful times, it is important that we are attempting to maintain a good diet and sleep. For those who may struggle, reaching out for help can be beneficial.

Stressful times can be difficult, but if we attempt to manage our stress we can offset the short and long term impacts it can ave on the body. For more information on stress and how to manage it, feel free to contact us on 97933119 or visit our website.

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