We all have stress. And not all of it is bad – sometimes it gives us the motivation we need to reach our goals. Humans are well-equipped to handle small amounts of stress periodically, but if stress becomes severe or chronic it has been known to cause or exacerbate pain.
When we get stressed out, two main hormones are released: adrenaline and cortisol. Adrenaline, which causes that old “fight or flight” phenomenon, causes the muscles of our spine to tense and spasm in order to be ready to react. Cortisol, known as the stress hormone, gives an immediate energy supply to large muscles in the form of glucose.
Long-term stress and constant exposure to these hormones can lead to prolonged tension, and therefore pain, in your neck, shoulders and back. It can cause high blood sugar, a decrease in muscle tissue, and lower immunity and inflammatory responses. Stress can create flare-ups of conditions like tension headaches, dizziness-lightheadedness, neck pain, back pain, tingling sensations in the extremities, arthritis, fibromyalgia and migraines, and new and existing pain can feel worse because stress lowers your threshold for pain.
Sometimes people are cautious to acknowledge that their pain is being caused by or exacerbated due to stress for fear others may think the pain is “all in their head.” However studies show that stress is very much a problem when it comes to managing pain.
What can you do to alleviate some stress in your life to help with pain?
- Quality sleep
- Good nutrition
- Relaxing activities such as yoga, meditation and massage
Sometimes chronic pain can really put a wrench into the best intentions to make the above lifestyle changes, so…
Where can you go for help?
Please call us we can help through chiropractic visits with Dr. Levi!