Through the course of everyday life, many of us experience stress and the mental symptoms that usually accompany it. From deadlines at work to family troubles and everything in between, stress is a major issue that affects almost everyone in the world. While it is common knowledge that stress can be, well, stressful, the fact is that emotional stress can very often cause problems that reach far beyond the realms of the mind. When the stresses of everyday life gets to be too much, the stress can begin to manifest itself within the body.
Stress and Your Respiratory System
Because stress can cause your lungs to work overtime, for those with respiratory issues, stress can exacerbate problems like asthma, emphysema and lung disease. In fact, many studies have shown that sudden stress like death or fear can trigger asthmatic episodes, even in those who do not experience such symptoms on a regular basis.
Stress and Your Heart
Both acute (short term) and chronic (long term) stress can have potentially negative effects on the your cardiovascular system. Acute stress can cause increased heart rate and the release of stress hormones in response to triggers like meeting overwhelming deadlines at work, or sudden scares that might get your heart pumping overtime. On the other hand, chronic stress can result in long-term heart problems, including an increased risk of hypertension and heart attacks.
Stress and Your Gut
When you are stressed out, your digestive system can be the most obvious stress indicator in your body, and it is usually the first red flag for stress symptoms. Stress can result in digestive issues like over- or under eating, heartburn, acid reflux, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Those experiencing chronic stress may experience weight loss or gain, and may notice substantial changes in their appetite. Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is an intestinal disorder closely linked to stress that causes stomach pain and usually gas, diarrhea, and constipation. According to WebMD, although it’s not entirely clear how stress/anxiety and IBS are related -- or more interestingly, which one comes first -- studies do show they tend to co-exist.
Stress and Pain
Emotional stress can commonly manifest itself as physical pain inside of the body. The most commonly reported stress-related issue is pain involving tension in the head, neck, back and shoulders, though the symptoms can arise in other areas of the body as well.
Because pain can also cause further stress, the situation oftentimes becomes cyclical in nature, stress causing pain which, in turn, causes more stress.
The good news is there are many ways to break the cycle and manage stress-related symptoms. One of the best ways is to eliminate the root source of the issue - stress. Stress relief can often result in relief of the related symptoms and prevent further symptoms from popping up in the future. To make sure that your body doesn’t start to show the signs of your stress, follow these tips:
Get a checkup. Go see your doctor to get information about your risk for various complications that are rooted in stress, like high blood pressure, hypertension and respiratory illnesses.
Get moving. One of the best ways to eliminate stress is to increase the amount of exercise in your day. Something as simple as taking a walk after a long day can make a huge difference.
Get more sleep. Lack of sleep doesn’t just make you cranky - it also keeps your body from being able to cope with stress properly, and keeps it from healing and functioning to the best of its ability. Avoid caffeine and stimulating activities before bed, and be sure to make time to relax. Whether it’s watching your favorite tv show, reading a book, or meditating at the end of the day, make the time to let your body unwind.
At the end of the day, stress-related pain or simply just pain in general can really affect your psyche. If you’re suffering, in order to really get to the root of the pain, the Brian Center of Durham can help. With pain management services to fit the individual needs of every patient, the Brain Center is the premier facility for pain management in Durham.