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Did You Know STRESS Can Impact Your Health?

Updated: Mar 13, 2022

Stress can be a physical, mental, or emotional factor causing bodily or mental tension & dysfunction. The result of stress can be from a wide variety of factors, such as environmental, psychological, social, illness, or from a medical procedure. Stress can initiate the "fight or flight" response marked by physical changes resulting from nervous system & endocrine system changes. The nervous system is a complex network of nerves that carry messages to and from the brain and spinal cord to the various parts of the body. The endocrine system is made of ductless glands that produce and secrete hormones involved in regulating cellular & organ activity. They regulate the body’s growth, metabolism, and sexual development & function. Such hormonal changes brought on by stress can negatively influence health.

Stress is not a pleasant feeling; have you stopped to think about what stress really is and how it impacts your body? Symptoms of stress can include

  • tension

  • irritability

  • anger

  • nervousness

  • sadness

  • difficulty concentrating

  • uncontrolled worrying

Physical Symptoms of Stress

When the body is under stress, muscle tension results as a reflex reaction to stress; it's the body's way of muscle guarding against injury and pain. With sudden onset of stress, the muscles can release the tension and decrease stress levels. However, when stress persists, chronic stress causes the muscles to be in a constant cycle of guarding, triggering other reactions in the body, such as pain and even promoting stress-related disorders, such as tension-type headaches, or chronic muscle tension in the neck, head & shoulders.

Studies have shown individuals with chronic musculoskeletal pain, like that associated with fibromyalgia and arthritis, reported an increase of pain intensity in the presence of increased stressors.

Stress is also a common trigger for tension-type headaches. Studies have reported that 71-97% of headaches are triggered by stress and intensified the pain.

Stress has also been associated with other types of physical pain. There is a significant association between perceived stress and musculoskeletal pain. And when it comes to work-related stress, both men and women have an increased risk of experiencing chronic neck & shoulder pain.

How can massage therapy help?

Massage therapy can help alleviate both mental & physical symptoms of stress, assisting to bring the body’s functions into balance, or homeostasis. Therapeutic massage is a non-invasive, evidence-based healthcare option that can address many of these physical symptoms caused by stress. No one should suffer with poor mental or physical health. Take control of your health and improve your quality of life long-term.

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