Do you ever feel physical ailments when you are mentally stressed? Ever wonder why?
The response to stressful situations in your body is the same whether you are being faced with your boss yelling at you or a bear wanting to eat you (or perhaps the other way around?). The stress hormones cortisol and norepinephrine are released in these situations to help the body with the “fight or flight” response. In controlled, short circumstances these hormones are very helpful. The problem for most Americans is that stress levels are staying high for longer periods of time, causing continued release of these hormones. The elevated levels of these hormones have damaging effects.
Stress tends to focus on areas of weakness in the body. Think of a frozen lake with thin ice. The ice maybe thick enough to support one person’s weight, but if a friend was to join them the stress of the added weight may be too much and the ice might break. If you have underlying physical problems from years of stress, and you stress that area more, you are likely to experience symptoms there. Do you feel tension in your neck or upper back when stressed? Do you experience headaches when stressed? Are you fatigued after a stressful day? These can all be signs of underlying problems caused by stress.
High blood pressure is also commonly associated with stress, but did you know that the ability to loose weight can be affected by stress hormones? How about an increased chance of infectious diseases (flu, common cold, etc)?
If you feel that you are having physical symptoms caused by stress it is important to have those areas checked by a practitioner trained to evaluate musculoskeletal problems. Our office is one such place. We have affiliate offices all over the lowcountry as well.
We probably can’t remove the stress from your life, but we may be able to better equip your body to handle the stress. Just like the thin ice in the example above, too much stress may push your body to its breaking point. Call us TODAY to see if we can help prevent that!
~ Dr. Tharnish