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May 24, 2017

A Stressful Lifestyle Can Lead To Muscle Pain and Injury

Stress causing muscle pain

Stress and Muscle Pain
Chronic stress will either make you fat and/or get injured.

Sudden stress in the body is a good thing, it can save your life. It’s like a caffeine surge, powerful yet short-lived.

However, prolonged and unmanaged stress is very bad on the body. When the mind and body is on consistent alert for non-traumatic everyday activities, it places us at a higher risk level for injury.

When physical symptoms worsen, they may in turn increase a person’s level of stress, which results in a vicious circle. -Richard Lang, MD, MPH

For those who use exercise for stress relief, the tipping point from stress relief to injury is a fine line. So, take note as this could easily happen to you.

Let’s say, you’ve been feeling this new nagging pain in your shoulder. It’s easy to not want to acknowledge it (the pain). The next day you swim 10 laps in the pool and now your shoulder feels worst. Unsure if it will go away you begin to feel stressed about it. This causes you to worry about it and now you’re not sleep well. Eating makes you feel better and you start eating more than normal – the spiral downward happens. Eventually, causing other progressively bad effects on your physical as well as mental health. Here’s the progression:

Stress

Stress is the body’s way of responding to any kind of threat. Cortisol is the stress hormone. Chronic cortisol rewires the brain, which means you get vulnerable to mental and physical illnesses. Persistent stress causes considerable psychological and physical damage over time.

Anxiety

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, fear, or nervousness. Prolonged cortisol or increased levels of thyroid in the body contributes to this condition. It may trigger a particular response within the body, such as sweating or feelings of breathlessness. There are many effects of anxiety on our body.

Muscle pain is also one of the most common problems that affect even healthy individuals who suffer from anxiety. People with anxiety are more prone to noticing muscular pain or tension as their brain tends to focus on negative emotions.

Depression

Depression is a feeling of overwhelm and hopelessness. Consistent low levels of seritonin and high cortisol are contributors to depression. Depression can manifests itself in physical symptoms, including aches and pains with no apparent cause. People dealing with depression often complain of unexplained muscle aches, trembling or chest pain. They are more prone to injury as they may have a weak immune system.

A common aspect of all these different emotional conditions is that they can lead to chronic muscle pain. Chronic muscle pain is not only discomforting, but can be difficult to deal with. You have to not only get rid of the stressful issues you are dealing with, but also, handle the pain at the same time which can prove overwhelming.

Emotional issues on their own can lead to chronic muscle pain. According to research, up to 30% of people dealing with PTSD also face chronic muscle pain. Furthermore, any traumatic event that leads to a strong emotional response can cause chronic muscle pain if the emotional issues associated with it are not resolved immediately.

This is why addressing chronic stress levels is important for the treatment of chronic muscle pain.

How to Cope With Negative Emotions

  • Relax: Give yourself a 15 minute break to re-energize. You can achieve this by reading a book, listening to music, or just sitting back in your chair and closing your eyes. Just take the time to find the right method that helps your mind and body to relax and loosen up.
  • Consult Your Doctor: They may be able to prescribe medication or refer you to a psychologist, depending on the severity of your condition. Medications are very hard, but very helpful for sever conditions.
  • Family Support: Your family, friends and professional support groups can help you deal with anxiety, stress and depression. Talking to them about an issue can make a big difference in how you feel.
  • Laugh: Take out the time to hang out with friends who make you laugh (give your negative friends a break). Even, listening to comedy online will make you laugh and laughing is a free medicine with great benefits.

Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle

To get new results, you must commit to changing old habits in order to make progress.

  • Sleep: Sleep can do wonders to a body under stress. It is the body’s way to recharge and to heal. Lack of proper sleep which includes cycles of deep and light sleep contribute to good sleep, not just getting a required number like 8 hours. Sleep is a requirement for the releasing of muscle pain.
  • Exercise Regularly: Take up a regular exercise plan either in a gym or outside. A 20 minutes walk around the neighborhood is as good as going to the gym for resistance training. Breathing fresh air with get oxygen into your lungs and the sun for Vitamin D.
  • Hot Therapy: Use the jacuzzi, sauna, or stream room. The heat is comforting and also can relax the mind and body. Immersing the entire body in heat will expand and release muscles after you leave the heat. 10-15 minutes in and out is a good technique for those with pre-injuries.

Removing negative emotions of stress, anxiety, fear, and anger is step 1. Step 2 is dealing with the effects those negative emotions have built up in your body as muscle pain and muscle knots.

In addition, to the above tips you can exert more control over how you feel and with your body using  trigger point, or myofascial release therapy to treat muscle pain (step 2 from above). The TP BuddieRx is a complementary product you can use with these therapies to reduce chronic muscle pain.

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