Picture this:

You slept through your alarm this morning. When you do finally wake up enough to see how late you are, a jolt runs through your body– you’re filled with adrenaline as you dash around the house to get ready. You don’t have enough time to eat breakfast, so you’re hungry and frazzled. On your way to work there’s a huge accident, meaning that traffic is crazy, making you even later. 

You finally get to work and discover that there’s a technical issue, meaning you can’t finish the task you needed to complete before a deadline. To top it all off, your coworker is mad at you, because you were their ride to work, and since you overslept, they had to find an alternative way to work. 

Not a very peaceful mental picture, is it? For many people the above scenario is a stress-filled nightmare– and that’s exactly why I want you to picture it. 

Check in with yourself: Are your muscles tensed? What is your posture like right now? Are you frowning, furrowing your brows, or clenching your jaw? Is your heart beating faster than normal? Are your hands sweaty, or maybe held in tight fists?

As you can probably guess, these are all signs of stress. Most of us know very well the way that stress feels– but let’s talk about what it does to our bodies, and how it impacts chronic pain. 

(And then keep scrolling to see the SALE DETAILS!!)

Long Term Effects of Stress on the Body

If your body’s stress reaction remains turned on constantly, rather than your system returning to normal after the perceived threat is gone, this can have very harmful effects. Stress for prolonged periods is damaging to your body. 

Some of the effects include mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, problems with digestion, weight gain, difficulty sleeping, tension and pain in muscles, higher risk of heart disease, and trouble with focusing and memory.

How Does Stress Affect Chronic Pain?

Stress contributes to worse pain symptoms, and, from an article from the National Library of Medicine (linked at the end): 

“Stress and pain are highly comorbid, and show significant overlap in both conceptual and biological processes.”

Pain increases, so stress increases as a response. Stress increases, so pain increases, too. A nasty cycle.

How Can You Process Stress?

There is no shortage of suggestions for de-stressing– a quick google search will confirm that. 

It’s well documented that movement and deep breathing are powerful tools in the battle against stress. An article about the stress response from Harvard Health Publishing recommends practicing the “relaxation response,”– with suggestions such as breathing deeply (abdominal focused), visualizing words or scenes that are calming, and “movement therapies like yoga, tai chi, and qi gong.”

If you know anything about Impulse Chiropractic and Rehab, you probably know that we LOVE deep breathing. When we have a patient with chronic pain come in with a bad stress-related flare up, we don’t spend the hour of treatment on making sure they beat their PRs– we focus on calming the nervous system, and going back to basics. Sometimes, homework in our office consists of “lay off the intense stuff this week, spend 10 minutes a day breathing into your ribcage and telling your body that it’s going to be okay.”

Now What?

Stress isn’t always bad, but when you keep stress in your body, your body suffers, maybe without you realizing it. 

There is no perfect easy solution to becoming stress-free– and there shouldn’t be, that’s not realistic. Stress and its causes are complex, and are tied up in both internal and external factors. 

When we address the source of our stress and address the stress within our bodies, we can be proactive about not letting it live in our systems for longer than it benefits us. It’s not as easy as it sounds, of course. But hopefully, after reading this email, you feel you  have a solid place to start. 

SALE INFORMATION!  🙂

Is it time for you to invest in your health?

 We’d be honored to be a part of your journey. The best part? OUR SALE IS LIVE! So you can invest in your health while saving money!

This is our FEEL GOOD SUMMER SALE – through the month of May, with HUGE savings on our plans of care so you can get the care you want now and feel your best through the summer months!

This is for you if:

1- You are making your health a priority this year

2- You are ready to say goodbye to aches, pains, and limitations

3- You’re ready to save money at the same time!

CLICK HERE TO OPT-IN to be eligible for the sale, and we’ll be in touch soon with more information!!

Bibliography:

If you’d like to learn more about stress, here are resources I found helpful when writing this:

Stress symptoms: Effects on your body and behavior – Mayo Clinic

Chronic stress puts your health at risk – Mayo Clinic

The Biology of Stress Intolerance in Patients with Chronic Pain—State of the Art and Future Directions – PMC.

Understanding the stress response – Harvard Health.