We all experience pain on a regular basis. In the last week, you’ve probably either had a headache, felt some uncomfortable muscle tension, pushed through stiffness and fatigue, or had an upset stomach on at least one occasion. Maybe all of those symptoms are a regular part of your life, and you’ve just come to accept that your body simply hurts. But does it have to be that way?
Headaches, chest and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and disrupted sleep are all physical symptoms of the psychosocial malady that has taken the world by storm- stress. Our interactions with stress and what triggers it differ based on our personal experiences, but we are all familiar with it. And it is just as taxing on the body as it is on the mind.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress that is not properly managed can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. But if that’s not concerning enough, it’s practically guaranteed to cause the daily physical discomforts that you’ve probably been dismissing for years. It could easily be the root cause of your tense, perpetually sore back, stiff neck, chronic headaches, or nausea. If you don’t sleep well at night because you’re under significant stress, you’re probably experiencing fatigue, which in turn leads to headaches, dizziness, and a weakened immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to the innumerable viruses that are tearing through workplaces and schools this time of year. All in all, your body isn’t too happy.
At this point, it’s easy to dismiss movement as a solution. If your body hurts, the last thing you want to do is exercise! But if stress is a mental, emotional, and physical condition, then wouldn’t the ultimate treatment be something that targets all three areas?
Movement, whether it be walking, Pilates, yoga, mountain biking, or anything in between, is scientifically proven to lower stress at the psychological level in addition to building strength and improving overall health at the physical level. Even if your stress-induced pain feels like a barrier to activity, there is an option! Physical therapy isn’t just for injury rehabilitation or athletes. It’s a viable and effective opportunity for anyone to get the one-on-one help they need to start moving, practice intentionality and mindfulness, and feel healthier and stronger in all aspects of life.
Here at CJ Physical Therapy and Wellness, we offer Free Discovery Sessions to help people figure out a plan to get them more active, healthy and mobile – and out of stress. If you want to learn more check out our website and get it touch!
This article was written by Katya Engalichev, CJ Physical Therapy’s Social Media and Marketing Intern. Katya has a special interest in how stress affects pain in the body. She enjoys writing about the role that exercise and healthy movement has on stress and looks forward to writing more when she goes off to college in the fall!