Stress can be triggered by numerous pressures related to everyday responsibilities, negative life events, physical illness, and traumatic stress such as disaster or a violent attack.
However, when we fail to recognise a build-up of stress in our lives and take on more than we can handle it can be detrimental to our health.
The body's natural reaction to stress
The body releases hormones and increases breathing and heart rates when reacting to stressful situation, leading to the brain receiving more oxygen and helping to cope with difficult situations in the short term.
Effects of stress on the body
Although we know that long term untreated stress can lead to anxiety and depression, stress also affects various systems within your body. Stress has a negative impact on your digestive system, muscular system, and respiratory and cardiovascular systems.
When you are stressed your liver produces extra blood sugar, which the body reabsorbs when unused. However, if you are constantly stressed, your body may not cope with the increase in blood sugar levels, leaving you at risk of developing type 2 diabetes. You may also experience acid reflux and heartburn, nausea, vomiting, or a stomach ache.
Muscle tension is a by-product of stress and can become problematic, as the muscles don't have the chance to relax when the body is stressed which can lead to headaches, back and shoulder pain, and body pain. These problems can be treated with pain relief medication but to avoid long term problems it is important they are treated with physiotherapy.
Respiratory and Cardiovascular
Stress can have a significant impact upon your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. When stressed you breathe faster to distribute oxygen and blood quickly to the body in order to relax. However, if you have a health problem such as asthma or emphysema the reaction to stress can worsen the condition.
As well as rapid breathing the heart also pumps faster when stressed. Blood vessels then constrict and increase blood pressure due to stress hormones, helping with the delivery of oxygen to the brain and heart to provide greater energy.
Although temporary stress can be beneficial in the short term, chronic stress can put too much pressure on your heart, increasing risk of hypertension and heart problems. It also leaves you at higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
According to reports 43% of all adults suffer from stress related health issues, whilst up to 90% of doctor's visits are for stress-related complaints.
Physiotherapy is great for relaxing the body, having many benefits:
- Reducing muscle tension
- Decreasing tiredness
- Improving concentration span
- Decreasing blood pressure
- Reducing risk of cardiovascular disease
- Reducing pain such as headaches and chronic pain syndromes
Should you need more specialist help, your physiotherapist will liaise with your doctor to ensure that you are referred for appropriate counselling and treatment.
To begin your journey to a stress-free life please call 01772 894902 or email us for an appointment.