Physical/psychological fatigue

Stress is a constant factor in our busy everyday lifestyles, which can either be a good thing or a bad thing. It helps us perform well at work and add all the finer details to any task we’re doing. But too much stress for long periods of time may affect our health and cause certain medical issues.

Imagine you have an important project to do and you don’t have much time left. Your posture is incorrect; your neck and shoulder muscles are burdened; you clench your jaws. This may cause some muscles to be strained and force them to develop ways to make up for it. You will also develop pain at some point and if you don’t address it, it might become chronic. Most muscle pain which doesn’t respond to medication is actually the result of chronic stress and strain.

Stress impacts the various tissues in our bodies in different ways. It’s to do with the release of the stress hormone cortisol. High levels of cortisol can cause a number of problems – immunity is lower; wounds take longer to heal and cells age more quickly, etc. – but here we’ll just look at how stress affects our muscles. When we’re under stress, our muscles contract. This is a kind of reflex reaction – the body’s way of defending against trauma and pain.

In cases of sudden, unexpected stress, the muscles react in tandem by contracting and then relax once the stress has passed. Chronic stress sends signals to the muscles to be more (or less) ready to defend against it. When muscles are strained for a longer period the body may react in different ways or develop stress-related conditions. For example, headaches and migraine are related to muscle tension in the head, shoulder and neck area.

A large number of people suffer from chronic pain and most don’t pay any attention to it – they’ve just gotten used to it. Often, however, this pain gets worse over time due to some kind of trauma or injury. Recovery depends on the way people respond to this pain. Among more anxious types who only look for a physical cause, recovery is more difficult than in people who do regular exercise and generally have a positive outlook on life.

Results of chronic stress:

The most common symptom is pain. Movements are restricted and become ever more painful. Lower back, neck and joint pain just become a part of life for us. Basic things like getting out of bed or sitting down get more difficult. Sometimes pain doesn’t go away with medication if we don’t change our routine habits. It starts out as mild discomfort only aided by rest, a change in posture or stretch medications . If stress is ongoing, the pain just gets worse.

How can we combat stress?

  • Sleep – one good way of reducing cortisol levels is to lead a healthier lifestyle. Sleep is very important as that’s when the brain rests and the body regenerates itself.
  • Eat healthily – a healthy diet and exercise regime also help.
  • Massage – another good way of reducing stress and improving your muscle condition is massage. It’s proven that dopamine and serotonin levels are higher during massage.

Research shows how effective massage is. It can reduce your insulin and cortisol levels. All of this really helps the body by helping it relax. Massage also really helps to loosen tense muscles and improve circulation – it improves the elasticity of your fasciae and helps reorient your fascial fibres. This helps improve body movement and reduces pain.

Welcome to our Physiotherapy bio centre where you’ll find all the help you need from qualified professionals to take care of your body in the right way.