Stress Is More than Mental: Dealing with this Condition

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The Mental Health Foundation defines stress as an overwhelming feeling; it’s the body’s response to pressure. Yet, stress is not always emotional or mental. As it involves the human body, there can be physical manifestations of stress.

In this article, we run down some stress-related physical ailments and diseases and how to manage them.

Joint and Body Aches

Anxiety is a result of long-term stress. When you have anxiety, you usually experience pain in your body. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America associates chronic pain disorder with anxiety disorder. There are different kinds of joint pain disorders due to long-term stress, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, migraine, and back pain.

Fibromyalgia is characterized by pain in the muscles, together with fatigue and mood issues. Harvard Health Publishing recommends seeking help from a doctor, a rheumatologist, or a pain specialist to treat the condition.

Migraine is an extreme pain felt in the head, usually behind the eye or ears or around the temple. The American Migraine Foundation states that stress is the biggest culprit for migraines. Studies have found that almost 70 percent of migraine cases are triggered by stress.

Hence, to manage migraine is to manage stress. You can do so by doing relaxation therapy, exercise, or simply trying to remove or distance yourself from the stress triggers in your life.

The most common stress-related pain a lot of people experience is back pain. It is characterized by stiffness and sharp pain in the neck and upper and lower back. If you experience these problems, you may seek the help of a reputable chiropractor or perform some stretches. It is also advised to keep moving and avoid one static position every 30 minutes; don’t stay too long sitting or standing to prevent your back pain from worsening.

Heart Disease

Studies have long found the correlation of stress to heart ailments. Health professionals are aware that sudden stress can trigger heart attacks; it’s not just fiction made on television; it’s true. Therefore, doctors advise patients with chronic heart problems to avoid stress triggers that can be harmful, sometimes lethal.

The University of Rochester Medical Center also mentions that even small amounts of stress can be harmful. It can trigger poor blood flow to the muscle; the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen. For humans, oxygen is life, and not having enough supply can be dangerous to our existence.

Smoking, a way of stress release for some people, may also trigger heart conditions. Therefore, to lessen the chances of developing a heart-related disease, avoid smoking. Stress can be managed in a lot of healthier ways. Meditation is one; keeping your outlook positive by looking at the simple joys of life is another.

woman with stomach pain

Gastrointestinal problems

Studies say that the gut is connected to the brain, explaining humans’ ability to feel butterflies in their stomach. Therefore, when the brain feels stressed, it sends signals to your gut. This results in bloating, pain, and other forms of discomfort.

Sometimes, if you’re too stressed, you might feel like vomiting. In addition, stress leads to loss of appetite. It can also affect your bowel movement that can manifest through diarrhea or constipation. Muscle spasms may also be felt in the bowel, which can be extremely uncomfortable.

Digestion can also be affected by stress. When a person is too stressed, the body finds it difficult to absorb nutrients. Decreased intake of valuable nutrients may lower our immune system, which may cause more complications.

There are many ways to manage gastrointestinal problems. As stress is a contributor, managing it is always a good idea. Some over-the-counter drugs are also available, and natural home remedies can be done, too. Again, smoking is a stress-related habit that causes gastrointestinal problems; quitting it may help you solve your stomach problems.

The Good and the Bad

According to Berkeley, stress can be a good thing; it pushes people to be more alert. This is where acute stress differs from chronic stress. Studies have proved that acute stress can push the brain to improve performance. Meanwhile, chronic or long-term stress usually results in illnesses and disorders; this is what people should avoid.

Therefore, managing stress is of the essence. Some stress is good, but when it starts to be overwhelming, learn to reduce it.  Opening up to other people is one way to manage it. You need to let out some pressure; you can do so by talking to family or friends. Health care providers can be of help, too. They can give expert advice without prejudice.

The most important step is knowing yourself and how you respond to stress. Some people work great under pressure, while some get easily frazzled. When you know when stress gets to you, you also know when to avoid it.

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