Stress is something most people experience in their life, but did you know a stress response is a normal reaction for a human body? Stress is a physiological change in the body linked to the sympathetic nervous system, otherwise known as the “fight, flight or fright” response, so if you were to be chased by a bear in the wild, your body could automatically switch to this response, releasing adrenaline and cortisol to increase your heart rate send blood pumping to your muscles to start running away to safety. Now however, instead of the stress response being triggered by the bear, we are triggered by work, home life, relationships and other social drama.
So can stress cause pain? Yes it can, and it is often a co-existing factor for most conditions we see. Here are some common stress related pains that we see at Alpha Sports Medicine.
Jaw pain is commonly linked to stress, with a common cause being grinding your teeth or clenching the jaw. The jaw muscles are supplied by nerves that come directly from the brain, they’re called cranial nerves, so if you are experiencing some kind of emotional stress, this may be linked to an over stimulation of the nerves, causing you to clench through the day or grind through the night. This may result in pain when chewing or headaches.
Some of the muscles in your neck that help bend your head from side to side, also help you breathe, these muscles are called your scalenes. They start in the neck and attach to your first and second rib helping you breathe in when you are stressed. An overuse of these muscles to help you breathe can cause neck tightness, stiffness and headaches.
So what can you do to help manage your stress?
- Spend more time breathing through your belly.
- Meditate to help stay more mindful
- Turn off screens and devices one hour before bed
- Exercise can help manage stress
- You can seek the help of your Osteopath and Physiotherapist at Alpha Sports Medicine in Newport, our team can help diagnose your pain and give you great advice on managing your stress.
Stress doesn’t have to continue to cause you pain. For more advice, you can contact us in our clinic, we service the Melbourne area and surrounds.