Work’s hectic, the kids are sick, the in-laws are in town and my back pain has flared up too…What are the chances!?!?!?
Actually quite high.
When working at your “normal pace” the stress response in the body is very useful. Say you are about to walk into an important interview, or speak in front of a crowded room, or even run for a bus, your body prioritises which systems it requires to perform these actions effectively and which are not necessary. For instance the digestion and reproduction organs are probably not going to help you get to the bus quickly. These stressful moments cause the body to produce adrenaline and cortisol (known as the ‘stress chemical’) which get the brain to react quickly and the muscular system to do the required task, that is, run. Once the task is finished and the immediate stress is gone, the body should return to it resting level of hormones and the body can continue to digest your breakfast, restore your energy supplies in the muscles and repair any muscle tightness or minor tears from your quick burst of activity.
When you are constantly stressed by things happening in your daily life (whether you are conscious of it or not), or you have had one big stressful event in your life, your cortisol levels stay higher than necessary in the blood stream. This means the body’s ability to heal, digest and recover from episodes of activity or stress are reduced. High cortisol levels have also be attributed to memory loss, depression and decline in physical performance.
This may have a lot to do with the reason why people often get sick when they go on holiday after a stressful period in their life. Suddenly all the stressful stimuli are reduced and the body goes into healing mode as the cortisol levels drop and being sick makes you slow down and give the body a chance to recover.
So what’s the best way of dealing with this??
- Have a good laugh with your best friends!! No joke – it does wonders!
- But if that isn’t quite doing the trick, one of the best ways of dealing with pain and stress is to take control of the situation. This can be easier said than done. Understanding why you are feeling your pain can be a very good way of getting your bad thoughts and frustrations to calm down. Fortunately the Physio team at Bend + Mend can help you with this!
- Appropriate exercise can make you feel great, and we’re here to help with what might be appropriate for you depending on the pain you are experiencing.