The likelihood is, we’ve all experienced it at some point; we’ve felt ourselves becoming increasingly stressed about an event or circumstance in our lives. And that’s completely normal.
The problems arise when the build-up of stress starts to have an adverse effect on your physical and/or mental wellbeing.
Stress Awareness Day takes place every first Wednesday in November as a reminder to us all of the effect it can have and how we can reduce the stress factors in our lives.
We caught up with one of our Chiropractors, Luca Ballabio to share an insight into how stress can affect the body, and what we can be done to reduce the negative impact.
Why do people often get aches and pains when stressed?
Stress stimulates the sympathetic nervous system, the one that regulates the fight-or-flight response of the body, and inhibits the parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the rest-and-digest response. When this happens, it activates thinning of the blood vessels and increases the peripheral vascular response, causing an individual to tense up and hold, to protect himself/herself from incoming harm, which can worsen conditions such as fibromyalgia and irritated/compressed nerves.
What is your experience as a chiropractor and treating patients with stress related issues, are there some that it can affect more than others?
Stress related issues are very prevalent for individuals that have any sort of chronic pain. In fact, stress can be both cause AND consequence of chronic back pain. Long term smokers, those with thyroid-based conditions and a number of inflammatory conditions can also present stress related issues.
What can people do to ease the stress on the body?
Exercise plays a massive role in managing stress, together with meditation and a healthy diet. As the saying goes Mens sana in corpore sano (A healthy mind in a healthy body).
What are your top stress relieving tips?
- Try and incorporate physical activity into your routine. Ideally exercising 3 times a week for at least 45mins. Alternatively, walking will do just fine, but stick to 30mins walking every day, and leave all bags at home when going for it. You are exercising after all!
- Drink plenty of water. Aim for 4 pints of water a day. My preferred way is to fill a 2.2L gym water jug in the morning and finish it by the end of the day.
- Practice meditation 10mins a day at the end or the beginning of the day.
- Add more green vegetables to your plate than the other foods filling it
- Spend time when you can in the great outdoors enjoying nature and the fresh air.