Everyone at some point in time experiences stress. Some stress is good and actually helps us develop as a person both physically and mentally. Most often when we talk about stress we address excessive forms of emotional, mental, or traumatic stress. These types of stress have been scientifically linked to many different physical problems which may include:
- Heart Disease and it's related problems such as high blood pressure, increased heart rate, and heart attack.
- Obesity, higher levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) increases the amount of fat deposited in the abdomen.
- Diabetes, stress can directly increase glucose levels in type 2 diabetics.
- Headaches including tension headaches and migraine headaches.
- Depression and Anxiety
- Immune System Suppression, which slows wound healing.
- G.I. problems such as chronic heart burn or irritable bowel syndrome.
- Alzheimer's Disease
- Accelerated Aging
- Premature Death
How Stress Causes Pain - The Stress Pain Cycle
For years health care professionals speculated about there being a correlation between physical pain and emotional stress. There was obvious practical and clinical evidence of this being true, however the scientific community lacked proper studies to back this theory. Fast forward to 2014 however, and this is no longer the case. Today there are is an extensive multitude of properly published, peer reviewed research to back the theory of a "Stress Pain Cycle".
The cycle is essentially easy to understand. The experience of stress exploits our mental perception of pain. When the stress hormone Cortisol is released in our bodies, it actually can cause us to perceive sensation in a way that is interpreted as pain by our brains. This does not mean that the actual pain does not exist, what it means is that the pain we are experiencing is a physical chemical reaction in our brains.
Pain is a tool used by our bodies to save us from imitate danger (think primal fight or flight reactions), however if pain persists long after an injury or traumatic event has taken place, or even if pain seems to organically grow for no reason (think chronic pain syndromes), we can must look at levels of stress and cortisol in the system. More likely than not, they are a contributing factor to the very real pain that is being experienced.
I just have to share how much PMA has helped me work through stress and tension in my health. Thank you Brandi!!! - Maria