The Signs of Stress: Where It Hurts
At some point in our lives we will all have to deal with stress and its side effects. Stress occurs as a result of mental and emotional strain. Sometimes the effects of stress manifest physically causing pain and discomfort. It can also slow down the healing process. In order to stop this from happening, you need to know how stress affects different parts of your body.
Here’s a list of how stress can affect your body along with a few tips on how to deal with it.
Research shows that stress can cause headaches, leading to pain in the head and neck regions. Stress is known to cause tension-type headaches or migraines. Migraines happen when muscles remain tense or tight, causing unwanted tension in your head. According to a study of migraines by Kelman in the Neurology Reviews, 80% of respondents reported stress as the trigger for their migraine.
Stress can also be a contributor to chronic pain. Research has shown that elevated stress levels can increase the levels of cortisol, a hormone that has been linked with both visceral fat gain and chronic pain. If you already have chronic pain, stress can also be a factor that my be worsening your condition.
Constipation and diarrhea may also be a sign of elevated stress levels. For people with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), stress is one of their greatest triggers. These people, and anyone else who is prone to higher stress levels can have side effects such as bloating, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
Bloating, stomach pain, constipation, and diarrhea can all be side effects for people prone to higher stress levels
Stress can also drain the energy out of your body. Prolonged stress affects the body in various ways, including causing insomnia and disrupting your sleep. When your body can’t get the rest it needs to restore its energy supplies you become fatigued and weak. However, other factors such as low blood sugar levels and poor diet while under stress may also contribute to low energy. Stress can also bring down your general mood, which will also affect your energy levels.
Chest Pain and Rapid Heartbeat
Stress has also been linked to chest pain and increased heart rate. When people experience stressful situations, their heart rates tend to increase rapidly. Stress can also lead to tension in the muscles, leading to chest pain. Feeling overly stressed, light-headed, or having a rapid heartbeat are all signs of a panic attack. During an episode like this, you may feel something that is frequently described as a sharp pain in your chest. This pain is caused by anxiety and stress.
Grinding Teeth and Clenched Jaw
Stress may also lead to clenching of the jaws and grinding of the teeth. A person feeling overly stressed may clench, tighten, or grind their teeth in a type of defense mechanism against their stress. The tension that builds up from this can cause jaw pain.
Weakened Immune system
In addition to these, stress has been linked to suppressed immunity which makes you vulnerable to frequent infections and sicknesses. It has also been associated with acne, dry mouth, cold or sweaty hands as well as ringing in the ear.
Stress can be managed in a lot of different ways, but it needs to be taken care of. If you leave a symptom without a fix, the stress from one problem will build up to the next until the stress and pain feel unmanageable. Some of the best ways to manage stress are exercising regularly, practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing. It is also important to keep your mood and energy up by listening to music, socializing and being in the sun. Nutrition will be another important factor as you are trying to reduce stress levels. Things like caffeine, unhealthy foods, and sugary drinks will make it harder for you to relax and feel stress-free.