Stress and Body Aches: What You Can Do

Adrenaline is a safety mechanism our body produces. It’s produced by the hypothalamus in our central nervous system. It comes from the days when we were hunters, and sometimes the hunted.

In addition, when we were in these types of situations, adrenaline coursed through our veins in what scientists refer to as the ‘fight or flight’ response. In addition, we either fled and ran away, or fought. It’s our body’s way of preparing us to act quickly.

When stress signals occur infrequently, it doesn’t harm our bodies since it’s easier to recover. In fact, in small doses, stress can save your life and help you get things done. Stress is what gets you to cram before a big test or jerk your hand away from a hot stove.

However, nowadays, things have changed. We have the same surge of adrenaline pumping through our veins, but it never seems to stop. In addition, stress levels stay elevated for far longer than normal, never giving our body the chance to rest or recuperate.

This leads to tension, muscle aches, and even more stress. It’s a vicious cycle of feeling overwhelmed, anxious, irritable, exhausted, which all result in intense muscle groups and uncomfortable aches and pains.

The pain and tension are mainly because adrenaline causes blood vessels to constrict so muscles don’t get the amount of oxygenated blood they need. In addition, since there is a vast amount of muscle tissue all over the body, the pain can be felt anywhere and everywhere.

Other factors that cause pain and aches when you’re apprehensive is the way your body reacts to stress. Some of us clench our jaws, slouch our shoulders, or tense up our neck muscles. All these physical responses to stress augment the tension in the muscles, and ultimately the pain.

Some symptoms of stress-induced body aches are:

• Muscle tension
• Tight muscles
• Muscle pain
• Stiffness in muscles
• Back and neck pain
• Joint aches
Neuropathic pain

So how can you prevent and treat these types of body aches? Think of these muscle spasms as being akin to a sports injury. You treat them the same way an athlete would treat sore muscles after training practice. One of the best ways is by stretching because it’s a great way to get your muscles to loosen up and relax, thus lessening some of that tension.

Taking a warm shower, over the counter painkillers and getting a massage are also very effective at reducing pent-up stress in the muscles. Massages are also a great way to reduce stress levels and increase the release of ‘happy hormones’ because the human touch has a powerful effect on our nervous system. Also, refrain from any heavy lifting or high-impact activities until you’ve given your body the chance to rest.

But what if you don’t’ want to get tension aches due to stress and anxiety? Can they really be prevented altogether? Well, the answer to that may not be so simple. Preventing stress may be impossible, but preventing how our body reacts to stress hormones can be achieved by following these steps:

• Exercise regularly. Try some high-intensity interval training (HIIT), jogging, cycling, powerlifting. Change your workout routine on a regular basis so your body gets bored. Plus, you’ll get rid of any built-up negative energy, which results in stress, and tension aches. So your body doesn’t get the chance to reserve any adrenaline in the bloodstream

• Yoga and meditation. Freeing your mind, practicing mindfulness, and learning how to breathe properly are wonderful ways to increase happy hormones in the blood and reduce any stress hormones that can result in body aches and pains.

• Get alone time and do something you enjoy, even if it’s just drinking a cup of coffee in happy solitude. It’ll help you take your mind off what’s been causing you stress.
All the aches and pains you feel are your body’s way of telling you to relax and take it easy.

So make sure you listen to the signals your body’s giving you and take care of it by learning how to cope with stress.