Many of us experience pain on a regular basis. This week, you’ve probably either had a headache, felt uncomfortable muscle tension, pushed through stiffness and fatigue, or had an upset stomach on at least one occasion. Maybe all of those symptoms are a regular part of your life, and you’ve just come to accept that your body simply hurts. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Headaches, chest and muscle pain, fatigue, nausea, and disrupted sleep are all physical symptoms of the psychosocial malady that has taken the world by storm- stress. Our interactions with stress and what triggers it differ based on our personal experiences, but we are all familiar with it. And it is just as taxing on the body as it is on the mind.
According to the Mayo Clinic, stress that is not properly managed can contribute to health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. But if that’s not concerning enough, it’s practically guaranteed to cause the daily physical discomforts that you’ve probably been dismissing for years. It could easily be the root cause of your tense, perpetually sore back, stiff neck, chronic headaches, or nausea.
If you don’t sleep well at night because you’re under significant stress, you’re probably experiencing fatigue, which in turn leads to headaches, dizziness, and a weakened immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to the innumerable viruses that are spreading through workplaces and schools this time of year. Overall, your body isn’t too happy.
At this point, it’s easy to dismiss movement as a solution. If your body hurts, the last thing you want to do is exercise! But if stress is a mental, emotional, and physical condition, then wouldn’t the ultimate treatment be something that targets all three areas?
Movement, whether it be walking, Pilates, yoga, mountain biking, or anything in between, is scientifically proven to lower stress at the psychological level in addition to building strength and improving overall health at the physical level.
Even if your stress-induced pain feels like a barrier to activity, there is an option. Physical therapy isn’t just for injury rehabilitation or athletes. It’s a viable and effective opportunity for anyone to get the one-on-one help they need to start moving, practice intentionality and mindfulness, and feel healthier and stronger in all aspects of life.
At PhysioFit Physical Therapy and Wellness, we offer Discovery Sessions to help people figure out a plan to get them more active, healthy and mobile and out of stress. If you want to learn more fill out this form and we’ll be in touch with you very soon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kim Gladfelter, MPT, OCS, FAAOMPT
Women's Health Physical Therapy Specialist at PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness
Kim Gladfelter is a physical therapist, Pilates instructor, educator, author, and co-founder of PhysioFit Physical Therapy & Wellness. She is known as a keen, well-rounded expert of healing through movement and women’s health specialist in the Silicon Valley area.
Kim has helped men and women of all ages to stay active and feel their best. She also writes about managing pain in her health columns, blogs and the local Los Altos Town Crier newspaper as well as reaches out to the local community, support groups, schools, libraries, and sports centers to advise and educate on body awareness and therapeutic exercise.