Persistent stress puts your body in a constant state of alert and can trigger or intensify symptoms of illness. Your immune system suffers, so you get sick more quickly and experience physical or nervous tension. How else does stress affect your mind and body? Take a look.
What Stress Does to Your Body
In stressful situations, the body goes into a state of alertness. This reaction is positive when it helps you focus and concentrate in certain conditions. However, constant stress has the opposite effect. You become more susceptible to infections with a weakened immune system.
In the long run, stress leads to recurring or chronic diseases. Deliberate breaks and relaxation phases can specifically counteract stress.
How Do You Know When You’re Actually Stressed?
Stress is a natural reaction of the body that occurs in phases when you’re under a lot of pressure.
1. The First Phase
In the first phase, your body turns on the “high alert” button and prepares itself to protect you. Sometimes being on high alert is a valuable reaction. But when this alertness becomes permanent, it has negative repercussions.
You experience constant tension, always feeling nervous and frantic, perhaps unable to accomplish anything important. Constant stress significantly strains your mind and body and, over time, even promotes the development of diseases.
Important to know: Stress has many faces. It’s not only the result of a long list of daily tasks, but it also arises from interpersonal problems, from not being challenged enough, not being valued enough, or from career and family pressures.
2. The Second Phase
In the resistance phase, your body tries to adapt to a prolonged stressful situation to cope with the ongoing pressure. This reduces resilience to other challenges by weakening your immune system.
3. The Third Phase
The third phase is the exhaustion phase, in which the excessive bodily demands become apparent and your ability to perform decreases. If negative stress persists, chronic diseases can also develop. These typically include problems with the digestive system, such as irritable bowel problems or a stomach ulcer, skin diseases, or cardiovascular diseases.
The exhaustion phase is where you really begin to notice the strain on your brain and pain in the back.
Stress on the Brain
Stress also affects your brain. Constant tension doesn’t allow natural relaxation, and a vicious cycle occurs. You sleep poorly, have trouble concentrating, become irritable and nervous, and then feel grumpy and depressed.
A long-term feeling of exhaustion can develop into burnout syndrome. Psychological disorders such as anxiety, panic attacks, or depression can also develop. Burnout syndrome also increases the risk of attempting to find relief in drugs or alcohol.
Stress on the Spine
When you’re stressed, the body releases adrenaline, which prompts the fight-or-flight response. This powerful hormone increases your blood pressure, heightens the blood supply, and makes the muscles surrounding your spine tense up and spasm to prepare to flee the stress.
Stress causes pain in the body, often in the neck and back. Back pain affects how you walk and posture, leading to further pain in the knees, hips, and feet.
Stress changes your breathing patterns, which causes tension and strain in your back. Many people become more sedentary in times of stress. They exercise and stretch less, affecting flexibility and making the lower back ache more.
Reduce Stress and Relieve Pain
Dr. Mike at Spinal Logic Chiropractic leads the industry in relieving back pain using innovative techniques and state-of-the-art equipment. The holistic approach to his wellness philosophy ensures you maintain a healthy lifestyle long after treatment.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and need support, call us today. We’ll help you get back on track.
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Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.