“a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.”
A little can be of great help. We need it to get going and live our lives, but like anything in life its about moderation, too much or too little is detrimental to our health. Long-term stress can play havoc with your immune system, developing viral infections, anxiety disorders and depression.
Research (BMJ 2006; 332) has found that found people who suffered from chronic stress at work were at greater risk of developing metabolic syndrome, which is a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.
Stress is also a factor which is infrequently considered during pain rehabilitation. Any fear or perceived threat to safety causes hormones to be released into the bloodstream (e.g. epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol) which promote survival. These hormones have several effects including modulating inflammation and consolidating fear-based memories (to aid future survival and avoid danger).
Although some stress is inevitable in life, people are capable of changing how they perceive and respond to stressful situations. Appropriate physiotherapy education and advice along side specific exercises can really help.
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