Under Pressure: Stress and Your Joints
By Krista Elliott
Stress. We all have it to some degree or another. Your stress may be short-term, due to having a big exam or work event coming up. Or, it may be long-term, from a family illness, an ongoing negative job situation, or difficulties in your personal relationships.
No matter how you slice it, stress does nasty things to your body. Besides the fatigue, constantly roiling gut, and hairtrigger temper, stress can give you a bad case of bad back and joint pain. But why would emotional turmoil affect your joints and spine?
Stress and Your Back
The mind-body connection is never more evident than it is with stress. High levels of stress affect virtually every part of the body, especially your muscles and joints. According to the American Psychological Association, "Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness. When muscles are taut and tense for long periods of time, this may trigger other reactions of the body and even promote stress-related disorders. For example, both tension-type headache and migraine headache are associated with chronic muscle tension in the area of the shoulders, neck and head."
When your muscles are tense for extended periods, it stands to reason that they are likely not evenly tense, but instead, are pulling unevenly at your joints and tendons. It's a classic recipe for misaligned joints and subluxations ... and pain.
How to Keep Stress from Wrecking Your Back
I could say, "Eliminate stress from your life." And then you'd laugh at me and ask me what color the sky is on my planet. In all seriousness, though, it's definitely worth it to examine your stress and to see if you can make some changes, either big or small, to reduce the amount of stress on your shoulders.
The handy thing about chiropractic treatment is that it helps reduce stress' effects on your back in a couple of ways: First of all, a professional chiropractic adjustment from The Joint Chiropractic can treat the subluxations and discomfort that have resulted from your back muscles being perpetually tense, helping to bring your spine back to a neutral position. Less discomfort = less stress. And as well, self-care is a big part of stress reduction. Regular chiropractic treatment is time that is spent taking care of your own body and your own health. And sometimes, just taking that time for yourself on a regular basis can make a huge difference in your stress levels.
No matter your stress levels, regular chiropractic treatment is a great, natural, and medication-free way to offset its effects on your body, so do yourself a favor and book some treatment today!