Stress is an all too common phenomenon in the modern world. The workplace can be a particular cause of stress for many people. Stress can lead to an increased risk of accidents at work and can be very detrimental to your health. In small doses, the effects of stress on the human mind and body are minimal but once stress levels become too high, the effects become more pronounced.
I’ve recently been suffering from aching muscles. Could stress be a contributing factor?
Aching muscles can occur for a number of reasons. Scientists are constantly conducting new research into the effects of stress on the human body. When you are stressed, your body releases the hormone cortisol which causes increased muscle tension, pain and sensitivity, leading to aching muscles.
A Canadian study has shown that women are more likely to be affected by aching muscles as a result of stress. The study identified 4 key areas where women are likely to suffer from muscle aches resulting from stress. They include:
- Neck and shoulders. Pain starts at the base of the neck and then begins to radiate across the shoulders.
- Face and jaw. The jaw becomes tender and painful which becomes more pronounced when chewing.
- Lower back. Lower back pain from stress can be exacerbated from sitting hunched over a desk all day, or whilst sitting behind the wheel of car.
- Stomach. Stress can cause uncomfortable cramps and may be comparable with the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
How can I combat stress?
There is no single tried and tested method to reduce stress. What may work for one may not work for another. If your work is the cause of stress, then it may be impossible to prevent stress at the source. Here are some hints and tips on how to prevent stress build-up.
- Get a proper night’s sleep. A full 8 hours sleep can help to prevent the symptoms of stress. Sleep helps to repair and detoxify the brain of proteins which can cause aching muscles and pains.
- Exercise. Keep active for at least 30 minutes a day to help prevent the build-up of stress. Exercise releases endorphins into the brain which can help to combat the physical symptoms of stress, like aching muscles.
- Meditation. A more unorthodox approach to preventing stress is to meditate. Meditation helps to produce beta-endorphins which help you to relax. Meditation is an example of what may work for some and not others. It is important to find your own personal niche which helps to alleviate stress.