One major component of any health issue is chronic stress. Many of my patients are very aware that their health issues, whether it neck or back pain, headaches, insomnia, etc. worsen when they are under increased levels of stress.
How exactly does stress contribute to health problems such as joint pain? When we are under stress, our body release the stress hormone cortisol. Excess cortisol must be detoxified through the body in a process that uses up a lot of sulfates, exactly the substance we need to repair our joint tissues. Cortisol also suppresses the immune system, causing decreased repair of joints, and also susceptibility to infections in the body. Increased cortisol also causes high blood sugar levels and an inability to regulate blood sugar levels. Increased cortisol can also lead to weight gain, depression/mood problems, and hormonal imbalances.
I love this infographic of a few great ways to manage stress levels in your life. I myself am working on implementing a few of these myself!
I also try to address both the sources and affects of stress in the body with each of my patients at each visit. I work mind-body techniques in to help in processing certain mental/emotional stressors which may be contributing to stress. I also work on the adrenal glands often, the organs that are responsible for releasing cortisol in the body. I use a number of other techniques as well to help in reducing the affects of stress on the body.
Join me in working on reducing the stresses we place on our bodies every day! What a great step towards healing and whole health.