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Stress Will Not Be Ignored…

Under stress, the body shifts its energy resources to fight off the perceived threat. Known as the fight or flight response, the sympathetic nervous system signals the adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. These (stress) hormones set off a number of significant physiological responses, not the least of which interrupts sleep patterns. This can lead to impaired judgement, mood swings, depression, anxiety, panic attacks; even endangering a child’s brain development.

Stress causes muscles to tense up. Muscles under contraction for extended periods can trigger headaches, migraines, chronic joint, neck and back pain, as well as a predisposition to degenerative diseases (arthritis, etc.).

The release of adrenaline often causes shortness of breath, leading to asthma attacks and hyperventilating.

Acute stress, cortisol and adrenaline accelerate heart rate, blood pressure and visceral fat storage; all of which lead to coronary artery disease, heart attack and stroke.

The endocrine system is comprised of the glands responsible for releasing stress hormones. As such, stress increases the risk of endocrine diseases, including: type 2 diabetes, thyroid disorders, pituitary anomalies, immune function suppression, and cancer.

Stress causes a myriad of digestive disorders; from harmless to disruptive to deadly: upset stomach, constipation, diarrhea, gastritis, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, colitis, and digestive cancers.

In men excess stress can lead to impotence, premature ejaculation and infertility. Women often suffer with fertility issues, irregular, painful periods, and reduced sexual desire.

Acute and chronic stress can lead to eczema, rashes psoriasis, and breakouts.

Have proactive approaches in place ahead of time, so when the need arises, you have the tools to minimize stress and tension.

Laugh out loud; with family or friends. Tickle your kids. Watch a movie you know will have you in stitches. Listen to music. Avoid media and “entertainment” that generate anxiety.

Meditate to clear your mind for solutions. Pray. Commune with nature to put things in perspective. Get out. Go for a walk, a bike ride, a run.

Console in a confidante as a means to unload; find a reliable sounding board.

Journaling can get things off your mind and shoulders. Reflection can be an excellent tool to manage stress and eliminate its cause.

Working out can be an excellent way to ease frustration. Practice yoga, tai chi or other relaxation techniques.

Take a hot bath or shower to wash away your worries.

Find a quiet place and scream out loud.

Don’t try to be perfect and don’t expect others to be.

Life happens; be realistic and be flexible.

There is no such thing as effective multitasking; To be effective, take on one task at a time; giving it your full attention.

Develop a trigger that reminds you to be in the moment. Maintain a healthy lifestyle.


This information was provided by HealthQuest Physical Therapy and Wellness Centers: Return to Work, Return to Life, Return to Play.  To learn more about HealthQuest Physical Therapy services and how we can help you recover from an on-the-job injury, regain your independence and get back to living your life, or return to the physical activities you love visit our website at

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Written by Brooks Juneau

March 25, 2009 at 4:19 pm

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