WHAT IS STRESS?
There can be both positive and negative aspects to 'stress'. Positive Stress is at the level of a motivator - it gets us out of bed in the morning! This can be the need to put food on the table or the need to work hard to get a wished for promotion. It is good because it motivates and gives us a goal.
Negative Stress occurs when the body releases chemicals called cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline which provoke 'fight or flight' feelings. These chemicals increase blood pressure, heart rate and make you sweat. Cortisol prevents the immune system from working and causes fat and sugar to be released into the blood stream. This is fantastic for an immediate response to danger but not good with long term continuous stress.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF LONG TERM STRESS?
Physical signs of stress can manifest as changed hunched postures, headaches, stomach pains, and sudden back spasms (from altered stress posture). Some people grind/clench their teeth in their sleep so experience jaw or neck pain.
Negatively Stressed people often have problems sleeping and mentally their brain feels 'full' so they have difficulty concentrating or making decisions. They may also be more irritable and short tempered and may eat more/less. They may be less tolerant of dealing with day to day situations that normally they would cope with. There can also be a tendency to increase smoking and/or alcohol use.
HOW CAN OSTEOPATHY HELP WITH STRESS?
Chronic Negative Stress manifests with physical as well as psychological changes. Posturally the shoulders tend to hunch and round and this puts strain on the neck causing headaches, upper back pain and even pins and needles into the hands. When stressed over a long time breathing patterns change to shorter, shallower breathing and so we see people with back pain, rib pains and this can have a knock on effect to the low back causing spasm and leg pains.
Osteopathy really helps alleviate the physical symptoms of stress and this in turn creates a body that is more adaptable and better at coping. By working on the Thoracic Spine there can be an alleviation of Sympathetic/Adrenaline production and also a positive change in breathing patterns. At Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy we take a full Case History and perform a full examination and so adapt the Osteopathic treatment to your individual needs.
Obviously, we also recommend seeing a Counsellor to help deal with the psychological aspects. Kingston & Teddington Osteopathy recommends counsellors specialising in Psychodynamic and CBT therapies.
Should you have any of the above physical symptoms please do not hesitate to contact us on 0208 977 6396 to discuss how we may help you.