When the body is stressed, muscles tense up. Muscle tension is almost a reflex reaction to stress, the body's way of guarding against injury and pain.
With sudden onset stress, the muscles tense up all at once and then release their tension when the stress passes. Chronic stress causes the muscles in the body to be in a more or less constant state of guardedness.
Millions of individuals suffer from chronic painful conditions secondary to musculoskeletal disorders. Often, but not always, there may be an injury that sets off the chronic painful state, that is subsequently maintained by the relationship of the autonomic nervous (ANS) and the musculoskeletal system.
In fact, according to the @apapsychiatric , when the body is stressed, the sympathetic nervous system (SNS, part of ANS), contributes to what is known as the "fight or flight" response. The body shifts its energy resources toward fighting off a life threat or fleeing from an enemy. The SNS signals the adrenal glands to release hormones called adrenalin (epinephrine) and cortisol and this generates a cascade of reactions that will eventually lead to substantial changes in our body.
Due to NEUROPLASTICITY and chronic stress, stressors over a prolonged period of time, this can result in long-term changes in our nervous system. It's not so much what chronic stress does to the nervous system (WHAT HAPPENS), but what continuous activation of the nervous system does to other bodily systems that become problematic (HOW WE REACT).
Don't suffer in silence. Talk to an Osteopath at The Osteopathic Centre to see how we can help to manage your stress.
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