You may not feel taken seriously when the doctor says that stress can be the cause of your physical complaints. It then seems as if the doctor means that the complaints have been imagined or that you are showing off. However, a psychological problem, such as long-term stress, can also cause physical complaints. How can stress cause physical complaints? And can you do something about (the symptoms of) stress? Read it in this article.
What is stress?
Stress literally means tension. At a stress moment, all kinds of hormones are released that help your body to take action. This makes your heart rate and breathing faster, for example. When the stress moment is over, your body returns to its normal state. You will experience this as relief: the tension will slide away from you. All kinds of events can cause stress. Think of:
The human body not only gives a stress response during a stressful situation. This can also come later, when the voltage just decreases. A well-known example of this is tension headaches that only develop on the weekend or at the beginning of the holiday.
What is the use of stress?
If you find yourself in a stressful situation, your body responds to this by producing stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones ensure that:
- Your heart will beat faster
- Your breathing accelerates
- Your blood pressure rises
- Your immune system gets a boost
- You get a higher pain threshold
Your body is actually made ready to fight or flee in this way. This reaction used to be useful when, for example, you came face to face with a wild animal, but nowadays we are dealing with other stress situations. Think of high workload, money problems and the loss of a loved one.
When is stress unhealthy?
Stress does not have to cause negative side effects as long as the perceived tension does not linger for a long time or is constantly present. There are even indications that short-term stress can also have a positive effect on your functioning, for example if you have to meet a deadline. It is therefore also called ‘healthy stress’. Note: this does not mean that stress is really healthy, but the stress in this case can not hurt anything.
Are you under high pressure for a long time? For example through a stressful job or exam stress ? Then stress hormones can have a negative effect on your body and physical complaints can arise. Stress that lasts for a long time is therefore also referred to as unhealthy stress.…
Prolonged stress causes head, neck and back pain due to continuous tension of muscles . This is because muscles don’t get enough time to recover during stressful periods. The muscles sour and start to feel painful. This process can also occur at night. When you get up, you can feel stiff and stiff.
Complaints such as dizziness , eczema , intestinal complaints and heart complaints can also be a result of long-term stress. These are symptoms that can arise with short-term and long-term stress:
- Headache , neck and back problems and stiffness when standing up
- Cold hands and feet
- Blurred vision and double vision
- High blood pressure and heart complaints
- Stomach and intestinal complaints
- Depression and burnout
- Susceptibility to diseases and infections
Can physical complaints also lead to stress?
The physical reactions that occur with stress can sometimes cause anxiety and irritation. Continuing the complaint for a long time can also cause concern. For example, you wonder, “How long is this going to last?” and “will this ever pass?” Such thoughts and irritations can lead to new stress reactions. This way you get into a negative spiral of stress, physical complaints and therefore even more stress. The result: long-term stress and annoying physical complaints. Sometimes even long after the original reason that caused you stress!
How do I know if my physical complaint is a result of stress?
Whether stress is the cause of your physical complaint (s) cannot be demonstrated with a simple test. It is however possible to search for indications for this. It must first be excluded that the physical complaint is the result of a physical illness or deviation.
Especially if no obvious physical illnesses or abnormalities are found, it may be that stress plays a role.…
Keeping a diary can help you discover the connection between stress and physical complaints. Not only describe what happens on a daily basis, but also describe how you feel. This way you can also see afterwards what caused your stress, even if you did not realize it at the time. In addition, the following tips can help prevent stress and physical complaints:
- Get enough sleep (seven to eight hours).
- Keep moving. You may be inclined to stop moving because of a physical complaint, but moving is important for a healthy mind and a healthy body! Exercise helps you relax. For example, do soothing exercises, such as yoga .
- Eat healthy. Do not eat foods with a lot of sugars. These can adversely affect your mood.
- Drink no more than four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine leads to the production of adrenaline, which can make you feel tense and restless.
- Limit drinking alcohol. Alcohol increases your mood and can disturb the quality of your sleep.
- Set priorities. Identify which agreements are really important. Then say “no” to the agreements that are not currently prioritized. In this way you will give yourself a clearer agenda and more peace of mind.
- Take the time for relaxation. For example, take a nice walk or read a good book. This will take you away from the stress situation.
- Do relaxation exercises to stop both mentally and physically.
- Ask for help. Can you no longer cope with work stress? Then indicate this to your colleagues. Together you can look for a solution.
- Your doctor can also give advice on how to deal with stress. So ring the bell in time.