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Stress and Chronic Pain

Does stress lead to chronic pain? A lot of us might have faced this question or come across people who believe so. But is it really true? Well, according to researchers, 20 to 50% of people who experience chronic pain also suffer from depression and anxiety. Every person experiences stress in different situations. Pain caused by stress in one person may not have the same effect in someone else. Researchers have found it very difficult to link the relation between stress and pain.

Relation Between Stress and Chronic Pain

Chronic stress may often lead to chronic pain. When the human body is stressed, it releases certain chemicals that affects the brain’s way of sensing pain. It can have a positive or negative effect on the brain’s functioning depending on the situation. For example, if you are really excited about something, you tend to forget the pain or discomfort for a short period of time. In the same way, if you experience a sudden shock or a panic attack, it may trigger intense pain.

When the human body is subjected to prolonged stress, it affects the body’s immune system thereby making it susceptible to illness. It also lowers the body’s resistance and may affect it’s recovery cycle. Over a period of time, chronic stress may lead to chronic pain.

Coping with Stress

Relaxation is the best technique to beat stress and reduce pain. Relaxation techniques help the muscles to relax and slow down the heart rate. It shifts the mind’s focus from pain to other sensations. The following activities are also highly beneficial in coping with stress. They are:

  • Deep Breathing
  • Walking
  • Leisure activities
  • Sports
  • Meditation and
  • Yoga

Though there is no strong scientific evidence linking stress and chronic pain, people suffering with chronic pain may try reducing their stress levels and benefit from it. This could also help in a speedy recovery and prevent the onset of further pain.

1 response to Stress and Chronic Pain

  1. Thanks for your post. I personally know that if I can control my stress, much of my pain can be eliminated. It does amaze me that even wonderful things can cause stress because they require that I do things to get ready, like taking a trip to a favorite destination. Logically that would seem like a favorable chore, But it requires multiple decisions and work so I have learned to put it in the category of “stressful things”. So I know to stop, rest and meditate when it starts to get to me.
    Mary

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