Why Do I have Aches and Pains?

A little bit of inflammation spread all over the place is one possible culprit as to why you have aches and pains. Inflammation in one particular area e.g. a joint contributes to the breakdown of that joint causing osteoarthritis - please note that this process can take several years. Inflammation seems to be suppressed at night which accounts for more aches and pains first thing in the morning. It is also related to metabolic syndrome: being over weight, poor fitness and ageing. Smoking, inactivity, stress and sleep deprivation make inflammation worse - they don’t so much make you feel old as literally age you.  

Inflammation can make the pain of Fibromyalgia worse. If you aren't familiar with what Fibromyalgia is, according to the Mayo clinic it is an unexplained sensory dysfunction resulting in widespread oversensitivity to stimuli, exhaustion, and mental fog, among other things. 

Inflammation hasn't been proven to make stress and the associated pain of it worse but there are strong links to suggest that it does. Short term stress is ok for us, such as being stressed when sitting in traffic causing you to run late but long term stress i.e. more than 3 months is not ok for our body and health. Sleep disturbance is one cause of long term stress.

What can you do about it?

  • Eat a healthy diet - intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets (low carb) for short periods of time can help as well. Try to reduce your animal and animal product intake.

  • Lose weight

  • Exercise: including lifting weights

  • Reduce stress: through whatever means that is for you - having a couple of alcoholic drinks after work each night isn't a good idea

  • See a sleep specialist if you have any sleep issues

  • See one of our chiropractors or Andrew, our remedial massage therapist to help reduce your pain

If you would like help with your stress levels or aches and pains, get in touch with us so we can help you out or book in online.

This has been adapted from https://www.painscience.com/articles/inflammation-chronic-subtle-systemic.php

Constant Stress

We have all experienced stress at times in our lives.  The source of our stress can vary from things such as: our relationships at home, work deadlines, colleagues at work or illness. Constant stress can become unhealthy particularly when it causes us to crave foods that may taste good but don't nourish our bodies - did someone say comfort food?!  If we don't receive the correct nutrition it becomes harder for our bodies to deal with stress and we're more likely to put on weight.  

The Cortisol Made Me Do It 

Also, known as “the stress hormone,” cortisol can increase when you’re feeling tense or stressed. This may cause you to reach for comfort foods such as pasta and bread as well as sugary foods.  This isn't such a great idea as eating those foods causes our blood sugar to quickly rise. This combined with the fact that cortisol causes our blood sugar to rise too as our bodies are preparing us to either 'fight or flight' can lead to type 2 Diabetes.  Of course, one can enjoy these foods in moderation. Try to eat a diet filled with nutrient-dense foods such as lentils, beans, lean protein and plenty of vegetables. 

Chronic Stress

Long term increases in cortisol can lead to a lower life expectancy, interfere with learning and memory, lower immune function and bone density, increase weight gain, blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease.  Chronic stress and elevated cortisol levels also increase risk for depression, mental illness, and lower life expectancy. (1)

How To Manage Our Stress

Whilst alcohol can help to relax us it isn't a great way to deal with stress long term.

If you are stressed and you have been a couch potato lately it is time to get moving as this can reduce your cortisol levels. It also boosts our endorphin levels which are our 'feel good' hormones.  You don't need to go for a run, going for a walk is great but do try to get your heart rate up and push yourself.

Receiving chiropractic treatment may have a positive impact on reducing your cortisol levels. (2)  Chiropractic can also help alleviate muscular pain and tension which may help to your alleviate stress. (3)

Meditation and breathing exercises can help to reduce stress and clear you mind - try out this video.  A lot of people say they can't keep their mind still enough to meditate.  Meditating won't necessarily make you a zen-like Buddhist monk and it is very normal to have thoughts going in and out of your mind, try not to get frustrated by this.  Instead, notice that your mind has wandered, and start focusing on your breath again. Your mind may wander a hundred times and that is ok!

If you would like help with your stress management, contact us today to schedule an appointment.

(1) https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-athletes-way/201301/cortisol-why-the-stress-hormone-is-public-enemy-no-

(2) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2050804/

(3) 'Mechanism of action of spinal manipulative therapy' Joint Bone Spine, Vol 70, Issue 5, September 2003, pg 336 - 341