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Physical Therapy Can Help Reduce Stress

There are varying levels of stress in daily life and the causes can be countless. The outcome and effect on the human body can also be damaging. Typical physical responses to stress can include tissue damage, inflammation, muscle tightness, increased fatigue, lack of sleep, and increased pain levels. Areas of the body affected by stress include your brain, heart, lungs, pancreas, joints, muscles, digestive system, and reproductive system.

Managing stress, therefore, can involve learning techniques to change the external factors which confront you or improve the internal factors which strengthen your ability to manage challenges in the future.

It is impossible to eliminate stress, but it can be managed. Certain external factors can help to reduce the amount of stress such as a strong community of friends and family, social organizations, or religious groups. Internal factors which influence your ability to handle stress include your nutritional status, overall health and fitness levels, emotional well-being, your ability to control stress through relaxation techniques or other strategies, and the amount of sleep and rest you get. People who are poorly nourished, who get inadequate sleep, or who are physically unwell have reduced capabilities to handle the pressures and stresses of everyday life and may report higher stress levels.

One proven and effective way to manage stress is through physical activity. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the physical benefits of exercise which improves physical condition and fighting disease, have long been established, and physicians always encourage staying physically active. Exercise is also considered vital for maintaining mental fitness, and it can reduce stress. Studies show that exercise is very effective at reducing fatigue, improving alertness and concentration, and at enhancing overall cognitive function. This can be especially helpful when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate (ADAA, 2014).

When stress affects the brain, with its many nerve connections, the rest of the body feels the impact as well. So it stands to reason that if your body feels better, so does your mind. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins; chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers, and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. Meditation, acupuncture, massage therapy, even breathing deeply can cause your body to produce endorphins. And conventional wisdom holds that a workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy (ADAA, 2014).

If you are someone holds tension in their body and have noticed physiological changes, the physical therapists at Mizuta & Associates can design treatment program consisting of exercises, stretches, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques to reduce and potentially completely reverse the effects of increased stress throughout your daily activities.

For more information about ways to manage stress, visit these websites or call and schedule an appointment with one of the therapists.

http://www.mayoclinic.org/exercise-and-stress/art-20044469

http://www.adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

http://www.medicinenet.com/stress_management_techniques/page4.htm

http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/blissing-out-10-relaxation-techniques-reduce-stress-spot

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