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Stress, Pain in The Body And The Role Rest and Repair Plays in Health & Wellbeing

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Fight, Flight or Freeze. Our nervous system is so incredible. It is designed to protect us at all costs. Back in the day when we were hunter gatherers we had to stay pretty sharp and be ready to run when a Lion was in close vicinity. A host of hormones would rush through the body and certain muscles would contract to prepare us to run and keep us on high alert.

In modern day society there aren't many lions about but as there are so many stressors in our daily existence this fight, flight or freeze response is easily triggered.

When we go into fight or flight and get ready to run the muscles in the body become tight and contract in preparation for take off. The nervous system is overloaded. If we stay in this state for long enough this can cause neck, shoulder and back pain. Our body really shuts down all 'non essential' functions - digestion, pro-creation and healing, to mention a few - all take a back seat whilst the body is trying to survive.

Our body even remembers this pain and stress. These memories get stored in the brain and body - triggers can re-activate these fight or flight responses and re-activate old pain.

How do we break this cycle?

Retrain the brain. Kinesiology can dissolve associative memories that cause us pain and pathology whether on a mental, emotional or physical level. This is not the only way. Meditation, Yoga, Breath work, Quality Sleep, Organic Whole Foods, Physical Exercise, Pilates, Kinesiology, Reflexology, Learning a New Skill or Hobby, Accupuncture, Cold Swimming, Vagus Nerve exercises. There are so many ways we can introduce a new way of being.

Find those things that bring you great joy. Those things that relax you. Here are a few things that bring me joy and peace. A little calm in our busy modern world.

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Some of you might know acupressure mats, but if you don’t this little beauty is magical in helping you go to sleep and helping you stay in a deep sleep. It is also amazing to relieve back pain and tension headaches. I usually lie on mine when I get into bed and fall asleep on it. I will shift it after a little while and drift back off into a deep slumber. I also love reflexology - there are so many points on the feet that is so beneficial to stimulate energy flow in the body. Head massage is a no brainer (Sorry. Couldn't help myself). I also love surrounding myself by art and quotations that inspire and remind me to relax. Don't sweat the small stuff - or even the big stuff for that matter. Remember - you choose to stress or to not stress. Align the energy Centers of the Body. Mala beads is an amazing way to stay present during meditation. Theta waves help align the brainwaves to take us into a deep relaxation pattern. Soothing sounds, bamboo chimes, the waves of the ocean, nature sounds - can take us into a state of rest. Lavender oil or eye pillows is amazing to calm the nervous system.

Take the space and time to look at your habits and routine. Those habits that don't serve you. Those circumstances that throw you squarely into fight or flight and then choose differently. For your future wellbeing.

If you are interested in reading a bit more about stress and pain see the below article by Dr Pamela Avery.

Stress and Pain

When you're stressed do you have headaches, muscle pains or digestive problems? Do you have difficulty sleeping then experience unexplained aches and pains the next day? Does stress trigger back pain, neck pain or migraines? If so, then you are not alone. Millions of individuals experience pain as a side-effect of stress. Now science has helped to explain this phenomenon, and researchers are using this knowledge to help fight pain.

The rapid growth of technology such as CT scan, MRI and functional MRI has triggered an explosion of research on the brain. The results are coming in daily. We now know that the brain is more like a large "soup" of neural chemicals, responsible not only for your thoughts, feelings and actions but available to circulate throughout your whole body and influence almost every organ. This knowledge has led researchers to understand more clearly the role of stress in relation to pain. Stress is not all bad. Stress actually serves an important purpose in your life. The physical processes associated with stress are designed by nature to signal acute danger and then help your body respond appropriately and efficiently for survival. This has been called the stress response, the "fight or flight" response.

Your body was designed to handle acute stress - stress that comes and goes quickly. However, for many of us, modern life has created near constant levels of stress. We have financial worries, relationship problems, work issues and sometimes, physical diseases to manage. Subsequently, your body becomes locked into a chronic cycle of all the "fight or flight" processes, ultimately leading to a type of chronic physical depletion. Your senses are heightened, allowing your body to perceive every small nuance of your internal and external environments. Cortisol and stress hormones are constantly pouring into the blood stream, elevating your blood pressure and pulse. Glucose is plentiful and gets shunted into fat storage. Your breathing is rapid and shallow. Your digestion is slow and sluggish. Your hands are cool and clammy. Your muscles are tight and tense. These physical responses, ultimately, can lead to muscle tension, lightheadedness, dizziness and fatigue as well as obesity and digestive troubles. Over time, the result is neck pain, back pain, headaches, stomachache and sometimes even total body pain.

All this makes managing chronic stress very important to your overall health. Resolve today to beat stress. Make time to relax on a regular basis. Find pleasurable activities to enjoy. Join a class to learn stress reduction techniques. Exercise on a regular basis. Eat a well-balanced diet and control your weight.

Don't be a victim of chronic stress. Learn to control stress today before it begins to control you!

Dr. Pamela Avery, the Natural MD, is a board-certified physician and specialist of over 30 years in the management of pain through natural methods. She offers free articles, weekly newsletters and online pain management lifestyle coaching. She has developed a lifestyle system for chronic pain entitled "Live Pain Free! 6 Steps to a Pain Free Life." It can be accessed at [] Her free special report, "The Truth about Supplements", as well as her E-zine, "Natural Solutions", can be accessed at []

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