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Does Stress Increase Pain?

Updated: Mar 6, 2022

When addressing pain, one of the most prevalent fears for patients is that their symptoms are “all in their heads” or that they will not be believed by friends, family, therapists, or coworkers. This concern might be exacerbated when there appears to be no clear explanation for their discomfort or when it has been persistent for an extended period of time.

What exactly is pain?

Many of the models used to describe pain in the past lead us to assume that pain intensity is always related to the degree of an injury. The sensation of pain is always present and typically unpleasant. Pain, on the other hand, is a warning mechanism utilised by our nervous system to alert us to danger rather than a direct sign of harm done. This is a minor but essential distinction, implying that the sensation of pain can be impacted by a variety of variables other than tissue injury.

The impact of stress and pain

Your nervous system’s function includes sorting through a massive quantity of sensory data and interpreting it in a meaningful way. When pain is regarded as a severe threat to the body, the intensity of the pain increases.

This can happen in a variety of scenarios, for example:

  • The source of the pain is unknown, leading to concern that the discomfort is significant.

  • The nerve system is hyper-aroused, like it is when you are worried or weary.

  • Your quality of life, job, relationships, or hobbies may suffer as a result of the pain or injury.

  • The injury was caused by a traumatic incident, such as a vehicle accident.

Implementing stress reduction into your treatment plan

We also know that stress reduction methods, mindfulness, and addressing any emotional trauma linked with pain, in addition to all of our more traditional therapies, may all assist to aid healing and enhance quality of life. Your physiotherapist is an excellent resource for pain management methods that will allow you to make the most of your life while living with chronic pain.

This information is not meant to be a replacement for competent medical advice. Always seek the counsel of a medical expert regarding your specific injury.

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