Stress and Pain
There’s no doubt about it, life can be stressful. Inflated house prices, big mortgages, challenging relationships, work and kids to name just a few, are some of the burdens we frequently juggle day in day out.
Not to mention things like the illness of a family member, a work injury, or car accident. Such issues can ramp up our stress levels beyond what we would ideally manage in a perfect world, and have implications for our health and well being.
So, what has this got to do with physiotherapy, Cam? I hear you ask. Well, I’m glad you asked!
In physiotherapy, we are for the most part tasked with helping people through painful body issues, injuries, and difficulties with things like day to day activities and/or sport. All of which, can be really stressful for someone – especially when you add in the other life challenges mentioned above.
Stress and pain, in the context of our ‘bigger-picture’ lives are a personal interest of mine, and underpins my current research with the Australian Centre for Precision Health, University of South Australia. The reality is, stressful life matters have consistently been associated with the presence and severity of pain.
Just to clarify, this does not mean that one causes the other…. but there does seem to be a link between how we feel pain, in the context of other things in our lives. It’s stating the obvious in a way, but the up-shot is that stress is unhelpful when trying to deal with pain, especially if it has persisted for some time.
So, what does this mean for you, the patient? Well it’s fair to say that much of what drives stress in someone’s life is well beyond the scope of your friendly myPhysioSA therapist! We cannot after all, reduce interest rates, stop the kids from fighting, or make your boss appreciate you more.
However, we are highly trained in the assessment and management of complex physical complaints. As such we are able to provide you the care and direction you need to move forward with your issue. This in and of itself can reduce stress, and help the bigger picture. One less thing to worry about…
Research has also demonstrated that regular exercise is consistently associated with improved psychological well being and stress management.
How can Physiotherapy help stress and pain?
A large part of what we do at myPhysioSA is get people moving again! Beit exercise rehabilitation after an injury, or proactive exercise for fitness, we have plenty of avenues to help people achieve or maintain an active lifestyle. Our suite of exercise classes, and team of Exercise Physiologists can get you back on track with your health goals.
myPhysioSA clinicians are often the first port of call in someone’s health journey. In understanding the impact of life-stress on pain, recovery, and well being, we frequently collaborate with GP’s and other care providers such as Counsellors or Psychologists to help maximise our patients potential for improved health.
In closing, I can’t resist sharing with you the profoundly simple, yet powerful words of George Burns (American actor/Comedian) …
“If you ask me what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn’t ask me, I’d still have to say it”.
myPhysioSA Senior Associate Physiotherapist