You may not realize it, but stress and chronic pain directly correlate with one another. Let’s see how this happens and how to deal with it.
More than 50 million Americans currently suffer from chronic pain, and much of that stems from stress.
So let’s see how they are related to each other and what you can do to relieve chronic pain and stress.
Stress And Chronic Pain
When you experience stress, those stress hormones manifest themselves in the body and result in tissue damage.
Even when you don’t notice it, your body braces itself for battle with a “fight or flight” response to stressors. Your heart rate begins to quicken and your muscles tense up.
Over time, your impulse reaction takes a toll on the body. If you’re constantly prepared for battle from a physiological standpoint, you’re never fully resting.
Both stress and pain challenge the body’s homeostasis, creating an imbalance that results in a ripple effect within you.
One study called Chronic Pain and Chronic Stress: Two Sides of the Same Coin? analyzed how stress and chronic pain are so intertwined.
“Better understanding of the overlapping and distinguishing features of chronic stress and pain could provide greater insight into the neurobiology of these processes, as well as contribute to rational drug development for these often comorbid conditions,” it reads.
Furthermore, according to the study, almost half of the pain suffering individuals do not achieve adequate pain management.
“Although there are many treatments to choose from, chronic pain remains a major hurdle in the healthcare industry, and it continues to affect the quality of life for patients”, says Jan Wellmann, CEO at WaveLife.
“Pain and stress have stark physiological overlaps, and understanding these commonalities can help individuals make smarter decisions and allow them to have well-informed discussions with their doctors about their pain management plan”, he added.
To put it into perspective, it helps to understand the bare-bones definition of pain and stress.
Pain vs Stress
Pain is the emotional experience directly linked to physical tissue damage. Think of pain as your body’s response and defense against further tissue damage.
To experience pain, signals travel along nerve fibers to the brain, where it’s processed for interpretation.
Stress, on the other hand, is your body’s reaction to changes in the environment.
Both pain and stress are adaptive; they heighten your sensory sensitivity to protect you from incurring additional destruction.
However, if stress and/or pain become chronic, these processes become maladaptive — meaning they do not provide adequate adjustment to a situation or environment.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is a great example of how pain and stress are closely interlinked.
According to this survey, stress is the cause of 29% of chronic back pain issues.
Back pain is an often-overlooked side effect of repetitive stress because it causes musculoskeletal issues in the lower back region of the body, due to the connection between the spine and the brain.
Unfortunately, lower back pain is the second most common cause of disability in the United States.
Even when back pain doesn’t begin with stress, ongoing pain can result in stress that further compounds the issue and transitions into chronic pain.
What makes chronic pain especially troublesome is that it’s difficult to manage.
Although hospitals have cut down on opioid administration, prescription painkillers remain one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States.
People experiencing chronic pain often rely on these narcotics to cope, and a growing tolerance and dependence on them often leads to a harrowing addiction.
But how about other non-addictive remedies for pain? Are there any?
Pain Relief Patches
Pain relief patches have such as Energy Cell can be used to alleviate different types of pain:
- Back pain;
- Post-surgical pain;
- Muscle tension or muscle sprain;
- Bone or tissue injury;
- Post-trauma pain;
- Multiple sclerosis, and more.
“The WaveLife Energy Cell was designed as a safe and non-addictive way to treat pain”, says Wellmann.
“It uses EMF technology to store and emit vital fields in the wearer’s body. These vital fields are the natural, life-promoting frequencies that exist in every living organism; by mimicking these fields, we’re able to address chronic pain and help people heal faster and safer”, he added.
Here’s a short video that will explain how Energy Cell patches work:
Markus Prock, a three-time Winter Olympics winner and ten-time Luge World Cup winner, used the Energy Cell to address chronic pain in his Achilles tendon.
“Honestly, I had no idea in the beginning how this Energy Cell was supposed to help me deal with the pain I had been having for years”, says Prock. “But I tried it anyway and it completely blew my mind. It was like a miracle; the Energy Cell made the pain disappear.”
Meditation For Pain Relief
Modern technology continues to make it possible to alleviate or completely eliminate pain. And in the future, we can expect novel companies to create revolutionary products that help address pain.
However, traditional and non-medicinal methods still help, too.
There are ample studies that demonstrate the positive effects of meditation on the body.
For instance, one study found that mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) helped increase blood flow to the frontal lobe, thereby improving emotional control and helping to decrease back pain.
By focusing on your breathing and ignoring the mind clutter that stresses you, you also learn to deal with stress and anxiety better.
While it’s clear that there are many types of non-addictive treatments you can get involved in, it’s important to understand that not all types of pain can be fixed with meditation and alternative treatment types.
The concept of “mind over matter” isn’t foolproof, and if you’re experiencing chronic pain, you should be wary not to trivialize it.
Instead of honing in on a treatment like meditation, opt for a well-rounded treatment plan that includes pain relief and prevention.