Stress and Pain

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How to deal with stress

Stress causes increased muscle tension which has a direct effect on increasing your pain levels. This means that if you can reduce your stress it will reduce muscle tension and your pain.

It’s important to keep stress under as much control as you can as it saps your energy and reduces your ability to cope with the pain. The physical symptoms of stress can be unpleasant as well as exhausting, with symptoms such as increased pain, headaches, digestive problems and skin rashes.

The stress response (flight and fight) produces adrenaline to prepare your body to either stay and fight or to run away from any danger. The adrenaline is used up when you take physical action. This response isn’t normally necessary in our daily lives. With constant niggling stress or pain during the day, adrenaline is released into our system. If not dispersed it can remain there, causing all the unpleasant symptoms of stress including increased pain.

Stress triggers

Each person has their own personal ‘triggers’ which cause the adrenaline of the stress response to be released. Find out what your stress triggers are. They can be anything at all, for example:

  • Being late for an appointment.
  • Losing something.
  • Upsetting someone.
  • Having an argument.
  • Children misbehaving.
  • Your computer playing up.
  • Demands from technology: the phone, e-mails and social network sites
  • Getting anxious, angry or depressed.
  • People pressure, too many requests for your time.
  • Pain flare-ups.

Stress-reducing techniques

You will find many techniques that help to reduce Stress in our Pain Relief section including,

  • Slow and deep breathing.
  • Relaxation sessions.
  • Visualisation.
  • Meditation.
  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  • Talking about the situation that you’re finding stressful.
  • Writing down your feelings.

Find out more about these methods on our Pain Relief page.

Try these ideas

  • Stop what you’re doing. Breathe gently but deeply right down into your abdomen. On the out-breath, say to yourself, “Be calm. Be peaceful.”
  • When you’re rushed, say to yourself, “There’s plenty of time. Stay calm.”
  • When things don’t go your way, say to yourself, “Everything is happening perfectly. It will all work out for the best. There will be plenty more opportunities.”
  • If you’re feeling angry, anxious, or depressed its best to acknowledge the feelings, and say to yourself, “OK, I feel bad at the moment, but it will pass.”
  • Instead of focusing on all that you are not and cannot do, try focusing on all that you are and can do.
  • Talk to your friends, it really helps.

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