The past few weeks have been a painfully stressful time for American citizens. Acute and chronic stress have shown to drastically decrease our overall health and ability to recover. Stress causes our muscles to tense, heart to race, and sympathetic system to work in overdrive. Though the news may cause us to stress and worry, it’s important to remember the influence it holds over our personal health and recovery.
Chronic stress has shown to increase risk of depression, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, upper respiratory infections, poor wound healing and now the common cold.1 Stress increases blockage of a hormone called Glucocorticoid. This hormone is responsible for regulating inflammatory response. If the body cannot receive a glucocorticoid response, the body will fail to down-regulate inflammation. Inflammation in the body will result in dysfunction of natural feedback mechanisms. This will increase our susceptibility to diseases and infections.
In Physical Therapy, stress is often assessed when developing a treatment plan. Stress hormones cause the muscle proteins to break apart, thereby decreasing overall muscle strength.2 The oxidative damage within a muscle will result in decreased quality and function.2 When a client is shown to undergo stress in a work or home environment, a physical therapist teaches them how to recognize those signs and symptoms. The next step is how to combat them. When the stressor is removed, studies show that it will lessen feelings of anxiety and depression, improve overall well-being, increase sensory-motor performance, and enhance hand grip endurance.2
If you fear that stress may be affecting your treatment, try these simple relaxation techniques.
1. Cohen, Sheldon, et al. “Chronic Stress, Glucocorticoid Receptor Resistance, Inflammation, and Disease Risk.” PNAS, National Academy of Sciences, 17 Apr. 2012, www.pnas.org/content/109/16/5995.
2. Poornima, K N, et al. “Study of the Effect of Stress on Skeletal Muscle Function in Geriatrics.” Journal of Clinical and Diagnostic Research : JCDR, JCDR Research and Publications (P) Limited, Jan. 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3939594/#b14.
I have been a client at KCP Physical Therapy for 7 years. Before I was referred to them I dealt with neck and lower back/hip pain. I had tried some of the usual avenues without success. Within 6 months of receiving treatment I was 85% better than I had been in a long time. My next step was to begin a small amount of training. I progressed even more. Over time I have incorporated one hour training at least once a week and during some periods twice a week. When KCP added Yoga classes I was all in. I now go to yoga two times a week and one day for personal training. KCP provides a holistic approach to my well being. They know my physical constraints so they are able to build my workouts and yoga around them. I am 68 years old and have never felt better.
Our family came to KCP Physical after our son, Adam, underwent 2 surgeries for a torn ACL. Adam was only 10 and had extremely delicate surgery that required a high level of expertise. Joy communicated with our surgeon and helped formulate a treatment plan that we all understood and believed in 100%. She went above and beyond when it came to caring for and treating Adam. She came in on her days off to make sure that Adam got consistent therapy and was careful not to overwork the tender repair. Joy’s work was instrumental to the full recovery of our son and we would recommend her healing touch to all that are in need.
After seeing the soft tissue work that she did with Adam, it was an easy decision on who should help me with my Planters facetious and back pain. KCP has always communicated clearly, professionally, and executed the treatment plans as if we were family.
Lisa G. and Family