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It's another long day at the office. By the time you get home, your body aches all over.
Maybe you're coming down with something. Or perhaps you just sat wrong on the ride home from work. Moving cases of paper closer to the copier could have done it.
Or maybe you need to stop looking at your physical actions. Consider that all of the above might have contributed to your aching body. When your mind gets frazzled and work gets overwhelming, and the family needs more attention than you have time to give, stress results.
Did you know stress alone can result in horrible body aches?
Common Causes That Make Your Body Ache
There are a lot of reasons your body aches, and triggers come from all directions.
If you're not drinking enough water, your body can't function properly. Even breathing and digestion can get more complicated. Dehydration can lead to dizziness or disorientation, exhaustion, and other body aches.
Catching a cold, picking up the flu, or catching pneumonia can cause inflammation, and your body goes to work fighting off the infections. The overload on your system can lead to aches outside just your throat, chest, and lungs, as expected.
Vitamin deficiencies can also cause a lot of body aches as a result of craps, twitches, spasms, and seizures. Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium, so without it, you’re also susceptible to injury. Iron, folate, and vitamin B-12 deficiencies lead to anemia.
Anemia robs your body of red blood cells making it difficult for your tissues to get enough oxygen. That can lead to fatigue and muscle cramping.
Lupus, arthritis, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia are among other things that contribute to body aches.
Lack Of Sleep And Stress
Sleep allows your body to heal itself, so the less you get, the more susceptible you will be to all of the other causes of body aches.
While the lack of sleep itself causes aches and pains, it also results in stress. Stress also leads to sleep deprivation. A lot of what causes body aches can also get triggered by stress.
Sleep deprivation reduces pain thresholds so the body aches you have seem a lot worse.
Common Reasons You're Totally Stressed Out
We all suffer from stress at one time or another. How we manage it differs from person to person but rest assured that we're all in this together.
Family issues, job-related concerns, and financial worries cause stress, and they are interrelated. Troubles at home can lead to less proficiency on the job. If you get inundated with bills, your job becomes even more critical, often disrupting family time.
Physical illnesses, whether temporary as a cold or the flu or long-term such as cancer, can be a significant stressor. It affects your body’s ability to function. That ultimately adds more stress by interfering with your family, job, and potentially your finances.
Emotional problems like depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, and low self-esteem cause and add to existing stress. The death of a loved one can send shockwaves through your entire life.
If the common causes of stress on your life aren’t enough, stress manifests with a plethora of physical reactions.
The Physical Manifestations Of Stress
Body aches often get attributed to stress and many other factors, but prolonged stress also causes anxiety.
According to a journal published by the Harvard Medical School, anxiety is the reaction to stress both psychologically and physically. It's all about the brain and neurotransmitters and the sympathetic nervous system.
When the brain sends signals to the nervous system about stress, your heart beats faster. Your breathing rates increase, and muscles get tense. Blood diverts away from your abdominal organs and races to the brain.
Your body gets put on alert, but physically you get light-headed, nauseous, and your body expels waste at an alarming rate.
If you don't do something to combat that continued assault, anxiety can lead to much larger issues than general body aches.
Effects Of Stress On The Body
The American Institute of Stress suggests stress causes headaches, muscle tension, and chest pain that can be mistaken for heart attack. Additionally, general malaise and fatigue can continue the cycle of stress on the body and the mind.
Plunging Libido And Other Hormonal Disasters
Links between stress and sex drive have also been made, according to The American Insitute of Stress. Exhaustion wreaks havoc on the body, and body aches and pains can increase. Sexual desires decrease, but not only because your body aches or you tire easily.
Short-term stress increases a man's testosterone levels. Under long-term stress, the opposite occurs. That can interfere with sperm production, and erectile dysfunction and impotence may result. The sexual organs become prone to infection.
Stress in women can affect the menstrual cycle. Irregular or heavy periods can result. More painful periods. More body aches. Menopausal symptoms can magnify.
Stress can lead to diabetes when your liver overproduces glucose. If the situation is chronic, you're susceptible to type 2 diabetes.
Acid reflux can occur due to an increase in stomach acid. The way food flows through the body gets affected, leading to more diarrhea or even constipation, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
Potential vomiting leads to more body aches such as muscle strain and stomach ache.
The Tight Connection Between Stress And Body Aches
Undoubtedly, it stands out that stress and body aches seem almost helplessly intertwined.
The same issues that lead to body aches also cause stress. If ailments and conditions that cause body aches also result in stress which then causes body aches, you can see how debilitating the cycle can be.
Five Ways To Reduce Stress-Related Body Aches
There is good news, though. Relieving stress also reduces your chances of suffering more horrible body aches caused by or aggravated by the stress.
It’s almost effortless to do, too. The last thing you should do to address stress and anxiety is to attempt a life change that will only add more of it to your daily routine. Instead, there are options available that can fit naturally into your already hectic life.
Free Your Mind A spirit
If you're body aches due to muscle tension associated with stress, free the mind and physical being by meditating or doing yoga. Both take you to a place outside of yourself where you can concentrate on being rather than pressures.
Let Your Feet Do The Job
A brisk 20- to 30-minute walk produces endorphins that energize your body and your mind. Painful muscles also get a stretch without too much effort. Do it several times a day if you have the time, but doing it just once gets you the break you deserve.
Get your worries off of your chest by confiding in a friend or family member. Even if your confidant only listens, talking it out can give you a new perspective on your problems. They might have ideas to help you cope, too. Cracking a smile and laughing with a friend does wonders to combat stress.
Slip Under The Covers
Sleep deprivation is the worst. Losing only two hours of sleep a night can reduce your threshold for pain, increasing even the annoyance of the even smallest body aches. A 30-minute nap, on the other hand, can get your pain thresholds right back to normal.
Napping also gives you energy and improve temporary memory loss and can wipe away irritability and stamp out headaches.
When you slip into a hot bath, your body reacts to the hot water by releasing endorphins. The flow of blood increases to the skin. You'll be breathing better as a result of your warm bath since the temperature and water pressure on your chest increases lung capacity.
An added benefit is that a 60-minute bath also burns calories -- about as many as a 30-minute walk! The benefits are outstanding. If reducing the risk of heart attack, lowering your blood pressure, and improving blood-sugar control sounds good, get into that tub.
But best of all, body aches slip away as the hot water loosens tight muscles.
Stop The Vicious Cycle Of Stress And Attributed Body Aches
Wiping away stress-related body aches doesn't require a lot of effort. It does, though, require some. The good news is that you have everything you need in the palm of your hand.
Disengaging from your day, meditating, getting a little bit of physical exercise, chatting with a friend, and taking a warm bath sounds like a nice day. That all of it also benefits your health in tremendous ways is a bonus.
Taking a little time for yourself will greatly impact your stress levels and associated body aches. We all deserve a little bit of that.