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Why Stress is Diminishing Your Ability to Heal

As a physical therapist, I know from experience that a highly stressed patient will have a more complicated and prolonged healing process but, until now, I wasn’t sure how to explain this phenomenon.

Recent prominent studies have helped to explain possible reasons for the amplification of pain by stress. One study mentions that stress has been shown to enhance muscle nociceptor (pain receptors) activity in rats. In this same study, stress produced increased sensitivity to pain in skeletal muscle and a significant decrease in the mechanical threshold of muscle nocicpetors.

I usually talk about this study with my patients who are suffering from pain. It helps them understand that pain can escalate, not necessarily because of tissue damage, but because of the effects of stress hormones on their nerves. They understand that if they persist in escalating their stress reaction they will limit their healing potential.

At Lilly Physical Therapy, we offer our patients holistic care and address all aspects of their life in order to help them heal.   We provide our patents with an exercise and conditioning regimen to elevate level of natural pain killers such us endorphins; use advanced manual skills to make their muscles feel better; give them extensive education regarding sleep hygiene, stress reduction, nutrition, and self care; use cutting edge technology to decrease pain level and teach them stress reduction techniques. Our patients LOVE it!

Here are a few easy de-stress tips so you can start promoting natural healing at home!

  • Exercise: Run, do some yoga, go on a bike ride or punch a bag at the gym. Whatever you choose to do is sure to be a great way to manage stress and promote healing.
  • Socialize: Spend time with your friends and family. It gives you a sense of purpose and belonging. Make sure to laugh it up!
  • Write: Try to dedicate a set time every day to write about your day or whatever is causing stress in your life. It really works!
  • Get some fresh air: Take a few minutes to get outside and see the beauty that surrounds you! A little time in the great outdoors can improve your mood and help you relax.
  • Meditate: Practice deep breathing and other meditation exercises when you feel tense. Make this a habit and you’re sure to see results.

Give us a call at Lilly Physical Therapy! We can help you de-stress and heal. (425) 224-2476