Stress is unavoidable. It is something everyone experiences and each individual has his or her own way of managing it — some better than others.
Stress has been credited as a negative influencer for mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, for cardiovascular conditions such as heart disease and high blood pressure, and for an impaired ability to concentrate and remember things.
Its impacts can be far reaching, and can even be the cause of chronic shoulder pain and shoulder tension.
As naturopathic doctors, the physicians at Ethos Integrative Medicine work with patients who are trying to mitigate their chronic shoulder pain by truly getting to the source of the ailment. Once we understand that the pain is physiologically connected to stress, we find ways to alleviate both the pain and the stress, realizing both may recur in the future.
Stress Manifests As Physical Symptoms
It isn’t uncommon for stress to cause indigestion or heartburn, blurred eyesight, panic attacks or even chest pains — which is to say that stress absolutely has the ability to manifest as physical symptoms. Stress surfacing as chronic shoulder pain or tension is quite common.
Shoulder pain tends to be more localized, to one specific area or related to one type of movement, where shoulder tension more often refers to the muscles that engage across the entire joint. Tension may be felt with multiple types of movements or even when at rest and it can sometimes radiate, reaching the neck or stretching down to the lower back.
While anti-inflammatory medications may relieve the pain for a short period of time, a more holistic approach could provide long-term gains.
Natural Pain Relief And Stress Reduction Techniques
Once shoulder pain or tension is linked to stress, it’s important to evaluate where the stress is coming from. Could the stress be related to workload or the way someone does their work? There’s a difference.
If the stress is related to how a person is doing his or her work, ergonomic solutions may be in order. Adjusting the height of a desk, securing a more supportive chair and finding monitors that sit at an optimal height could help alleviate some physical pain associated with desk work. Physical labor may require waist or back support. And, posture is an important element as it relates to shoulder pain and tension. Adjustment in how a person works could make a noticeable difference in the pain or tension they experience.
If stress is related to workload, it’s important to incorporate new patterns into a work day. Taking breaks to get up, walk around and exercise a bit, could help manage stress. And of course, it goes without saying that an unmanageable workload should be discussed with team members to see if anything can be delegated. Outside of work, incorporating exercise into a healthy living routine is vital not only for stress but for other indicators of physical health — even brief walks make a difference.
To help manage shoulder pain or tension once it settles in, stretching is a valuable ally. Yoga has shown its benefits for the relief of stress-related pain or tension, but even simple arm or back stretches could help. It is easy to feel the immediate benefits of stretching arms across the front of the body or behind the head. And, when working, intentionally releasing the shoulders and adjusting posture immediately relieves tension.
There are a number of ways to mitigate stress-induced shoulder tension and pain, and the specialists at Ethos Integrative Medicine have even more suggested remedies, from acupuncture to regenerative therapies.
At Ethos Integrative Medicine in Scottsdale, our team of specialists takes a novel approach to healthcare to achieve the results patients deserve. Learn more about our team at https://ethosscottsdale.com/.
Interested in how we can help you? Get your questions answered by scheduling an introductory call.
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