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Stress and Inflammation

Stressed Out Man

You probably already know that inflammation is one of the leading causes of pain, but you might not know that stress can worsen that inflammation and lead to additional pain. Medical experts believe that this occurs because of a connection between inflammation and the immune system in the body.

Immune System Responses

When you suffer any type of injury, your immune system kicks into overdrive to solve the problem. This usually means that your body sends new cells to the area to fight back against the injury. As more cells gather in the area, you’ll notice some pain and swelling surrounding the injury. Chronic inflammation, which doctors use when describing those suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other similar medical conditions, can lead to more intense pain and more frequent swelling. Though the immune system attempts to fix the chronic inflammation with more cells, the cells cannot fight back against the swelling.

Stress and Inflammation

A connection exists between stress and inflammation. When you experience a high level of stress at home or work, you weaken your immune system. As the immune system attempts to fight back against the inflammation, it cannot produce enough healthy cells. Depending on the amount of stress you experience, you may even find that your immune system is so weak that it cannot fight the inflammation at all. The more stress you experience, the greater your chances are of developing chronic inflammation and chronic pain. Excess stress can also weaken your body’s ability to fight infections.

Reducing Inflammation at Home

While you cannot stop accidents from happening, you can find simple ways to reduce the stress that you experience at home or work. Avoiding stressful situations is one simple tip. The next time that you feel yourself overwhelmed, take some time to walk away. Taking a few deep breaths, practicing meditation or doing some simple stretches or yoga poses can all help. Also make sure that you take the time to rest your injured body part, take over the counter medications and consult your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe additional medications to treat your inflammation and reduce your stress.

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