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Stress

Chiropractic CHIROfamily

What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress is a normal human reaction that happens to everyone. In fact, the human body is designed to experience stress and react to it. When you experience changes or challenges (stressors), your body produces physical and mental responses. That’s stress.

Stress responses help your body adjust to new situations. Stress can be positive, keeping us alert, motivated and ready to avoid danger. For example, if you have an important test coming up, a stress response might help your body work harder and stay awake longer. But stress becomes a problem when stressors continue without relief or periods of relaxation.

What happens to the body during stress?

The body’s autonomic nervous system controls your heart rate, breathing, vision changes and more. Its built-in stress response, the “fight-or-flight response,” helps the body face stressful situations.

When a person has long-term (chronic) stress, continued activation of the stress response causes wear and tear on the body. Physical, emotional and behavioral symptoms develop.

Physical symptoms of stress include:

Aches and pains.

Chest pain or a feeling like your heart is racing.

Exhaustion or trouble sleeping.

Headaches, dizziness or shaking.

High blood pressure.

Muscle tension or jaw clenching.

Stomach or digestive problems.

Trouble having sex.

Weak immune system.

Stress can lead to emotional and mental symptoms like:

Anxiety or irritability.

Depression.

Panic attacks.

Sadness.

Often, people with chronic stress try to manage it with unhealthy behaviors, including:

Drinking alcohol too much or too often.

Gambling.

Overeating or developing an eating disorder.

Participating compulsively in sex, shopping or internet browsing.

Smoking.

Using drugs.

Stress is subjective — not measurable with tests. Only the person experiencing it can determine whether it’s present and how severe it feels. A healthcare provider may use questionnaires to understand your stress and how it affects your life.

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