How stress can affect your body

Mental exhaustion can take a toll on your physical health

Take a minute and think about everything that brings you stress.

Did you realize how many stress factors you face? You may have thought about work, family, your home, your finances, something you saw on the news, and a ton of other things, big and small.

People are bound to experience stress throughout their lives – that’s just how life goes. But when stress becomes overwhelming, it can create consequences.

Stress can leave negative effects on your body in physical ways, from muscle pain to higher blood pressure. In this article, we’ll explain how stress can leave various effects on the body from a health perspective. Plus, learn how booking your first physiotherapy appointment can help you tackle stress.

What actually is stress?

Stress is a physical response to something that makes you feel frustrated, angry, or afraid. When you feel stress, your body releases hormones that send certain signals to the rest of your body. As a result, your muscles may become tense, for example.

In a way, stress is a useful defence mechanism. When working correctly, stress lets you know when you should be on high alert, like when you are facing danger. However, many people experience too much stress that doesn’t amount to any real benefit.

Yes, there is a link between mental and physical health

A common misconception is that stress is strictly a mental phenomenon. In reality, stress can affect your body in many ways!

Stress sends signals to your body, and some of those signals can leave you feeling uncomfortable or in pain. You might even develop physical conditions or challenges as a result.

Fortunately, the solution to stress overload can also be performed on your body. Professionals like chiropractors, physiotherapists, and massage therapists are specially trained to tackle stress and the physical consequences of it.

Here’s how stress can affect your body

Back and shoulder pain

Does it ever feel like back pain only pops up when you’re already having a bad day?

That’s not far from the truth. Stress and back pain or shoulder pain are part of a vicious cycle: stress can cause muscle tension, which can cause irritating pain, and that can cause more stress – and so on.

READ MORE: How to find the right chiropractor

Breathing problems

If you’ve ever felt overwhelmed by stress, you may have found it hard to breathe.

That’s because stress usually makes you breathe faster. This is a natural approach to healing your body when it becomes tense from stress – your heart beats faster and your body sends more oxygen-rich blood throughout your body. Your blood vessels also constrict and contract more.

Repeated breathing problems can overwork your heart and raise your blood pressure. As a result, you may be at risk for heart attack or stroke.

READ MORE: 4 types of massage therapy we use at Elysian Wellness Centre

Higher blood pressure

Your cardiovascular system is responsible for transporting blood throughout your body for plenty of purposes.

A healthy heart pumps out blood enriched with oxygen to each area of your body. This involves an important step called ‘blood pressure’ – it refers to the force of your blood against blood vessels.

When you’re stressed out, your heart beats faster than normal. As a result, your blood pressure can ‘spike’, or increase temporarily. When this happens too often, your risk of heart disease, heart attacks, or strokes increases.

Fatigue or restlessness

Have you ever been kept up all night, thinking about something that’s bothering you? You’re not alone. One of the most draining aspects of stress is that it can make it hard to fall asleep. Long periods of stress can make it worse.

In fact, several studies have suggested that stress is linked to insomnia and fatigue, like this 2011 study on thousands of people, or this 2005 study on work-related stress.

Sleep deprivation won’t just leave you feeling drained – it’s also linked to other health problems, like high blood pressure, memory loss, heart disease, and diabetes.

Effects on skin

Stress can also affect your skin in a few different ways.

What’s the connection? Your skin is full of chemicals, and stress can unleash a chemical reaction on your skin that makes it more sensitive.

A common example is cortisol. This is better known as the ‘fight-or-flight’ hormone. When released, it can cause your skin to produce more oil, leading to acne production.

If you have existing skin conditions, like eczema or rashes, they may get worse as a result of stress.

How Elysian Wellness Centre can help

Doctors can treat particular medical conditions – but how can you tackle the underlying stress that causes them?

You may want to pay a visit to a physiotherapist or similar professional. There are plenty of professionals with a patient-focused approach, meaning that they incorporate stress relief directly into your treatment.

Here are a few examples – find what works for you!

  • Physiotherapy is a helpful area of treatment for many patients who experience stress. It focuses on mobility, encouraging patients to move and stretch in ways that foster actual healing.

  • A chiropractor can do more than just ease back pain. These professionals can help you with many conditions and body parts, and can help you improve your overall health.

  • A massage therapist can do far more than you realize. They can perform specific movements on your back muscles and joints with different pressure levels to relieve particular types of pain. Their services are often recommended to those who feel a physical response to stress.


At Elysian Wellness Centre, our professionals have years of experience and can tackle any kind of stress-related pain. No matter what approach you take towards healing, we can help you overcome stress and take control of your health and wellness.

READ MORE: Our services

Alex Tieu

Dr. Alex Tieu is a chiropractor with a passion for helping others achieve their health goals. Dr. Tieu wants to help his patients achieve optimal health and feel their best. He firmly believes that chiropractic care can make a significant difference in people's lives.

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