Stress and Injury

December 20, 2016

Stress is a response to a threat or stimulus that tends to activate our sympathetic nervous system.

Stress and Injury

The Many Effects of Stress

Stress is a response to a threat or stimulus that tends to activate our sympathetic nervous system, which is our “fight or flight” system.

Stressors could be emotional — an upcoming exam, a divorce, or death of loved one. Or, they could derive from a physical cause such as lack of sleep, generalized anxiety, or nutrient deficiency.

There are numerous disorders that have been linked to stress including depression, anxiety, and heart attacks. However, the effects of stress on musculoskeletal injuries and healing tend to get less attention.

The Link Between Stress and Injury

  • Stress hormones tend to break tissues down for energy. This can weaken muscles and joints, making strains and sprains more possible.
  • The perpetual muscle tension and nervous system stimulation by stress can reduce one’s threshold of fatigue. This could make a mistake on the job or loss of endurance more probable.
  • Chronic stress can cause what is commonly called leaky gut, which is when food particles can prematurely leak into the bloodstream.
  • Stress hormone production can decrease testosterone and estrogen levels and diminish repair and growth of the ligaments and tendons.
  • High levels of stress hormones also impair sleep, which
    makes healing more difficult.
  • Learn more about the link between stress and injury downloading our Stress and Injury flyer (follow our link below).