Why Stress Causes Aches & Pains
Updated: Jan 23
The body is a fascinating structure. Depending on how you look at it, it can appear extremely complex or very simple. From a simple view point, your body is made up of a number of different systems that work together. Each one of these systems behaves according to the instructions that it is given. When there is only one source giving the instructions everything flows smoothly and behaves as it is told. This happens when your body is in perfect working order. It does what you tell it, when you tell it, exactly how you tell it and without complaint or symptoms. Actions are instant, effortless and fun. It’s when the instructions stop being clear or start coming from more than one source that aches, pains and chaos start happening to your body.
To understand how mixed instructions cause aches and pain in the body you need to look at the fight or flight system. This system takes over when your body gets the message that it needs to protect itself or it needs to get away from something. It makes no difference to your body if this threat is physically in front of you or if it is imagined. Your body considers this a stress or fear message and acts appropriately to protect you. Signals are sent to all of the other parts of your body with the message that it is in danger. Some systems get told to partially shut down. Some systems get told to limit their resources and share with other systems that are more important in fighting or fleeing. These instructions are intended to give your body systems optimal resources to get you away from the threat and to safety. Once you are safe and the threat is over the fight or flight system is supposed to receive a message to shut off. When the system gets that message, things are returned to normal functioning status and the body goes back to balance and perfect function. The problem is that the fight or flight system doesn’t always get shut off.
When your body doesn’t get a change to return to its normal state of wholeness, balance and optimal function, it means that those instructions from the fight or flight system are still running. Remember, the threat that activates the fight or flight system can be real or imagined. If that system stays running, your body keeps getting told there is danger even when you are not actually experiencing any. There are mixed signals occurring. These mixed signals cause your body to stay in a state of stress and fear to varying degrees. This leads to aches, pains and other physical symptoms because the body is never told it’s fully ok to shut that off. The body never gets the message that it is completely safe and there are no threats, real or imagined that it needs to be protected from. The failure of this fight or flight system being completely turned off when threats are over is what causes a chronic state of stress and leads to physical symptoms like aches and pains.