Stress Response

Stress is the response of the body mind to a perceived or actual danger or threat. Stress is a survival response to that actual or perceived threat and it occurs sub-consciously.

 

If a car is coming at you, your body/mind has to make a decision without you having to think about it. Or perhaps you overhear a conversation about a department at work shutting down, your automatic response is stress. “Are people losing their jobs? How will I survive financially if I lose my job? What if I can’t find another job?” Without thinking specifically, our mind automatically begins to draw conclusions.

 

Our thoughts then create a response in the body, because thoughts are electro-chemical signals. Our thoughts have the power to increase our heart rate, our blood pressure, how fast we breathe and how sweaty we get. Our subconscious automatic thoughts are linked to our autonomic nervous system that allows our body to respond to the environment in a fast and efficient manner for survival. React now, think later.

Let’s explore this unconscious process and how it results in stress.

 

The amygdale in the brain is our 24/7 fear alarm center that works closely with our emotional center. Together they instantly process info from our senses about external events and / or internal physical- emotional states.

Let’s say you are walking to your car and out of the corner of your eye you notice someone walking in your direction.

Your amygdale automatically goes to work by asking itself, have we seen anything like this before? It has to decide, is this dangerous?

The amygdale sifts through memory in milliseconds, lightening fast. It has to decide super fast how you need to respond and react, whether you need to run or oh, never mind it’s someone I know.

 

When the amygdale senses danger it sends a signal to the hippocampus that helps our memory / emotional center connect with the parts of the brain associated with consciousness.

 

In 3-5 seconds, the conscious brain is online that allows us to compare all the information from the brain to the

situation to come up with a realistic action plan. If we are resourceful in coping in the past we tend to access more

Positive memories and this helps us avoid stress.

 

So, if someone is walking in the same direction as us, we may choose to be alert, thinking it’s likely someone walking to

their car versus running / screaming because it might be a kidnapper. This is a more controlled stress response.

 

The amygdale has a fast track response in the body. For example, if someone jumps out at us, we jump and scream

without thinking. We got scared, eventhough it’s a brother playing a mean trick. Our rational, conscious brain does not

always get a chance to respond before the stress response starts, also known as our flight / fright system.

 

This system is fueled by cortisol, a stress hormone that makes us move and saves our lives.

 

This is an upside. There are 2 downsides:

  1. The fast track of the amygdale tends to be based towards the negative and may slant our response. We may over react towards an event when there is no actual danger or threat.
  2. Cortisol destroys brain cells and can flood the brain making it more difficult to relax. This makes thinking through the situation difficult and leaves the gates open for the amygdale to stay active.

 

When the amygdale does not shut off, cortisol continues to be released, leaving us feeling alarmed, aroused, agitated and stressed.

 

The long term consequences are an immune system that can’t function properly that leads to physical illness. Secondly, brings our tolerance down where events can then turn into traumas because we no longer can control how we cope.

 

How can we train ourselves to be more resilient? How can we train ourselves to respond to stress more positively?

How do we protect our immune system and ability to think through situations clearly?

 

Here are 6 suggestions:

  1. Breathing: deep breathing has a direct connection with our rest / repair system. Breathing deeply and slowly can de-escalate a full blown panic attack in a matter of minutes. Just practicing breathing throughout the day helps manage cortisol release and keeps us in an overall relaxed space.

Check out Ann’s breathing blog OR Madelaine’s video on Rib breathing on YouTube, on our ECO Physio channel.

  1. Hand on heart : The nerve cells around the heart are stimulated during stress. Placing your warm hand over your heart with thoughts / images of something good helps calm those nerves, often in less than a minute.
  2. Hugs: a 20 second full body hug can reduce stress in couples.
  3. Counting to 10 before reacting: because it takes longer for the thinking brain to come online, counting to 10 gives it a chance to boot up so you can create a better action plan to a stressful event.
  4. Take time to smell the roses: spending time in nature, slowing down, breathing allows us to re-group and cope better in the face of stress.
  5. Forgive yourself in minutes: don’t beat yourself up on what you should or should not have done because you cannot change it. Think about a mistake as an opportunity to grow and learn looking toward the future, not the past.

 

“Without forgiveness, there is no future” Desmond Tutu

 

Information for this blog comes from a presentation by Linda graham at the 2017 Neuroscience training Summit and article by Linda Graham called ‘Skillful Ways to deal with Stress and Trauma”.

How the SI joint is treated?

 

Sacroiliac Joint pain

Do you find yourself suffering from back pain? Does standing after a prolonged period of sitting give you back pain? You may be having SI joint problems.

What is the SI joint?

SIJ stands for Sacroiliac joint. These are joints on either side of the lower spine which function to carry your upper body weight when standing or walking and loading the weight on to your lower limbs. The two dimples on your lower back is where the SIJ is located and are referred to as lateral lumbar indentations.

What does the pain feel like?

The pain can be dull or sharp and although it can start at the SIJ, the pain can also radiate to the buttock, thighs, groin, and even the upper back. Majority of the time the pain is felt on only one side of the lower back.

What causes SIJ pain?

SIJ pain can be caused by numerous reasons.

  • OA or osteoarthritis can wear down the cartilage between the joints.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis or arthritis of the spine can cause additional problems.
  • Previous trauma or injury to the lower back such as a serious fall or a car accident can be a contributor.
  • Pregnancy is also a frequent source of SIJ pain due to the hormone relaxin which prepares you for labour.
  • Gait or the way one walks is one of the main causes of SIJ pain.

In all of these situations, the SIJ can either become inflamed or too mobile. The SIJ should remain stiff or rigid to support the pelvis and only allow a few degrees of movement. However, in some of these cases the SIJ starts allowing for either too much uncontrolled motion or extremely limited joint motion, resulting in SIJ inflammation and pain. When either of these things occur it is referred to as SIJ dysfunction.

What can you do?

The best way to decrease pain and increase support is to strengthen or stretch the muscles surrounding the SIJ. The main muscles surrounding the SIJ are the deep abdominal muscles (including the transverse abdominals and the oblique abdominals) and the deep gluteal muscle group. When these muscles are weak or lack endurance the SI joints are vulnerable to excessive movement which leads to SIJ hypermobility dysfunction and subsequent SIJ pain. If tightness is a problem then stretching to restore range of motion is necessary.

 

 

1st step: Pain relief and protection

  • Exercises to decrease stress on the inflamed structures
  • Electrotherapy involving ultrasound and IFC to decrease inflammation
  • Purchase an SIJ belt to help with support
  • Soft tissue massage to relax the muscles

2nd step: Strengthening and stabilization

  • Programs involving lower abdominal and hip strengthening exercises which will help support the SIJ

 

3rd step: Preventing reoccurrence

SIJ dysfunction has a tendency to return. The main reason for reoccurrence is insufficient rehab. This may mean that there is poor compliance with deep abdominal core and hip muscle exercises.

If you see a Registered Physiotherapist for a 6-8 week program involving electrotherapy, soft tissue release, deep abdominal core and hip stability exercises, you will find sustainable pain relief with a success rate of 90%.

References:

http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/si-joint-back-pain#1-2

http://www.physioworks.com.au/injuries-conditions-1/sacroiliac-joint-pain

http://www.healthline.com/health/sacroiliac-joint-dysfunction#overview1

 

Stress Response

Stress is the response of the body mind to a perceived or actual danger or threat. Stress is a survival ...
Read More

How the SI joint is treated?

Sacroiliac Joint pain Do you find yourself suffering from back pain? Does standing after a prolonged period of sitting give ...
Read More

Constipation

It is something we have all experience at some point in our lives. Constipation is when you have difficulty emptying ...
Read More

3 Ways to Reduce Pain and Inflammation with Diet

How many of you suffer from pain? Or from chronic inflammation? Inflammation can make you feel fatigued and lead to ...
Read More

How can we cultivate more good in our life?

All of us are striving to grow the good inside ourselves but how can we be more effective at it? ...
Read More

Special Feature – Karen Petko’s Book

Karen Petko Registered Kinesiologist Not every company is as lucky as we are to have an amazing team member, such ...
Read More

My 10 Book recommendations for the Summer

Here is a list of 10 books I have read and think are great. Each book has something unique to ...
Read More

HEAT VS ICE

We get this question so often it only made sense that we include it in our newsletter. When do you ...
Read More

Tips for Overactive Bladder

The International Continence Society defines Overactive Bladder (OAB) as urgency, with or without incontinence and increased daytime/nighttime urinating (1, 2) ...
Read More

Tips for Managing Stress

Did you know? Stress related illnesses including anxiety and depression are now at an all-time high in Canada? In fact, ...
Read More

What is mindfulness meditation?

Jon Kabat-Zinn the founder of mindfulness-based stress reduction was the first to introduce this approach to the medical community. He ...
Read More

5 Benefits of Melatonin, the Most Important Hormone for Sleep

Melatonin Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the pineal gland in the brain. The pineal gland is located just above ...
Read More

10 things you need to know about sleep

No one’s sleep is broken. Unless you have a tumour in a very specific spot in the brain, everyone has ...
Read More
Emily Lipinski - ECO Physiotherapy in mississauga

Natural and Effective Solutions to manage Urinary Tract Infections

A “urinary tract infection” or “UTI” is a very common infection that occurs along the urinary tract and is usually ...
Read More
Madelaine Golec - ECO Physiotherapy in mississauga

What we believe about incontinence is not always true

3.3 million Canadians suffer from incontinence (1).  Many do not know what it is or only know what they heard ...
Read More

BLOOD PRESSURE: Diet and Lifestyle Tips

Elevated blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is due a number of factors that can disrupt arterial pressure and fluid ...
Read More

The Little Brain In Our Heart

Most of us think of the heart as our blood pump, but it is so much more. Did you know ...
Read More

A Natural Spice that Relieves Muscle Soreness and Pain

Most of us are familiar with the dual effects of pushing ourselves a little harder than usual during exercise. Right ...
Read More

Delayed Onset of Muscle Soreness

With a new year comes, new resolutions. For many that means getting active and hitting the gym. We want you ...
Read More

The Energy Bucket Mission   

Feeling you have reached a plateau in treatment? Or that your pain is not improving? Or perhaps you are feeling ...
Read More

Top 5 Reasons Why I Don’t Eat Dairy

Many of us who grew up in North America were raised on milk and dairy products.  We were lead to ...
Read More

The Who, What, Why of Compression Stockings

Who are they for? Compression stockings are for athletes, for anyone who suffers from swelling, travels frequently by airplane, has ...
Read More

Do you have a Sensitivity to Gluten and other Foods?

Do you have a Sensitivity to Gluten and other Foods? What do beer, soy sauce and wheat all have in ...
Read More

Bowel Surgery and Cancer

Having bowel surgery due to cancer can be very distressing. Not knowing what to expect afterwards can be even more ...
Read More

Quiz to see if have enough of this nutrient.

Impact these 4 areas of your health right now by ensuring have enough of this nutrient. Mood Skin Joint Pain ...
Read More

What You Are Doing Right

This blog is about acknowledging and celebrating all the things you are doing right for yourself following an injury. I ...
Read More

Why Scar Tissue Massage Is Important

Why Scar Tissue Massage Is Important- August 21, 2016 Scar tissue from an injury, surgery or c-section can have impacts ...
Read More

Body, Mind and Self

Healing from persistent pain is a journey. I believe these 3 components are necessary for the healing journey. The Body ...
Read More