How to Manage Stress for Pain Relief.
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Boston, MA (PRWEB) March 28, 2013
Doctors Health Press, a division of Lombardi Publishing Corporation and publisher of various natural health newsletters, books, and reports, including the popular online Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin, is reporting on a new study finding stress management is key to treating chronic pain.
As Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin (http://www.doctorshealthpress.com/pain-articles/how-to-manage-stress-for-pain-relief) notes, chronic pain is a very uncomfortable and worrisome experience. Those who live with it, perhaps after suffering injuries or perhaps living with a condition like arthritis, worry about flare-ups every day. So researchers set out to measure specific indicators that are related to stress, in 16 patients with chronic back pain and in 18 healthy people.
As the article “How to Manage Stress for Pain Relief” reports, the indicators the researchers used were cortisol levels (also known as the “stress hormone”), people’s perception of their own pain, the size of each person’s hippocampus (the brain region involved in pain and anxiety), and how the brain responds to painful stimulation.
The Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin article states that a key finding of the study was that people who live with chronic pain have higher levels of cortisol than healthy people. Also, those with a smaller hippocampus tend to have more cortisol, and are likely to feel more pain. They have a stronger response to stress, which makes pain worse, and which then makes chronic pain more debilitating over time.
As the article summarizes, basically, people who have a smaller hippocampus and higher levels of cortisol feel the effects of stress worse than others, thereby facing a higher risk of long-lasting pain.
Doctors Health Press e-Bulletin advises readers who suffer from chronic pain to be sure to manage stress. Although there are many ways to manage stress, it may be helpful to begin with a visit to a psychologist who can provide very insightful tips specific to that patient. The article adds that there are many easy remedies for stress that patients can try, including: exercising regularly; joining a yoga, Pilates or tai chi class; meditation; and aromatherapy.
(SOURCE: Vachon-Presseau, E., et al., “The stress model of chronic pain: evidence from basal cortisol and hippocampal structure and function in humans,” Brain 2013; 136(3): 815-827.)
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