December 08, 2020

The Effects of Unrecognized Stress on the Body

The Effects of Unrecognized Stress on the Body

When most people think of stress, they think of a state of being “stressed-out” – a recognizable anxiety and feeling that things may be spiraling out of control.  Approaching deadlines, marital or job pressures, big decisions, and financial difficulties can all bring about this kind of recognized stress.

But what about unrecognized stress? This kind of stress comes from a biological response within the body to perceived mental or physical threats of which you may not even be aware. Unrecognized stress may not leave you with typical feelings of anxiousness commonly associated with stressful situations, but rather, unusually fatigued and more prone to illness and injury.

Overtraining is a Common Cause of Unrecognized Physical Stress on the Body.

Serious recreational and professional athletes know that overtraining without adequate recovery time can result in increased sports-related injuries. Muscle soreness that doesn’t go away, sprains, strains, and overuse injuries all can result from lack of adequate recovery time, as can a decrease in athletic performance and chronic muscle fatigue.

That’s because exercise raises cortisol levels in the same way the body’s fight-or-flight response does to a perceived threat. This increased rush of stress hormones is intended to be temporary. With overtraining, levels remain elevated for lengthy periods of time and can cause the same chemical reactions within the body as other physical stressors like illness, environmental toxins, and poor diet, leading to sleep problems, anxiety, brain fog, and irritability.

All of this impairs immunity, increasing your likelihood of contracting upper respiratory infections like Covid-19.

The irony is, during these quarantine times, many are using their isolation time to get into shape, or they are turning to exercise to relieve pandemic stress, both admirable pursuits. But exercise, when overdone, can be harmful physiologically.

But Exercise is Supposed to be Good for you!

Of course, regular physical activity is recommended as part of a healthy lifestyle, but it’s necessary to listen to your body for signs of nutritional and recovery needs, both of which help body systems, including the immune system, to function optimally. Even those accustomed to intense training regimes need time to rest, repair, and restore their bodies to avoid undue physical stress.

It can be helpful, even necessary, to incorporate enhanced recovery methods into your training program to maintain optimal performance and immunity to resist, Covid-19, as well as colds and flu.

These can include:
*Massage Therapy to prevent injuries, relieve muscle tension and release fascial constrictions
*Chiropractic to maintain proper body alignment, relieve pain, and improve mobility
*Prescribed stretches and exercises designed to enhance control and strength of stabilization muscles
*Pulsed Electromagnetic Field Therapy (PEMF) to boost energy, relieve pain, and accelerate healing
*Myofascial Acoustic Compression Therapy to promote healing of chronic or acute musculoskeletal pain, soft tissue injuries, or range-of-motion issues
*Normatec Pulse Massage to relive soreness through the enhanced flow of fluids and metabolites from the limbs

At Dynamic Sports Medicine, we have a variety of methods for counteracting the effects of overtraining and addressing unrecognized stress. We specialize in preventing and rehabilitating sports injuries and helping athletes of all levels maintain optimal wellness. Contact us to find out if you are suffering from unrecognized stress, and let us help you overcome it.

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