June 24, 2019

Most people will have had trouble sleeping at some time and understand the common consequences this has.  However, research estimates that up to 90% of us have suffered with sleep deprivation at some point, and up to 30% of us meet the diagnostic criteria for insomnia. This means a large percentage of the population have had issues with maintaining regular sleep. A lack of adequate sleep has been strongly linked to depression, anxiety, stress and weight gain due to the increase in the hormone, ghrelin, which makes you feel hungrier and crave foods high in saturated fat and sugar.  Lack of sleep is clearly not good news if you’re on a diet, but does it have anything to do with pain?

The links between sleep and pain

Surprisingly enough, a plethora of evidence shows that sleep and pain are interlinked. One such way, is that increased pain levels reduce the quality of our sleep, which will be obvious to anyone who has suffered with a bad back!  More importantly, is that the chronicity o...

September 7, 2018

Is Stress Affecting my Pain?

Our understanding of the relationship between stress and pain has evolved exponentially over recent years, thereby helping to expand our knowledge of what pain is and how it’s caused. The more we learn about stress, the clearer it becomes that our stress levels dramatically affect our pain and in some cases, may even be the cause.

What is Stress?

So, what do we mean by stress? There are lots of different definitions for the term stress, it could be argued that everything is a potential stressor on the body, from weight training to emotional anxiety and everything in between. However, for the purpose of this blog, we will be discussing the consequences of stress on the body, or the ‘stress response’.  This is often termed the ‘fight or flight’ response, where the body releases certain hormones as part of a survival mechanism. This stress response can be triggered by pretty much anything that feels stressful to us and can persist for a short or long period of ti...

May 23, 2018

Feeling tight and stiff or having aching muscle pains are very common symptoms of day to day life, but what are the causes, and how do you deal with them?  Unsurprisingly, the cause is often not one single factor. However, the frequently blamed ‘muscle knots’ (firm lumps within the muscle), and ‘muscle tightness’ i.e. muscles not being as stretchy as they should, have actually been shown to be unlikely reasons for common muscle aches and pains . This new understanding has led to improved methods for treating muscle pain, rather than simply stretching and massaging the painful area.  It has been suggested that the role of the nervous system, psychological factors (such as an increased stress response), and even ischemia (a lack of blood flow) are all possible explanations for the feeling of tight or aching muscle pains. Below is a brief overview of the ideas behind each of these:

Nervous system:   

Your brain decides when something needs to be painful, but the thr...

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