Chronic Stress and Pain Sensitivity
“Stress can contribute to nerve sensitivity or pain system sensitivity. Stress lives in the brain, and therefore the experience of people with chronic pain often is that their pain increases as they become more stressed”
Cortisol is an important neuroendocrine hormone that is released in response to stressful situations. This response is very helpful as cortisol is a potent anti-inflammatory agent that works to mobilize glucose and get the body ready for action.
However, when stress is present for sustained periods, the body may secrete less cortisol and/or become less sensitive to it’s effects leading to widespread inflammation and pain. Hypocortisolism has been linked to low back pain, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.
If you suffer from chronic pain or fatigue, make sure your healthcare practitioner spends time investigating how stress may be influencing your overall health and potentially contributing to your current symptoms.