Small amounts of stress spread throughout the course of the day is bearable, or for that matter, even normal. However, the problem starts when stress becomes a routine activity. Prolonged or consistent stress and anxiety are known to have negative impacts on both our mental and physical health. One such physical manifestation of stress and anxiety is a frozen shoulder.
What is a Frozen Shoulder?
Frozen shoulder is a painful condition that affects the shoulder joint and can substantially limit your range of motion. Also known as adhesive capsulitis, this condition typically develops in stages. Initially, there is pain in the shoulder joint that worsens with movement. Sometime later, the pain decreases but the stiffness in the joint increases, making it difficult to move the arm altogether.
How can stress lead to such stiffness in the shoulder?
When we encounter situations that cause us to feel anxious or stressed, our body’s instinctive response is to become tense. If this reaction occurs frequently over an extended duration, it can result in muscle tension, leading to stiffness, tightness, aching, and pain in the neck and shoulder area. Typically, stress-related pain in this region originates from emotional or mental anxiety, which directly impacts the muscles and nerves that traverse the shoulders, neck, and spine.
Additionally, mental stress and anxiety cause the body to produce a hormone called cortisol. When produced in excess, cortisol can be the cause for inflammation in the body. This inflammation can potentially affect the shoulder joint and the tissues surrounding it, leading to the development of frozen shoulder.
Stress and anxiety can also cause us to adopt poor posture and move in ways that are not optimal for our bodies. Excessive stress can also keep you awake at night, leading to poor quality or insufficient sleep. All of this can lead to strain and tension in and around the shoulder joint, further exacerbating the symptoms of frozen shoulder.
5 ways to reduce stress-induced stiffness and pain
While eliminating stress from our everyday lives is an unattainable goal, there are ways to keep it under check. Here are some healthy habits that we can practice to potentially keep emotional stress and anxiety at bay, and prevent stress-induced pains and aches.
1. Meditation & Breathing Exercises: Mindfulness meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being. By focusing your attention on the present moment and observing your thoughts without judgment, you can cultivate a sense of calm and reduce mental stress. Deep breathing exercises can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing the heart rate. By taking slow, deep breaths and focusing on the sensation of the breath, you can calm the mind and reduce mental stress.
2. Yoga: Practicing yoga can help reduce symptoms of anxiety by promoting relaxation and reducing muscle tension. Certain poses, such as child’s pose and downward dog, can be particularly effective for reducing stress.
3. Physical Activity and Exercise: Regular physical activity has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety and improve overall well-being. Exercise can help reduce muscle tension, promote relaxation, and release endorphins, which are natural mood boosters.
4. Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR): This technique involves tensing and then relaxing individual muscle groups throughout your body. It can help reduce muscle tension and promote relaxation, which can ease symptoms of anxiety.
5. Heat Therapy: As discussed in the blog, our body’s natural response to stress is to tense up, leading to tightness and stiffness in muscles- a potential cause for pains and aches. Heat therapy works by relaxing the muscles, increasing blood flow to the affected area, and reducing inflammation and pain. The use of a herbal heating pad, for instance, can be effective in countering localized, stress-induced pain.
Alleviate Shoulder Pain with Nature Creation
While a serious case of frozen shoulder must be given proper medical attention, milder cases of shoulder pain or stiffness can be countered with simple remedies, from the comfort of your home. One such easy pain relief treatment involves the use of a herbal heating pad on the area of discomfort. For shoulder pains, the best option is the Nature Creation shoulder wrap.
Nature Creation is a trusted dealer in 100% natural therapy solutions- including heat packs, cold packs and aromatherapy packs. Our range of microwavable heat packs offer quick relief from muscle and joint pains. The Nature Creation shoulder wrap, in particular, is designed to fit comfortably and relax all tense muscles and joints along the neck, shoulders and upper back region. Discover more herbal heating pad solutions on our website now!
*This article is meant for basic informational purposes only. It is not intended to serve as medical advice, substitute for a doctor’s appointment or to be used for diagnosing or treating a disease. Users of this website are advised to consult with their physician before making any decisions concerning their health.