Do Muscles Store Stress?

Do our muscles store up stress?  The short answer is “Yes.”

Most of us have heard by now that chronic stress is “the silent killer.”  It affects our immune systems, makes it more difficult to lose weight, and can lead to depression, heart disease and more.

So, Where Does Stress Build-up in the Body?

In general, stress builds in five main regions of the body:

  • Back Muscles

  • Chest Muscles

  • Jaw Muscles

  • Neck Muscles

  • Shoulders Muscles

Of course, there are various levels of positive and negative stress. Positive stress can keep you focused on a project you are excited about and makes you feel good. However, if you find yourself regularly in stressful situations, good or bad, you can become more susceptible to the side effects that are dangerous to your health.

There are relaxation techniques you can do yourself that will help deter effects on your health.

Release Tension with Yoga
You don’t have to be a practiced Yogi to get the tension-relieving benefits of yoga.  Even the most movements can go a long way in releasing the stress that has built-up in your back, neck, and shoulders musculature.

For an even better result, consider taking a basic class to learn each pose correctly.  Talk to the instructor about what areas are especially troublesome to see if there are specific movements that can target those areas.

De-stress Your Chest
Stress leads to tension in the chest, which leads to anxiety, which leads to tension in the chest, which leads to anxiety…

When this happens, your breathing becomes shallower; your heart may begin to race, and left unchecked, you could end up with an anxiety attack.

One of the best techniques to address this tension before it gets out of control is deep breathing.  There are a number of different deep breathing techniques recommended by professionals.  Experiment with several to see what works best for you.

Releasing Jaw Muscle Tension
With jaw tension often comes jaw/teeth clenching.  Stress in the jaw area can result in tension headaches, toothaches, and earaches.  To help alleviate this type of tension, begin by locating the area toward the back of the cheekbone, approx. one inch in front of your ears.

Next press your thumb firmly inward and upwards in that area. You will start to feel a slight ache.  With medium pressure, gently massage.

Release Your Stress to Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
As we’ve shown, there are a number of ways to help you relieve your pent-up stress.  For more information visit us at Unity Patient Services.

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