Is there really an emotional link to your pain? By Dr Zeinah Keen

broken heartIn a word, yes.
The more years I work in clinical practice, the more I see how closely connected emotional and physical pain are. I have had the pleasure of treating many of you for a number of years and during that time I guess we get to know each other pretty well. I love the holistic nature of an Osteopathic approach. Throughout a treatment we tend to chat a lot and I listen to many of the stresses in your lives. The effects of stress on the body consistently astound me. Symptoms range from back pain most commonly, muscular tension, joint pain, reduced libido, headaches, insomnia, depression, teeth grinding, reductions in job performance, cravings for fatty and sugary foods and I even had a patient who experienced a broken heart following the death of her sister. Yes, there really is such a thing. In medical terminology this is known as Takotsubo Cardiomyopathy.

The stress response has evolved over a millennium to protect us from danger. Also known as the flight-or-fight response, it gets the body ready for action. This way, if you’re in danger, the brain’s hypothalamus sends neural and chemical triggers to the adrenals glands, which are attached to the kidneys. The adrenals then churn out hormones, such as cortisol, which raise blood pressure and blood sugar (among other things) which is fantastic if you’re running away from someone trying to kill you. However, the threat of a looming redundancy has the same effect on the body, only it’s not a short lived issue. Elevated cortisol levels can be harmful to health if sustained over time. In Osteopathic terms this can lead to ‘diseases of adaptation’. Examples of such are as follows;

There is an increase storage of fat particularly around the abdomen.
Heart attacks
Short term memory loss
Alopecia (hair loss)
Premature labour
Elevated blood sugars resulting in Type 2 Diabetes
Stomach ulcers
Irritable bowel syndrome
Skin conditions such as acne or psoriasis
Premature ageing
Exacerbation of asthma.

Does Osteopathic treatment help relieve stress?
Yes, in many ways;
1) Physical treatment of an ailment, mainly muscular-skeletal but can also be visceral. The actual component of touch can be therapeutic in itself.
2) Talking through problems which can be maintaining and exacerbating your pain. Discussing issues can sometimes increase your self-awareness and realisation that there is a major issue in your life that needs to be addressed in order to move forward with your health goals.
3) One of the Osteopathic philosophies maintains that good health requires a triad of physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Good health needs a healthy balance of the three.
4) We can refer you to other health care practitioners who can help with aspects of your life beyond the physical which can be making you ill.
5) Lifestyle advice:exercise, diet, ways to relieve stress and exploring what makes you tick. Sometimes we just need reassurance and guidance to get us back on the healthy path.

To make a booking with an Osteopath call 9452 2292.

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