April is Stress Awareness Month, an excellent time to reflect on ways to cope with the excess stress during healing from an injury or surgery. Studies show that while recovering from an injury or surgery, if you are experiencing psychological stress, the healing time can extend by 25 percent or more.1
The immune system plays a central role in wound healing, and stress alters your immune system’s ability. Cortisol, a hormone very responsive to stress, is a factor. Elevations in cortisol interfere with the body’s ability to produce anti-inflammatory cytokines. The result is that your injured area remains inflamed and is very slow to heal.2
When stress happens for an extended period, the body’s natural ability to fight toxins and other foreign substances reduces. The body becomes less able to control inflammation, making a recovery even more challenging. The injured area remains inflamed and is very slow to heal.
There are ways to deal with stress interfering with your ability to heal. When life is difficult, try one or more of these to help:
- Gentle Exercise: A few minutes of a brisk walk outside or gentle movements to get your blood moving releases endorphins to help your wound heal.
- Laughter: They say laughter is the best medicine. Read a funny book, watch a movie, or call a friend. Laughter releases endorphins to improve mood.
- Music or Meditation: Creating an environment of relaxation will lower cortisol levels and improve your chances of healing.
- Deep Belly Breathing: “Take a deep breath” is not just a saying—it works. Deep breathing alleviates stress by oxygenating your blood.
These techniques are proven to have a positive effect on the brain and body. Lowering the stress hormone cortisol can increase the likelihood of faster healing and recovery from surgery or injury.3 Get back to feeling healthy and strong while lowering your daily stress levels.
ACE Physical Therapy and Sports Medicine Institute was founded on the principles of high ethical standards, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. When you step inside one of their eight convenient locations in the Washington Metro area, your goal becomes theirs: returning you to your normal lifestyle as quickly and safely as possible.