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  • Writer's pictureRashidi Kabamba

Stress and the Body: Musculoskeletal System

"Stress accumulates in our body. The way we eat, drink, and live takes its toll on our well-being. Lying down and bringing gentle awareness to our breath, we can realise rest and recovery for our physical body." - Thich Nhat Hanh

In the last couple of blogs we have been speaking on stress management, and how stress management techniques can help your mind-body connection. Now we are going to move on to how stress affects the body and instead of the mind-body connection. This is a very crucial and important topic when it comes to stress, so let's expound into it and break it down.

The body is a very complex topic and is ingrained with so many different systems, and one blog will not be enough to understand the body, let alone how it comes to stress. Therefore we are going to start in one area of the body and how it correlates to stress and then continue to other portions. As you see in the title, we are going to expand on the musculoskeletal system and how stress can damage it severely.


The musculoskeletal system function according to a source by Medicine Libretexts is "an organ system that enables an organism to move, support itself, and maintain stability during locomotion." There are various components and other functions of the system, but that's a blog on its own. Now stress is tension, tightness, pressure, as well as distress. The first reaction you feel according to the muscles when you are chronically stressed is muscle tension, which is a common reaction as well. It's a way of the body guarding itself through pain and injury. When you are going through stressful situations and have muscle tension, the stress can carry out through various areas of the body. For example, you can get migraines and headaches by going through stressful situations and muscle tension in the head, neck, and shoulders. Tension in the lower back and upper extremities actually are affected when you're stressed, and it is even linked to job stress as well. Also, by having excessive stress it can lead to changing the way the body responds to physical demands by affecting what the body can tolerate. When stress levels increase, it may cause individuals to perform tasks differently as well. Lastly, increased stress levels can cause your muscles to contract, restricting blood flow and with chronic stress your musculoskeletal system is in a more permanent state of constriction.

There are various solutions that you can do, in order to relax your muscles and relieve your stressors that are affecting your stress which I list below,

  • Move more

  • Ergonomic modifications

  • Meditation

  • Exercise

  • Gentle stretching

  • Isolated light stretching

These are some techniques you can do in order to relieve muscle tension and the stress which comes upon your musculoskeletal system. It's important to do these things routinely, and make sure that you are practising this in your daily lives so that when you are stressed, the damage is not as severe. With that being said, I hope you enjoyed this blog and stay tuned for the next blog on stress and the respiratory system!! Have a great rest of the day, peace!! :)

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