How does stress management can impact healing time.

Most people have daily stressors that affect them in different ways.   Stress from work, money problems, family issues, etc. can affect people differently and everyone responds in their own individual ways.  One thing that may get overlooked is how your stress affects pain levels or healing time of an injury that you have.

There are several studies out there showing psychological stress can cause delayed wound healing.  One study showed that people who reported higher levels of stress after gall bladder removal had a longer hospital stay than those who reported lower levels of stress (1).  This is important in our physical therapy world as we see people in pain every day.

Stress affects our immune system as we have many different physical and emotional factors in our life.  Our body is in a state of “fight or flight” when we are stressed, which releases certain chemicals in our body that can progress the way we age negatively: elevating blood sugars, increasing fat storage, causing high blood pressure and delaying/prolonging normal healing time for injuries.

Five Ways to help combat stress:

Meditation to combat stress


Finding a quiet place to sit and clear your mind to meditate is a great way to destress. There are several apps, podcasts and Youtube videos you could watch or listen to for free.

How Stress impacts mindfulness


A form of meditation and is a great way to reduce stress by being present and mindful of your senses or surroundings.

How Breathing Impacts Stress

Breathing techniques

Various breathing sequences or calming methods to relax your mind and body and to improve oxygen intake.

Having good sleep hygiene impacts stress

Proper sleep hygiene

Developing a good sleep routine or schedule is helpful when trying to get the rest your body needs. A sleep schedule to time when to wake up or go to sleep, developing a pre-sleep routine, monitoring caffeine intake (or timing of caffeine intake), creating a relaxing environment in your bedroom, “winding down” before bed time, and unplugging electronics before bed are good methods to improve your sleep hygiene.

Exercise is an important part of stress management


Exercise is great for stress reduction. When you are dealing with an injury, your physical therapist will guide you through your recovery with various exercises or techniques to help you on your journey. We are the experts in musculoskeletal injuries and have a lot of experience with helping reduce stressors for our patient’s optimal recovery.

Reference: Boeke S, Duivenvoorden HJ, Verhage F, et al. Prediction of postoperative pain and duration of hospitalization using two anxiety measures. Pain. 1991;45(3):293–7. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]

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