Managing Chronic Stress and Joint Pain

I am not an expert in applied Kinesiology like Dr. Robert D’Aquila, a New York City Chiropractor, who wrote a nice article about stress and joint pain in February 2010. Even so, I have a personal experience with chronic stress and joint pain that I’d like to share.

It is a well known medical fact that cortisol is one of the major hormones secreted in times of stress. I worked for a large private hospital, overseeing onboarding and education for 140 employee’s. During my last year of employment, I welcomed 58 new hires. I hated going to work every single day. I felt trapped in my position and couldn’t bear to think of going back to school for a Master’s Degree. Even if I had decided to further my education, the boss wasn’t willing to accommodate a flexible schedule. I was stuck in a dark hole.

My interactions with coworkers became brief and abrupt. I arrived late to meetings and stayed home claiming a migraine. I starting experiencing tightening in my chest one day while at work, which landed me in the cardiologist office and a 24 hour monitoring of my heart. I was hoping to be lucky enough that the cardiologist would tell me I needed to take a leave of absence due to a weak heart. As it turns out my heart was healthy as a horse. You heard it right; they found nothing but a healthy beating heart.

The fact that there was nothing wrong with the cardiac test was troubling me. How was it that everything seemed ok medically, but I felt so bad all the time? My joints ached liked I had arthritis. That sent me from a cardiologist to a rheumatologist. The physician x-rayed every part of my body looking for clues. He did blood work as well. Turns out I had some normal degeneration of my spine due to aging, but not much else. So I left that office feeling like these aches and pains were all just a part of aging and I’d have to live with it.

Subconsciously I was waiting for someone to give me permission to find another job. I finally found the courage to step outside the box, and leave my current position. I started a job working the night shift as a supervisor for another hospital. It was very different from what I had been doing. I wanted to learn new skills and completely change the direction of my career. And I did.

Lots of people ask me how I can work the night shift. I even wonder that myself, because I’m usually to bed by 9 p.m. Turns out it was just the change that the doctor ordered. I love my new job, the surroundings and meeting new people.

I’ve been at the job for 7 months. I realized just the other day that I don’t have any more excruciating joint pain and that my legs don’t hurt either. The fibromyalgia like pain I was experiencing had vanished into thin air. My back didn’t ache and I could move my shoulders without stabbing pain. I can’t remember the exact moment it all disappeared, but the fact that it is gone is rather fascinating to me.

My guess is that I am now experiencing the effects of normal cortisol stress hormones.I’d lived for so long not feeling well, that I’d just accepted it. But now I know it had to do with my emotional state and chronic stressful work situation.

Have any of you ever made a change in your life and afterwards realize it was the smartest thing you could have done? We take for granted the effects that chronic stress has on our bodies. If we coax our mind into listening and heeding to the signals our body sends out, we can avoid health problems and accepting chronic conditions as status quo.

What changes will you make in 2016 to better your health and wellbeing?#Wellness2016

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